Alicia Keys defies boycotters to perform to packed house in Israel

By Zoe Winograd, July 5, 2013
Alicia Keys (Photo: Keith Hinkle)

Alicia Keys (Photo: Keith Hinkle)

American singer Alicia Keys performed to a full stadium in Tel Aviv on Thursday night after refusing to bow to calls for her to boycott the show.

The multiple Grammy - award winner welcomed her Israeli audience by asking in Hebrew, “Ma koreh Tel Aviv?” (“What’s happening Tel Aviv?) before opening with her hit single Karma.

Special guests on the night included Israeli singer Idan Reichel, who sang his song Mi’ma’amakim, as well as Ms Keys’ two year old son, Egypt, who took to the stage to hear his mother belt out the single No One.

Leading up to her performance, the musician was under great pressure by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement to cancel the show , which regularly targets artists for including Israel on their tour itineraries. But the star defied the activists and said she was "excited to go to new places", Tel Aviv included, and planned to bring "a show full of emotion and inspiration".

The Creative Community for Peace, an organisation of leading executives within the entertainment industry, has applauded Ms Keys for choosing to perform. “We are grateful that Alicia saw beyond the baseless accusations of apartheid and the rhetoric of the cultural Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement and did not allow their noise to drown out the melodies of freedom and the voices of change,” said the CCP in a written statement.

The concert, part of her Set the World on Fire tour, was Ms Keys’ first performance in Israel.

Last updated: 3:58pm, July 8 2013