Irish artists join cultural boycott of Israel

By Jennifer Lipman, August 16, 2010
Eoin Dillon and his band Kila

Eoin Dillon and his band Kila

More than 150 Irish intellectuals and artists have launched a cultural boycott of Israel and compared their efforts with the fight against apartheid.

The Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) said the boycott would continue until “Israel complies with international law and universal principles of human rights”.

The signatories have pledged to reject funding from institutions with any link to the Israeli government. They said that in protest at Israel’s “treatment of the Palestinian people” they will not perform or display their work in the country.

Raymond Deane of the IPSC said they would maintain the boycott until “an end of the occupation of Palestine; dismantling or at least stopping the settlements; and Israel negotiating in good faith with the Palestinians”

Mr Deane added: “Artists who perform there are backing it [the Israeli government] whether they like it or not.”

Eoin Dillon from Irish world music band Kila, said he had signed up because “it worked in South Africa.”

An Israeli Embassy spokesman in Dublin said the boycott was regrettable and ill-advised. He added: “Vilifying and ostracising Israel and promoting a lose-lose programme of boycotts is not the way to secure legitimate Palestinian rights”.

The move comes in a period in which several high profile artists have cancelled concerts in Israel for “political reasons”. Elvis Costello, the Pixiesand the Gorillaz Sound System were among those who boycotted scheduled performances.

Earlier in August Massive Attack used a spot at the Big Chill festival to attack Israel and promote the cause of Palestinian refugees.

However others, including punk star Johnny Rotten and singer Rihanna have ignores calls for them to boycott.

Last updated: 9:44am, August 17 2010