Metal band Megadeth, hip-hop star CeeLo Green latest to drop Israel concerts

American hip-hop star CeeLo Green performing at Gardens by the Bay in Siingapore in May 2013. He had been due to play his first-ever concert in Israel, on August 19 in Jerusalem. -- PHOTO: ST FILE
American hip-hop star CeeLo Green performing at Gardens by the Bay in Siingapore in May 2013. He had been due to play his first-ever concert in Israel, on August 19 in Jerusalem. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Thrash metal band Megadeth and hip-hop star CeeLo Green joined a growing list of entertainers Tuesday whose scheduled concerts in Israel have been canceled amid the Gaza crisis.

Los Angeles-based Megadeth was due to play in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, but on its website the group said it wasn’t able to secure a guarantee that it could make it.

“The band was looking forward to this concert and is disappointed they will not be able to put on the show for their fans, but expects to return to Tel Aviv on their next international tour,” it said.

Organisers, meanwhile, scrubbed what would have been rapper Green’s first-ever concert in Israel, on August 19 in Jerusalem, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

“Unfortunately we were the ones who had to postpone it because this is not the right time to advertise and push a concert,” the showbiz trade journal quoted promoter Carmi D. Wurtman as saying.

Wurtman, who hopes to reschedule Green for later this year, added that the Israeli Defence Forces – amid an ongoing offensive against Hamas in Gaza – currently allow public gatherings of no more than 1,000 people.

Chart-toppers Lana Del Rey and Lady Gaga remain scheduled to perform in Tel Aviv on August 20 and September 13 respectively.

But others whose Israeli gigs have been cancelled include Canadian rock icon Neil Young, the 1970s soft rock band America, the enduring 1990s boy band Backstreet Boys, and prog rock combo Kansas.

Israel has been a popular stop for international artists on summer European tours, but pro-Palestinian groups have been stepping up a social media campaign urging performers to boycott the Jewish state.