Entertainment News

  • 4 June 2014, 15:45

Rolling Stones To Play Controversial Israel Gig

Pro-Palestinians have urged the Rolling Stones to cancel their first ever concert in Israel on Wednesday night over alleged rights abuses.

The rock band only resumed their world tour last week after cancelling shows following the suicide of Mick Jagger's partner L'Wren Scott.

The Stones arrived in Tel Aviv on Monday in their private jet with around 70 staff.

Guitarist Ronnie Wood and drummer Charlie Watts travelled to Jerusalem's Old City the following day.

Israeli organisers and media have branded the concert, part of the band's European tour, a "historic visit".

Promoter Shuki Weiss, once quoted as saying he would retire after bringing the Stones to Israel, guaranteed the band $6.7m (4m) for the one-night gig at Tel Aviv's Hayarkon Park, according to a newspaper report.

But the band has been under pressure from pro-Palestinian activists, including fellow rock stars, to cancel the gig as part of a boycott of Israel over alleged human rights abuses.

The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) committee urged the Stones to abandon the concert, noting they had been vocal opponents of racial segregation in South Africa, comparing apartheid to Israel's policies towards the Palestinians.

"Palestinian organisations urge the Rolling Stones to refrain from playing in apartheid Israel and not to condone Israel's violations of international law and human rights against the Palestinian people," BDS said when the concert was announced in March.

Pink Floyd founders Roger Waters and Nick Mason also joined calls for a boycott.

A growing number of governments and international businesses have said they will not trade with Israeli firms with ties to Jewish settlements, highlighting the creeping success of the Palestinian-led boycott campaign.

A Palestinian unity government, backed by the Islamist group Hamas, was sworn in on Monday.

Israel has condemned the US and European Union for backing the technocratic government.

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