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By Andrea Peyser
January 9, 2017
He’s a rock star, not a sage or a statesman. But Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry began 2017 as my personal hero, joining a small but growing list of mensches and menschettes who’ve risked their careers, and possibly their safety, to stand up for what is right.
“Shalom, Israel,’’ the talented strummer intoned in an online video posted Jan. 1. “This is Joe Perry from Aerosmith.”
He’d just played a bluesy slide-guitar rendition of a folk song familiar to anyone who has attended a Jewish wedding: “Hava Nagila.”
“Wishing you a happy Hanukkah, and we’ll see you May 17,’’ he said. “Aero-vederci, baby!”
With that, the band from Boston — which also includes the amazing frontman Steven Tyler — rose in my estimation from a musical act to something greater: The Aerosmith guys became warriors in the battle for the Jewish state’s right to exist, defying forces, from others within the artistic community to the Obama administration, who wouldn’t mind seeing the United States’ steadfast ally wiped from the map.
Israel is the only country in the Middle East in which the rights of women are upheld, and where gays, lesbians and transgender people are not threatened with being thrown off tall buildings or stoned to death.
Also there, men and women with microphones are free to celebrate love, anger, even sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll, without fear of punishment by mad mulllahs and government goons hellbent on crushing infidels.
Slowly, times are a-changing.
Some performing artists are rising up courageously against the rank hypocrisy and bigotry displayed by ringleaders of the orchestrated effort to destroy Israel. This marks a repudiation of the international BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement that aims to starve the country with the removal of cultural, business and academic ties. And it represents an uprising against the American administration’s refusal to veto the recent anti-Israel measure that passed in the United Nations.
It also takes on Roger Waters, perhaps the world’s leading Israel-hater. He maintains that his dastardly deeds target the Israeli government rather than the Jewish people.
Rubbish. This is anti-Semitism 101.
The British Pink Floyd co-founder, who has compared the Israeli government’s self-defensive treatment of Palestinians to Nazi atrocities (never mind that Israel’s Arab citizens enjoy the right to vote and serve in elected office), wrote a subtly menacing 2013 open letter to his peers. He urged them not to perform or exhibit in the “apartheid” regime, and to reject awards or funding from its government “until such time as Israel complies with international law and universal principles of human rights.” Not a word about deadly outrages committed by Palestinians against Israelis.
Thankfully, some celebs have declared solidarity with the Jewish state.
Pressured by Waters to cancel their first-ever concert in Tel Aviv in 2014, the Rolling Stones not only ignored him, the British rockers delayed the start of their show by 45 minutes to allow devout Jews, who don’t drive on religious holidays, time to arrive for the gig after the Jewish feast of Shavuot ended at sunset.
Four months before a 2015 show in Paris by the California-based band Eagles of Death Metal was turned into a bloodbath by Islamic butchers, frontman Jesse Hughes lobbed a few choice words at Waters from a Tel Aviv stage. Waters had written a letter to band members imploring them not to play there.
“You want to know what I wrote that c–ksucker back?” Hughes shouted.
“Two words: F–k you!”
His band played again in Israel this past September.
In May, Canadian popster Justin Bieber is planning a do-over of his 2011 Israeli concert. Even leftist rocker Bruce Springsteen, who isn’t Jewish despite claims to the contrary, told an Israeli woman who traveled to New Jersey in October for a signing of his new memoir, “I need to play there.’’
In a series of tweets he issued last May, Springsteen’s E-Street bandmate, guitarist Steven Van Zandt, called Israel boycotters “politically ignorant, obnoxious idiots.” He suggested that one commit a physically unlikely sex act on himself.
As the Italian-ish title suggests, Aerosmith’s worldwide “Aero-Vederci, Baby!” tour, which kicks off in Israel, is expected to be the band’s farewell. A pity. We need more brave souls like these.
And their music is pretty great, too.