Stating that he will not give in to pressure from pro-Palestinian groups, Black Eyed Peas’ will.i.am said on Monday that he would stick to maintaining good ties with Israel and perform in the nation as scheduled.
The Grammy-winning group was set to perform in Jerusalem on Monday, and while speaking to the Associated Press ahead of the concert, which was taking place on the U.N.’s international day of solidarity with the Palestinian people, will.i.am said that personal and business ties keep him performing and investing in the country.
“I’m a musician and a tech enthusiast and people like our music,” he said, flanked by two of the group’s other members, Taboo and Apl.de.ap. “Do I turn my back on people that live here because of politics? No, that’s not the way we were built. So, you know, there’s beautiful people here as well as beautiful people in Palestine. And one day we want to go there too.”
Unlike will.i.am, major performers including Lorde and Lana Del Ray have canceled appearances under pressure from a Palestinian-led movement, while other stars including Madonna and Bob Dylan have defied it. The movement is known as BDS for its calls for boycotts, divestment, and sanctions against Israel.