BEIRUT Ã¢â‚¬â€ Lebanese activists called Tuesday for a boycott of British rock band Placebo on the eve of its Lebanon gig for performing in Israel in the wake of the deadly raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla.
“You are not welcome in Lebanon,” Lebanese writer and editor Samah Idriss said at a news conference jointly held by five non-governmental organisations on the eve of the concert in Beirut.
“The band must choose either to play in Lebanon or to play in a state that continuously violates rights,” Idriss said on behalf of the groups, which include the Campaign to Boycott Israeli Supporters in Lebanon and the Campaign for the Lebanese Boycott of Zionism.
Placebo has already arrived in Lebanon for their June 9 concert, days after a gig in neighbouring Israel where lead singer Brian Molko announced his “endorsement” of Israel in an interview.
The interviewer then asked if it was important to have israel’s endorsement these days, to which Molko quipped: “Yeah, if you want to go sailing.”
Molko’s comment showed Placebo “ignored the massacre last week against the Freedom Flotilla and went even further, announcing their support for Israel,” Rana al-Masri, one of the activists spearheading the boycott campaign, told AFP.
Israeli naval commandos last week stormed a Turkish-led aid flotilla headed for Gaza in defiance of an Israeli sea blockade, killing nine activists on board.
Idriss said activists from the five groups would not resort to violence but demanded Molko apologise and urged concert-goers in Lebanon to boycott the gig.
The call comes just days after US alternative rock group The Pixies cancelled their first-ever gig in Israel and two British bands pulled out of the same five-day music festival in Tel Aviv in a move believed to be linked to the aid flotilla storming.
Idriss said the Lebanese activists were also demanding concert organiser and radio mogul Jihad al-Murr cancel the Placebo gig and reimburse all those with tickets.
But Murr pointed out that most bands performing in Lebanon, which remains technically in a state of war with its southern neighbour, had also performed in Israel.
“Placebo has entered Lebanese territory legally and with the knowledge and consent of General Security,” Murr told AFP.
“This is music, a concert, and has nothing to do with politics,” he added. “Shall we boycott every minister, official or artist that has ever visited Israel? That’s ridiculous.”