Appearing on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1956, the cameras wouldn't show Elvis Presley from the waist down. His swaying hips were a little much for the sensitivities of the era. Eleven years later, the Rolling Stones had to tone down "Let's Spend the Night Together," making it "Let's Spend Some Time Together."
Such hypersensitivity toward musicians is alive and well in the West Bank, where Maizie Williams and her 1970s group Boney M recently performed. Palestinian organizers asked Williams not to sing one of her hits, "Rivers of Babylon." Why?
It is based on Psalm 137, which is part of Jewish services on holidays including Rosh Hashanah and references Jewish roots in the Holy Land:
"By the rivers of Babylon
Where he sat down
And there he wept when he remembered Zion."
Williams complied, but didn't understand the logic.
"I don't know if it is a political thing or what, but they asked us not to do it and we were a bit disappointed that we could not do it because we know that everybody loves this song no matter what," she said.
At least there was a music festival in the West Bank. There's little chance the Hamas theocrats in Gaza would consider such a decadent event. There, authorities are cracking down on smoking water pipes in public. Like many Hamas policies, it only applies to women. Men are free to smoke where they want.
One young Palestinian woman expressed her frustration over the law:
"I think it's a silly decision. It's a ridiculous, seriously. This is personal freedom...Why is it that a man is allowed to smoke shisha while it's not allowed for a woman?"