Popstar Jennifer Lopez’s concert in Egypt on Friday night went ahead as planned, despite calls by anti-Israel groups to scrap the show over her recent appearance in Israel. The performance north of Cairo drew some 2,000 people, including Egyptian celebrities, artists and government ministers, according to a CNN Arabic report Saturday.
According to the report, the Egyptian Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr, the Minister of Social Solidarity Ghada Wali, and the Minister of Planning and Administrative Reform Hala Al-Saeed were at the event. Nasr posted a photo to Instagram of herself and the other ministers at the concert on Friday.
Attendance at the concert in the coastal city of El-Alamenin was much lower than the 50,000-60,000 or so in Tel Aviv on August 1. The Egypt show stirred controversy as calls increased by the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement for Lopez to cancel the show after she performed in Tel Aviv’s Park Hayarkon. BDS actively campaigns for a complete boycott of Israel, and does not accept the idea of a Jewish state, even within the framework of a two-state solution.
Lopez’s shows are part of her “It’s My Party” tour, a worldwide celebration marking her 50th birthday. She performed in Russia, Turkey and Spain earlier this week and is headed back to Russia for her next performance in Saint Petersburg.
Ahead of her Egypt concert, Lopez told the press, “It will be a new experience,” adding in Arabic. “I will see you soon.”
In an open letter On Monday to Orsacom Development, the company that organized Lopez’s concert, the Egyptian branch of the BDS movement called for the show to be canceled.
“This concert will take place after her previous concert in occupied Palestine days ago, which she insisted on carrying out despite many calls to boycott Israel and cancel the concert,” the group wrote.
In another post, the group wrote that the company behind the concerts planned to “normalize the Zionist enemy and those involved in supporting its crimes.”
— Cairo Zoom (@cairozoom) August 9, 2019
While in Israel, Lopez visited a number of popular tourist sites, among them the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City.
— ArabWood – عرب وود (@ArabwoodTV) August 9, 2019
The group also called a photo Lopez posted of herself to Instagram “with occupied Palestine behind her” a “provocation.” The photo had the Mediterranean Sea in the background and appeared to have been taken from the balcony of a Tel Aviv hotel.
“She showed clear support for the state of occupation and its racist policies towards Palestinians,” BDS Egypt wrote.
Even though Israel and Egypt have been at peace for four decades and cooperate closely in the region, there is still widespread hostility to Israel among many Egyptians.
Lopez was accompanied in Israel by her fiancé, former baseball star Alex Rodriguez, Rodriguez’s two children from his first marriage, and Lopez’s twins she had with fellow singer Marc Anthony.
Both Lopez and Rodriquez documented the visit on social media, with the latter keeping his followers up to date on the family’s first trip to Israel. He posted a photo of the celebrity power couple at the Mount of Olives with the caption: “Jerusalem, you are unforgettable. What a perfect finale to our first trip to this beautiful land.”
The former baseball star earlier said he was instantly “in love” with Israel.
Jerusalem, you are unforgettable. What a perfect finale to our first trip to this beautiful land. pic.twitter.com/XSqbdv2JIE
— Alex Rodriguez (@AROD) August 2, 2019
“What an amazing time we are having on our first trip to Tel Aviv! The people have been wonderful and have such energy,” he tweeted.
JTA contributed to this report.