Streisand cancels planned performance in Israel

Tue Apr 22, 2008 3:11pm EDT
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By Steve Gorman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Barbra Streisand has canceled a planned performance in Israel for an event marking the Jewish state's 60th anniversary, citing personal obligations, her publicist said on Tuesday.

The 65-year-old superstar had been scheduled to appear next month at a celebration hosted by Israeli President Shimon Peres in Jerusalem, where she had been asked to perform a rendition of the Hebrew prayer Avinu Malkeinu, or "Our Father, Our King," spokesman Dick Guttman said.

But she notified the Israeli government two weeks ago that she would not be able to attend after all due to unspecified personal obligations, he told Reuters.

"She celebrates as always the nation's courage and purpose and flourishing democracy, and is saddened that she cannot be there to do so in person," Guttman said in a statement, which described Streisand as "a devoted supporter of Israel since her earliest youth."

The Israeli government confirmed that Streisand's cancellation but gave no reason.

The Israeli newspaper Maariv quoted unidentified officials in Peres' office as speculating that Streisand pulled out because U.S. President George W. Bush also plans to visit in conjunction with 60th anniversary celebrations.

Streisand, one of Hollywood's leading Democratic activists and donors, has been a harsh, outspoken critic of the Bush administration. Guttman, however, denied that Bush was a factor in her canceled trip to Israel.

"That's certainly not the reason," he said. "Her affection for Israel certainly supersedes her disaffection for President Bush."   Continued...

<p>Barbra Streisand performs on the stage in Berlin June 30, 2007. REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz</p>