Anti-Israel protesters seemingly won’t be successful in their efforts to quash a planned Monday night concert by the Red Hot Chili Peppers in Tel Aviv.
The rock funk band landed in Israel Sunday night with an entourage of 70 people, ahead of their first ever show in the country.
One Facebook page, “Red Hot Chili Peppers: Defy Injustice, Cancel Israel,” has moderators repeatedly posting comments that the band will be “playing for a segregated audience, nothing uplifting about that.”
In Beirut, Lebanese indie rock band Mashrou’ Leila canceled their opening act for the Chili Peppers on Thursday in protest of the upcoming Tel Aviv performance, but the headliners went on to play the Beirut waterfront, with bass guitarist Flea tweeting, “Can’t believe we got the opportunity to play in Beirut. What a great place. Whooooooo. Hooooooooooooo. Thank you for your beauty Lebanon.”
Fans on the Facebook community page, “Red Hot Chili Peppers – Live in Israel,” are sharing photos of drummer Chad Smith posing with Lebanese soldiers and smoking a nargila, and putting in their votes for the concert playlist.
The band has made no comments on Facebook, Twitter or in the press regarding the anti-Israel boycott. Their last known statement was on June 28, when they posted a nearly-minute-long video announcing their Tel Aviv concert date:
“I would like to announce our huge joy and pleasure and excitement and the thrill we have to come to Israel for the very first time,” bassist Michael “Flea” Balzary says in the clip, joined by singer Anthony Kiedis and guitarist Josh Klinghoffer. “The original guitar player of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the great Hillel Slovak, may he rest in peace, was an Israeli.”
Slovak was born in Haifa and moved to the US with his family when he was five years old, first settling in Queens, New York, and then relocating to Southern California. He received his first guitar as a bar mitzva gift, and met two of his future bandmates in junior high school. Several members of the band were serial drug users and Slovak developed a heroin addiction, overdosing in June 1988 at his Hollywood apartment.
The band had planned to play in Israel in 2001, and more than 20,000 fans bought tickets. But the performance was canceled when the US State Department renewed its travel advisory due to the second intifada.
There seems little chance Monday night’s performance will not go on, with the Chili Peppers arriving in Israel following their Saturday night performance in Istanbul.
“We’ve always had a great love for Israel and never had the opportunity to come, and we’re so psyched,” the band said in its June 28 video.