In exactly one month, singer Tom Jones is expected to take the stage at Tel Aviv's Nokia Arena. But behind the scenes an online battle is being waged between anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) activists, who are pressuring the Welsh singer to cancel his performance in Israel, and Israel supporters who express their encouragement and love for the singer.
A group of British BDS activists are circulating a petition calling on Jones to boycott Israel and cancel his show. The petition was already signed by more than 1,000 internet users.
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"Performing in Tel Aviv today is like performing in South Africa during the height of the days of apartheid," said one of the boycott organizers.
As of now, Jones is not caving to the pressure and did not cancel his performance, as other artists did in recent years.
Yet to ensure that the 73-year-old singer, famous for hit songs such as "Delilah", "It's Not Unusual" and "What's New Pussycat", will not surrender to the pressure, another online campaign was launched: During the weekend, Consul for Public Affairs at the Israel Consulate in New York Gil Lainer sent an e-mail to thousands of Jewish and Israeli hasbara activists, and asked them to send Jones encouraging messages and support his decision to perform in Israel.
Lainer's e-mail, titled "It's not unusual to be loved by Israel", read: "Over the past few weeks, Tom Jones has become the latest victim of a fringe campaign pushing for a boycott of Israel, which bullies artists and academics from coming to Israel. It is time to tell Tom Jones that no music fan should be punished because of the agenda of online bullies. We should send positive messages of love and support to tom Jones on his Facbook and Twitter pages, with the hashtag #IsraelLovesTomJones."