Elton John has performed a triumphantly successful concert to nearly 50,000 cheering fans in Ramat Gan, telling Israelis: “Nobody gonna stop me from playing here, baby”.
The country’s music fans have suffered several high profile cancellations, including bands such as the Pixies, Carlos Santana, Gorillaz, the Klaxons and, most recently, Elvis Costello.
Many of the acts cancelling their performances said they had been targeted by pro-Palestinian groups.
But Sir Elton John, who has played in Israel twice previously, told the audience: “We do not cherry-pick our consciences.”
Earlier the Rocket Man singer had defended his decision to play in Israel, writing: “I have always believed that music inhabits a world set apart from politics, religious differences or prejudice of any kind.
“Throughout my career I have made a point of playing concerts in challenging places, such as the USSR and Northern Ireland in the 1970s, Israel in the 1990s and very recently Morocco.
“Music is, and always will be, a universal language, free from boundaries. It can and does inspire unity and builds bridges between people, and I will continue to play concerts anywhere in the world where I can encourage that unity.”