Israeli Left-wing NGOs Split on Accepting Madonna's Invite to Tel Aviv Show

Madonna donated 580 tickets to her show in Tel Aviv to members of the Israeli and Palestinian peace camps; not all of them accepted her invitation.

Earlier Thursday, Madonna donated 580 tickets to her show in Tel Aviv to members of the Israeli and Palestinian peace camps, who are set to take part in a special tribunal on peace.

The singer met with Israeli and Palestinian peace activists on Wednesday, ahead of her concert in front of an estimated 30,000 fans in Tel Aviv on Thursday.

Madonna, who has termed her show a "peace concert," met with activists including veteran journalist Ron Pundak, and Yariv Openheimer, director of Peace Now, and pledged to talk about peace from the stage at the Ramat Gan Stadium.

Pundak told Haaretz that aside from Jewish peace activists, "there will be many Palestinian and Arab-Israeli activists" at Madonna's show.

However, not all the groups were excited about the prospect of accepting the pop icon's invitation.

Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity decided, almost instantly, to turn down Madonna's invite, with activist Alma Biblash saying that coming to the concert is "making a political statement and that needs to conform with what we want to say."

"There's nothing in this concert but it being a concert for peace. The concept of peace is empty of any meaning, everyone wants peace without understanding the consequences, without seeing the price involved," she added.

Biblash said that "no one is talking about dismantling the privileged regime or of ending the occupation. They talk of peace as a philosophical thing, without connecting to things happening on the ground and that concert is going in that direction."

The Solidarity activist also criticized Madonna, saying that "she comes to Israel now and then, and has never chosen to take a political stand, never saying anything against the occupation, although she did meet politicians and for photo-ops.”

Another organization that refused the singer’s invitation was Anarchists Against the Wall.

The Palestinian-Israeli Peace NGO Forum, who represents dozens of peace organizations, decided to accept Madonna’s proposal. Chairman of the forum Ron Pundak said: “I am glad because Madonna appreciates Israeli and Palestinian peace activists who work together in advancing the peace and highlights this important issue in times of diplomatic stagnation.”

Madonna performing at the MDNA premier concert in Tel Aviv, May 31, 2012.
Alon Ron.