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The Stage is Set

Paul McCartney will be performing in Tel Aviv tonight in front of approximately 50,000 people.

10% of which will be his security personnel.

Sir Paul McCartney is being guarded by 5000 security men and 20 Mossad agents following death threats from Islamic extremists in Israel.

More than s1.5million has been spent to ensure the safety of the former Beatle, who has a gig in Tel Aviv tonight.

Yesterday, Macca cancelled a planned trip to Ramallah because of a security threat.

Intelligence sources say McCartney’s been granted more protection than US President George Bush when he visited.

Officers from MI6 have even been drafted in, as well as Macca’s own security team.

A source said: “The level of security is unlike anything we’ve ever seen.”

Sir Paul’s team have hired out three whole floors of the five-star Dan Hotel in Tel Aviv.

Twenty-one suites have been taken up at a cost of s70,000 to ensure no one gets near the star.

A source said: “Only security and a handful of Macca’s entourage will be anywhere near him.

“Although there is a threat, Sir Paul is determined to give the people of Israel a concert to remember.

“Nothing would have kept him away.”

Macca, 66, and his partner Nancy Shevell landed in Israel in the early hours of yesterday, ahead of his performance in front of 70,000 people at Tel Aviv’s Yarkon Park.

There have already been several specific threats against Macca.

The sad thing is, even 5,000 security personnel can’t protect Macca against his touchy-feely Israeli PR person.

Meanwhile, some in the mainstream media are reporting that Macca faces “extremist threats,” as if the threats in question – a death threat from an Islamic cleric and a threat to disrupt the concert from a group of “right-wing” Jewish activists- are somehow equivalent. They paint both sets of “extremists” as being angry at McCartney’s message of peace and love, even though it is clear the Jewish activists are protesting something else entirely. And they are reporting that the Jewish group has threatened to “cause a riot”, even though it is clear later on in the report that they threatening no such thing.

The world may have changed a lot since the 1965 ban, but McCartney’s “Friendship First” concert is no less controversial, with both Arab and Jewish extremists furious at his belated arrival in the Holy Land with his message of peace and love.

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A radical Islamist cleric has warned McCartney that he will earn the enmity of the Muslim world for playing the gig in Tel Aviv as part of the celebrations to mark Israel’s 60th birthday. And right-wing Jewish activists have threatened to cause a riot to protest against what they perceive as British anti-Semitism.

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There have already been specific threats against McCartney’s concert in Israel. Omar Bakri Mohammed, the radical Muslim preacher based in Lebanon after being banned from Britain, said recently that suicide bombers could attack the gig in protest against the singer’s patronage of Israel. He declared McCartney to be “the enemy of every Muslim”.

“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,” the hardline preacher told the Sunday Express. McCartney was said to be “shocked but not intimidated” by the comments, telling Israeli reporters: “I was approached by different groups and political bodies who asked me not to come here. I refused. I do what I think and I have many friends who support Israel.”

Extreme right-wing Jewish groups said they would try to disrupt the concert in protest over calls in Britain to scrap plans to rent new embassy premises in Tel Aviv from a company controlled by the London-based billionaire Lev Leviev, whom critics accuse of helping to develop Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

Itamar Ben Gvir, a prominent right-wing activist, said that he and his followers would do their best to make McCartney’s visit a failure.

“We are going to disrupt McCartney’s concert on Thursday. We will spread a public appeal calling people to join us,” he said. “We are going to create a balanced formula whereby British people who come here will suffer, just as Israelis suffer in Britain when they are being threatened and condemned by anti-Semitic elements. It cannot be that Mr Lev Leviev will suffer threats to his life in Britain, while Mr McCartney will come here and get the honour of being treated like a star.”

While I don’t agree with the actions of Itamar Ben Gvir and his group, you simply cannot classify their threat as a threat to riot, and you certainly can’t compare it to threatening to kill.

But what’s a little demonization between friends?

In any event, here’s hoping the concert goes well for all of those lucky (or wealthy) enough to be attending.

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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