For every loudmouth like Roger Waters who spews anti-Israel venom, there are many other performers who are more than happy to play concerts in Israel. But it would be disingenuous to suggest that these artists are mindfully bucking the BDS movement; it is far more likely that for them, “it’s not personal, it’s business”—and, anyway, a gig’s a gig.
With that in mind, we can rejoice to learn that the Rolling Stones will be playing a concert in Tel Aviv in June, despite the BDS crowd’s best efforts to get them to back out. You can imagine Mick Jagger’s septuagenarian sneer when he looked the BDSers in the eye and stood his ground—especially because rumor has it that the Stones will be getting $4.5 million for their performance.
We have even more reason to rejoice, though. We got our hands on the most sought-after intelligence to come out of Israel since the specs of the Iron Dome missile defense system. I am referring, of course, to the list of songs that the Stones will be playing at the concert in Tel Aviv.
As is traditional, the Stones will open with “Start Me Up,” which will be an easily-decoded ode to Israel as The Start-Up Nation.
“(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.” This is bound to be a major crowd pleaser, as there are reportedly plans to invite Benjamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas to join the band onstage. The chorus—“But I tried, and I tried, and I tried, and I tried. I can’t get no satisfaction!”—will have special meaning for these two world leaders. (Let the political pundits debate about exactly how hard they really did try).
“Gimme Shelter.” Rolling Stone magazine has called this song about apocalyptic mayhem, released 45 years ago, the Stones’ best song and the Number 38 in its list of the greatest rock songs of all time. In Tel Aviv their guest backup singers will be a crowd of African asylum seekers.
“Sympathy for the Devil.” This classic will be dedicated to Putin. Or maybe Assad.
“Paint It, Black.” Apparently, the title of this song stems from an incident in a milliner’s store in the ultra-Orthodox Golders’ Green neighborhood in London. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were outside the store when they saw a Haredi man storm inside. Apparently, they had given him a white hat, and the title of the song derives from his agitated demand that the proprietor correct this error.
“You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” Normally, this would be sung with a choir of young boys. But in the true spirit of “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” Jagger will be inviting Bibi and Abbas back onto the stage to proclaim that not only can’t you always get what you want, but, Mr. Abbas, exactly what is it that you really want?
“Let’s Spend The Night Together.” A plaintive song, which some may interpret as referring to the custom of studying Torah into the wee hours at Tikkun Leil Shavuot.
“Shattered.” This might be the only rock song to contain a Yiddish word. “All this chitter-chatter, chitter-chatter, chitter-chatter ’bout shmatta, shmatta, shmatta—I can’t give it away on Seventh Avenue.” But “Shattered,” clearly, is about far more than that. It’s about the Tablets of the Law, and the mystic Isaac Luria’s conception of the world emerging out of shattered divine vessels—and about the glass broken at a Jewish wedding.
And their big finale will be:
“It’s All Over Now.” This song could be about any coalition government. Stay tuned.
Jeffrey Salkin is a rabbi, lecturer, and writer. His books on contemporary spirituality have been published by Jewish Lights and the Jewish Publication Society. He serves as the spiritual leader of Temple Beth Am in Bayonne, NJ.