As Israel celebrated the announcement of the Rolling Stones’ first concert in the country Tuesday, the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement ramped up its campaign for the British rockers to cancel.
A spokeswoman for the umbrella Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanction group said that the Stones had been vocal opponents of racial segregation in South Africa, and claimed Israel also practices apartheid.
“Palestinian organizations 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,” Rafeef Ziadah wrote.
“The Rolling Stones were at the forefront of enforcing a cultural boycott of apartheid South Africa, but performing in Israel at this time is morally equivalent to performing in South Africa during the apartheid era.”
A petition by The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel calling on the Stones to cancel there show has been posted on Change.org since March 2, when the show was first rumored, and garnered 2,477 signatures as of Wednesday morning.
We are writing to urge you to refrain from playing in apartheid Israel and not to condone Israel’s violations of international law and human rights against the Palestinian people,” PACBI said in a statement released in March. “We wrote you previously, in 2007, after hearing of similar plans, and back then you did not play in Israel. We hope you will heed our call once again.”
In 2007, the Israeli media reported that Shuki Weiss, who is also promoting the gig schedule for June 4 of this year, had booked the Stones to play, but the band did not end up performing.
Weiss announced Tuesday that a June 4 date for the Rolling Stones to perform at Park Hayarkon in Tel Aviv was official.
“This is a historic moment,” said Weiss, who has produced many of Israel’s largest concerts. “It’s a huge honor to bring the Rolling Stones to Israel, an honor for the country, the citizens, and mostly for the fans who have waited for this moment.”
A number of artists have canceled Israel shows in the past several years, citing concerns over Israeli policies, including Elvis Costello, Gil-Scott Heron, Santana, Cat Power, Devendra Banhart, Gorillaz Sound System and the Pixies, though the Pixies recently announced they would play Tel Aviv this summer.
The June 4 Stones concert, which falls at the end of the holiday of Shavuot, will begin at 8:30 p.m. The concert in Tel Aviv will take place between concerts in Zurich and Holland, and is one of only 14 performed in Europe this summer, said Weiss.
Tickets for the concert are NIS 595 ($170) for Pelephone customers and NIS 695 regular admission for a space on the lawn. Golden Ring tickets are NIS 1,690 (Pelephone) and NIS 1,790, and for the VIP area, the only area to include seating, tickets are NIS 2,750 (Pelephone) and NIS 2,850 regular.
The Rolling Stones formed in London in 1962 and become one of the iconic acts of the classic rock era, charting hits well into the early 1980s. The band has released nearly 30 albums and celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2012. In recent years, the Stones have embarked on several highly lucrative world tours.