Smadar Peri
July 3, 2008 - 4:27pm,7340,L-3562904,00.html

Most of the artists who were invited to perform in Jordan at one of the major festivals in the Arab world decided to pull out of the event, following a report saying the head of the company producing it is Jewish, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Wednesday.

The 27th annual Jerash Festival of Culture and Arts was expected to kick off this coming weekend and draw hundreds of thousands of people from all across the Arab world to the Hashemite Kingdom. This year Jordan decided to hold the festival's events in four different locations, Jerash, Amman, Petra and the Dead Sea in order to attract more tourists.

Leading performers from Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, the Gulf States and Jordan vied for a spot in the festival, but at the height of the preparations the Jordanian daily Al-Arab Al-Yawm reported that the publicity firm organizing it – Publicis - is owned by Morris Levy, a Jew who also organized Israel's 60th anniversary celebrations.

In the past Levy wrote a pro-Israel editorial for French newspaper Le Monde.

The report prompted the union of Jordanian artists, the union of recording artists in Egypt and similar unions in Lebanon and Syria to announce their intention to forbid artists from attending the Jerash Festival due to what they referred to as "suspicion of normalization with the enemy". The unions did not reverse the decision even after Publicis issued a statement issued denying the firm's involvement in the event.



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