‘Santana canceled concert because of anti-Israel pressure’

Sources in Israeli production team claim guitarist received messages that ‘it’s better’ not to perform in Israel

Raz Shechnik

Guitarist Carlos Santana reportedly received messages that “it’s better” that he not perform in Israel, according to what a senior official in the Israeli music production market involved in producing Santana’s show told Yedioth Ahronoth on Saturday.

Over the weekend, the legendary guitarist’s team announced the cancellation of his show scheduled for early June at Bloomfield Stadium in Jaffa.

Santana was to be brought to Israel by producer, Shuki Weiss. A few thousand tickets had already been sold to the show. Production agents have promised the tickets would be refunded immediately.

In light of the healthy rate of ticket sales, the Israeli production company was considering adding another show, but was surprised to receive news over the weekend from Santana’s team that the show would be delayed to an unknown date. According to the artist’s official site, he will give a concert in Lisbon, Portugal on May 25, a week before the show planned in Israel.

“Our clarifications revealed that he received messages from anti-Israel figures who pressured him to cancel the performance. Of course, no one there claimed that any connection between these pressures and the show’s cancellation, but we are certain there is a very close connection,” said the production figure.

Pressures placed on artists from abroad performing in Israel by anti-Israeli groups and individuals are nothing new. Paul McCartney, for instance, was exposed to similar pressures leading up to his concert in September 2008, as was Leonard Cohen before his show this past summer. Ultimately, however, both of them decided to perform in Israel.

Sources in Israel’s music industry hope that Santana’s cancellation does not create a chain reaction. As published in Yedioth Ahronoth, Elton John, Rod Stewart, Rihanna, and The Pixies are all slated to perform in Israel over the summer.

Producer Shuki Weiss responded: “We have been aware for a few days of the difficulties that arose in everything surrounding the production of Santana’s concert in Israel. We apologize to the thousands of ticket holders and hope that they will continue to attend and enjoy the other cultural shows slated to arrive in Israel throughout 2010.”

Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Santana Management Michael Vrionis said in an official statement: “We are sorry that our schedule has forced the postponement of certain dates previously scheduled.”

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