International superstar Shakira is set to perform in Lebanon this summer at the Cedar International Festival, it was announced this week.
While many Lebanese are excited about the July 13 performance by the Colombian singer – whose father is Lebanese – others have launched a boycott campaign. Prior to performing in Lebanon, Shakira is scheduled to perform in Israel for the first time on July 9, according to Israeli media.
An official announcement posted on the Cedars International Festival's Facebook page explains that Shakira will perform in Lebanon as part of her El Dorado World Tour. Held in the mountain town of Bsharri, the festival hopes to attract some 14,000 attendants.
But Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaigners are protesting the concert due to the international star's plan to perform in Israel.
Lebanon also officially bans individuals who have previously traveled to Israel from entering its borders, as the country remains at war with the Israeli government. However, exceptions are made to this travel ban.
In a plea posted online, BDS supporters have asked Shakira to cancel her concert in Tel Aviv.
"You have spoken repeatedly about how you are 'very proud of [your] Lebanese heritage.' As unfortunate as you may find it to be, the Zionist state remains an enemy state to Lebanon. It has repeatedly launched wars against Lebanon, and continues to threaten all the Lebanese people with further violence," the campaigners wrote.
"Regardless of your own intentions, your performance in Tel Aviv (originally the Palestinian city of Jaffa and its surroundings before the ethnic cleansing in 1948) whitewashes Israeli crimes, and covers up Israel’s repeated aggressions against your home country."
"If you want peace, then hear the cries from the Palestinians and Lebanese who are asking you to support the boycott of “Israel,” and do not allow its regime of apartheid and oppression to use your name to whitewash its crimes."
While the Tel Aviv concert would be Shakira's first-ever performance in Israel, she previously visited the country in 2011. During that trip, she stopped by a bilingual Arab-Jewish school in the country and was interviewed by the media.
The singer said she understood her visit to Israel could draw criticism, but would not let it affect her.
"I'm very proud of my Lebanese heritage ... but it has nothing to do with the fact that I respect and have great affection for this country and the people of this country, both Israelis and Palestinians, and that's why I'm here, because I think that kids need us — kids don't understand about conflicts," she said at the time, according to Jerusalem Online.
So, while many Lebanese are beyond excited ...
Others don't want her coming to the country
Shakira performed for the first time in Lebanon back in 2011 as well. During the concert, which was part of The Sun Comes Out World Tour, the singer kissed the Lebanese flag and thanked the crowd in Arabic.
While Shakira wouldn't be the first international star to visit Lebanon and Israel during the same tour, she could also join a growing number of performers and celebrities who have chosen to boycott Israel.
Musician Roger Waters, comedic actor and singer Russel Brand, actress Meg Ryan and recently deceased scientist Stephen Hawking have supported the BDS movement, along with many others. Recently, prominent Israeli-American actress Natalie Portman refused to travel to Israel to accept a prestigious award, citing "recent events" as "extremely distressing."