Pharrell Williams
Pharrell Williams Thinkstock

Grammy award-winning American musician Pharrell Williams will face down a protest by thousands of anti-Israel activists at a concert in Cape Town on Monday, organizers of the demonstration said.

Members of the Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement that seeks to harm Israel economically are campaigning against the singer's partnership with major South African retail group Woolworths, over its imports from Israel.

The South African branch of the BDS movement vowed to hold "the largest protest any artist would have faced since the end of apartheid" at Pharrell's concert at Cape Town's Grand West Casino.

On Friday a local court shot down an attempt by Cape Town authorities to limit the number of demonstrators to 150, with the protest organizers saying they expect 40,000 people to turn out.

Earlier this year, Pharrell became Woolworths' new style director "in a ground-breaking collaboration across a series of sustainability-focused projects," the upmarket retailer said.

BDS has attacked Woolworths, saying it imports Israeli agricultural produce from Judea and Samaria - regions where Israel's presence is completely legal under international law as determined in the 2012 Levy Report.

Woolworths has responded to the BDS movement, saying less than 0.1% of its food products are sourced from Israel, and the imports comply fully with South African government guidelines, meaning they don't come from Judea and Samaria.

Pharrell's longstanding career got shot to stardom in 2014 with his global hit "Happy," which sparked a wave of cover videos on the Internet.

AFP contributed to this report.