McCartney prepares for landmark Israel concert

Sir Paul McCartney was today preparing for his controversial concert in Israel, more than 40 years after the Beatles were banned amid concerns over youngsters being corrupted.

The landmark Friendship First Concert will take place tomorrow in Tel Aviv in front of tens of thousands of fans, despite fears over extremist threats.



The Beatles were famously banned from performing in the country 43 years ago and it will be Sir Paul's first concert in Israel.



Radical cleric Omar Bakri Mohammed has urged Sir Paul to cancel the visit out "of respect of the feelings of Muslims in Palestine".



But the singer has not heeded calls to stop the show.



The 66-year-old has said on his website that he hoped his Tel Aviv concert would "reawaken" the idea of peace.



He said: "The world knows about the conflicts that have been in that region and I like to think that if I go to a place it becomes evident that my message is a peaceful one and I hope that the idea will spread.



"It often does happen you know - you'll go to a place and it can affect the audience.



"It reawakens the idea - so that is definitely my message and when I am talking to people, that will be my message and I am sure it is a message shared by a lot of the audience too."



He added: "People ask this question through the years. 'Do you think music can change things?'



"I think it can. I think it's good for people's souls. I think without music it would be a seriously bad world, we would have more problems.



"Music can help people to just calm them down. I also think it can be very interesting for change.



"I always cite a John (Lennon) song Give Peace A Chance. If you watch the footage from back then, about a million people outside the White House chanting that song to Nixon inside the White House, I think that had an effect.



"On that occasion, obviously for them to have that song to portray how they were feeling I think was very important. So yes, I think it can change things.



"Songs like We Shall Overcome have been very important for the civil rights movement so yeah, I think music is great and it can make changes."



Israel banned the world's most famous band from performing in Israel in 1965, fearing it might corrupt their youth.



Sir Paul said: "They said we were bad for the youth of Israel, and I think that was a mistake - I don't think we were that bad.



"But you know what ... we took it as fun, it didn't really worry us we just went off and played somewhere else.



"Our manager, Brian Epstein, who was Jewish, was, I think, more insulted than we were.



"He said: 'They won't let you play, they think you are bad for their youth' so we moved on to the next gig."

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