On Paul McCartney and Israel

What the hell is wrong with the world?

A Muslim preacher, Omar Bakri, has threatened Paul McCartney if he performs, as planned, in Tel Aviv later in the month in a concert celebrating Israel’s 60th anniversary:

If he values his life, Mr. McCartney must not come to Israel. He will not be safe there. The sacrifice operatives will be waiting for him. Instead of supporting the people of Palestine in their suffering, McCartney is celebrating the atrocities of the occupiers. The one who is under occupation is supposed to be getting the help.

And this:

Paul McCartney is the enemy of every Muslim. We have what we call ‘sacrifice’ operatives who will not stand by while he joins in a celebration of their oppression.

Paul McCartney? A target of suicide bombers? Whiskey tango foxtrot?

It was McCartney himself who said in The Beatles Anthology:

I’m really glad that most of the songs dealt with love, peace, understanding. There’s hardly any one of them that says, ‘Go on, kids, tell them all to sod off. Leave your parents.’ It’s all very ‘All You Need Is Love’ or John’s ‘Give Peace a Chance.’ There was a good spirit behind it all. Which I’m very proud of. Anyway… it were a grand thing, the Beatles.

Peace, love, and understanding — that is the message of the Beatles. Maybe more love and understanding than peace, and maybe McCartney wasn’t as strong a driving force behind the message of peace as John was, but still — targetting McCartney with suicide bombers because he’s visiting Israel and playing a concert there is a damned stupid thing to do.

I’d never heard of Omar Bakri until today, but I can safely say that he’s quite possibly the most idiotic man on the face of the Earth. I don’t know what the solution to the Palestinian issue is — personally, I think either a two-state solution or a federal republic that incorporates both Israel and the Palestinian West Bank as constituent states — but the solution is not to target a man who has devoted his life to spreading the message of peace, love, and understanding with the threat of suicide bombers.

For McCartney’s sake, I hope he goes to Tel Aviv and puts on a kick-ass show, because no one, least of all Sir Paul McCartney, should live their lives in fear of what might happen. He and the Beatles didn’t back down in the face of American religious conservatives in the wake of the “We’re bigger than Jesus now” comment John Lennon made. He shouldn’t back down in the face of Islamic extremism, either.

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