Leonard Cohen performed in a soccer stadium near Tel Aviv on Thursday over the objections of activists who want artists and entertainers to stay away from the Holy Land. Unlike Madonna, as The Washington Post points out, Cohen donated his earnings to Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation and managed to avoid wrapping himself in the Israeli flag.
Oh, that Madonna. —PS
As he went onstage Thursday night in a 45,000-seat soccer stadium near Tel Aviv, it was amid accusations that he had betrayed his humanist and Buddhist principles. The concert was “a kind of validation” of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, said Shir Hever, an economist and activist with the Alternative Information Center, a group opposed to Israel’s policies toward Palestinians.
The proceeds of the show were intended for a Palestinian-Israeli reconciliation fund started by Cohen, but the singer also decided over the summer to balance the schedule with a smaller companion concert in the West Bank city of Ramallah. “He was mindful of the conflict” when he decided to perform here after a long absence, said manager Roger Kory. The Ramallah concert came under fire as a “pity performance” and was canceled.