Lebanon’s Mashrou’ Leila cancels on Chili Peppers after latter refuses Israel boycott call

Internationally acclaimed Lebanese group Mashrou’ Leila today tweeted “we will not be opening for the red hot chili peppers on september 6 in beirut.”
This decision – also announced on their Facebook page – follows mounting calls on the group to cancel after Red Hot Chili Peppers rejected calls from the Palestinian boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement to cancel a 10 September show in Tel Aviv.

Red Hot Chili Peppers reject boycott call

As early as last Spring petitions and appeals to Red Hot Chili Peppers to cancel began to circulate.

However Red Hot Chili Peppers rejected them, issuing a brief video on 28 June which reaffirmed their “joy, pleasure and excitement” at playing in Tel Aviv and their “great love for Israel.”

“Come one, come all,” urged Chili Peppers band member Anthony Kiedis in the video. But that is exactly the point of the BDS call: Palestinians living under Israel’s apartheid-like restrictions are not free to attend concerts and face innumerable obstacles as dramatized in a brief video made to illustrate the near impossibility for millions of Palestinians to attend a recent Madonna concert in Tel Aviv.

Notably, the Red Hot Chili Peppers concert will be held in “Hayarkon Park” – the site of the ethnically cleansed Palestinian village of Jarisha.

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) issued an additional appeal to the group to change its mind and learn from the example of how cultural boycott had helped hasten the end of apartheid in South Africa.

“Boycott those who refuse to boycott”

Following Chili Peppers’ refusal to heed the boycott call, activist attention turned to Mashrou’ Leila urging them to “Boycott those who refuse to boycott.”

Mashrou’ Leila’s decision to cancel sends a signal to international acts that touring the region and including Israel on the schedule – despite Palestinian calls for boycott – will be met with resistance in Arab countries where public opinion strongly opposes what is often called “normalization.”




Are you serious? You idiots aren't preforming because they will preform in Israel AFTER Lebanon? Why the hell does that concern you? It's not like they preformed in Israel then the next day came to Lebanon. We got them first, they can play wherever they want, you guys get realistic and stop making a bug fuss out of everything!


Wow what you guys did takes balls. Way to stand for what's right, despite the opportunity. Incha Allah there will be another more promising opportunity. I had heard your name circled around before but never listened to you before. This article and video was the first I'd listened to from you guys. You gained a fan for life. Not just for your admirable human rights stance, but of course just as taken by your talent.

Keep up the good work!


I believe we've got enough problems of our own, in Lebanon! and Art is a savior! we'd better keep it away of politics and make it accessible to all... I see in your decision a lot of courage, but you are depriving your Lebanese audience from your art as much as the Israelis are depriving Palestinians from that wonderful concert exposure! I sincerely hope that you reconsider your stance and express your solidarity differently.


it's attitudes like yours that make me feel embarrassed by being Lebanese.
Maybe instead of questioning why Mashrou' laila cancelled opening for the chili peppers in Beirut we should be questioning why organizers have not decided to Cancel the RedHot Chili Peppers for choosing to side with Israel, a country that occupied and continuously bombs and murders Lebanese daily....If you want to be a nationalist about it.


I think you are missing the point. Human rights or violation of said human rights, is FAR MORE IMPORTANT then a music concert. Examine your priorities please! I am VERY impressed that they chose not to open. More groups/individuals need to publicly make a stand and ostracize the apartheid state of Israel.


Taking a stand for those who are victimised and persecuted was supposed to be the lesson of WW2. Respect to you guys for doing that in our own time. We as a society must say 'no' to racism and land-theft ,whoever is doing it, whenever they are doing it, and wherever they are doing it. Boycotting Israel takes guts and you have my gratitude and respect for standing up to the misinformation-spreaders and propagandists who try to spin this into something other than what it really is. Thanks.


Shame on the Red Hot Chili Peppers for supporting apartheid. Are they willing to play in Gaza and the West Bank too? Do they even realize Palestinians can't see them because they live behind Apartheid walls and checkpoints? Do they even care? Shame on them.


Respect for taking a stand for justice and human rights. The boycott movement has gained huge momentum (I read recently that the Israeli government is now paying artists up to 3 times the usual rate to play in Israel due to increasing international pressure from activists to boycott) and your refusal to open for Red Hot Chili Peppers is a beautiful act of resistance and solidarity with the Palestinian struggle. Echoing the comment above-- you just gained another fan. Bravo 3aleykoun!


Art is a politic! Would u go play Berlin in the 1940's? didn't think so! Perhaps meaning is more important to Mashrou' Leila then money and fame. If they are true artists, this is the case... Besides the RHCP have evolved into a mainstream moneywh0re ballet producing pop machine.... NOT ART! Who in their right mind would want to be caught dead opening for that?? And for what, fame?


Much respect due to this group, from concerned South Africans like me who are intent on reminding the world that Apartheid still exists and that we can all play our part in the battle against this beast. RESPECT!


The Basic reason is that Mediocre BubbleGum Pop Group Chilli Peppers of the 1990's are desperately in need of Cash and are chasing Zionist Gold.Chillies are not as Popular as they once were, So they will sell out even their own grandma for Extra $$$.
Mashrou Leila can always Organize an International array of talented Conscientious Acts & Hold Concert for Palestine, in their own Time & in a suitable Venue to Entertain fans !!!
Like they say, Have Fun & Make the Zionist Apartheid Bigot Run to USA begging for more Aid.



I definitely wouldnt go and see a red hot chillis concert now! They want to learn a bit more about countries before they play in them! FREE PALESTINE

Ali Abunimah

Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of The Battle for Justice in Palestine, now out from Haymarket Books.

Also wrote One Country: A Bold-Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. Opinions are mine alone.