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Billy Joel wears Star of David badges, mocks fired Trump advisors at Madison Square Garden

Billy Joel wears a jacket with a Star of David badge on the front — there was an identical badge on the back — at Madison Square Garden on Monday. (Myrna M. Suarez / Getty Images)
Billy Joel wears a jacket with a Star of David badge on the front — there was an identical badge on the back — at Madison Square Garden on Monday. (Myrna M. Suarez / Getty Images)

Billy Joel, who only months ago said he chooses to keep his politics private, wore Star of David badges prominently on the front and back of his jacket Monday night during the encore of a show at Madison Square Garden.

When asked about the badges, Joel's rep gave the Associated Press a famous quote from Irish statesman Edmund Burke: "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

Joel just months ago told Rolling Stone, "I try to stay out of politics. I am a private citizen and I have a right to believe in my own political point of view, but I try not to get up on a soapbox and tell people how to think. I've been to shows where people start haranguing the audience about what's going on politically and I'm thinking, 'You know, this isn't why I came here.'" 

The gesture by Joel — who has Jewish parents, went to church growing up and has said he doesn't believe in heaven or hell — comes after the demonstrations and fatal violence recently at a far-right rally in Charlottesville, Va. 

Nazis required Jews to wear Star of David badges in many European countries before and during World War II, when 6 million were killed in concentration camps. Joel's badges did not include anything written in the center, as many did during WWII. 

Joel spoke to the Los Angeles Times in May about President Trump, making a crude gesture in the process. “He thinks I’m his friend," the performer said. "I went to his wedding. I don’t know why I went. I’m told I sang — probably made an ass of myself." 

The show Monday night was part of a monthly residency he has at New York's Madison Square Garden. 

The badges weren't the only political commentary, either. 

While performing Scandal's "Goodbye to You" with Patty Smyth, the 68-year-old piano man had images of ousted Trump officials projected behind him, including former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, former communications director Anthony Scaramucci, former FBI Director James Comey, former national security advisor Michael Flynn, former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara and former acting U.S. Atty. Gen. Sally Yates.

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FOR THE RECORD

4:20 p.m.: An earlier version of this article said Charlottesville is in North Carolina. It is in Virginia.

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