Musician Carlos Santana Maintains Upcoming Israel Concert With ‘Open Heart’ Despite Pressure From BDS Activists (VIDEO)
After supporters of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement failed to pressure rock superstar Carlos Santana into cancelling his upcoming concert in Tel Aivv, the guitarist said in a video message on Thursday that he is excited to return to Israel and promote a “musical message of peace, love and an end to conflict.”
“The band and I will bring our open hearts and musical energy that will resonate with your soul long after the last song has been played,” Santana, 68, said in the clip, which was re-posted on Facebook by Israel advocacy group StandWithUs. “We look forward to seeing you at Park HaYarkon. Shalom and salam alaykum. Peace.”
Santana’s concert in Tel Aviv, scheduled to take place on July 30, was first announced in March. Since then, BDS activists have attempted to bully the Grammy Award winner into cancelling the show. Anti-Israel campaigners took to social media and demanded the Mexico-born musician stop “supporting the oppressor” and “endorsing occupation.” Open letters were also published, such as one by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) which called on Santana “to respect our picket line.”
Garik Ruiz, the North America Advocacy Advisor for the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) National Committee, said earlier in June that his organization is “working very hard to be in communication with [Santana] about the international picket line and telling him not to cross it. We have had many campaigns targeting artists but Santana is the most high profile.”
On Tuesday, BDS supporters attempted to deliver a petition with 25,000 signatures to the headquarters of The Milagro Foundation, established by Santana and his family to help underprivileged children around the world. The petition delivery was live streamed by the anti-Israel group Jewish Voice for Peace, but workers at the foundation “refused to open the door … and closed the blinds,” according to the Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA).
Santana’s upcoming concert in Israel is part of the musician’s world Luminosity Tour and will mark 29 years since he last performed in the Jewish state. The guitarist was set to perform in 2010 in Jaffa but pulled out due to reported scheduling difficulties.
The musician promised that portions of the proceeds from the upcoming Israel concert will be donated to the Hand in Hand: Center for Jewish-Arab Education in Israel, an organization that unites Jews and Arabs in schools across Israel. The Milagro Foundation has provided funding to Hand in Hand since 2003.
Watch Carlos Santana’s message in the video below: