Shakira’s decision to postpone her appearance comes amid international backlash following Israel’s mass shooting of unarmed Palestinian protesters in the Gaza Strip, which led to over 100 deaths and 13,000 wounded after the Israeli military used live ammunition in an attempt to quell the demonstrations.
BOGOTÁ, COLOMBIA – Despite earlier reports in the Israeli press that Latina pop sensation Shakira would resist activist pressure from the Boycott, Divest, Sanctions (BDS) movement and perform in Tel Aviv all the same, Spanish language media is widely reporting that the Colombian-born singer has suspended her much-anticipated appearance in Israel. The announcement comes amid continuing international backlash against Israel for its recent massacres of unarmed Palestinian protesters in the Gaza Strip.
Shakira’s Tel Aviv concert, originally scheduled for July 9, has been indefinitely postponed, according to the concert’s organizers, who stated that conversations were underway to decide if and when Shakira’s first-ever concert in Israel would take place.
While Shakira has not explicitly canceled her appearance, BDS activists have stated their support for the gesture and reaffirmed that numerous cultural organizations, fans, and BDS activists continue to urge the singer to permanently cancel the concert. BDS activists had previously asserted that the singer, in her capacity as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, had a moral obligation to boycott Israeli for its occupation of Palestine and apartheid policies.
Shakira – If you perform in Tel Aviv, whether you intend to or not, you endorse continuous violations of Palestinian human rights, a brutal military occupation that imprisons children, and an apartheid state. Please, cancel Tel Aviv.
Posted by Jewish Voice for Peace on Thursday, May 24, 2018
In contrast, the news of the concert’s suspension is likely to come as a shock to Israel, as Shakira – the granddaughter of Lebanese immigrants – had previously visited Israel in 2011 at the invitation of former Israeli President Shimon Peres and had once expressed “great affection” for the country in an interview with the Associated Press.
“I’m very proud of my Lebanese heritage,” Shakira said at the time, “but it has nothing to do with the fact that I respect and have great affection for this country [Israel] and the people of this country, both Israelis and Palestinians, and that’s why I’m here.”
Given her past visit and comments as well as the fact that Israeli media widely asserted that Shakira had “vowed” to resist BDS-backed calls to cancel the show, the recent announcement of the concert’s indefinite postponement will likely be poorly received.
Gaza massacres boost BDS adherence
Shakira’s decision to postpone her appearance comes amid international backlash following Israel’s mass shooting of unarmed Palestinian protesters in the Gaza Strip, which led to over 100 deaths and 13,000 wounded after the Israeli military used live ammunition in an attempt to quell the demonstrations. The massacre did not sit well with many performers, including other Latin American musicians. For instance, just last week, legendary Brazilian musician Gilberto Gil announced the cancellation of his July 4th concert in Tel Aviv due to a “general sentiment of apprehension” after recent events in Gaza.
While Shakira and other Latin American artists have apparently decided to heed — or at least consider — BDS’ calls for a cultural boycott of Israel, not all Latino artists have decided to participate. On Sunday, for instance, Enrique Iglesias performed in Tel Aviv despite BDS’ efforts to convince him to join the boycott. Iglesias’ representative had previously stated that Iglesias “follows politics like anyone else, but that doesn’t mean that he can’t perform in a country because of its policies.”
However, outside of the Latin American music scene, many other performers of note have decided to support the BDS-led cultural boycott of Israel following the Gaza massacres. Indeed, several British music groups — such as Portishead, Wolf Alice and Shame — recently announced that they would be joining the cultural boycott of Israel for as long as the country “commits war crimes against the Palestinian people,” asserting that the boycott was a means to peacefully protest against Israel’s “brutal occupation” of Palestine.
Top Photo | Shakira visits a school in Jerusalem, June 21, 2011. Shakira was attending the Presidential Conference, sponsored by Israeli President Shimon Peres. Tara Todras-Whitehill | AP
Whitney Webb is a staff writer for MintPress News and a contributor to Ben Swann’s Truth in Media. Her work has appeared on Global Research, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has also made radio and TV appearances on RT and Sputnik. She currently lives with her family in southern Chile.