An update on the Marcel Khalife affair

Richard Silverstein got through to the Kroc Theater run by the Salvation Army that had refused to host a Marcel Khalife concert. The explanation he got from them was that they could not rent the venue to the Palestinian organization al-Awda, which aims for the right of return of all Palestinian refugees.

It's good that Richard got this independently checked, although I strongly disagree with him that the Salvation Army's decision is understandable. I very much doubt it would have made the same decision if the organization trying to book the venue was the Zionist Association of America, Hillel, or one of the countless groups that supports Israel. I would guess that the Salvation Army's decision very much has to do with the well-known intimidation campaigns against pro-Palestinian organizations and individuals by Zionist groups, and that it chose to avoid the controversy and problems that would probably come with hosting an al-Awda event. The recent cancellations of appearances of public intellectuals like Tony Judt or Stephen Walt comes to mind.
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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.