BEIRUT: International singer Lara Fabian cancelled her February concerts to Lebanon Thursday after anti-Israeli campaigners rallied against the artist’s visit.
"[Those who] don’t want me to come in their beautiful country; where I already had the chance to sing once before, don't have to worry .I won’t come and disturb your quietness with my physical presence," Fabian wrote on her Facebook wall in what she described as a letter of love to Lebanon.
The Campaign to Boycott Israeli Supporters in Lebanon rallied for weeks against her tour, which was set for Feb. 14 and Feb. 15 at Casino du Liban with tickets ranging between LL300,000 ($200) and LL750,000.
The campaigners cited an online video showing Fabian singing in a 2008 concert on the anniversary of the creation of Israel. Fabian sang in Hebrew and then later before getting off the stage said: “I love you Israel.”
The establishment of Israel in 1948, termed the Naqba – catastrophe –by many in the region, saw the forceful expulsion of Palestinians from their homeland into neighboring states. Lebanon and Israel are technically in a state of war and last fought each other in a 34-day conflict in 2006.
There have been other similar incidents where artists have called off their visits to Lebanon over links to or showing sympathy with the Jewish state. In 2009 for example French stand-up comedian Gad Elmaleh canceled his three -day tour to Lebanon after activists, saying Elmaleh was pro-Israeli and served in the Israeli army, rallied against his visit.
In her “letter of love,” Fabian, the Belgian-Italian singer, also said that music alone could not alleviate hatred and cultural and religious barriers, adding that she did not want to deal with hatred.
"I write you this letter of love, because even if I’m forced to do it from a far, I will sing for YOU my Lebanese friends,” Fabian,42, wrote on her official Facebook page, which includes 16,250 fans,
Anti-Israeli campaigners have rallied against various artists they describe as pro-Israeli such as rock band Placebo who performed at Forum De Beyrouth in 2010 and Armin Van Buuren who performed in late 2011 at the same venue.
Fabian has sold an estimated 18 million records worldwide and has sang in more than five languages. She has been granted various international awards and is mostly famous for her notable songs such as "I will Love Again," and "Croire."