French-Jewish stand-up comedian Gad Elmaleh has cancelled his performances in a Lebanon festival, after media in Lebanon reported he had served in the Israel Defense Forces.

The organizing committee of the Beiteddine festival, which is scheduled to take place south-east of Beirut next month, wholly denied the claims.

But in a statement, Elmaleh's agent said he decided to cancel his participation "out of concern for his personal security and that of the festival," after the organizers were swamped with e-mails and phone calls calling for a boycott of his three shows, which are sold out.

?Following the various manifestations of hostility and calls for a boycott against the coming of Gad Elmaleh, it is with regret that we are forced to cancel the participation of the artist at Beiteddine festival in July, whereas they may endanger the safety of the artist and hinder the smooth running of shows,? the agent said.

Al Manar's Web site said that "Elmaleh has long expressed willingness to defend his country Israel whenever needed," and referred to another Web site that allegedly posted pictures of Elmaleh in IDF uniform.

"Gad Elmaleh has never been part of the Israeli army. It is clear that this is not Gad Elmaleh in this picture, anyone who knows a minimum the artist can see without difficulty?, his agent added.