Crooner Sir Tom Jones Condemns Boycotts of Israel by Musicians After Playing Tel Aviv
British crooner Sir Tom Jones condemned boycotts of Israel by musicians after playing two sold out shows in Tel Aviv last month, the UK Jewish News reported.
“I was in Israel two weeks ago where a lot of singers won’t go (because of the boycott campaign). I don’t agree with that. I think entertainers should entertain. They should go wherever, there shouldn’t be any restrictions. That’s why I went there. I did two shows in Tel Aviv and it was fantastic,” he told the Jewish News.
In August, Israel’s Consul for Public Affairs in New York, Gil Lainer, said the Welsh singer had become “the latest victim of a fringe campaign pushing for a boycott of Israel, which bullies artists and academics from coming to Israel,” and encouraged Israel supporters to contact him via Twitter (@RealSirTomJones) with positive messages. Lainer credited the activism of online supporters of Israel as the reason why “artists like Alicia Keys stood up to online bullying, and had an amazing time in Israel this July in a pair of sold out shows.”
Sir Tom’s Tel Aviv performances were his first in Israel in more than a decade. The trip went forward despite a 2,000-signature petition from the Cardiff Palestine Solidarity Campaign calling for him to boycott Israel “Please don’t whitewash Israel’s apartheid policies against Palestinians,” the petition read. “A performance in Israel today is akin to a performance in apartheid South Africa.”
Sir Tom said: “I wanted to go because the Israeli people have asked me. They would like me to go and sing and I don’t see any problem in doing that. I don’t see why anyone would mix up the two things – entertainment and politics.”
Saying he was “so glad I went”, Sir Tom revealed he’d “definitely” like to perform there again, the UK Jewish News reported. “They’re already talking about it. The promoter that took me out there said we’d like you back next week if we could.”
“I live in Los Angeles and over there the Jewish community does much for charity,” he said. “Of course I’m from Great Britain and I started seeing Jewish charities first hand in the 60s. I’ve always been supportive.”