WALL STREET JOURNAL EUROPE
If we lived in normal times, a pop star's tour schedule would not be considered news outside the entertainment media. But then again, the growing campaign to delegitimize Israel and the pressure on the ex-Beatle to cancel his concert can hardly be called normal. Mr. McCartney deserves applause for his steadfastness. "I was approached by different groups and political bodies who asked me not to come here," he told the Israeli paper. "I refused."
Sir Paul even received death threats. "Paul McCartney is the enemy of every Muslim," hate preacher Omar Bakri said in his weekly Internet broadcast from Lebanon, according to the Sunday Express. "If he values his life, Mr. McCartney will not come to Israel," Mr. Bakri added, warning that "sacrifice operatives will be waiting for him."
The ex-Beatle's concert has drawn particular ire from anti-Zionists as it comes amid the Jewish state's 60th anniversary celebrations. In Western Europe, and particularly in Mr. McCartney's home country, the view that there is little to celebrate about Israel's rebirth has moved from the fringes of society to the mainstream of left-wing media and academia. In May, the union of British university lecturers renewed its push for an academic boycott of Israel.
Luckily, Mr. McCartney doesn't seem to be getting his information from the Guardian or the BBC. "I've heard so many great things about Tel Aviv and Israel, but hearing is one thing and experiencing it for yourself is another," he said in comments posted on his Web site last month.
A standard smear against Israel is that it is supposedly an apartheid state. In truth, Mr. McCartney will be performing in the only country in the Middle East where Jews, Christians and Muslims, as well as both men and women, can come together in freedom and listen to his songs.