150 IRISH ARTISTS ANNOUNCE CULTURAL BOYCOTT OF ISRAEL

Irish Palestine Solidarity Campaign signs artists to pledge saying they will refrain from performing in Israel as long as it abuses Palestinian human rights

By Jack Khoury
Haaretz

More than 150 Irish artists and intellectuals have declared Saturday a boycott of Israel, saying they would not perform or exhibit in Israel until Israel ceases what they call its abuse of Palestinian human rights.

The artists signed a statement, pledging that they refrain from engaging in cultural activity with Israel “until such time as Israel complies with international law and universal principles of human rights”.

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An anti-Israel protestor at Dublin Airport

Speaking to the Irish Times, the head of the Irish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC), Raymond Dean, said that artists that perform in Israel are backing it whether they like it or not.”

“You can’t really pin this down…at least an end of the occupation of Palestine; dismantling or at least stopping the settlements; and Israel negotiating in good faith with the Palestinians,” Dean said.

The statement comes as more and more artists scheduled to perform in Israel, such Elvis Costello, The Pixies, Jill Scott Heron, Santana, The Klaxons and the Gorillaz Sound System, have canceled their shows, in what appeared to be a response to Israel’s raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla last May, which resulted in the death of 9 flotilla activists.

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Only last month, British electronica duo Leftfield announced that they would be canceling their scheduled performance in Israel on August 31st due what they referred to as production problems.

“Unfortunately Leftfield will not be able to perform at the Heineken Music Conference on the 31st August due to unforeseen production problems,” the duo wrote on the Facebook fan page dedicated to their current tour.

Meanwhile, on the duo’s official Facebook page they published a letter sent to them by the organization Boycott Israel calling for them to “postpone your planned concert in Israel this summer, indefinitely.”

The letter, scanned and posted on their page, stated that in light of Israel’s deadly raid on the Gaza flotilla in May, they urged the musicians to take a stand and protest Israel’s actions by canceling the show.

“Performing in Israel today means crossing an international picket line,” the letter said, adding that, “your visit here will be construed as a vote of confidence in Israel’s oppressive policies.”

In their cancellation statement the group made no reference to the letter, despite the fact that they had made it public by posting it on their Facebook page.

Leftfiled joined a growing list of artists and musicians who have recently canceled their shows in Israel due to political reasons, among others.

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