Santana Postpones Israel Show

Carlos Santana has pulled out of his June show at Jaffa’s Bloomfield Stadium because of “anti-Israel pressure,” according to Israeli paper Yedioth Ahronoth.

It claims sources in the local production team say the guitarist received advice that “it’s better not to perform in Israel.”

“Our clarifications revealed that he received messages from anti-Israel figures that pressured him to cancel the performance,” an unnamed production figure told the Tel Aviv-based newspaper.

At press time it wasn’t possible to get comment from promoter Shuki Weiss, who has done his utmost to persuade acts to influence public opinion by visiting the region despite the political upheaval.

In 2001 he had to pull a Red Hot Chili Peppers show in Hayarkon Park at a month’s notice, after a suicide bomber killed 15 in a Jerusalem pizza parlour. The Israeli reprisals included sending tanks supported by helicopters and fighter aircraft into the city of Jenin to destroy a Palestinian stronghold.

In March 2006 Roger Waters played Tel Aviv despite reports that he was being lobbied to cancel his show by political and cultural activists protesting Israel’s policy toward Palestinians.

Pressures on foreign artists performing in Israel are nothing new. Paul McCartney was exposed to similar pressures leading up to his concert in September 2008, as was Leonard Cohen before his 2009 summer show. Ultimately, however, both decided to play the country.

Phil Collins, Depeche Mode, and Madonna have also played Israel in the last four years, although the latter’s appearances tend to lead to some form of political or religious protest wherever she goes.

Several thousand tickets had been sold for the Santana show, which was scheduled for early June, and Weiss and the ticket agents have already started the refunds.

Michael Vrionis, chief ops officer for Santana’s management company, released an official statement saying it’s sorry the act’s schedule has “forced the postponement of certain dates previously scheduled.”

Elton John, Rod Stewart, Rihanna, and The Pixies are all slated to perform in Israel this summer.