First, the president of the Jordan Artists Association [JAA] made unfounded statements concerning the Jordan Festival and launched a boycott, which other unions didn’t see fit to join in on, stating:
“We are doing our utmost so that no Arab singer or musician will take part in the festival because all artists are against normalisation [with Israel] and we are siding with the Palestinian people,” – Shaher Hadid said.
And all this was happening while the government was busy saying:
“I cannot figure out what they are basing their claim on. I stress again that Publicis Groupe is not organising the festival, which is 100 per cent organised by Jordanians.” – Jordan Tourism Board Managing Director, Nayef Fayez
Meanwhile, the organization suspected of “Zionist ties”, Publicis Groupe, was stating quite officially:
“There is absolutely no kind of cooperation with Jordan in arranging the Jordan Festival. We have nothing to do with the festival at all and we are not involved in it…our group did not organise Israel’s celebrations of 60th anniversary” – Peggy Nahmany, director of external communication at Publicis Groupe, France
But the call for boycotts continued, and so did the local media’s sensationalism, until it took the King to say:
“Publicis is not the company that is organizing the Jordan Festival. It is another company called Visiteurs Du Soir. Today Arab artists are contemplating cancelling their performances and Arab tourists that were planning on visiting Jordan are cancelling their trips. The government is now wasting its valuable time and resources trying to do damage control. All this because some so-called journalists are too careless and incompetent to do their basic work; it is shameful.” – HM King Abdullah II
Which lead to the JAA President, Shaher Hadid, to retract his statements and end his boycott:
“After the suspicion over the involvement of Publicis Groupe in organizing the festival was clarified and His Majesty King Abdullah’s statement in this regard made the situation clear to us, we decided to retract the boycott decision and I called on all Arab artists’ unions to strongly participate in and support the festival, which is in the interest of Jordan, its economy and tourism,” – Shaher Hadid
And regarding the boycott that has now been picked up by other unions and associations:
“No one has the right to start an anti-festival campaign. We were the first calling for boycotting the event, but when the issue was settled and the issue of suspected involvement of a French company with alleged ties to Israel was removed there is no need for attempts to destroy the event. We should strongly support it,” – Shaher Hadid
And even referring to the boycott he spearheaded only a few days ago, as:
“…nonsense that would lead to nothing,”
Honestly, there are some people who need to be held responsible and accountable for starting unfounded rumors. If the people demand accountability of the government, they should also be demanding accountability of themselves.