Macy Gray Ignores Calls to Boycott Israel

For soul singer Macy Gray, it started out as a simple Facebook status update inviting discussion concerning upcoming concerts. “I'm
booked for 2 shows in Tel Aviv. I'm getting alot of letters from
activists urging/begging me to boycott by NOT performing in protest of
Apartheid against the Palestinians,” she wrote on Monday. “What the
Israeli government is doing to the Palestinians is disgusting, but I
wana go. I gotta lotta fans there I dont want to cancel on and I dont
know how my NOT going changes anything. What do you think? Stay or go?”

The question exploded with more than 7,000 replies before Friday
morning. The singer's wall instantly transformed into a heated forum
with people on both sides of the contentious issue posting in favor of the scheduled
February shows to go on while others hoped to sway Gray toward a

In her original status update, the singer seemed
caught between her sympathies for Palestinians and her desire to perform
for her fans in Israel. She didn't seem to agree on the notion of a
boycott or its efficacy, but she genuinely wanted to listen to all
viewpoints. By Wednesday, Gray had made up her mind, one way or another, and informed all via
Twitter that the Tel Aviv shows would indeed go on writing, “Dear Israel fans. Me and the band will be there in 20 days. Can't wait. See you then. Peace.” Peace…if only.

After the decision,
the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
(USACBI) issued an appeal
to Gray on Thursday stating, “To go to Tel Aviv is to actively lend
your support to Israel's
discriminatory and illegal occupation of Palestine, which has been
recognized as a form of apartheid by statesmen like Jimmy Carter and
Bishop Desmond Tutu, by numerous human rights groups including Human
Rights Watch and Amnesty International, and by millions of ordinary
citizens worldwide.” The organization, in its open letter to the singer,
went on to cite the historical example of Artists United Against
Apartheid, when in 1985, a diverse group of musicians including Miles
Davis, Bob Dylan and Herbie Hancock vowed never to play Sun City, South
Africa in protest. USACBI then provocatively asked Gray if she would
have defied them back then if given the chance and performed just the

The soul singer is not the first to have faced the boycott question
in regards to Israel. The Pixies, Carlos Santana and Elvis Costello all
canceled scheduled performances there after facing pressure from
activists to do so. On the other side, Paul McCartney and Elton John
refused such petitions and played in spite of them. While Gray was
putting the question to her fans, British band The Fall faced a similar
campaign in the lead up to their show yesterday at the Barbi in Tel

Following her tweet around noontime on Wednesday, the heated debate
flowed from Macy Gray's Facebook to her Twitter page. It was there that
she noted her feelings that some of the “so-called” boycott
advocates were “assholes” before reiterating that she didn't support
oppression. The day took a toll on the singer as she tweeted that her
brain was overbooked by the floodgates that had been opened on the
controversial issue. By the evening time, she was busy tackling a new
subject: the premiere of the new season of American Idol.

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