Wave of Pop Stars Defy Boycotters to Perform in Israel

November 6, 2013  

Several pop stars have reportedly planned for Tel Aviv tour stops in the upcoming year, in a clear failure for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement – a network of anti-Israel extremists who have been pushing celebrities to boycott the Jewish state. 

Among the planned appearances include Julio Iglesias, set to play in Tel Aviv on November 24; Cyndi Lauper, on January 4, 2014; and Justin Timberlake in May 2014. Beyonce is also expected to perform in Tel Aviv sometime this summer, though dates are as yet unconfirmed, several travel sites report. 

The announcements follow a wave of other recent celebrity and music legend visits to Israel. Just this week, Paula Abdul celebrated a Bat Mitzvah at the Western Wall and met with President Shimon Peres. Alicia Keys and Rihanna have also made Israel appearances this year. 

International music stars seem to be increasingly interested in the Israeli market, bucking persistent BDS efforts to encourage celebrities to snub Tel Aviv in solidarity with anti-Israel sentiments. While several bands in years past have famously booked concerts in Israel and then cancelled – including Elvis Costello and Carlos Santana  – not only are celebrities flocking to Israel, but some are even publicly snubbing BDS protests.

One example is Welsh musician Tom Jones, who British news outlets reported suffered particularly virulent BDS attacks for agreeing to play in Tel Aviv. Jones categorically rejected BDS claims, playing in Tel Aviv as scheduled last month. 

Even hardened anti-Israel bands seem to be joining the neutrality trend; Coldplay – who caused public outrage with anti-Semitic footage in videos and a “Free Palestine” link in a prominent music video – unceremoniously removed the link sometime in early 2012.  

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