Saying that she respects "all religions" and "that only chaos can result from disobeying" God's commandments, the always-controversial Irish singer Sinead O'Connor has delivered a fire and brimstone response to a death threat leveled against her just two weeks ago.
A week after canceling a June 21 concert appearance in Jerusalem because of the phoned-in threat against her life, O'Connor responded to the group that called for the action. In an open letter sent to the Associated Press, Reuters and the Jerusalem Post, on Friday, O'Connor addressed Itamar Ben-Gvir of the pro-Israeli group Ideological Front, which has claimed responsibility for the June 9 death threat.
"I have some things to say in response to your organization's recent threat upon my life," O'Connor began her page-long rebuttal. "And your subsequent interview on Israel radio, during which you gloated about your 'success' in preventing my appearance in Israel on June 21."
"...I have always had the most passionate love for the Jewish people, and sorrow for what they have suffered throughout the centuries," O'Connor said, explaining how she has studied Jewish traditions and how, as a child, she remembers watching television on Christmas Eve in her native Ireland and seeing "Israeli and Palestinian men beating each other in the streets of the very birthplace of their faiths."
O'Connor then addressed a question directly to Ben-Gvir: "How can there be peace anywhere on Earth if there is not peace in Jerusalem?"
She reminded Ben-Gvir of the sanctity and sacredness of life, quoting the book of Exodus, ("If you will obey me faithfully and keep my covenant... You shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation"), finally issuing a challenge to Ben-Gvir to remember the third and sixth commandments ("You shall not swear falsely by the name of the Lord your God," "You shall not murder.")
The letter ends with the warning "God does not reward those who bring terror to the children of the world. SO YOU HAVE SUCCEEDED IN NOTHING BUT YOUR SOUL'S FAILURE."
O'Connor was scheduled to perform on the last day of a four-day event dubbed "Sharing Jerusalem Two Capitals for Two States" sponsored by a group called The Jerusalem Link, described as "a Palestinian and Israeli women's joint venture for peace," but subsequently canceled the appearance when a death threat was called into the British Embassy in Jerusalem on Monday, June 9. That Friday (June 13), O'Connor released a statement in which she said she canceled the show as soon as she heard of the threat and that as the mother of two she would not do anything to jeopardize her children's future.
The organization of the festival has reportedly enraged right-wing Jews, who feel it undermines what they regard as Israeli sovereignty over all of Jerusalem, including its Arab Eastern half captured by the Jewish state in 1967. Israel's occupation of the city's eastern sector is not recognized by the international community.
Jerusalem's right-wing Mayor Ehud Olmert, pleased that the festival he dubbed a "provocation" and "anti-Israel propaganda" had been dealt a setback, told Reuters poor ticket sales were behind the concert's cancellation. But organizers said concert tickets had been selling well.
In her initial (June 13) reaction to the death threats, O'Connor, who dedicated her latest release to the people of three war-torn countries: Israel, Rwanda and Northern Ireland, said "my music is about healing... I have nothing but the deepest love and respect for the peoples of both Palestine and Israel."
O'Connor, who several years ago was targeted by Catholics when she tore up a photo of Pope John Paul II during an appearance on "Saturday Night Live," is apparently no stranger to Middle East controversy either. In Jerusalem in 1995, she attacked two photographers near the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, traditional site of Jesus's crucifixion, according to Reuters.