JERUSALEM (JTA) — Elton John performed a concert in Israel, following the politically motivated cancellations of shows by other artists.
John arrived in Israel on Thursday, the day of his concert at Ramat Gan Stadium. He was scheduled to leave shortly after the show, a ploy to avoid having to make public statements about his appearance in Israel, according to the Jerusalem Post.
About 50,000 fans attended the concert. It was his third career appearance in Israel.
"Shalom, we are so happy to be back here! Ain’t nothing gonna stop us from coming, baby," John told the crowd. "Musicians spread love and peace, and bring people together. That’s what we do. We don’t cherry-pick our conscience."
John’s appearance comes on the heels of cancellations by well-known artists such as British rocker Elvis Costello, Carlos Santana and Gil Scott-Heron, reportedly after pressure by pro- Palestinian groups. Following the May 31 interception by Israel of a Gaza-bound flotilla that left 9 passengers dead, other artists cancelled including The Pixies, Klaxons, Gorillaz, and, this week, Dvendra Barnhart.
“I have always believed that music inhabits a world set apart from politics, religious differences or prejudice of any kind,” John said on his website, defending his decision to appear in Israel.