John pounded on his piano wearing blue-tinted sunglasses. He told the audience those cancellations "ain't gonna stop me from playing here, baby."
Musicians like Costello and the Pixies bowed to online pressure and canceled gigs in Israel. John was targeted as well, but vowed to play on.
"I have always believed that music inhabits a world set apart from politics, religious differences or prejudice of any kind," he said in a statement before coming to Tel Aviv.
John swiped at the artists, saying, "We do not cherry-pick our consciences," before hitting the opening chords of his 1972 hit "Crocodile Rock."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.