Ask Ian Anderson a seemingly innocent “what’s new?” or “have you acquired any favorite sites or restaurants on your many trips to Israel?” and you’re likely to get a 10- minute multi-faceted treatise on global warming, the finite resources of the Earth and the noisy, disgusting habits of infants.Wow, an artist who actually thinks for himself! The fact that this is refreshing is scary.
Just shy of his 63rd birthday, the gregarious front man of veteran British rockers Jethro Tull showed no signs of slowing down or mellowing as he prepared to leave home in England on Wednesday for two weekend Tull shows in Caesarea and Binyamina, and one more on Monday night in Jerusalem. In a phone conversation with The Jerusalem Post, he especially minced no words about efforts to convince him to join the loosely-knit artistic boycott of Israel – efforts which prompted him to write a note on the band’s official Web site defending his decision to perform here.
“I didn’t feel the need to make any statement until I started receiving some very hateful communication from people representing different sides of this ongoing issue – from supposed human rights supporters to individuals, bodies and groups… there was some pretty nasty stuff,” said Anderson.
“Basically what I wrote was, ‘don’t f***ing tell me what to do.’ And I have to say that since I posted the letter on my site, over the last two or three weeks, nobody has uttered a peep.”
What Anderson actually wrote was his commitment, ala Leonard Cohen’s initiative in 2009, to donate his proceeds from the three shows to “bodies representing the development of peaceful co-existence between Muslims, Jews and Christians, and the fostering of better Palestinian/Israeli relations.” The letter added that he didn’t “feel pressured by human rights groups, national interests or any individuals to perform or not to perform in Israel or anywhere else.
“I make up my own mind in light of available facts, with my own experience and a sense of personal ethics.”
Anyway, here he is performing last night with the band, with special guest keyboardist Shlomo Gronich. Gronich plays riffs from Israel's national anthem Hatikvah at about the 4:00 mark and then at about 5:10, bookending one of his own popular jazz pieces:
Send it to all your friends who support boycotting the only state with a decent human rights record in the Middle East. With luck, it will make their heads explode.