The following article was carried in Al-Akhbar English:
Belgian singer Lara Fabian announced via Facebook on Thursday that she has cancelled her February concert in Lebanon after boycott activists campaigned against her visit.
Fabian wrote in a “Love Letter” to her “Lebanese friends” that she “won”t sing under threats” nor “deal with hatred.”
The self-confessed pro-Zionist Belgian artist said she “believe(s) in tolerance, generosity and truth” and said there are people in Lebanon were “living with hatred because they weren”t loved enough.”
Al-Akhbar ran a story earlier in the week highlighting a campaign in Lebanon to stop Fabian from performing at the Casino du Liban, citing her pro-Israel activities.
Fabian performed at a concert in France in 2008 to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the state of Israel’s establishment in 1948, reportedly saying at the end of a song that she loved Israel.
She has also performed in Israel on a number of occasions and attended pro-Zionist meetings.
Asad Ghsoub, from the Campaign to Boycott Supporters of Israel in Lebanon (CBSI), hailed her cancellation as a victory for those raising awareness on Israel’s crimes.
“We’re very happy and satisfied. We worked hard for two weeks on this,” he said.
“It shows how a bunch of less than two dozen [people] committed to a cause can do something.”
Ghsoub rejected Fabian’s claims that she was threatened, highlighting the non-violent approach of the boycott campaings.
“We did not threaten her in anyway. We love justice, we love peace, we love human rights. But we’re not going to love our enemy that’s killing us everyday,” he said.
The activist criticized Fabian’s Facebook message as “emotional blackmail,” and pointed at her insistence on love as a reason for cancelling, questioning if she felt the same towards Palestinian and Lebanese victims of Israeli aggression.
“How can she say she loves everybody when she supports Israel? Did she love the 1,200 people killed [by Israel] in July 2006 (Israel’s war on Lebanon)?” Ghsoub said.
Ghsoub stressed that the campaign was not directed at Fabian personally, but was focused on increasing pressure on artists to take a stand on Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians and Lebanon.
“It’s not personal. If she changes her views (on Israel) we will open the red carpet for her.”
The CBSI campaigner said artists should heed the message that they can no longer treat Israel as a normal state and expect a warm welcome in Lebanon.
“They (artists) cannot visit Israel as if Israel is a peaceful, normal state. Israel is involved in crimes, they cannot go there and entertain them and whitewash their crimes,” he said.
“Artists cannot expect that they can go and sing for our oppressors and killers and then be welcomed here.”
Ghsoub welcomed the growing international boycott divestment and sanctions campaign (BDS), which aims to isolate Israel while advocating for Palestinian rights through non-violent means.
“This notion of art and ethics, they did it in South Africa, why can’t we do it here? We’re not inventing the wheel here.”
Lebanon is currently in a state of war with Israel, with Israeli warplanes violating Lebanese airspace on a daily basis.
Israel sprayed millions of undetonated cluster bomblets in south Lebanon in the final days of the 2006 war, which continue to cause civilian deaths and injuries to this day.
The Jewish state also maintains a military occupation of the West Bank, and a siege on Gaza.