Daily Israel Report

Boycott Campaigners Resort to Death Threats

Activists pressing to boycott all things Israeli in Ramallah threatened to kill a popular Israeli-Arab singer on New Year's Eve
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 1/3/2012, 9:17 PM

A popular Israeli-Arab singer cancelled a show on New Year's Eve in Ramallah because of threats on his life from PA Arabs, AP reports.

Sharif – who uses only one name on stage – was set to perform before thousands of fans at a New Year's Eve concert in Ramallah when he was told the event had been cancelled due to threats on his life.

Those who threatened to kill Sharif campaigned against his concert because he has performed for the IDF in the past.

"I'm an artist and I want to sing before all audiences," said Sharif, a member of Israel's Arab Druze minority, told the AP. "I'm a man of peace, not politics. I just want to bring my music to my fans."

"I'm surprised that this was done against me — I belong to both sides," said Sharif, 32, who performed in PA enclaves early last year. "I've got to get back there and I hope it happens soon."

PA security officials said their primary concern was the threat of violence.

"When we see people bracing to bar a controversial party like this, we interfere to prevent any tension or violence," a PA security official told reporters.

The threats against Sharif's life were the latest and most grotesque pressure tactic employed by pro-PA groups pushing for a boycott of anything and everything Israeli.

In recent years, the PA has ballyhooed several small victories, but overall they have proven ineffective while Israel's economy has boomed. In 2011 the population of the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria jumped by an astounding 10%.

Pro-Israel activists have also launched occasional counter-divestment "buycotts," which have increased sales for Israeli businesses in areas targeted for divestment campaigns.