Morocco International Music Festival Says Egypt’s Chaaboula ‘Not Performing’ Following Pledge to Sing ‘I Hate Israel’
Following his pledge to sing I Hate Israel at Morocco’s Mawazine world music festival, concert organizers on Thursday said Egyptian crooner Shaaban Abdel Rahim, known as Chaaboula, “will not be performing” at the international event that is also featuring global music stars Alicia Keys, Justin Timberlake and Ricky Martin.
In a statement issued to The Algemeiner, PR Media, the public relations agency for Maroc Cultures Association, which organizes the Mawazine Festival – Rhythms of the World, offered no further details about the change of plans, but then expressed its philosophy of diversity.
In its statement, the festival organizers said, “Whether from the Muslim, Christian, Jewish religion or any other beliefs … artists celebrate and perform in perfect harmony during the 9 days in Rabat to share the same messages of peace, openness, tolerance, diversity and respect for each other’s beliefs. Every edition is the witness of people from different countries, different races, nationalities and convictions joined by their love and dedication for music and art.”
“As far as the Mawazine Festival is concerned, and since its inception in 2001, Mawazine has been constantly promoting and sharing diversity by offering multi-cultural lineups.”
“A simple festival in its early stages, Mawazine Rhythms of the World, has become an international event transmitting, through music and art, the universal and fundamental values of tolerance and respect,” the statement said.
A spokesman for the group told The Algemeiner that Chaaboula was ultimately “never contracted” for the festival. Despite the claim, Chaaboula’s artist page and biography had been posted to their website, although his page has since been removed.
Arabic entertainment news site FilFan cited the performer as saying that he planned to wear a costume with the colors of the Egyptian flag and would also sing his ode to former Egyptian defense minister, now presidential candidate, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, We Love Sisi.
Chaaboula told FilFan, it’s “an honor for me to be the only Egyptian singer in the festival this year, it is the first time that I have taken part in such a big event.”
After learning about his planned play list, human rights advocates called on the international music stars in the festival to pressure the organizers to remove Chaaboula from their line-up.
On Sunday, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, director of Jewish human rights group the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told The Algemeiner that he hoped the other musicians at the festival used their stage time to promote peace, rather than hatred.
“Remember that Alicia Keys delivered a message of peace last summer in Tel Aviv, despite the BDSers hypocritical hysteria,” Rabbi Cooper said, referring to anti-Israel ‘boycott, divestment and sanctions’ activists who tried to pressure Keys to cancel her performance.
“I hope she and the other western talent urge the organizers to make the festival a hate-free zone and that they counter the anti-Israel hate with their music,” the rabbi said.
Alicia Keys will be performing on June 7, in the final performance of the Mawazine festival, which is expected to draw 2.5 million attendees over nine days and a hundred concerts in Rabat and suburb Salé. The event is considered to be one of the largest music festivals in the world in terms of audience and participants, with organizers counting 1,500 musicians as performers.
According to the biography of the singer that was originally posted by the festival organizers, Chaaboula worked in a laundromat where he sang to friends until the 1980s, when the owner of a record store offered to produce his first album.
After decades of Egyptian pop, he turned to political themes in the 2000s. In 2008, the singer lost a contract to be featured in a McDonald’s commercial for its McFalafel sandwich after Jewish human rights groups, including the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee, alerted the company to his songs, which they accused of inciting hate against Israel and Jews.
Chaaboula’s other controversial hit was Hey Arab Leaders, in which he accused the U.S. and Israel of masterminding the 9-11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York.
Read Chaaboula’s hate-filled lyrics below, as posted by the ADL:
I Hate Israel
I hate Israel, and I would say so if I was asked to,
Even if I’ll be killed, or go into jail as a prisoner.
I love Husni Mubarak, because he is so smart (literally: because his mind is big),
When he takes any steps, he considers it with conscience.
I hate Israel, and I hate the ruins.
(Israel) loves the ruins and hates the building.
I love Yasser Arafat – he is my favorite man.
The Egyptian nation is sad and the shame covers me.
I love Yasser Arafat, and I hate Israel,
Shimon (Peres) and Sharon.
I love ‘Amer Musa, for his balanced sayings.
What is the kids’ sin – those who die every day?
People are taking up arms, people are holding clubs.
I hate Israel – all of us are angry – al-Quds is on our mind. When ad-Durra (Muhammad ad-Durra – the child that was killed in Gaza – CD) died, the President was sad,
He said in the papers: “Who is satisfied with the humiliation?”
I hate Israel, and I hate Ehud Barak
Since he is repugnant, and all of the people hate you.
All of the time Egypt forgets, and has a lot of patience,
But when Egypt is angry, it returns back the Ambassador.
I hate Israel – ask the Shahid’s blood.
Ask those who crossed (Suez canal) in the glorious October.
I hate Israel, because of South Lebanon,
al-Quds and Iraq,
Syria and the Golan.
‘Hey Arab Leaders’
…Two faces of the same coin, America and Israel.
They made the world a jungle and ignited the fuse.
America spread its wings, doesn’t care about anyone.
No one can stop her, no one can catch her.
Soon he (Bush) will say Iran, then he will say Syria,
But he is silent about [North] Korea.
About that [Twin] Tower, oh people
Definitely! His friends [Israel] were the ones who brought it down.
What terrorism!! [Visual shows Sharon pushing the button]
How many years are left.
For America and Israel acting as bullies. . .