UAE Welcomes Madonna After Israeli Love Affair
By: Rasha Hilwi
Published Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Akka - Three years ago, Madonna gave a concert in Tel Aviv. The queen of pop donned the Israeli flag and exclaimed: “How beautiful it is to be here... Israel is a source of strength and inspiration in the world.”
Her words dealt a blow to all the Palestinians and Arabs who had protested against the concert going ahead.
Today, the American singer and director (b.1958) returns to “Israel,” once again paying no heed to the calls asking her to boycott Israel.
She arrived in occupied Jerusalem accompanied by her three children and her boyfriend, the Algerian French dancer Ibrahim Zibat. This visit is part of a Middle Eastern tour that includes a concert tomorrow in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and two concerts in Abu Dhabi (June 3 and 4).
After the failure of calls asking Madonna not to whitewash Israel’s image by singing there, a group of activists decided to write an open letter to the Israeli companies sponsoring the event, hoping they would take a stand against the concert scheduled for tomorrow in Ramat Gan, near Tel Aviv.
The letter states that the concert, entitled Peace Concert, has nothing to do with peace but is rather part of the ongoing indifference towards the apartheid state’s actions towards Palestinians, arguing that Madonna accepts the crimes of the Israeli state and gives a green light to its violations of Palestinian human rights.
Dismay escalated when her 29 year old Algerian friend, Lilou, accompanied her. He is a member of her group of 70 musicians and dancers.
Lilou’s visit to Israel angered his mother. But in an attempt to avoid embarrassment, he wrote on his Twitter account that he is “unhappy” about his presence in Israel, adding: “I don’t want to say I am in Israel but in Palestine.”
A few days ago, Dubai hosted the first auction to sell Madonna memorabilia worth US$3 million.
But what if Arab cities refused to host Madonna? What if the US$3 million went to Palestinian children instead of being paid by wealthy Arabs for the memorabilia of the singer who “adores Israel?”
These are questions intended for Dubai and Abu Dhabi that are set to host the “Material Girl” only days after her Israel concert.
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.