The Red Hot Chili Peppers have finally rescheduled their Tel Aviv concert after cancelling a show in 2001, citing fears for their safety. The original show was for their “Californication” tour and 20,000 tickets were sold for a concert in Tel Aviv’s Havarkon Park, according to Haaretz. Unfortunately, 2001 ticket holders can’t cash in on their unused tickets, but after a decade of waiting, the band is returning to perform in Havarkon Park on Sept. 10, 2012.
“I am pleased that the artists and their managers have stood by their word to visit and make up for the show that was canceled in 2001,” producer Shuki Weiss said to Haaretz.
Music artists in particular have faced unusual challenges when scheduling concerts in Israel. For the Chili Peppers, it was security concerns, but others music acts have been targeted by the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement to cancel concerts as a form of protest.
In 2010, after being subjected to relentless campaigns by so-called human rights organizations accusing Israel of apartheid, The Pixies and Elvis Costello both canceled performances. Gil Scott-Heron, the putative father of hip-hop who passed away last May, as well as Carlos Santana have also cancelled performances in Israel.
But things seem to be turning around, thanks in part to the Creative Community for Peace (the focus of an upcoming story in the Jewish Journal), an organization formed by high-level music executives to counteract pressures from the boycott movement and instead, encourage music artists to voice their concerns from a platform in Israel. In November 2010, CCFP was instrumental in persuading Macy Gray to perform in Israel after the artist received death threats meant to discourage her from going.
That the The Red Hot Chili Peppers have chosen to reschedule their long-ago cancelled performance now is promising, given the organized and calculated campaign designed to prevent artists from performing in Israel. Whether or not certain parts of the BDS movement have justifiable intentions, an artist protest seems self-defeating, since musicians, like all artists can help to spread messages of cooperation and understanding.
More on this to come…