Fair play, Paul McCartney who was asked to boycott Israel and refused to comply:
“I was approached by different groups and political bodies who asked me not to come here. I refused. I do what I think, and I have many friends who support Israel,” the legendary singer told the Israeli daily Yediot Aharonoth, in comments translated into Hebrew.
Musicians and academics frequently come under pressure to boycott Israel for its continued occupation of the Palestinian territories, and in recent months for its economic blockade on Hamas-controlled Gaza.
In the UK, such prominent cultural figures as author Arundhati Roy and musician Brian Eno have endorsed such sanctions, while proposals for an academic boycott of Israeli universities has drawn enormous debate among the UK’s University and College Union.
However, musicians including American soul artist Macy Gray, hip-hop group The Black-Eyed Peas and Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters have all performed on Israeli stages in recent months.
Roger Waters is an interesting case. Waters also came under pressure and and changed venue:
In an open letter to Waters after the concert was first announced, the Palestinian artists urged him to stay away “at a time when Israel continues unabated with its colonial and apartheid designs to further dispossess, oppress and ultimately ethnically cleanse Palestinians from their homeland”.
He moved his concert to a small village called Neve Shalom/Wāħat as-Salām, which is a mixed Arab and Jewish co-operative. So much for ethnic cleansing and apartheid eh? He scrawled some graffiti, rather fittingly, on the Israeli security wall, which is fair enough in my book. His actions might upset some, but his approach was far more constructive and even-handed than the pro-boycotting movement who targeted him, despite his stereotypical celebrity politics which are entirely predictable to anyone with a passing knowledge of his lyrics.
Perhaps those in the UCU who wish to boycott Israel might like to think of positive mechanisms to influence peace in the Palestinian Territories and Israel, rather than continuing their demonisation of Israel?
McCartney’s stance has now led to death threats from the usual suspects.
Bakri, who made his weekly internet broadcast to fellow extremists from his home in Lebanon, where he has lived in exile since being banned from returning to Britain, said Sir Paul was “making more enemies than friends”.
Syrian-born Bakri, 48, went on: “I heard today that the pop star Paul McCartney is playing as a part of the celebrations.
“If you speak about the holocaust and its authenticity never being proved historically in the way the Jewish community portray it, people will arrest you. People will you say you should not speak like this. Yet they go and celebrate the anniversary of 60 years of what?
“Instead of supporting the people of Palestine in their suffering, McCartney is celebrating the atrocities of the occupiers. The one who is under occupation is supposed to be getting the help.
“And so I believe for Paul McCartney, what he is doing really is creating more enemies than friends.”
Explaining his comments, Bakri told the Sunday Express: “Our enemy’s friend is our enemy.
“Thus Paul McCartney is the enemy of every Muslim. We have what we call ‘sacrifice’ operatives who will not stand by while he joins in a celebration of their oppression.
“If he values his life Mr McCartney must not come to Israel. He will not be safe there. The sacrifice operatives will be waiting for him.”
All the world needs is love eh?