Céline Dion urged not to perform in Israel by Canadian advocacy group
MONTREAL -- Quebec superstar Céline Dion is being urged not to perform in Tel Aviv, Israel as part of her 'Courage' world tour.
A petition by Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) is demanding that she cancel the two concerts she has planned this coming August.
"Since 2005, Palestinian civil society has asked for the world to boycott Israel until it respects the human rights of Palestinians," the petition states. "Dozens of famous performers have already refused to perform in Israel."
The petition is part of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement that promotes various forms of boycotts against Israel.
Former Québec Solidaire spokesperson Amir Khadir took to Facebook to share the petition and plea "with admiration" for Dion to boycott the country.
"I join my voice with other Quebecers, with love and peace, to invite you not to sing in Israel," he wrote on Facebook. "Roger Waters [of Pink Floyd] did not go out of respect for justice, peace and to protest against the illegal appropriation of Palestinian land for the last 70 years."
However, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) calls the movement "illegitimate," adding it has been denounced as anti-Semitic by numerous governments and Jewish organizations.
"It is ludicrous to suggest that any given performer is somehow giving [their personal opinion about] the politics where they choose to perform," said David Ouellette, CIJA director of research and public affairs. "Would anybody suggest that because Céline Dion performed in Las Vegas that she is supporting the politics of the current U.S. administration? Nobody would dare do that."
Ouellette insists the BDS movement has yet to prove that its goal is to bring Palestinians and Israelis closer to a peace accord.
"It purports to be upholding human rights. It’s a toxic campaign that only leads to delegitimize the state of Israel as a Jewish state," he told CTV News. "All of the major international performers do perform in Israel. Only a small handful of performers have joined this boycott."
As of Wednesday morning, more than 3,350 emails have been sent to Dion's PR firm and management, Sony Music.
A pre-written e-mail as part of the petition states: "I am frustrated to hear that you will be performing in Israel. Faced with widespread human rights abuses, Palestinians have called on the international community to boycott Israel until it respects their rights – please don’t let them down."