Tom Jones Urged to Cancel Concert in 'Apartheid' Israel
Welsh singer Tom Jones, who is set to perform in Tel Aviv in October, is facing, as many others have before him, a campaign by anti-Israel activists who are calling on him to cancel the concert.
According to Wales Online, a branch of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, a group which accuses Israel of ethnic cleansing and war crimes, has posted an online petition calling for Jones to cancel his October 26th appearance in Tel Aviv’s Nokia Stadium.
The activists have likened his decision to appear to the scandal which surrounded rock giants like Queen and Elton John when they performed in the racially segregated South Africa during the 1980s.
“To perform in Israel today would be akin to performing in Sun City during the height of apartheid,” a spokesperson for the group told Wales Online.
“Israel is guilty of ongoing ethnic cleansing, land and water theft and stands accused of war crimes,” claimed the spokesperson, adding, “Tom’s show will breach the Palestinian call to boycott Israel until it complies with international law and ends its human rights abuses of the Palestinian people.”
Many fans of the 73-year-old singing legend have already added their support to the 1,000-strong list of signatures calling for him to pull out, according to the report.
Carol Jackson from Crickhowell wrote, “Tom, remember the words of The Green, Green Grass of Home and how it touched the nerve of so many Welsh people – not turning up in Israel will give hope to so many Palestinians who believe that people simply do not care about what is happening to them.”
Las Vegas-based journalist Ellen Sterling, who runs popular U.S. website www.tomjonesintl.com, was quoted by Wales Online as having said, “Music is a universal language and can be a tool for achieving peace, so I hope Tom does not opt to boycott Israel.”
Steve Schnur from the international arts movement Creative Community For Peace added, “Cultural boycotts based on political misinformation and propaganda will not solve the problem, and may even worsen an already unstable situation.”
“Ultimately,” said Schnur, “they’re an affront to both Palestinian and Israeli moderates who are seeking to reach peace through compromise, exchange, and mutual recognition.”
There was no comment from Jones’ management at the time of the article going to press.
In July, Eric Burdon, the former lead singer in the British band The Animals, refused to cave in to threatening e-mails and landed in Israel to perform with popular Israeli rock band Tislam at the Zappa Shuni Amphitheater in Binyamina.
The same month, popular rhythm and blues artist Alicia Keys refused to cave in to pressure by anti-Israel activists and gave a sold out concert in Tel Aviv.
Keys announced that she had decided to go ahead with her concert in Tel Aviv despite calls from a number of anti-Israel activists to boycott the Jewish state.
The pop duo Pet Shop Boys also recently rejected calls from pro-Palestinian Authority activists to cancel a Tel Aviv concert. The concert went ahead as scheduled on June 23.
An anti-Israel group had claimed that the act of performing a concert constitutes tacit support for Israel's "policies of discrimination."
Pet Shop Boys member Neil Tennant, however, said he did not “agree with this comparison of Israel to apartheid-era South Africa.”
"It's a caricature. Israel has [in my opinion] some crude and cruel policies based on defense; it also has universal suffrage and equality of rights for all its citizens, both Jewish and Arab,” said Tennant, who noted, “In apartheid-era South Africa, artists could only play to segregated audiences; in Israel anyone who buys a ticket can attend a concert."