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John rocks Israel after other artists cancel

June 18, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
A concert by Elton John has given Israelis a boost after a string of cancellations by other world-famous artists.The legendary British rocker performed late Thursday in front of a screaming crowd of nearly 50,000 fans at a Tel Aviv stadium.

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.