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Media Analyses





AFP Falsely Reports Lenny Kravitz Boycotted Israel


One month after the Toronto Star published commendable corrections making clear that Meg Ryan and Bruce Willis never boycotted Israel, Agence France-Presse falsely reports today that rock star Lenny Kravitz had also canceled a planned visit to Israel in support of the anti-Israel boycott movement. About the anti-Israel BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions) movement, the AFP reports ("Palestinian boycott leaders say peace talks 'useless'"):

The group's influence is definitely being felt.

Stevie Wonder pulled out of an Israeli army fundraiser in November after pressure from Tutu and Waters, and fellow US singer Lenny Kravitz cancelled a Tel Aviv concert due to take place in October after being petitioned by activists.

In fact, as was widely reported at the time, Kravitz canceled his planned October 2012 visit to Israel due to a scheduling conflict. He had to extend his shooting of the film The Butler, and promised to come to Israel in 2013. As the Jerusalem Post reported:

Rocker Lenny Kravitz quashed speculation that the cancelationof his Tel Aviv concert, slated for October 6, was politically motivated, and promised to come to the Holy Land in 2013.

"I have been looking forward to performing in Israel for some time. The idea of ending my world tour there was also extremely meaningful to me. As a result I am personally disappointed and very sorry that my concert in Tel Aviv had to be postponed," Kravitz wrote in a Facebook post on Wednesday. "I promise that I will be in Israel next year. Looking forward to seeing you all in 2013."

In the post, the rocker said he had to cancel the concert because the historical film The Butler, which he is currently filming in New Orleans, extended its shooting schedule. Kravitz said he was contractually bound to complete the film.

Kravitz also cancelled European tour dates including in Kiev, Bucharest, Zagreb and Istanbul, according to Channel 2.

Likewise, Times of Israel reported Aug. 22, 2012:

Dispelling rumors that singer Lenny Kravitz may have canceled his planned October 6 Tel Aviv show due to political reasons or poor ticket sales, producer Gad Oron told The Times of Israel that a total of 10 September and October shows — in Russia, the Ukraine, Finland, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Macedonia and Turkey — were canceled because of Kravitz’s extended filming schedule.

Ynet also reported that Kravitz canceled his European performances, in addition to his Tel Aviv show, due to a scheduling problem. Google translate of a Turkish site confirms that he canceled his Oct. 4, 2012 Istanbul show. Likewise, Concierge Group confirms that Kravitz postponed the Kiev show, and the Diplomat (Bucharest) reports on the star's postponement of his performance in that city.
 
In a second questionable claim, AFP also reports "Other [boycott] 'successes' include Adidas dropping its sponsorship of the Jerusalem marathon in March after pressure from the movement." Extensive searches did not term up substantiation of the claim that Adidas dropped its sponsorship of the March 2013 marathon due to pressure from the anti-Israel campaign. As was widely reported, Adidas was a sponsor of the 2012 Jerusalem marathon, prompting Arab boycott calls. Yet, Adidas has not given any indication that the company is not a sponsors this year due to Arab pressure. CAMERA has contacted Adidas spokespeople seeking confirmation, and we will inform our readers of any response.
 
The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) is the source for many of the bogus boycott claims, including Bruce Willis, Meg Ryan and Lenny Kravitz. In its bizarrely named "List of Artists who Respect the BDS call," Kravitz's name appears as follows:
 
 
On what basis does PACBI conclude that Kravitz's cancellation due to "prior commitments" translates to "respect" for the "BDS call"? PACBI's claim that Kravitz's cancellation due to his ongoing shooting of The Butler is no more credible than its unfounded claim that Willis supported the boycott, when in fact his trip with Sylvester Stallone was canceled due to the untimely death of the latter's son.
 
About the Willis fiasco in the Toronto Star, Kathy English, the paper's public editor wrote,  "it is also a strong reminder for journalists that just because the Internet says it’s so, doesn’t make it true" ("Bruce Willis and the Israel boycott that never was: Public editor"). Especially, one might add, when it comes to the BDS campaigners.
 
CAMERA has contacted AFP editors requesting correction. Stay tuned for an update.

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