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Israel hails 'victory over BDS'... with Britney Spears concert Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Israel hails 'victory over BDS'... with Britney Spears concert

Britney Spears will perform in Tel Aviv in July [Getty]

Date of publication: 29 March, 2017

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Israeli concert organisers claim that BDS has little effect on big-name artists after announcing Britney Spears dates in Tel Aviv.

Opponents of the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement in Israel are hailing a victory, after it was announced that Britney Spears will not be put off by the country's apartheid-like policies against Palestinians and will perform in Tel Aviv in July.

The announcement comes just a month after British rock band Coldplay announced that they would only be visiting Israel to 'listen and learn,' following much speculation over whether they would be performing there.

"When it comes to artists as big as Britney, Guns N' Roses, or Aerosmith, I don't think that BDS really affects them," boasted Guy Beser, CEO of Bluestone Entertainment, which is bringing Spears to Israel.

According to Beser, his company has successfully arranged tours for several high-profile artists without 'hindrance' from the BDS movement.

Despite Beser's assuredness, pressure from BDS activists has in the past managed to prevent several big-name artists from visiting Israel, including R&B singer Lauryn Hill in 2015 and English Musician Elvis Costello in 2010. Artists like Pharrell Williams and Beyonce, meanwhile, cited 'scheduling conflicts' in cancelling their Israel tours but many activists believed this was just a polite euphemism for boycotting the controversial state.

Earlier this month, BDS activists released a statement petitioning rock band Radiohead to cancel their July concert in Israel. The movement argues that the band's performance will "help Israel's regime of occupation and apartheid cover up its massive violations of Palestinian human rights".

While some opponents of BDS have tried to play down its impact, Israel's government has stepped up efforts to oppose the movement.

Earlier in March, Israel's legislature passed a law that allows the interior ministry to ban foreign BDS activists from entering the country.

Israel's Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan, who once compared BDS to terrorism, has also expressed hopes of compliling a list of Israelis involved in the movement.

With the Spears concert now scheduled on the calendar, its organisers are bracing themselves for a tide of negative reactions.

"Usually we face [BDS pressure] after the announcement," said Bluestone Entertainment's Beser. "Now it will start."

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