A story about Paul McCartney receiving death threats from BDS activists before his 2008 concert tour in Israel is currently doing the rounds on blogs and social media.
When rock legend Paul McCartney came to Israel in 2008, he was, at least to some extent, taking his life in his hands. Not because of Israel’s sometimes precarious security situation, but because he was threatened by BDS (boycott, divest, and sanction) anti-Israel groups. “I got death threats, but I’m coming anyway,” the singer was quoted as saying by Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs researcher Adam Shay.
“I got explicit death threats, but I have no intention of surrendering. I refuse to cancel my performances in Israel,” Shay quoted McCartney as saying.
The former Beatle is not alone.
Dozens of other artists who schedule dates in Israel are lobbied, bullied, threatened, and even attacked at concerts by anti-Israel groups who are bent on isolating Israel culturally, as well as economically. Many artists, said Shay, claimed that their web sites have been attacked by hackers right before their Israeli concerts.
Alicia Keys, who recently played a concert here last week, supplies the latest example of intimidation faced by artists who play Israel. Several of her fellow singers – notably Elvis Costello and Roger Waters – urged her to cancel, calling Israel an “apartheid state,” and Keys’ Facebook page was littered with condemnations of her on the day of the concert. Costello himself cancelled a concert in Israel in 2010, as did Carlos Santana, after being hectored by anti-Israel groups. Other notables who have cancelled planned concerts in Israel are Jon Bon Jovi, the Yardbirds, Joe Lynn Turner, and the Pixies. Spanish singer Paco Ibanez went one better, telling a French newspaper that he is boycotting the Hebrew language, which he can speak, for political reasons.
The news of death threats against Macca is not new news at all. I posted about it here.
Former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney’s decision to perform in Tel Aviv has made him the target of a terror attack following a threat made against the singer by extremist Islamic leader Omar Bakri.
Bakri’s threat was made in a weekly Internet broadcast from Lebanon, where he has lived in exile since being banned from returning to Britain. The 48-year-old Syrian national questioned the Holocaust’s authenticity, and asked how McCartney could participate in the celebration of the independence of the Jewish state.
“Instead of supporting the people of Palestine in their suffering, McCartney is celebrating the atrocities of the occupiers. The one who is under occupation is supposed to be getting the help,” Bakri said. “Our enemy’s friend is our enemy,” the Muslim leader told the Sunday Express.
“Thus Paul McCartney is the enemy of every Muslim. We have what we call ‘sacrifice’ operatives who will not stand by while he joins in a celebration of their oppression. If he values his life Mr. McCartney must not come to Israel. He will not be safe there. The sacrifice operatives will be waiting for him.”
McCartney, who was apparently shocked by the threat, was determined to perform in Israel and refused to cancel his show. His spokesman responded by saying that McCartney intended to come with a “message of peace”. On Saturday, McCartney said he was approached by several political groups who asked him to cancel the trip, but he declined.
But note that the death threats came from an actual known terrorist, Omar Bakri. And while I am sure he supports boycotting Israel (in addition to killing and maiming Israelis), he can hardly be described as a “BDS group.”
In other words, it would seem that Israel National News is embellishing.
Not only that, but they got something else wrong. The article suggests Bon Jovi never came to Israel due to BDS pressure. But as I posted recently, he has indicated a real desire to perform in Israel, and any claim it was due to BDS is bogus.
Now don’t get me wrong. I have been at the forefront of exposing the BDSholes for what they are. And I have no doubt there are terrorists in their midst. But in the absence of any proof these groups issued death threats against Paul McCartney, it is irresponsible to report as such. It undermines our credibility.
Perhaps there is more information not being reported, and BDS groups did threaten Macca’s life. I just don’t see it in the quoted story. So in the absence of any indication this occurred, do our side a favor and don’t blindly post the claim.