concert Israel news photo: Flash 90

The Simon Wiesenthal Center issued a statement applauding the decision by R&B singer Alicia Keys to go ahead with her July 4th concert in Tel Aviv despite calls from a number of anti-Israel activists to boycott the Jewish state.

“I look forward to my first visit to Israel. Music is a universal language that is meant to unify audiences in peace and love, and that is the spirit of our show,” Keys said in a statement Friday to the New York Times.

Pulitzer Prize-winning author and activist, Alice Walker, and Pink Floyd member, Roger Waters, had beseeched Keys to boycott the Jewish state.

Waker had wrote an open letter to Keys stating, “It would grieve me to know you are putting yourself in danger (soul danger) by performing in an apartheid country ... ."

Waters also asked the singer not to perform, as her appearance would, “... give legitimacy to the Israeli government policies of illegal, apartheid, occupation of the homelands of the indigenous people of Palestine.”

In its statement, founder and dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Rabbi Marvin Hier stated, "When Ms. Keyes sings in Israel on July 4th, she will be singing in the only free country in the entire Middle East, where women enjoy equal rights with men and Israeli Arabs have more rights than any of their brothers and sisters in the Arab world.”

"Equating Israel with apartheid South Africa is a sinister distortion of the truth,” Rabbi Hier said, adding, “Just look at what is happening in Iran, Syria, Lebanon and Egypt."

“Israel has said countless times that it is willing to sit down with the Palestinians without pre-conditions. But Israel cannot be expected to make peace with Hamas, a terrorist organization committed to Israel's destruction, just as African-Americans cannot make peace with the KKK," Hier concluded.

Last year Walker refused to authorize a new Hebrew translation of her acclaimed novel, “The Color Purple.”