McCartney in Israel
In the summer of 1966, the Beatles landed in Manila for a two concert stop. It was to be their first and last trip to the Philippines. What should have been a happy occasion for all turned ugly when, through a miscommunication, the band "snubbed" First Lady Imelda Marcos, as their manager, Brian Epstein, innocently declined a last-minute photo op invitation from the dictator's wife. Epstein tried to explain, but it was too late. The authorities forced the Beatles to surrender all proceeds from the concerts and manhandled the members of the band and their entourage. All things considered, they were lucky to have escaped with their lives.
Once again, Paul McCartney finds himself in the crosshairs. This time, it is not because of whose invitation he declined but whose he accepted. It seems that Mr. McCartney had the temerity to agree to give a concert in Israel.
Several groups, including the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), put immediate pressure on the former Beatle to cancel the gig, scheduled for this Thursday. But it did not end there. "If he values his life, Mr. McCartney must not come to Israel. He will not be safe there. The sacrifice operatives will be waiting for him," Islamic terrorist Omar Bakri Muhammad said in an interview with London's Sunday Express. Apparently, overly sensitive toes don't only come in Ferragamo pumps.
McCartney, who did not initially realize the implications of his offer, has nonetheless stood his ground. "I was approached by different groups and political bodies who asked me not to come here. I refused. I do what I think, and I have many friends who support Israel," he told Haaretz, Israel's leading daily newspaper.
Paul McCartney should be applauded for standing up for the principles of freedom and bringing his music and his self-proclaimed "message of peace" to a corner of the world that so badly needs it. His example makes those who threaten him look petty and small. His music, which has brought so much joy into the lives of others, speaks for itself.
When was the last time Mr. Bakri and his accomplices made anyone smile?