Why is the US banning Israeli musicians from performing?

Top Israeli musical artists were denied special visas allowing them to legally perform in the U.S.

By World Israel News Staff

Several Israeli musical artists who arrived in the United States to perform for Israeli expats were informed at the last minute that they were denied special visas allowing them to hold concerts, according to Hebrew-language media reports.

A 2023 visa waiver agreement permits most Israelis to obtain permission to enter the U.S. by filling out an online application, as opposed to the previously arduous visa approval process which required an in-person visit to the American embassy.

However, Israeli entertainers who intend on performing in the U.S. need a special Artist Visa, which allows them to legally hold paid live events in the country.

Lior Narkis, a prominent Israeli singer in the Mizrahi (Middle Eastern) genre, arrived in Los Angeles last week.

Los Angeles is home to approximately 500,000 Israeli citizens, and Narkis was slated to sing at an Israeli Independence Day event held in the city.

But shortly before the concert, Narkis posted on Instagram that due to unforeseen “bureaucratic issues,” he would no longer be able to perform.

Narkis stated that for reasons unknown to him, the State Department would not issue him an Artist Visa, and therefore could not legally perform in the U.S.

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Hebrew-language news outlet Mako speculated that Narkis’ outspoken remarks urging a harsh military response in Gaza immediately following the October 7th terror onslaught could be why his visa was denied.

Rap duo Ness and Stila, whose war anthem “Harbu Darbu” topped the charts in Israel, posted a similar message days after Narkis.

Sources close to the pair told Mako that English-language reporting on the song – which falsely suggested that the lyrics called for violence against innocent civilians – had influenced the State Department’s decision not to issue them Artist Visas.

The song includes lines which describe anti-Israel adult film actress Mia Khalifa and model Bella Hadid as being on an IDF hit list. However, the references are clearly tongue-in-cheek, as the song then mentions a made-up character (Abu Baklava) as also being on said list.