Uncelebrated by the region's English language media, a spat of some considerable proportions has been going on in Jordan, where the Jordan Festival, an intended celebration of music, culture and art, has been struggling in the face of calls for a boycott by Arab artists being raised by the Jordanian Artists Association.
The reason for the boycott was that French advertising agency Publicis was alleged to be retained as part of the organisation of the event and Publicis was further alleged been behind the organisation of Israel's 60th birthday celebrations. At least two artists, including Lebanese superstar singers Assi Hillani and Ellissa, had pulled out as a consequence and the viability of the event was starting to be questioned.
His Majesty King Abdullah of Jordan weighed in yesterday in an interview carried by Petra News Agency. Publicis Groupe has also categorically denied any involvement in the arrangements for the Jordan Festival in a piece carried by Arabic Daily Al Hayat yesterday and also denied any involvement in the arrangements for the Israeli 60th anniversary celebration beyond its CEO's attendance as a private individual.
But it might have been too little, too late. The boycott, according to a report in today's Jordan Times, continues. A letter's gone out from the JAA to five other national artist's associations calling on them to support the boycott. A boycott which would appear to be based on very little evidence indeed, but a great deal of emotional response.
Worst of all, take a look at the last line of JT's story: JAA's president has called for a boycott of Algerian Cheb Khaled (AKA 'Khaled didi') because he once played a concert with an Israeli artist in Rome.
I once had dinner with an Israeli. Should I worry?