Macca To Play Despite Death Threats

Paul McCartney says he’s going ahead with his Sept. 25 show in Tel Aviv’s Hayarkon Park despite being told his life would be in danger.

“I was approached by different groups and political bodies who asked me not to come. I refused,” McCartney told Israeli daily Yediot Aharonoth. “I do what I think, and I have many friends who support Israel.”

Some U.K. papers have reported that Macca’s visit may prompt a terrorist attack and the Daily Mail quoted a Muslim cleric warning the former Beatle he’ll be killed by suicide bombers if he plays in Israel.

The Sunday Express – picking up on the Yediot Aharonoth piece – went a step further and named Muslim fundamentalist speaker Omar Bakri Muhammad as the man behind the threats.

Reportedly speaking from his home in Lebanon – where he’s lived since being exiled from Britain shortly after the July 7, 2005, London bombings – Bakri said McCartney’s decision was making him “more enemies than friends.”

“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,” Bakri added.

Musicians and academics frequently come under pressure to boycott Israel for its continued occupation of the Palestinian territories and, in recent months, for its economic blockade on Hamas-controlled Gaza.

McCartney said the 1965 cancellation of a Beatles performance in Tel Aviv, allegedly because the government believed the act might corrupt Israeli teenagers, was “a bit insulting.”

“The Beatles had a pretty positive influence on the world and only regimes that wanted to control their peoples were afraid of us. We mostly laughed at the Israeli government decision,” he explained.

Other acts to have played Hayarkon Park include Madonna, Michael Jackson, Metallica, Elton John, U2, Guns N’ Roses, David Bowie, Dire Straits and Westlife.