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Pet Shop Boys singer defends Israel concert

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Pet Shop Boys singer Neil Tennant defended his band’s decision to play Israel amid pressure to cancel the June 23 concert.

A statement by Tennant was posted on the British duo’s official website Sunday following the release of a poster showing them wearing sunglasses stamped with the captions “1 child killed every three days” and “2 kids caged every day.”

The poster was created by the Britain-based pro-Palestinian group Innovative Minds.

Tennant wrote, “I don’t agree with this comparison of Israel to apartheid-era South Africa. It’s a caricature. Israel has (in my opinion) some crude and cruel policies based on defense; it also has universal suffrage and equality of rights for all its citizens both Jewish and Arab. In apartheid-era South Africa, artists could only play to segregated audiences; in Israel anyone who buys a ticket can attend a concert.

The Pet Shop Boys will perform at Nokia Stadium in Tel Aviv. They performed in Israel in 2009 and 1999.

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