Singer Tom Jones knows the Palestinian-led campaign to boycott Israel is on the march.
Wales’ golden oldie said this month: “a lot of singers won’t go” to Israel now because of the boycott campaign. “I don’t agree with that,” he said.
Sir Tom Jones is a singer whose career spans the decades, all the way back to the valleys of 1960s south Wales. Hits include “Delilah,” “It’s Not Unusual” and his 1988 come-back cover version of Prince’s “Kiss.”
In the weeks leading up to the gig, BDS campaigners asked Jones to cancel the show.
They set up a Facebook page called “It’s Not Unusual to Boycott Apartheid,” punning on one of his most famous hit songs.
The Facebook page received over 900 “likes” and the petition was signed by over 2,100. And Jones’ comments makes it plain that although the campaign’s message was ultimately spurned, he heard it loud and clear.
Since the BDS call was formally-issued issued in 2005, more and more singers, pop stars and other artists have canceled shows in Israel – or refused to play there in the first place.
I write to you now, my brothers and sisters in the family of Rock and Roll, to ask you to join with me, and thousands of other artists around the world, to declare a cultural boycott on Israel.
In the interview, he said “entertainers should entertain … I don’t see why anyone would mix up the two things – entertainment and politics.”
This is the refrain of performers who have crossed the boycott picket line. As many have observed, this is an amoral position – one living under the delusion that art or popular culture can be separated from human rights.
The fact that Jones is acknowledging that the boycott is taking hold and that this is now a subject of mainstream media attention shows that such a separation does not exist.
With thanks to Sarah Colborne for the headline.