Have You Ever Seen the Apartheid? Scottish football club urges Rod Stewart to cancel Israel gig

Published January 29th, 2017 - 09:00 GMT
Anti-Israel fans of Celtic Football Club started a petition asking Rod Stewart to cancel his June concert in Tel Aviv. (Facebook)
Anti-Israel fans of Celtic Football Club started a petition asking Rod Stewart to cancel his June concert in Tel Aviv. (Facebook)

Fans of Glasgow’s Celtic Football Club have started a petition asking popular British rock singer and songwriter Rod Stewart to cancel his upcoming gig in Israel, the Scottish Daily Record reported Thursday.

The petition currently has 825 signatures and calls on the 72-year-old to boycott Israel in the way many boycotted South Africa during the apartheid years.

Stewart’s show is scheduled for June 14 in Tel Aviv.

“Dear Rod! We are shocked at your recent decision to breach the international cultural boycott of Israel and appeal to you to reconsider your decision,” the petition reads.

“As a life-long Celtic fan you must be well aware of the special affinity our fans have with the Palestinian people and their struggle for freedom,” it adds.

The petition claims that Israel “openly uses culture as a form of propaganda to justify its illegal occupation of Palestine.”

“Just as South African anti-apartheid activists called for an international boycott which led to the downfall of the apartheid regime, Palestinians are asking for a boycott of Israel as part of the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) campaign.

“Thousands of artists across the world now refuse to perform in Israel. We are asking you to add your name to that list. Please cancel your concert!” the fans wrote.

Celtic fans are known for their support of Palestinian Arabs and regularly wave Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) flags at their games.

The Union of European Football (UEFA) recently took disciplinary action against Celtic, after some of its supporters waved PLO flags during their Champions League qualifier against Israel’s Hapoel Be'er Sheva.

The team has been punished eight times in five seasons by the European governing body for supporter misconduct, including one incident in which the team was fined about £16,000 after a PLO flag was displayed at a Champions League qualifier against KR Reykjavik.

Stewart becomes the latest in a series of musicians who have been urged by pro-BDS activists to boycott Israel.

Many musicians in recent years have ignored the calls and went ahead with performances in Israel.

One example of an artist who did not cave to the BDS pressure is popular rhythm and blues artist Alicia Keys, who gave a sold out concert in Tel Aviv in 2013.

The pop duo Pet Shop Boys also rejected calls from pro-Arab activists to cancel a Tel Aviv concert. The concert went ahead as scheduled.

Many of the calls to boycott Israel have come from Roger Waters, the former Pink Floyd star who is notorious for his anti-Israel and anti-Semitic rants and who has repeatedly condemned his colleagues who associate with Israel.

Among others, he has called out Jon Bon Jovi, to whom he penned an open letter condemning his choice of performing in Israel and claiming he "had a chance to stand on the side of justice."

Waters had previously called out Alan Parsonsthe Rolling Stones, as well as Neil Young and actress Scarlett Johansson.

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