Ronn TorossianThe author is CEO of 5WPR, 1 of the 25 largest PR Agencies in the US.
There are many issues which divide Israelis from the Diaspora, Ashkenazis from Sephardim, men from women – but decency should not be one of them.
I write this after a disagreement with a friend, an Israeli living in New York, who was upset that I would not attend Israeli singer Eyal Golan's concert in New York with him several days ago.
I have been a fan of the famed musician for the last 15 years - seen countless concerts, have all his tapes - yet, since the scandal broke which alleged the man had sex with underage girls, I have refused to listen to his music.
I am aware that he was not charged criminally - but he also is not completely innocent.
While his shows in Israel have been cancelled, his songs are largely no longer played on the radio in Israel, for the first time ever, this year Golan had more than one concert in New York, Miami and LA. Wonder why? He knows that in Israel he cannot achieve the level of success he previously had.
Golan's father and members of his staff committed statutory rape, supplied Israeli girls with drugs, and they have been criminally charged. Golan admits to being present on more than one occasion – and didn’t ask the age of the girls, hence he “didn’t know how old they are.”
Who knows what else happened - clearly nothing good or honorable. At the very least, he should have spoken up about the underage girls in his environs.
As a father, as a decent human being, I hope, as one who is nearly the same age as Golan, I have no doubt that a 40-something year old man with a 20- year old (or thereabouts) girl should know there is something questionable about the situation.
Michael Jackson was found innocent in a court of law - but would any sane parent have left their child alone with him? While we may never know the complete truth, there are two courts, the court of law and the court of public opinion. While Golan may have not been charged in the court of law, he is not innocent in the court of public opinion.
I wouldn’t know what to tell my youngsters if I were to attend an Eyal Golan concert...
At the very least Golan said nothing while his father and others took advantage of vulnerable young women. None of this means that people should support him.
The chairwoman of The Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel recently called upon artists not to attend the Eilat Women’s Festival, where Golan is slated to perform.
Throughout Israel, this remains a major issue -- and people attending Golan concerts anywhere in the world should be aware of this ongoing controversy.
As a parent who makes a living as a marketer, I am cognizant of the dictum made famous by NBA legend Charles Barkley who said in his famous Nike commercials: “I am not a role model. I am not paid to be a role model. Parents should be role models. Just because I can dunk a basketball doesn’t mean I should raise your kids.”
The man's music is great - but decent people of all backgrounds should know that they should not reward this kind of behavior. I wouldn’t know what to tell my youngsters if I were to attend an Eyal Golan concert - and they and I stayed at home the night of his concert. And that is just fine, because values are more important than music.
Golan recently said "I made a mistake" in referring to certain details of the incident(s). I will not make a mistake and give a penny to Eyal Golan.
The lyrics of Eyal Golan’s most famous song "Mi Shemaamin” are “He who believes is not afraid. There is one mighty God – He gives us everything in this world. Between darkness to a sun beam – We only need to choose the path.” On this issue, I agree that there are two paths -- and Eyal Golan, it seems, chose the path of darkness.