No doubt the Rolling Stones’ concert in Tel Aviv last night (Wednesday) was historic. (This writer was one of some 50,000 fans who enjoyed a fantastic show.) But controversial? Only in the eyes of the supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign who, in their usual style, unsuccessfully attempted to bully the Stones into canceling their Israel appearance. Indeed, such is their failure rate, as evidenced by the number of top-tier performers playing in Israel this summer, BDS’s only resort is to gain publicity in the media. Why did Sky News give BDS the unwarranted publicity? In its report “Rolling Stones Play Controversial Israel Gig,” the story is less about the successful concert and mostly about giving oxygen to the BDS movement:
But the band were under pressure from pro-Palestinian activists, including fellow rock stars, to cancel the gig as part of a boycott of Israel over alleged human rights abuses.
The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) committee urged the Stones to abandon the concert, noting they had been vocal opponents of racial segregation in South Africa, comparing apartheid to Israel’s policies towards the Palestinians.
“Palestinian organisations urge the Rolling Stones to refrain from playing in apartheid Israel and not to condone Israel’s violations of international law and human rights against the Palestinian people,” BDS said when the concert was announced in March.
So instead of comments from Mick Jagger and the band, we are treated to the language of “boycott,” “human rights abuses,” “racial segregation,” “apartheid,” and “violations of international law and human rights.” And, despite the fact that the Stones concert is another example of the abject failure of BDS, the Sky News report continues:
A growing number of governments and international businesses have said they will not trade with Israeli firms with ties to Jewish settlements, highlighting the creeping success of the Palestinian-led boycott campaign.
So much for a “Palestinian-led boycott campaign” – even the Palestinian Authority considers them to be marginal troublemakers. The only “creeping success” for BDS in this case, has been Sky News unnecessarily creating controversy where there is none and giving media exposure to a campaign that has, as the Rolling Stones have demonstrated, failed.
UPDATE It isn’t only Sky News who thinks that the Rolling Stones concert is “controversial.” See AFP’s “Stones gear up for controversial first Israel gig,” written before the concert took place but including more of the same.