Sir Paul’s concert row rocks Liverpool
Sir Paul McCartney's decision to perform at a concert in Tel Aviv later this month as part of Israel's 60th anniversary celebrations, has provoked a furious row in his home town.
Readers of the Liverpool Daily Post have berated the former Beatle for agreeing to give the concert. One letter-writer Anne Candlin said Sir Paul's decision to play in Israel "not only brings shame to himself but to his city" due to Israel's "open and extensive abuse of human rights".
Another, Gwen Backwell, states: "By accepting an invitation to sing in Israel later this month...[Sir Paul] not only jeopardises his reputation in the city of his birth but, much more importantly, he sends a clear signal of legitimacy to the state of Israel."
Despite the publication the following day of letters refuting those views, the paper has been accused of publishing antisemitic letters.
Naomi Kingston, former president of the Merseyside Jewish Representative Council, branded the original letters "outrageous and virulently antisemitic".
"This is appalling," she said. "Those letters are inciting religious tensions in a city where it has never previously existed.
"These letters were unnecessary and have done nothing for the harmony of the city."
A spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in London described the letters as "anti-Israel".
"We accept legitimate criticism but using words like ‘ethnic cleansing' is beyond legitimate criticism. It seems that those who have written the letters do not care about facts or accuracy but just want to bash Israel," he said.
A spokesman for the newspaper said: "The letters were very strongly worded but were not antisemitic. The letters page is a platform for readers to express their views. It does not reflect the opinions of the newspaper."
A spokesperson for Sir Paul said: "Paul's ‘Friendship First' concert is about his music and its inherent message of friendship."