Lebanese concert promoter: musical boycotts 'ridiculous'

By Jennifer Lipman, June 9, 2010
Placebo played at the Pic.Nic festival in Tel Aviv

Placebo played at the Pic.Nic festival in Tel Aviv

A Lebanese concert organiser has called boycotts against musicians that have performed in Israel “ridiculous”.

Entertainment tycoon Jihad al-Murr spoke in the wake of demands by Lebanese protesters that the British rock band Placebo should pull out of an upcoming Beirut concert after also playing in Tel Aviv.

Campaigners had said the group was unwelcome in Lebanon after launching Israel Pic.Nic festival, but Mr al-Murr said it would be foolish to “boycott every minister, official or artist that has ever visited Israel”.

He said: "This is music, a concert, and has nothing to do with politics.

"Placebo has entered Lebanese territory legally and with the knowledge and consent of General Security.”

In Israel Placebo frontman Brian Molko had been asked whether it was important to endorse Israel in the aftermath of the clash between the navy and pro-Palestinian activists on a Gaza-bound flotilla.

“I suppose so," he said, adding: "You know, if you decide to go sailing."

The remarks caused outrage amongst anti-Zionist activists, who said musicians must choose either to play in Lebanon or Israel and called for the performance to be cancelled.

Most recently Elvis Costello and American rock band Pixies both pulled out of concerts in Israel, with Mr Costello blaming his decision on political factors.

Last updated: 10:39am, June 9 2010