MUSIC

Arab Musician Rejects Israel Boycott Despite Mossad Assassinating His Brother By Mistake

10/09/2014 05:01 EDT | Updated 10/10/2014 10:59 EDT
Stefan M. Prager via Getty Images
GERMANY - DECEMBER 07: OLYMPIAHALLE Photo of CHICO & THE GYPSIES and Chico BOUCHIKHI, Chico Bouchikhi performing on stage at the Night of the Proms (Photo by Stefan M. Prager/Redferns)

Chico Bouchikhi , a founding but now former member of Gipsy Kings, says he's happy to perform in Israel despite the fact the Mossad back killed his brother by mistake in the '70s.

In an interview with The Independent, musician Chico Bouchikhi spoke about his brother Ahmed Bouchikhi being assassinated by the Mossad (the Israeli secret service) in July 1973.

"It was a clear case of mistaken identity," Bouchikhi says of assassination in Lillehammer, Norway. "They killed him in cold blood. It's the hardest thing to forgive when it's your own flesh and blood."

The Mossad killed Ahmed Bouchikhi but tragically mistook him for Ali Hassan Salameh, one of the members of the Black September terrorist group responsible for the deaths of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany. The agents who killed Bouchikhi were captured in Norway and briefly imprisoned before returning to Israel in 1975.

Mossad's intended target, Ali Hassan Salameh, was killed in Beirut in 1979.

"Despite the tragedy that my family and I experienced and live with still, my destiny led me to perform at the first anniversary of the 1993 Oslo Peace Treaty in Oslo and to shake the hands of both [then-Israeli President] Shimon Peres and [late PLO leader] Yasser Arafat," Chico Bouchikhi told the newspaper. "In a way I needed the events of that night to help me find inner peace and forgiveness." He also became a special envoy for peace as well as an UNESCO ambassador.

Although the musician has since parted with Gipsy Kings and is currently performing as Chico and the Gypsies, Bouchikhi believes the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement against Israel isn't productive.

"Artists are free to boycott Israel if they wish; but as far as I am concerned I hold no resentment and have no wish to boycott any country," he says. "What matters to me is for people to live a free life and to respect each other."

Chico and the Gypsies will perform later this week in France as part of a benefit concert. As for the Gipsy Kings, the band have a few U.S. shows this month as part of the 25th anniversary tour according to their official site.

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