Sometimes it's hard to be a music fan. I was always a big fan of Genesis until I, like lots of others it seems, heard the stories about Phil Collins being a rapid Jew hater and anti-Zionist. For a while I stopped listening to my Genesis records but fortunately cooler heads have detailed how this story was always just an urban myth.
Unfortunately the same can't be said of the former bassist and songwriter of my favourite band, Pink Floyd. Unlike Collins, Roger Waters is more than happy to go on record as anti-Zionist in a very virulent way. Whether it's attacking Israel's right to defend itself from terrorists or portraying Israel in vile war-mongering ways during concerts, Waters has made no secret of his hatred of Israel. I don't doubt that if he were confronted he'd insist that he's not a Jew hater. In fact, some of his best friends are probably Jews (who also hate Israel, 'natch).
Fortunately there is one band whose leader I can still appreciate, even if I've never owned any of their albums or heard more than a few of their songs. Gene Simmons, the demon guitarist of Kiss and Israeli by birth, has stood up to the recent spate of idiot celebrities who have, in their deluded piety, announced that they will boycott Israel on upcoming tours. Unlike them, Simmons has taken a recent opportunity to come home and show his love for the country he left as a child:
Simmons, wearing dark sunglasses and black pants, shirt and blazer, laced the interview with Hebrew phrases. "Where were you born?" he asked in somewhat halting but serviceable Hebrew.
He made local headlines during Israel's 2006 war against Hebzollah by sending a televised message to a wounded Israeli soldier, calling him a "hero."
Simmons co-founded Kiss in the 1970s and became famous for wearing white and black face makeup, spitting fire and coughing up fake blood at sold-out performances. The group has sold some 100 million records, and four decades later, it remains one of the best-selling concert draws.
Simmons also presides over a business empire that includes his reality show, TV, game show and movie appearances, video games, books, comics and a Kiss credit card. His net worth is estimated to be in the tens, perhaps hundreds, of millions of dollars.
Simmons insisted that his busy schedule has been the only reason he never made it back to Israel before.
"America allowed me to climb the highest levels of success, and I never wanted to stop. When you reach the top, you can rest," he said.
"I've reached the top."
I'm not a big fan but it must be recognized that Kiss, through its music but even more importantly its marketing has cemented itself as one of the top rock music acts of all time. Almost every music artist that is considering boycotting Israel is second rate when compared to Simmons and his friends. His support is a welcome breath of air in the poisonous gas that the Western gliterati is tryin to spew on Israel these days.