Earlier this week, Israeli media were abuzz with the news that Beyoncé would be playing a gig in Tel Aviv this summer.
While there have been frequent rumors that the award-winning singer was headed there, Israel’s Channel 2 set off the latest storm by reporting on 16 March that “Now it’s official: Beyoncé is on the way to Israel.”
Although media reports also acknowledged that there was no sign of the Tel Aviv gig on Beyoncé’s official The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour website, The Jewish Voice declared that her reported concert would come “despite boycott pressure.”
Human rights defenders had indeed swung into action, launching a petition urging the singer not to play in “Apartheid Israel.” By today it had gathered almost 2,800 signatures.
The opposition to Beyoncé’s reported trip was even picked up by Majic 102.1 FM radio in her home town of Houston, Texas.
But yesterday, the Associated Press tweeted that Beyoncé’s representative has specifically denied the report:
There’s no overt indication Beyoncé has refrained from going to Israel for any principled reason. But given that her concerts can sell out in minutes or even seconds she would probably have no trouble getting an audience in Tel Aviv.
The fact that her representative specifically denied the report is nonetheless interesting. It may be that her business managers understand that the bad publicity involved in going to Israel is just not worth the trouble.