Lebanese band pulls out of Chili Peppers gig before they head to Israel

By Jennifer Lipman, September 6, 2012

The Lebanese support act to US rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers has pulled out of their scheduled concert together

The Chili Peppers are set to play in Beirut on Thursday night before heading to Tel Aviv for a concert on Monday night.

But in what has been interpreted by many on the blogosphere and on social media forums as showing support for a cultural boycott of Israel, Lebanese band Mashrou' Leila made an 11th hour decision to pull out of the Beirut gig.

The band wrote on their Facebook page: "We will not be opening for the Red Hot Chili Peppers".

Their cancellation is being taken as a victory by anti-Israel campaigners, who have been urging the band not to play in Tel Aviv because of the political situation.

Soon after the date, at Yarkon Park, was announced, the group Boycott From Within launched a campaign calling on the Chili Peppers not to support the Israeli government's "agenda of whitewashing its war crimes".

But the band, whose original guitarist Hillel Slovak was born in Haifa, has refused to bow to the pressure and instead will sing in the city, arriving a decade after they cancelled a show at the last minute following two suicide bombings in the space of one week. The attacks left 35 people dead

Also this week, the US actress Shannan Doherty, star of 1990s series Beverley Hi lls 90210, drew criticism from activists after tweeting enthusiastically about her visit to Israel.

"Lol ok political activist," she wrote in response. "Try not judging and reali s ing that other cultures and the study of them, provides insight."

Last updated: 4:17pm, September 6 2012