Did Pop Star Paradis Cancel Israel Concert Over Politics?

French singer Vanessa Paradis claims her visit to Israel with partner Johnny Depp was cancelled for professional reasons, but insiders say anti-Israel boycott campaign played a role.

French pop star Vanessa Paradis has cancelled her upcoming concert in Israel only a month before she was supposed to arrive in the country with her partner, Hollywood actor Johnny Depp, leaving fans and pundits speculating as to the reasons for the cancellation.

Paradis' agent David Stern announced the change of plans in the French media, claiming that the cancellation was due to professional reasons, but insiders who organized the concert claim that the singer acceded to calls to cancel the show made by Palestinian solidarity groups.

Depp Paradis AP LA 2005

According to the same sources, it was apparently the planned visit of Paradis' partner  Johnny Depp that drew the attention of the groups that advocate boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel because of its treatment of the Palestinians.

Depp, who had intended to accompany Paradis along with their two young children, had excitedly informed various media outlets of the planned trip to Israel during interviews he gave to promote his new film "The Tourist." It is thought that these interviews alerted BDS organizers to Paradis' intentions to perform in Israel.

Although Paradis' agent David Stern maintains that the concert was cancelled strictly for professional reasons, there have been reports that in the last few weeks, BDS organizers have asked Paradis to cancel the show, sending her letters and waiting outside her performances, threatening to boycott her too.

After successful ticket sales for the Paradis show, concert promoters announced with regret that they will refund the money of ticket purchasers.

The concert was initially supposed to be held on February 10 in Tel Aviv. Other celebrities that had intended to accompany that singer were French actress Isabelle Adjani and German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld.

One group that will be arriving in Israel despite the efforts of boycott campaigners who protested at their concerts throughout the United Kingdom is the British post-punk group The Fall, scheduled to perform at the Barby club in Tel Aviv on Thursday.