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Morrissey: The Boy with the Thorn in His Side

The former Smiths star wraps himself in the degel in Tel Aviv

Adam Chandler
July 23, 2012
(Morrissey with Israeli fans, 2008)
(Morrissey with Israeli fans, 2008)

There may be no country today that’s on the receiving end of more curious or hypocritical cultural boycotts than Israel. The Pixies, Roger Waters, Cat Power, Brian Eno, and countless others have scheduled concerts only to pull out for often flimsy reasons. Other times during interviews, a group will issue a hyper-pious statement decrying Israeli policies and promise to never perform there, making crestfallen an Israeli public left to see their 30th or 40th Shlomo Artzi show.

Enter the always controversial, meat-is-murder/Paul-McCartney-is-a-sissy-for-being-knighted-by-the-parasitic-royals Morrissey, former leader singer of The Smiths, perhaps the only force that both kept rock music alive and sad kids secretly less sad during the 1980s. Saturday night in Tel Aviv, Morrissey gave a concert before which he was given the keys to the city by Mayor Ron Huldai. After showing them off on stage, he followed that up by dancing around, wrapped in an Israeli flag. As for the boycotts, in an interview earlier in the week, Morrissey told the website this:

“There is no point punishing a nation for something that the leader of the country does or says. Look at Syria.”

From the looks of various jerky videoes from the Tel Aviv show, he made everyone very happy. In lieu of that, here’s a favorite of mine of his solo work, appropriately-titled for boycotts “The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get:”

Adam Chandler was previously a staff writer at Tablet. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, Slate, Esquire, New York, and elsewhere. He tweets @allmychandler.