Some years ago, I was in the office of a straitlaced, middle-aged lady who was in charge of my law firm’s support staff. I noticed a photograph on her desk of herself with a long-haired guy who looked like a rock musician. It seemed incongruous, so I asked about the picture, and she told me this story.
She and her husband had a boat in a marina on the St. Croix River, which constitutes much of the boundary between Minnesota and Wisconsin. One Saturday afternoon, they were working on the boat, polishing fittings and so on, when a man approached them. “Excuse me,” he said, “would you be interested in renting your boat out for an afternoon next weekend?” They asked what he had in mind, and he explained that he worked for “Jon Bon Jovi, the singer.”
Bon Jovi was going to play a concert in the Twin Cities the following Saturday night. The man explained that there was a retarded boy in the Twin Cities–sorry, I honestly don’t know the current euphemism–with whom Bon Jovi had a big brother relationship, and whenever he was in Minnesota he made time to spend with the boy. They thought it would be fun to go boating on the St. Croix. So, could Mr. Bon Jovi rent their boat for the following Sunday? Our personnel director and her husband said that they would be happy to lend their boat for free, if they could come along.
The following Sunday, at a time when most rock stars of that era (or any other) would have been sleeping off a night of excess, Jon Bon Jovi, his assistant and the young boy met with my friend and her husband at the marina, and enjoyed an afternoon of boating on the river. That’s when the photo was taken. There is nothing unique about Minnesota: I assume that for several decades, Bon Jovi has done similar good deeds around the country with zero publicity. So, as you can imagine, I have long had a good opinion of Jon Bon Jovi.
Fast forward to 2015. While many of his rock and roll contemporaries have succumbed to dissipation and in some cases are six feet under, Bon Jovi is still performing. He scheduled a concert in Tel Aviv, which drew the wrath of Roger Waters of Pink Floyd, who is now an obsessive anti-Israel activist and, in my opinion, an anti-Semite. Whenever a high-profile entertainer undertakes to perform in Israel, Waters weighs in, in bullying fashion. Hence this story:
Former Pink Floyd bassist Roger Waters disapproves of rock band Bon Jovi’s following through with plans to play a concert in Tel Aviv, Israel.
The 72-year-old British musician published a scathing open letter to the group — bandleader Jon Bon Jovi, David Bryan and Tico Torres — on Salon.com Friday, claiming they “stand shoulder to shoulder” with those who have committed violent acts toward Palestinians.
“You stand shoulder to shoulder with the settler who burned the baby…with the bulldozer driver who crushed Rachel Corrie…with the soldier who shot the soccer player’s feet to bits,” he wrote, linking each act with a corresponding report.
No mention of the countless terrorist attacks by Arabs against Israeli Jews.
“Having read Jon’s comments last week in Yedioth Ahronoth, I won’t waste my time drawing parallels with Apartheid South Africa and the moral stand that so many artists took then and that thousands are taking now in the face of decades of Israeli oppression of Palestinians,” [Waters] wrote.
“So the die is cast,” he added before listing several acts committed between Israelis and Palestinians. “You are making your stand.”
Well, I hope so. Bon Jovi was unimpressed by Waters’ anti-Israel rant:
Bon Jovi is expected to perform in Israel Saturday; the band’s lead singer recently proclaimed his admiration for Tel Aviv ahead of the concert, saying he isn’t interested in Rogers’ boycott campaign.
“Yes, I heard about that but it doesn’t interest me,” he told Yedioth Ahronoth. “I told my managers to give one simple answer: That I’m coming to Israel and I’m excited to come.”
“It doesn’t interest me.” I like that.
The singer explained he’s most excited to visit the metropolitan city for its “vibrant and dynamic” culture and “great restaurants.” He and the band will reportedly spend more time than just the day of their concert in Tel Aviv. “There are a few places in the world that I haven’t been, Israel is one of them,” he said. “So I’m thrilled to be coming. We want to stay for a few days and see as much as possible.”
I have no idea whether Bon Jovi is a Christian, but he evidently shares the excitement that Christians, Jews and others feel at the prospect of visiting the Holy Land. Good for him. He evidently will not be deterred by a left-wing, has-been bully. Somehow, I am not surprised.
I had meant to end this post there, but saw this account of the concert in Tel Aviv, which concluded just hours ago:
Jon Bon Jovi kicked off his band’s first-ever performance in Israel Saturday evening by telling 50,000 cheering Israelis “I’ve waited a long time for this!”
A few songs into the show, he underlined his empathy with Israel by introducing a new song called “We Don’t Run,” released earlier this summer, with the comment: “This should be the fight song for Tel Aviv.”
And later in the performance, the New Jersey-born rocker name-checked his keyboard player, the Jewish musician David Bryan (Rashbaum), by saying that “your father would be proud of you” for being in Israel pounding the piano.
Probably unbeknown to the band, the concert began minutes after a terrorist attack in Jerusalem 60 kilometers (some 40 miles) away, when a Palestinian man stabbed two Israelis to death in the Old City, and injured two others.
Roger Waters had no comment.
I don’t think the whole performance is available on line yet, but via YouTube, here are 28 seconds of Bon Jovi singing “We Don’t Run” just a few hours ago, in Tel Aviv:
I know, Bon Jovi is a Democrat who has come out for Hillary. But he’s a good man.