An Israeli orchestra from Ashdod performed at a music festival in Morocco in early December, despite calls to cancel and threats to boycott the festival from local BDS activists who are opposed to normalized relations between the two countries, The Times of Israel reported.

On Dec. 4, the Israeli Andalusian Orchestra Ashdod opened the international Andalussyat Festival in Casablanca, which is considered the largest and most important event for classical Andalusian music in the world. The concert was performed by 100 musicians and soloists, and was made public only after the Israeli orchestra returned to Israel.

“We opened the festival with a concert that is entirely a message of peace and dialogue achieved through music,” said Jacob Ben Simon, the orchestra’s general manager. “People demonstrating for canceling the performance have no interest in music, peace, and the added value of the concert and festival.”

Ben Simon also thanked the festival’s management for supporting the orchestra and making them feel safe while in Morocco.

“I am filled with appreciation and awe of your silent efforts behind the scene to reject any attempt to cancel our performance and of your persistence in light of the pressure,” he said. “One must study the uniqueness of Morocco as a place that offers security to all religions.”

The Israeli orchestra also opened the Andalussyat Festival last year, which marked their first ever show in Morocco. That performance was also kept a secret in order to not endanger the musicians while they were in Morocco, a public-relations official for the orchestra said.

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