(LONDON) Award winning singer Alexandra Burke, British pop sensation at age 24, has chosen to refrain from headlining the Zionist Federation Gala to celebrate Israel's 65th birthday at Wembley Arena tonight. Wembley has a capacity of 12,500, though it is unknown how many people planned to attend the event in order to hear Burke sing. The Times of Israel reported that 10,000 people were expected.
Anti-apartheid supporters had contacted Burke, and there have been protests outside of Wembley Arena in support of Palestinian rights. In the Jewish Chronicle online, it was reported that an email was sent to supporters saying:
"We would like to inform you that unfortunately Alexandra Burke will no longer be able to join us on the night."
The establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 is directly linked to several massacres, deliberate expulsions, the destruction of over 400 Palestinian villages and the systematic dispossession of the indigenous Palestinian people. More than 700 000 Palestinians became refugees in neighboring countries due to Israel's violent establishment in 1948 in Palestine. Palestinian refugees and their descendants are the largest population of refugees in the world, who have for the last 65 years been denied the "right to return" to their homes by the State of Israel. While Israeli supporters "celebrate" Israeli Independence Day, Palestinians, progressive Israelis, supporters of justice and peace-loving peoples of the world mark the day as Al-Nakba (meaning the "catastrophe").