Awad and Noa
Photo: Eran Lam
Pesenzon. 'We can't carry conflict on our backs'
Photo: Merav Yudilovitch

Mira Awad cancels Independence Day gig

Israeli Arab singer's manager announces cancellation of her participation in joint concert with Noa over death threats, while singer says decision was made 'out of consideration for the complexity of this date for me'

Singer Mira Awad has canceled her participation as a guest artist in a Noa concert scheduled to be held in London on Israel's Independence Day. Ofer Pesenzon, both singers' manager, claimed that the decision to cancel Awad's participation was made following death threats she has been receiving.


The manager claimed he also received anonymous telephone threats. "It appears that radicals from both sides are joining forces. We received phone calls both from Jews who said that should an Arab perform on Independence Day they would blow up the concert and from Arabs who threatened Mira's life."


Pezenson noted that this was not the first time that the singers' collaboration prompted such responses.


The manager sent a letter to the Jewish community in London on Friday where he explained that he had not realized that Awad's participation in the concert on a sensitive day would prompt so many objections. Pesenzon further added that he booked the show "out of a will to show there was another way for the two sides to communicate" and noted, "Sadly not everyone feels the same way. "

Noa (L) and Awad during the Eurovision song contest (Photo: AP)


It should be noted that following an editorial published in the Haifa-based al-Ittihad newspaper, Awad responded to criticism leveled at her and stated that she would never perform on Independence Day, "not in London or anywhere else."


On Saturday she posted a message on her Facebook page where she commented on the affair and explained that she her manager initially agreed to the concert before the date of the show was set for Independence day.


"The minute I heard about this concert, I asked Ofer to cancel my participation, out of consideration for the complexity of this date for me. Ofer understood my emotions for the subject, and admitted he had done wrong in scheduling the show without thinking of the repercussions, and immediately started working on cancelling my participation out of respect for my request.


"Lately, although my participation was indeed cancelled, and the concert includes only Noa, there have been rumors that I am still planning to appear on the London stage, and this brought me a lot of public attacks, to the extent that earlier this week I published a reply to one of the articles published against me."


Awad noted that her joint concerts with Noa in the US scheduled for late April will be held as planned, as well as her May shows in Europe.


'Question of politics'

Raja Zaatry who wrote the al-Ittihad editorial commented on the statements and said, "This is a distortion of the truth. Mira Awad's statements in the newspaper were clear: She would not participate in such an event out of political considerations and not due to threats on her life. Her manager's stories on threats and violence are conjured up.


"It a matter of politics: Does an Arab-Palestinian artist, even if she is an Israeli citizen, wish to participate in the independence event of the state which still subjugates part of her people and discriminates against its Arab citizens? Mira said no. It seems someone has a hard time accepting that."


Despite Awad's cancellation, Noa will appear in the event as planned while Pesenzon noted that a joint Awad-Noa concert will be held in London on a different date.


The two singers previously performed together in London just days after Israel's 60th Independence Day anniversary celebrations with no apparent drama.


"It's a different time now where everything deteriorated," Pesenzon noted. " We want to make audiences happy and find ourselves time and time again biting it over politics. I don't envy Mira, she is stuck between reality and her wish to fulfill herself. 


"Who are we to carry the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on our backs, we simply want to make art and try not to break on the way." Mira Awad chose not to comment.


Hagit Klaiman in London contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 04.13.10, 08:18
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