Many American and British bands – as well as other entertainers – have been waging an ongoing cultural-boycott-war against Israel. Grammy award winner Carlos Santana pulled the plug earlier this year on his Israel concert. And in the aftermath of Israel's May interception of the jihadist-controlled ship Mavi Marmara, which attempted to break a legal naval blockade of Gaza, the alternative band the Pixies canceled their Tel Aviv concert. The British musician Elvis Costello, too, several weeks before the Gaza Flotilla conflict, walked away from two planned concerts in Israel.
Johnny Rotten, who is widely considered to embody the zenith of punk music and a former singer of the British band the Sex Pistols, issued the following statement to the Independent newspaper about his planned concert in Tel Aviv:
I really resent the presumption that I'm going there to play to right-wing Nazi jews [sic]. 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. 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.
The British blogosphere and commentaries in the Guardian are packed full of hysterical tirades against Rotten, who now goes by his birth name John Lydon and sings for his own band, Public Image Limited (PiL). Leftists in the UK are in a state of panic, largely because Lydon rejects their crude and grossly oversimplified views on the Middle East. Lydon, who lives in Venice, California, has breathed real democratic life and fire into a dull and misguided cultural war against Israel.