Over 1,000 fans will hear 23 international artists from abroad who defied BDS pressure and are performing at one of Israel’s largest metal music events ever.

The Titans of Metal Festival, taking place at the Theater Club in Jaffa Thursday evening, has been targeted by the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement over the past few months. In an ongoing online campaign, BDS activists urged the international musicians not to play in Israel.

“We are people from all around the world, asking participants of the Titans of Metal Festival to reconsider their concert in apartheid Israel, until Israel complies with international law and respects the rights of the indigenous Palestinian people,” read the BDS petition, which garnered some 8,000 signatures.

Some musicians said that the BDS pressure included threats to their lives. Five artists canceled their participation at one point, but all of them returned to the roster after the Israeli producers assured them of their safety during the visit. Some artists voiced their opposition to BDS and their support of Israel.

“No boycott is stopping me, I will be there and my fellow musicians will be there,” said Tim “Ripper” Owens, the former lead singer of Judas Priest and Iced Earth, in a statement. “I don’t support the BDS boycott. It’s not about politics or territory, it’s about Arabs hating Jews for religious reasons. Music is for the fans and for the people.”

“It’s going to be an unbelievable concert,” said guitarist Ross “the Boss” Friedman, founder of the bands Manowar and The Dictators.

The artists will play classic songs by their current and former bands, including, for example, The Scorpions, Black Sabbath and Judas Priest.

‘We Love Israel’

“We are hearing from this anti-Israeli group BDS to not perform in Israel, that we all should boycott Israel. There is no one who is going to tell us not to come. We love Israel, Israel is the best country in the Middle East, it’s a democracy. I’m 100% with Israel,” said Friedman.

The 23 performing artists include The Scorpions’ former lead guitarist, Uli Jon Roth; drummer Vinny Appice of Black Sabbath; and Dio, lead singer of Testament Chuck Billy, among others.

By: Michael Bachner, Tazpit News Agency