According to a press release from the music web site Rock Paper Scissors in September 2007, the renowned Lebanese oud master Marcel Khalife was denied the use of a theatre for a concert in San Diego.
Al Awda, the local concert organisers, had already come to an arrangement for the venue at the Joan B. Kroc Theatre at the Salvation Army Crops Community Center. The application process had been followed thoroughly and a deposit had been made – when all of a sudden the application was rejected because the concert did not “present an Israeli artist alongside Khalife.” This was the reason for the organisers to classify the concert as “divisive” and “unbalanced” – which led to the cancellation of the concert at the Joan B. Kroc Theatre.
UNESCO Artist for Peace
Marcel Khalife is a UNESCO Artist for Peace and has a history of being banned in the Middle East for supporting freedom of expression. He has often spoken out for peace and reconciliation. These circumstances make the rejection of his concert in San Diego rather ironic.
Marcel Khalife’s autumn tour in the US will proceed as planned, even including a concert in San Diego at another venue.