Many popular musicians seeking to perform in Israel have reported harassment and even death threats from supporters of the BDS movement.
The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs has reported that performance artists will often cancel their shows not because they are anti-Israel, but because they seek to stop belligerent attacks from BDS supporters who “carry out coordinated, simultaneous and multi-dimensional attacks on the band, its individual members, its record company, its ongoing activities and scheduled concerts, as well as various fan sites. Such attacks vary from bombarding the band’s website, facebook and twitter pages to the point that the sites often collapse, to direct threats against the artists personally.”
Former Beatles member Paul McCartney experienced both pressure and death threats not to perform in Israel in 2008, “I got death threats, but I am coming any ways. I was approached by different groups and political bodies who asked me not to come to Israel but I refused. I do what I think. Music is a great international voice for getting people together. I will do my best to speak to Palestinians and Israelis and get an idea of what the solution might be and support that. But my little bit is to bring people together through music,” he said.
Angela Gossow, a lead Swedish singer for the band Arch Enemy said her physical safety was also threatened for wanting to perform in Israel. She claimed that BDS supporters wrote that they plan to “come to some of our shows and threatened to attack us, both verbally and physically.” She emphasized, “I am making Amnesty International aware of your criminal methods and your breach of freedoms. It is not yours to tell us what to do and to force your will upon us….You make us fear for our safety. SHAME ON YOU!”
Singer Alicia Keys, who recently gave a concert on July 4th in Tel Aviv, was harassed by members of the BDS Movement to cancel her trip on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouYube. Alice Walker outspokenly called upon Keys to boycott Israel. Despite such intimidation, Alicia Keys refused to cancel her performance in Israel, claiming, “Music is a universal language that is meant to unify audiences in peace and love, and that is the spirit of our show.”
By Rachel Avraham, staff writer for United with Israel