Pet Shop Boys Singer Defends Tel Aviv Concert Amid Calls to Boycott Israel

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Pet Shop Boys singer Neil Tennant defended his band’s decision to play in Israel amid pressure to cancel the June 23 concert.

A statement by Tennant was posted on the British duo’s official website Sunday following the release of a poster urging them to boycott Israel by canceling their Tel Aviv show.

The poster, created by the Britain-based pro-Palestinian group Innovative Minds, was headlined with "Open your eyes to the reality of apartheid Israel" and showed a photo of the duo wearing sunglasses stamped with the captions “1 child killed every three days” and “2 kids caged every day.”

The group also urged fans to picket the Pet Shop Boys' appearance on Wednesday at a screening of Battleship Potemkin, the classic film for which the Pet Shop Boys recorded a new musical score, on the Southbank of London.

Tennant wrote, “I don’t agree with this comparison of Israel to apartheid-era South Africa. It’s a caricature. Israel has (in my opinion) some crude and cruel policies based on defense; it also has universal suffrage and equality of rights for all its citizens both Jewish and Arab. In apartheid-era South Africa, artists could only play to segregated audiences; in Israel anyone who buys a ticket can attend a concert."

The Pet Shop Boys will perform at Nokia Stadium in Tel Aviv. They performed in Israel in 2009 and 1999.

The Pet Shop Boys performing in Tel Aviv, July 2009. Credit: Alon Ron

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