Feature

Israel apologizes to The Beatles

Surviving Beatles members Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr are being asked to perform at Israel

What happenedSurviving Beatles members Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr are being asked to perform at Israel’s 60th birthday party in May—43 years after the band was banned from playing a concert in the Jewish state. Israeli Ambassador to Britain Ron Prosor is also scheduled to present an official apology for the cancelled show to John Lennon’s sister, Julia Bairdat, at the Beatles museum in their hometown of Liverpool on Monday. Apology letters will also be mailed to McCartney and Starr, as well as relatives of late Beatles members George Harrison and Lennon.

What the commentatorsIsrael’s reason for canceling The Beatles concert in the first place was pretty ridiculous, said the blog My Chemical Toilet. “The nation banned the Fabs from performing there back in ’65 over fears that their music would corrupt the youth.” It’s kind of strange that “a country almost constantly at war” was “worried about a silly little beat combo.”

Well, that’s one take on it, said The Jerusalem Post. But “apparently the real reason for canceling the Beatles’ show was economical.” Israel’s parliamentary finance committee “was coping with a severe lack in foreign currency and decided that” there “was no justification in investing in a performance by a band they considered to be of low artistic standards.”

Not everyone in Israel thought so little of the Beatles back then, said Haaretz.com. In fact, “the never-used tickets for the concert have long been a prized souvenir among Israeli fans of the group.”

What an interesting set of priorities, said Itamar Euchner in YnetNews.com. “After accomplishing the mission of rehabilitating Israel’s problematic image in the world, the Foreign Ministry has now found the time to deal with the real important issue: Extending an official apology to The Beatles.”

Actually, getting the remaining Beatles to perform during Israel’s 60th birthday celebration “would really be something,” said the Israeli blog Irene Lancaster’s Diary. “They are terribly popular here” and it “would do such a great deal for relations between” Israel and England.

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