Johnny is not the rotten one

Amid the musical blockheads parading their hypocrisy over Israel, John Lydon’s sensible red head stands out like a beacon


I love Israel and I love Rihanna, so imagine my glee earlier this year on seeing a photo of her lying by the exact Tel Aviv swimming pool where I had been lounging just a few days before! I'm less fond of Lady Gaga so I wasn't quite as stoked to see her mooching around the Western Wall. And I can't stand Madonna so I wasn't overjoyed to see her strutting around the Promised Land.

But, hey, every little helps in the war against the half-wits seeking to demonise Israel through the medium of cultural boycott.

Of course, people are free to boycott whomever they wish. For several years now, I have refused to buy the produce of, or visit, any country which practises gender apartheid.

Contrast Rihanna's glorious Israel gigs with the extraordinary disrespect with which she was treated by Malaysian Islamists last year when scheduled to play in that country. They branded her "sexier and more dangerous than Avril Lavigne". Fair enough, but so is my cat. But, they prissed, her appearance would be "akin to insulting Eastern culture, belittling local artistes, internationally causing losses to the country's economy and supporting Israel's war policy, which is supported by America".

Previously, the joyless Malaysian fuss-buckets had been tut-tutting over the badness of Beyoncé, and fined the Pussycat Dolls promoter when the laydeez were accused of flouting Malaysia's decency regulations.

I always think of Islamist inhumanity to women, homosexuals, blacks, Christians, Buddhists and the rest of us kaffirs when I read about the latest ill-informed crooning clown to diss Israel.

Has-been trip-hop act Massive Attack are the latest such sheep-like clod-hoppers, using their appearance at the Big Chill to show images on a screen behind them. A member of the audience told the JC last week that the screen "was flashing up statistics and political images. Various topics were touched on such as BP and economic strife but the theme was anti-Israeli… there were slogans about Israelis' wealth compared to Palestinians', troop numbers and armed checkpoints. The general vibe was that all hardship in Palestine was Israel's fault… not a word about the terror attacks or fundamentalism."

It would be interesting to know whether those performers who refuse to go to Israel and slate America (and who may or may not agree with Kamaruzaman Mohammad, a leader of the youth wing of the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party, who claimed that attending the California-based Rihanna's proposed concert was a form of support for Israel because, "whether Rihanna realises it or not, we know that the taxes she paid also contributed to the war in Gaza") also prevent their records or movies or books from being sold or downloaded in these countries.

Massive Attack can join such anti-Israel heroes as Elvis Costello (so politically sophisticated that he once called Ray Charles "a blind, ignorant nigger") and Bobby Gillespie - such a loss to the Brains Trust that he reportedly defaced a MAKE POVERTY HISTORY poster to make it read MAKE ISRAEL HISTORY. Allegedly he couldn't spell "Israel" - "Isreal" was his Freudian version - and how extraordinarily arrogant to downgrade such an issue as world poverty simply to score a point.

Israel-haters can keep that grisly pair. In our corner, in the spirit of open-mindedness, we have the unique John Lydon, who will lead his group Public Image Limited in concert in Tel Aviv this month. "If Elvis f***ing Costello wants to pull out of a gig in Israel because he's suddenly got this compassion for Palestinians, then good on him," Lydon told the Independent. "But I have absolutely one rule, right? Until I see an Arab country, a Muslim country, with a democracy, I won't understand how anyone can have a problem with how they're treated."

John Lydon: the voice of common sense versus the dark forces of universal hypocrisy.

    Last updated: 12:23pm, October 12 2010