Having told The New York Times in late May that “[m]usic is a universal language that is meant to unify audiences in peace and love, and that is the spirit of our show,” Alicia Keys on July 4th entertained a sold-out crowd of fans at the Nokia Stadim in Tel Aviv. Keys had been under pressure to cancel her show by partisans from the so-called Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, who seek to isolate Israel economically and culturally.
Keys was true to her word and performed last week without incident.
Light on choreography but heavy on charisma, the show, part of her “Set the World on Fire” tour, included beloved hits like “Fallin’” and “Unbreakable,” as well as lesser-known, newer fare like “Brand New Me” and “Tears Always Win.”
Concertgoers had been told a special guest would be joining Keys on stage, and roared with delight when Idan Raichel, the wildly popular Israeli world-music maven, joined her on stage for a one-song mash-up of her “Fallin’” with his chart-busting hit “Mi’ma’amakim.”
Other artists who have been pressured to cancel shows in Israel have been less kind in rebuking anti-Israel partisans, most pointedly and recently the Pet Shop Boys.
Keys’ concert is likely to reinforce analysis, voiced by among others National Post Managing Editor for Comment Jonathan Kay, to the effect that efforts to economically and culturally suffocate Israel have accomplished “less than nothing.”
Last week top U.S. universities dispatched presidents and chancellors to promote academic exchanges, at the same time that in the United States investors launched a new index fund based on Israeli companies.
In May the U.K. and Israel inked a landmark accord promoting scientific and academic cooperation, while the Jewish state hosted an innovation summit focusing on unique Israeli solutions to technological challenges in Asia.