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Singers back out of Jerusalem concert series organized by right-wing group

Arkadi Duchin and Danny Robas say they canceled following left-wing pressure in attempt to avoid political controversy

Israeli singer Arkadi Duchin performs at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv on July 20, 2016. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
Israeli singer Arkadi Duchin performs at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv on July 20, 2016. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Two well-known Israeli singers have cancelled their participation in a series of concerts in Jerusalem organized by a right-wing organization.

Veteran singer-songwriter Arkadi Duchin on Wednesday said he was scrapping his performance at Ben Hinom Valley set for the weekend, after a left-wing NGO, Free Jerusalem, pressured him to back out because of the involvement of the Elad Foundation, which runs the City of David archaeological site in East Jerusalem.

Elad works to increase Jewish presence in East Jerusalem and attempts to purchase property for settlers in Palestinian-majority areas.

Duchin’s spokesperson said in a statement that the 56-year-old singer prefers to avoid taking part in events that are politically contentious.

On Thursday, pop-rock singer Danny Robas likewise nixed his show planned for next Wednesday at the same venue.

A portrait of Israeli musician Danny Robas, March 9, 2014. (Moshe Shai/FLASH90)

“I’m not a politician,” the 61-year-old Robas said in a statement. “I perform anywhere people want to hear my music, but I’m not interested in getting my art into the line of fire of political wrangling.”

Other performances scheduled as part of the series of outdoors summer concerts in the capital are set to go on as planned. Apart from Elad, it is also organized by the Zappa music venue.

Free Jerusalem said in a statement that it was “happy that the plot by Elad to present itself as mainstream isn’t going well. They may have fooled Zappa, but Arkadi Duchin and Danny Robas made the most logical choice. Elad’s activity inflames tensions in Jerusalem. We will continue to oppose it anywhere — when they trick artists and when they covet Palestinians’ homes.”

Elad said in a statement: We regret the fact that there are extremist, marginal players trying to cynically use cultural events as a tool for promoting political agendas. We thank those bodies for the widespread attention given to us thanks to their activity.”

Zappa said it wasn’t taking a political stand and that the cooperation with Elad was one of many collaborations it has with various bodies. It said any artist wishing to cancel their participation has the right to do so.

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