Sir Elton John Performs In Israel For 50,000 – Please eat that Pixies, Gorillaz, Costello, and Santana

Elton John performs in Ramat Gan. Copyright © 2010 AFP

Sir Elton has sold more than 250 million albums in his 40+year career. Many times more than the all the bands that cancelled their shows in Israel this year put together. Draw your own conclussions. None of the other bands could round up 50,000 people to hear them, anywhere, let alone Israel. This from Haaretz

“Elton John: No one could have stopped me from coming.” Refusing to bow to the pressure of anti-Israel activists, Sir Elton John arrived in Israel on Thursday and performed in front of tens of thousands of Israelis at the Ramat Gan stadium.

and JTA

About 50,000 fans attended the concert. It was his third career appearance in Israel.


217;s appearance comes on the heels of cancellations by well-known artists such as British rocker Elvis Costello, Carlos Santana and Gil Scott-Heron, reportedly after pressure by pro- Palestinian groups. Following the May 31 interception by Israel of a Gaza-bound flotilla that left 9 passengers dead, other artists cancelled including The Pixies, Klaxons, Gorillaz, and, this week, Dvendra Barnhart.

“I have always believed that music inhabits a world set apart from politics, religious differences or prejudice of any kind,” John said on his website, defending his decision to appear in Israel.

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Former Spanish PM: Support Israel: if it goes down, we all go down

A Must Read
Original appears in The Times of London.
Support Israel: if it goes down, we all go down
José María Aznar

Anger over Gaza is a distraction. We cannot forget that Israel is the West’s best ally in a turbulent region

For far too long now it has been unfashionable in Europe to speak up for Israel. In the wake of the recent incident on board a ship full of anti-Israeli activists in the Mediterranean, it is hard to think of a more unpopular cause to champion.

In an ideal world, the assault by Israeli commandos on the Mavi Marmara would not have ended up with nine dead and a score wounded. In an ideal world, the soldiers would have been peacefully welcomed on to the ship. In an ideal world, no state, let alone a recent ally of Israel such as Turkey, would have sponsored and organised a flotilla whose sole purpose was to create an impossible situation for Israel: making it choose between giving up its security policy and the naval blockade, or risking the wrath of the world.

In our dealings with Israel, we must blow away the red mists of anger that too often cloud our judgment. A reasonable and balanced approach should encapsulate the following realities: first, the state of Israel was created by a decision of the UN. Its legitimacy, therefore, should not be in question. Israel is a nation with deeply rooted democratic institutions. It is a dynamic and open society that has repeatedly excelled in culture, science and technology.

Second, owing to its roots, history, and values, Israel is a fully fledged Western nation. Indeed, it is a normal Western nation, but one confronted by abnormal circumstances.

Uniquely in the West, it is the only democracy whose very existence has been questioned since its inception. In the first instance, it was attacked by its neighbours using the conventional weapons of war. Then it faced terrorism culminating in wave after wave of suicide attacks. Now, at the behest of radical Islamists and their sympathisers, it faces a campaign of delegitimisation through international law and diplomacy.

Sixty-two years after its creation, Israel is still fighting for its very survival. Punished with missiles raining from north and south, threatened with destruction by an Iran aiming to acquire nuclear weapons and pressed upon by friend and foe, Israel, it seems, is never to have a moment’s peace.

For years, the focus of Western attention has understandably been on the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians. But if Israel is in danger today and the whole region is slipping towards a worryingly problematic future, it is not due to the lack of understanding between the parties on how to solve this conflict. The parameters of any prospective peace agreement are clear, however difficult it may seem for the two sides to make the final push for a settlement.

The real threats to regional stability, however, are to be found in the rise of a radical Islamism which sees Israel’s destruction as the fulfilment of its religious destiny and, simultaneously in the case of Iran, as an expression of its ambitions for regional hegemony. Both phenomena are threats that affect not only Israel, but also the wider West and the world at large.

The core of the problem lies in the ambiguous and often erroneous manner in which too many Western countries are now reacting to this situation. It is easy to blame Israel for all the evils in the Middle East. Some even act and talk as if a new understanding with the Muslim world could be achieved if only we were prepared to sacrifice the Jewish state on the altar. This would be folly.

Israel is our first line of defence in a turbulent region that is constantly at risk of descending into chaos; a region vital to our energy security owing to our overdependence on Middle Eastern oil; a region that forms the front line in the fight against extremism. If Israel goes down, we all go down.

To defend Israel’s right to exist in peace, within secure borders, requires a degree of moral and strategic clarity that too often seems to have disappeared in Europe. The United States shows worrying signs of heading in the same direction.

The West is going through a period of confusion over the shape of the world’s future. To a great extent, this confusion is caused by a kind of masochistic self-doubt over our own identity; by the rule of political correctness; by a multiculturalism that forces us to our knees before others; and by a secularism which, irony of ironies, blinds us even when we are confronted by jihadis promoting the most fanatical incarnation of their faith. To abandon Israel to its fate, at this moment of all moments, would merely serve to illustrate how far we have sunk and how inexorable our decline now appears.

This cannot be allowed to happen. Motivated by the need to rebuild our own Western values, expressing deep concern about the wave of aggression against Israel, and mindful that Israel’s strength is our strength and Israel’s weakness is our weakness, I have decided to promote a new Friends of Israel initiative with the help of some prominent people, including David Trimble, Andrew Roberts, John Bolton, Alejandro Toledo (the former President of Peru), Marcello Pera (philosopher and former President of the Italian Senate), Fiamma Nirenstein (the Italian author and politician), the financier Robert Agostinelli and the Catholic intellectual George Weigel.

It is not our intention to defend any specific policy or any particular Israeli government. The sponsors of this initiative are certain to disagree at times with decisions taken by Jerusalem. We are democrats, and we believe in diversity.

What binds us, however, is our unyielding support for Israel’s right to exist and to defend itself. For Western countries to side with those who question Israel’s legitimacy, for them to play games in international bodies with Israel’s vital security issues, for them to appease those who oppose Western values rather than robustly to stand up in defence of those values, is not only a grave moral mistake, but a strategic error of the first magnitude.

Israel is a fundamental part of the West. The West is what it is thanks to its Judeo-Christian roots. If the Jewish element of those roots is upturned and Israel is lost, then we are lost too. Whether we like it or not, our fate is inextricably intertwined.

José María Aznar was Prime Minister of Spain, 1996-2004

Source and comments

VIDEO: Israel Misconceptions on Campus

A healthy reminder that ignorance is one of our greatest enemies.

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UC Irvine MSU Suspended For Multiple Violations

MSU gets a “red card” and are out for one year.

One of 11 Muslims Students being escorted from the room after disrupting Ambassador Michael Oren at UC Irvine, January 8, 2010. (Photo OC Register)

Today the Jewish Federation of Orange County released documents to the OC Register which reveal that in fact UC Irvine has suspended the Muslim Student Union for one year, effective Sept. 1, 2010. One might expect that I would be thrilled at the news. And for a while today, I savored the news. After all, I have been calling for the University to take action against this group for inciting hated against Jews since May 2006, when I called for UCI to ban the MSU.

The decision, a MUST read, is a very detailed account of what happened and the school laws that were broken during the Oren incident. This includes:

Other forms of dishonesty including … fabricating information, furnishing false information, or reporting a false emergency to the University….Disorderly and lewd conduct. Participation in a disturbance of peace or unlawful assembly, obstruction or disruption of teaching, research, administration, disciplinary procedures or other University activities…

According to the documents, the MSU refused to answer every time they were asked about their actions. They took the 5th. The University has hundreds of pages of documentation, testimonies, and hours of video footage they reference. There are 31 pages of emails and notes from their meetings where they planned the disruption, and instructed their members to lie to the school if asked if they planned it as a group.

This is a very serious issue, and for a moment I want to focus on this part of their violation of student codes. The MSU was emboldened for years because they were impervious to punishment. We documented numerous other occasions where they broke University rule. This is the first time that Chancellor Drake, himself, was present for their conduct.

If the MSU felt they needed to lie to the University about their actions, what else are they lying about? The leadership of the MSU at UCI, the flagship Muslim group on the West Coast, has now been caught in the act of a conspiracy to violate university, student, and possibly civil codes. The MSU believes that any act is permitted for their goals of delegitimizing Israel.

If they will lie to the University, risking serious academic consequences, how much more so will they be willing to lie to the campus where threat of academic suspension doesn’t exist? A group that will engage in a conspiracy of lies in order to further their goals of delegitimizing Israel, will not hesitate to defame Jews to the student body. They will not hesitate to spread egregious lies and accusations against anyone that disagrees. The same maybe true of other campus groups affiliated with the MSU and MSA.

Now back to why the satisfaction that I feel that the group was finally punished is muted. While the University has in fact banned the MSU for one year, the University failed its students, the community, and all universities…again.

The suspension of this hateful group should have been accompanied by a major press conference where the Chancellor outlined the reasons for the suspension. Drake had a chance to show moral leadership explaining that these activities will not be tolerated on UC Campuses. He could clearly outline the reasons they were suspended, condemn their behavior, and send a clear message that this kind of group has no place on ANY campus.

Instead, the letter written May 27, 2010, was supposed to be kept a secret.

UCI released the documents only through the Freedom of Information Act. They planned on keeping this entire episode a secret. Why does the University continue to protect this group of students? Til today – no University representative has EVER publicly condemned the MSU, or distanced themselves specifically from the MSU.

The suspension says that no current executive officer of the MSU can register another group during the year. However, it does not preclude non-officers of the MSU from creating a new Muslim group at UCI in the fall.

The students are appealing the decision, according to Husam Ayloush, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Predictably, he called the university’s actions “unprecedented, heavy-handed and draconian.” CAIR blames the suspension on politics, “It appears to be politically motivated to silence any future peaceful and legitimate criticism of Israel’s brutal practices”.

Apparently, the MSU students learned their dishonesty from more seasoned professionals.

Read more on the OC Register. Download the letter here.