Bob Geldof told 'boycott Israel or lose credibility'

By Jennifer Lipman, April 11, 2011
Bob Geldof

Bob Geldof

Pro-Palestinian campaigners have launched a campaign to stop Bob Geldof from visiting Israel next month on the basis that going there would damage the singer's "credibility as a defender of the rights of the dispossessed".

The former Boomtown Rats singer is to make his first trip to the country to accept an honorary degree from Ben Gurion University (BGU) in recognition of his anti-poverty work.

But Raymond Deane, the cultural and academic boycott officer for the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Camp (IPSC) has demanded that the star reject it and also pull out of a conference the same week on Israel's humanitarian aid work in Africa.

In a letter to Mr Geldof, who has an honorary knighthood, he said it was "a shock" that the Irish star would accept the BGU award.

Mr Deane gave several reasons why Mr Geldof should "not choose the side of the oppressor" by visiting Israel, citing recent boycotts by Elvis Costello and Pink Floyd's Roger Waters and the decision of the University of Johannesburg to sever its longstanding links with BGU.

He also said Mr Geldof should consider whether it was "appropriate" to attend the IsraAid conference because "the criminal actions of the Israeli state have resulted in the Palestinians being more dependent on humanitarian aid than any people on earth".

Mr Deane went on to add that if his appeal was ignored, the singer "may well stand accused of placing the oppressor's flattery above the victim's plea for solidarity."

He wrote: "You will have lent yourself heedlessly to exploitation by a rogue state that has mastered the art of propaganda and whitewash".

Mr Geldof has yet to respond.

Last updated: 5:36pm, April 11 2011