Jason Greenblatt, the US Special Representative for International Negotiations, on Monday praised singer Lionel Richie for refusing to cave in to pressure from the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and cancel a concert in Israel.
“Lionel Richie refused to cancel his concert in Israel or be intimidated by threats. BDS & intimidation only undermine the chances for peace & do absolutely NOTHING to help Palestinians,” tweeted Greenblatt.
Richie last week blocked the radical leftist group Code Pink over its campaign calling on him to cancel his upcoming concert in “apartheid” Israel.
“BREAKING: Simply because we started a campaign urging him to stand up for Palestinian human rights and cancel his upcoming show in Apartheid Israel, Lionel Richie blocked us! #LionelDontGo,” the group had tweeted on July 31.
Code Pink had launched the aggressive campaign calling on the Richie to cancel his Tel Aviv performance with a petition that accused Israel of “oppression and dispossession of the Palestinian people” and “racist demographic engineering,” according to Breitbart.
“If you choose to follow through with your performance in Tel Aviv, it will act as an endorsement of Israel’s brutal systems of military occupation and apartheid,” the group wrote.
Many artists who have scheduled shows in Israel in recent years have been pressured by anti-Israel, pro-BDS activists to boycott the Jewish state and cancel their shows.
While some of the artists have caved in to the pressure and cancelled their shows, others have gone ahead with their performances. Just last week, in fact, pop star and actress Jennifer Lopez performed in Israel for the first time.
Her manager told Israeli television that while Lopez had been pressured to cancel her Tel Aviv concert, she refused to bow to the pressure.
“There was nothing that was going to stop us from being in Israel. It’s really simple: Tel Aviv and Israel deserve Jennifer Lopez, and Jennifer Lopez deserves Israel,” said the manager, Benny Medina.
Other artists to have resisted pressure to cancel shows in Israel include Australian rocker Nick Cave who even criticized the BDS movement.
In addition to Cave, Radiohead played in Tel Aviv in 2017, defying boycott calls. Popular rhythm and blues artist Alicia Keys and pop duo Pet Shop Boys are among the artists who have also performed in Israel in recent years, amid calls to cancel their show.