BDS Fail: Punk Legends The Stranglers Confirm Tel Aviv Shows

Singer and guitarist Baz Warne of the British rock band 'The Stranglers' performs at the Espace Julien in Marseille, southern France, on 10 April 2012 as part of their French Tour 2012. AFP PHOTO/GERARD JULIEN (Photo credit should read GERARD JULIEN/AFP/Getty Images)
GERARD JULIEN/AFP/Getty

The Stranglers are heading for Tel Aviv. The classic 1970s punk band have confirmed tour dates for the city this summer, defying anti-Israel lobbyists who work to dissuade performers from visiting the Jewish state.

Thie British punk pioneers played Israel in 2016 and before that in July 2008, showing they have no intention of yielding to critics in the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement led by former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters.

Waters, who has in the past compared Israel to Nazi Germany, uses bullying tactics to persuade a range of fellow musicians not to perform in Israel.

In an interview with the Jerusalem Post ahead of their 2016 show, The Stranglers laid out their desire to support the only truly democratic country in the Middle East.

“Tel Aviv is such a rocking city and the Israeli people are so open and fun to be with,” said Jean-Jacques “JJ” Burnel, bassist and co-founder of the band. “I don’t think the outside world realizes how cool it really is there. But as you know, people are generally ignorant of the situation in Israel and they just read the headlines,” he continued. “They don’t realize that Israel is a democracy in a sea of f***ed-up countries. A true democracy with the Left and Right able to express themselves.”

While a few artists, including Stevie Wonder and Lauryn Hill, have caved to pressure from the BDS movement in the past, most have ignored it, with Tel Aviv seeing concerts from the likes of Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, Elton John, Santana, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Justin Bieber, Aerosmith, Britney Spears and Bon Jovi in recent years.

The Stranglers gigs are at the Barby Club and take place on Wednesday 20th of June and Thursday 21st. Further details can be found on the Barby website.

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