Globe and Mail Article on Jericho Postponement – Must Read

Oct 13, 2007 Published under Media and Alternative Media, OneVoice Movement

Article in Globe and Mail


Threats shut down Bryan Adams peace concert in West Bank


October 13, 2007

JERUSALEM — A breakthrough concert for peace in the West Bank town of Jericho, which was to be headlined by Canadian rock singer Bryan Adams, was cancelled yesterday amid a flurry of political protests and an unspecified threat to attack the music festival.

Concert promoter Daniel Lubetzky said that someone threatened the participants, without giving any further details. "Extremist ideologists have threatened our participants in Jericho, and we felt it is our responsibility not to play with their lives," he said.

The One Voice concert in Jericho on Oct. 18 was to be held simultaneously with another event in Tel Aviv that Mr. Adams was also to headline. The Tel Aviv event will go ahead, and Mr. Adams is still expected to play that show.

The twin concerts were part of a campaign aimed at getting a million Israelis and Palestinians to sign a petition renouncing "violent extremism, occupation, and terror" and calling for a two-state solution to the conflict. So far, 600,000 people, roughly half Israelis and half Palestinians, have signed the online petition.

The Oct. 18 show was to have coincided with pro-peace rallies in Ottawa, London and Washington.

The intentions were good, but this part of the Middle East, where people are obsessed with who did what to whom in the summer of 1967, when Israel won the Six-Day War and began its long occupation of the West Bank, always seemed an awkward fit for Mr. Adams, best known for his hit song about the halcyon Summer of ’69.

Even before the threats were made public, there was a campaign, led by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, to boycott the concert for "normalizing [relations] with Israel at a time that the latter continues its aggressive policies against the Palestinian people."

Other Palestinians questioned who was behind the concerts. The One Voice non-government organization behind the concert lists a variety of Israeli, Palestinian and international backers.

The decision to cancel the concert came shortly after Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, whose presidential guard was to have provided security for the Jericho show, issued a statement saying his office would have nothing to do with the concert and demanding the organizers recall tickets and promotional materials that suggested the president’s office was sponsoring the event. Mr. Abbas has "no relationship whatsoever with the activities planned by One Voice," the statement read.

Mr. Abbas’s office issued no further comment yesterday, but his close aide, Saeb Erekat, himself a co-chair of One Voice, said more preparation would have been needed to hold such a large show in the West Bank town.

Had the concert gone ahead, it would have been the first major show by a Western artist to be held in the Palestinian territories since the outbreak of the last Palestinian intifada, or uprising, in 2000.

The show was also criticized by Israeli hard-liners who oppose the idea of establishing a Palestinian state on land they consider to have been bequeathed to Jews by God. Yuval Steinitz, a parliamentarian from the right-wing Likud party, charged that One Voice had used "bribery" by promising free tickets to see Mr. Adams to those who signed the online petition.

The 47-year-old rocker could not be reached for comment yesterday, but Fathi Darwish, the promoter of the Jericho concert, said the cancellation of that show made the Tel Aviv performance even more important.

"We are facing extremists all the time here, but they cannot stop our struggle," he said, without expanding on who the extremists were. "I think that most Palestinian and Israeli moderates want to send a message, one message from both sides: that we are fed up with the situation, that we want to end the occupation, that we want to end the conflict."

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