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Baez Backs out of Israeli Concert

Joan Baez, the American folk singer and proponent of progressive social views, has cancelled her plans to come to Israel to appear at the pop and folk song festival being held at the end of the month at Neviot in Sinai between Eilat and Sharm el-Sheikh. She claims that Neviot is occupied territory and she did not know this when she accepted the invitation to perform.

The song fest is part of Israel’s music and drama festival held annually during July and August. A number of leading folk and pop singers were invited to participate along with the Paris Symphony Orchestra, ballet groups from Belgium, Holland and Japan and soloists from a number of European symphony orchestras.

Ms. Baez was given all the information about Neviat, according to the Israeli organizers of the event, which is sponsored by the CBS recording company here. She demanded, before accepting the invitation, that she be given time prior to her performance to issue a political statement which she would make at the concert and which would be included in the record album of the festival.

Although it was known that Ms. Baez hews to an anti-Israeli view, the organizers agreed to her request, but she nevertheless cancelled her plans. The organizers tried in vain to persuade Ms. Baez that music and politics should be viewed as separate entities. Thus, instead of hearing Ms. Baez, Israelis will be listening to one of America’s top pop singers, Roberta Flack.

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