An Israeli singer-songwriter canceled her show in Haifa Thursday after she was harshly criticized and threatened by right-wing Israelis who accused her of showing solidarity with the mothers of dead terrorists.
Rona Kenan announced that her acoustic show in Haifa’s Turkish Market, which was scheduled to begin at 9 p.m., would not take place due to what she described as incitement against her.
Kenan said she had been “subjected to severe verbal attacks and threats over a false report” that during a conference with Palestinian women, she had observed a moment of silence in solidarity with Palestinian “martyrs.”
The report, which first appeared in the right-wing Makor Rishon newspaper in 2012, was staunchly denied by Kenan, who said she had only attended the conference to further understanding between Jewish and Palestinian women and to show support for grassroots initiatives encouraging dialogue between the two sides.
She said that while she had sung two songs at the conference, she had not observed a moment of silence. But this week, right-wing extremists raised the accusations again in comments on Kenan’s Facebook page after she expressed sympathy for the children of Gaza and called for an end to war between Israel and Hamas.
The onslaught began after Kenan posted a message on July 11, three days into the Gaza war, reproaching Israeli society and the Israeli press over their reaction to the offensive in Gaza, which she described as “one of the saddest places in the world.”
Kenan expressed sympathy for the children of both Sderot and Gaza, saying it “fills her with despair” to think that they “wet their beds at night out of fear and will grow up to see each other not as human beings, but as children of the devil.”
Kenan said she was “left speechless” by the knowledge that “any objections to the war, which Israel named Operation Protective Edge, was perceived in Israeli society as treason, as a lack of solidarity.” She ended her post with a prayer for quiet both in Israel and the Gaza Strip.
While many fans echoed Kenan’s sentiments, others criticized her for overlooking the threat posed by Hamas and Iranian-funded terror groups, as well as the suffering of residents of southern Israel and the risks IDF soldiers were taking to ensure Israel’s security. Some urged her to blame Hamas, not Israel, for the plight of the children of Gaza. Yet others said the children were themselves future terrorists, with one poster saying she had thought Kenan was “smarter than that” and another calling her “hypocritical, self-righteous filth.”
One poster wrote, “I’ve never responded to people like you, but to observe a moment of silence for martyrs with whom we are engaged in combat on a daily basis? For shame, and we even provide her livelihood. With people like you among us, we don’t need enemies.”
After the Haifa show was canceled, one Facebook user suggested, “Why don’t you volunteer to sing in Gaza? I think you will find a stage to sing on there without being subjected to criticism. You’re so stupid to voice criticism in wartime.”
The Thursday evening show will still take place, but will be headlined by singer-songwriter Shai Gabso rather than Kenan.
Kenan, the daughter of Lehi underground member, sculptor and journalist Amos Kenan and author and literary scholar Nurith Gertz, has released four albums so far, to critical acclaim.