“We don’t cherry-pick our conscience” – Elton John

Gavin Gross writes:

I was at Elton John’s sold-out concert last night at Ramat Gan stadium, and thought this greeting he delivered was spot-on and deserves wide distribution.  Elton told the crowd that he was happy to be back in Israel (he played here in 1993), and in a reference to anti-Israel boycotters who called on him to cancel the show, proudly proclaimed “ain’t nobody gonna stop us from coming here.”

He said that as a musician his job was to spread love and peace, and that “we don’t cherry-pick our conscience,” a line for which he received extended applause.

I took this to be a sharp dig at the hypocrisy and sanctimoniousness of figures in the West who focus their ire almost exclusively on Israel, and particularly at his fellow musicians who have recently cancelled their shows here, such as Elvis Costello, the Pixies, Gil Scott-Heron and others.

How many musicians have cancelled their concerts in America because of the thousands of civilians the U.S. military has killed in Iraq and Afghanistan and in drone attacks in Pakistan?

Gavin Gross

20 Responses to ““We don’t cherry-pick our conscience” – Elton John”

  1. Karl Pfeifer Says:

    No more double standard!

    “Mr. President, we heard speeches today from Libya, Syria, Iran, Sudan, North Korea, Venezuela, the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the Arab League.
    I ask them: If all human beings are equal, why are you silent today for the victims of Kyrgyzstan?”


  2. Judeosphere Says:

    The latest smear against Elton John is that he places a higher premium on solidarity with the gay community than on solidarity for the world’s “downtrodden.”

    For instance, a letter to Elton John from the British Committee for Universities for Palestine declared:

    “Does it mean you think the dirty business of Israeli colonialism and ethnic cleansing has nothing to do with you? That you can play for the officers and conscripts and secret service people who will make up much of your audience in Tel Aviv without giving them the stamp of your approval?

    Or does your silence mean you think it’s more important to stand in solidarity with gays in Israel than with the Palestinians?”

    • Jonathan Romer Says:

      … does your silence mean you think it’s more important to stand in solidarity with gays in Israel than with the Palestinians? is a question so easily turned back on his accusers, you wonder how they could ever have asked it. Where is their solidarity with gays in Israel? With gays amongst the Palestinians, for that matter? It’s a question that, in context, could only have been asked by someone so self-righteously obsessed that they have forgotten there are any other issues worth attention, or so hypocritical that justice and human rights are not really their concern at all.

  3. Lawz Says:

    “Or does your silence mean you think it’s more important to stand in solidarity with gays in Israel than with the Palestinians?”

    I knew the pro-Pal movement could stoop pretty low, but veiled homophobia now? Who said all of Elton’s fanbase was homosexual in the first place?

    As for talk of ‘conscripts and secret service people’ in the audience, that’s just laughable moonbat paranoia.
    Yeah, I’m sure the the entire staff of the Mossad just love bopping along to good old Elton, don’t they?

  4. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    “we don’t cherry-pick our conscience,” now, how’s that for a line to parade in front of the BDS crew whenever they select Israel and only Israel for their attention? “We don’t cherry pick our conscience” so we abhor _all_ the governments in the world that make serious breaches of the human rights of others, not just one to cherry pick for today’s headlines.

  5. Chris Says:

    Here in the United States, Elton John is being criticized for singing at Rush Limbaugh’s wedding. As many of you know, Rush is pretty anti-gay. It is the gay community that is really critiquing his decision to do this. The gay community here in the States definitely do not feel that he is standing in solidarity with us.

  6. Chris Says:

    By the way, I personally do not care whether he plays at Rush’s wedding. I simply thought it was interesting with the statement about standing in solidarity with gays in Israel.

    • Bill Says:

      Well Rush just doesn’t want gays to marry, or serve in the military, or..welll.. we pretty much get your point. But Hamas wants to kill them. I’m willing to give Elton some latitude in playing a wedding for a fake-curmudgeoney conservative like Rush (playing for a raw misanthrope like Michael Savage would be another thing). But I’m definitely more than happy to accept a “Where you’d rather sit is where you should stand” stance from him.

      • Chris Says:

        I don’t get your point. Rush has a rather profound impact on the lives if those of us who are gay in the US. I can certainly see why it would bother some.

  7. Raphael Says:

    “As for talk of ‘conscripts and secret service people’ in the audience, that’s just laughable moonbat paranoia.”

    No Lawz, it is not laughable moonbat paranoia. It is straightforward racism which works like this: any Israeli = Mossad agent = murderer; sometimes it gets extended further: not supporting the boycott and Jewish = Zionist = Israeli = Mossad agent = murderer.

  8. Absolute Observer Says:

    Well, this shoulld please the BRICUP.

    If anything shows the stupidity of a politics of a boycott of Israel and Israelis, this does.


    From what one hears, gay men and lesbians in Israel are finding it things more difficult with the rise of the religious right. But, hey, they’re Zionists; so, from the boycotters point of view, they deserve all they get. So, they will simply turn away back on all those who are subject to an increasing homophobia. After all, you can’t make an omelette without breaking some eggs.

    Solidarity with the opporessed? Well, maybe, sometimes, perhaps (providing they’re not Israeli Jews, that is)


    • Bill Says:

      The tone of BRICUP has some very nasty undertones. It pretty much is telling gays in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank to get to the back of the bus for the benefit of BRICUP’s pet issue. There shouldn’t be a pecking order in universal human rights, especially the ones that are… well… universal.

      If BRICUP wants to focus purely in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, that’s their own business (and their human resources officer’s when they get into RRA turf). It’s bad enough for the boycotters in the UCU and BRICUP to try to press the rest of us in the “general population” to isolate the one country that provides superior, if flawed, rights (or even if it’s just passive “easement”) to the GLBT community. Coming down on gays and lesbians to isolate the one country where they can {mostly} be themselves in the region is another matter all-together.

  9. Lawz Says:

    Thanks Raphael, but did I realise that. In fact for me, laughable moonbat paranoia often IS racism, or rather, the two are usually entwined.

    Look at the rash of loony conspiracy theorists out there in cyberspace and the anti-semitic trash they peddle. That’s exactly what I was referring too.

    Of course, substitute the word ‘wingnut’ if your loony hails from the political right: the anti-Jewish rhetoric of militant pro-Palestinians and that of American KKK types is often indistinguishable.

    • Bill Says:

      “Of course, substitute the word ‘wingnut’ if your loony hails from the political right: the anti-Jewish rhetoric of militant pro-Palestinians and that of American KKK types is often indistinguishable.”

      Well there WAS that incident with the UCU activist list and David Duke’s website… (the core issue there was that rabid criticism of Israel is so often accepted sight-unseen that that it’s very easy to find yourself in the middle of a virtual Klan rally).

  10. Lawz Says:

    Exactly, Bill. Not easy sticking up for Jewish rights when you have both political wings to keep an eye on.

    The words of an old song spring to mind: “Clowns to the left of me/Jokers to the right…”

  11. Fred Says:

    Living in Israel I wouldn’t care if any Arab country invited any music artist to play. Instead of telling artists not to play here, why don’t they cough up some money & ask them to play in their lands? Should rock artists sell out fans or can they allow people to enjoy their tunes? And for those here who think that gays are being oppressed here, you totally are wrong. Tel Aviv is a very gay friendly town & all religious crazies including our own are a bunch of losers.

  12. Leah Says:

    Thank You for posting! I also spoke out against Ireland’s hypocrisy and ‘neutrality’. http://shine.yahoo.com/channel/life/gaza-fools-rushed-in-1677095/

  13. Duncan Says:


    sorry for the really long link. It links to a pic from a recent demo outside Ahava in covent garden. This is one the they choose to put up on their own facebook page, not something I took and they are ashamed of.

  14. Duncan Says:

    sorry. it’s image 14 the need your attention

  15. Roger Waters’ Israel Stance Draws Music Industry Outrage « Radio.com News Says:

    […] to Israel after that, I went to see Elton John at Ramat Gan Stadium, and he came out on stage and said, ‘Musicians shouldn’t cherry-pick their […]

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