The 5 Towns Jewish Times wrote an article on the story here including quotes from Fried and Shwekey.
As a result of what happened in Jerusalem last Thursday night, both Mr. Fried and Mr. Shwekey had to hire security guards to get them out of the stadium safely and to the airport for their flight back to New York.
“Mr. Shwekey’s rabbi, Rav Ovadyah Yosef, spoke with the entertainer last week in Jerusalem and told him that his position was that the shows should go forward and that he should perform. As a result, we’ve learned he’s been told by some here that they will organize an effort to encourage people not to hire him for simchas here, and there is a concern that pressure will be exerted on the yeshivas that his children attend to remove them from the schools because he may have defied a ruling of gedolei Torah.”
Then there was a story on Shturem.net (A Chabad/Israeli new website) and they spoke to many different Chabad Rabbi’s in Israel.
However, Avraham Fried chose not to cancel the concert and performed anyway since he signed a contract that if he would have broken he would have had to pay hundreds of thousands of shekolim. None of the “machers” and public activists who drummed up opposition to the concert was willing to pay the tremendous amount of money that Fried would have had to pay if he cancelled.
On the day of the concert itself some people even circulated false rumors and statements to journalists of the big Charedi newspapers saying “Chabad rabbis are considering boycotting Avraham Fried because of his performance in Teddy Stadium.” Shturem verified these rumors and found that they are fabricated and totally false.
A senior member of the Chabad Beth Din told Shturem today: “The Chabad Beth Din did not receive any request from anyone about this issue and therefore we never deliberated it. But if you ask me, I think that first we have to verify the nature of performances at concerts in general and if separate seating poses a problem.
“Obviously, if this poses a problem of “tznius” it is very problematic. Any parent who sends his son or daughter to such a concert has to ensure that very strict provisions were made not to break the laws of “tznius.” I absolutely understand the fears of those who issued the “issur,” we are not enthusiastic about it either. But the question is whether to cancel such performances in general? I did not see them boycotting singers who appear at a “Siyum Hashas” or “Siyum HoRambam.”
He also brought up a good points.
Indeed, the rabbis who signed the call to boycott the concert are prominent rabbis but this call was not signed ALL Gedolei Yisroel, therefore in my opinion Avrohom Fried was not bound by this ban. I did not see Rabbi Moshe Landau’s signature on it, nor that of Rabbi Ovadye Yosef nor of Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu and not even Rabbi Chaim Kanevsky’s.
“It is possible that in the future there will be a ban signed by everyone, then it will be a different situation but as of now not ALL Gedolei Yisroel signed the ban not to go to the concert at Teddy Stadium. Moreover, according to what I heard, the timing of the ban came the last minute after the singer had already committed himself and signed a contract that he couldn’t break. There is also a humane consideration that was to have been taken into account: he was in such a predictment that he could not have cancelled the performance even if he wanted to do so himself.”
It was too late to cancel
Associates of Avraham Fried told Shturem.net: “Avraham Fried never disregarded requests from rabbis. But it is important to stress that until this very day absolutely not one rabbi asked him to cancel the concert. He was notified about it just like everyone else, on the eve of the concert, the last minute, when it was already too late to cancel it.
“Fried could not have canceleld the performance then because he signed a contract that if he would have broken he would have had to pay a sum that not even your imagination could come up with such a big sum.
“Of course, the issue bothered him very much, but he consulted his rabbis who after hearing all of aspects and details told him not to cancel his performance.”