World-renowned rock band Bon Jovi performed in front of a crowd of around 50,000 people in Tel Aviv on July 25 despite pressure from the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement not to perform in Israel.
According to the Jerusalem Post, lead singer Jon Bon Jovi received more than 5,000 letters from BDS activists urging the band to cancel the show but Bon Jovi reportedly told Bluestone Entertainment concert promoter Guy Beser, “I chose Israel and I’m coming, no one will cancel my show.” Beser also told the Post that the singer enjoyed performing in Israel in 2015 and had been yearning to come back.
Bon Jovi keyboardist David Bryan similarly told the Post regarding BDS, “We don’t get into politics. Rock ‘n’ roll goes everywhere and helps people forget about the world and have a good time. It doesn’t divide, and that’s what we’re talking about – unification, not dividing.”
Comedian Benji Lovitt wrote in the Times of Israel that the Bon Jovi concert “exceeded my expectations,” praising the band’s setlist and Jon Bon Jovi’s chemistry with the crowd.
“Jon may have struggled to hit the same high notes he sang 30 years ago, but I can’t imagine that anyone cared,” Lovitt wrote. “He gave us his all and when the night ended, the final show on this leg of the tour, he looked totally exhausted yet utterly fulfilled. The band members high-fived each other and hugged, bringing their travels to a close. And the word ‘LEGEND’ on the back of Jon’s jacket said it all.”
Lovitt also noted that Jon Bon Jovi reminded “the crowd that he dedicated ‘We Don’t Run’ to the people of Israel in 2015.”
Earlier in the month, the metal band Disturbed performed in Tel Aviv, where lead singer David Draiman sang the Israeli national anthem “Hatikvah.” Draiman said in a May 30 interview with Disturbed fan page on Facebok that BDS is “based on hatred of a culture and of a people in a society that has been demonized unjustifiably since the beginning of time.”