(Wissam Nassar / Maan Images)

Sinead O’Connor says she’s trying to cancel Israel gig after boycott calls


Screenshot of Sinead O’Connor’s now deleted statement.

Irish singer Sinéad O’Connor has said she is trying to cancel a September gig in Tel Aviv after appeals to her to observe the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS).

“I was not informed by my booking agent, and was unaware myself, that a boycott of Israel had been requested by the Palestinian people. I agreed to perform having been unaware any such boycott had been requested. Had I been aware I would not have agreed to perform,” O’Connor said in a statement posted on her website and apparently removed some hours later.

A Google cached version is still available.

“As things stand I have requested to pull out of the show but may not be legally entitled to do so.”

on Twitter

O’Connor adds:

If I cannot remove myself from the show without cost to myself then I will perform because I can’t afford the legal costs involved in not performing.

No one should assume musicians can afford not to work. Neither should anyone assume we can afford to pay the legal costs involved in pulling out of shows. We have children. we need to feed them. Period.

I do not appreciate being bullied by anyone on either side of this debate any more than I appreciate not being properly informed by my booking agent of the potential ramifications of accepting work in war zones.

Appeals heard

While it’s unclear what O’Connor was referring to by “bullying” – a claim often made by artists asked to respect the Palestinian call for cultural boycott of their oppressors – the artist heard a number of appeals, including from Irish composer and activist Raymond Deane, who responded on Facebook to an earlier statement justifying the show:

Your statement re your proposed Israel gig leaves out so much, Sinéad. But mostly, what it omits is acknowledgement that Palestinian civil society has called for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions – including a cultural boycott – against the Israeli state. Not forever – only until it abides by international law and international humanitarian law. By ignoring this you are spitting in the face of the oppressed.

You cannot disguise this by talking about the poor suffering Israelis who will have the privilege of attending your concert, a privilege denied to Palestinians locked behind the illegal Apartheid wall or illegally under siege in Gaza. You will be spitting in the faces of the abused Palestinian mothers forced to give birth at Israeli checkpoints, lying in the dust. You will be spitting in the faces of the abused Palestinian children kidnapped by brutal Israeli soldiers and brought to torture cells in Israeli prisons.

Your presence in Israel will be exploited to the hilt by the Israeli regime which stated, in 2005, that it “sees no difference between culture and propaganda.” Please reconsider your decision - please look at the list of 265 Irish artist(e)s who have pledged to accept no such invitations to Israel until it abides by international law. Please don’t sing for the oppressor, and disdain the oppressed!

Deane then responded to O’Connor’s most recent statement:

Sinéad – our fingers are crossed that you will make the right decision re Palestine. Nobody is “bullying” you – the bullying is all on the other side. Everyone knows you care about social justice, you care about abuse and oppression. You were misinformed by your agent (and no doubt by the Israeli promoter), but now you know the truth – you’ll do the right thing, and you will be supported and respected for it. Our Irish government, as part of the EU, is complicit in Israel’s crimes – it’s up to us, representing civil society, to stand up for truth and justice.


#BDS is super cool!

So she's TRYING to get out of her obligation to the Israeli music scene. Not too hard, however. Many other groups in support of BDS have managed to cancel their appearances without going into bankruptcy, Sinead. And not being aware of the cultural boycott against Israel doesn't speak very well for your former support for the damaged people ( Catholics, in particular, right?) of the world. To use my all-inclusive statement: give us a break.

Like she isn't aware of BDS , I think not.

I accept that she may not have heard of BDS, there is still too large a group who haven't. I don't accept her line that the financial burden may be too onerous to bear. If she accepts the call for a boycott is just as she clearly does, is she suggesting she'll do the wrong thing because doing the right thing is too expensive.
I'm a long time fan of the singer and am so hopeful that she will succumb to no bullying but be persuaded by the argument that a boycott will help stop Israeli violations of human rights and international law.
She has an opportunity here to be a real leader by spreading the word to other artists who are yet to hear of BDS!

Sinead! Play Israel! We love you! Things are always more complicated than some gory pictures people love to send you. Make music a bridge to peace!

How exactly will Sineads singing be a bridge for peace when she is only singing on one side of the bridge ??

I know shekeeps an eye on all things Papal. Did she miss the controversy o.ver Pope Francis praying at the apartheid wall and the messages on it? Also, I think she'll find that Palestinian children are suffering vastly more than her children will, if she pulls out. It sounds like sh's made her mind up to go

Sinead's story professing ignorance is very very poor -- she is very well informed about politics, and she has devoted years to struggling about Catholic abuse of power -- she campaigned tirelessly against the evils of the Catholic orphanages and homes, where recently, the bodies of 800 children have been discovered -- the nuns had not even given the children a proper burial, and had thrown the babies' bodies into the septic tank, for heaven's sake.

Sinead has also campaigned and sung against the abuses of empire,( see her duet with Benjahmin Zepheniah, "Empire", and she works with Jamaican ghetto musicians, who DO understand struggle -- so, what are we to assume? That Sinead is just another stupid airhead musician, and the rebel stance has all been a pose? ( like the Clash and Pistols, who pretended to be anti-royalty, anti capitalist etc but it was all a pose from bubble gum pop acts dressed up as rebels)

Sad day if she plays Israel.

Sinead, get a sudden illness.

You cannot afford not to go? Can you afford to piss off all those who the BDS who might just erase you from their list of artists that they choose to support?

how could she possibly be unaware of the boycott?

Can you try a little harder, Sinead? You are not as meek and out of the loop as your post leads us to believe.
You don't know what's going on, when in '97 you said: “As I child I remember watching television in Ireland on Christmas Eve. I saw Israeli and Palestinian men beating each other in the streets of the very birthplace of their faiths. I felt saddened and frightened..."
Do you think this has stopped?
Sorry, but people in Ireland are huge supporters of BDS. Do you not see the protests on the streets of Dublin?
So, do you think I'm a bully for calling you out? You don't know what a fecking bully is. Ask a Palestinian child what a bully is when he's being dragged from his bed in the middle of the night by the 'military' or ripped from his mother's arms after being accused of throwing a stone a bloody tank. Then you'll know what a bully is.
People are dying. Children are being murdered on their way to school.
Don't sing and dance for their killers.

I'm wondering why she removed that statement hours later. Strange.

@StanleyCohenLaw: Fellow counselors, barristers, advocates & lawyers I have just committed us 2 represent Sinead O'Conner 4 free if sued for canceling Israel.

Van Morrison was under contract to a label with which he had a falling out. He had it from his mouthpiece that he had to write and perform as many tunes as was specified. He did so but you will never hear any of them. They were all gibberish. But he fulfilled his contract.
If Ms. O'Connor is sincere about her position, perhaps she could consult one of her wealthy friend's lawyers and find out whether she can perform gibberish.
If not that maybe she could keep up a steady stream of anti-apartheid statements prior to an innuendo laden performance.

Sinead O'Connor cancelled her last performance in Israel 18 years ago after she received death-threats from right-wing Israelis, because they claimed she was a PLO supporter. Afterwards she wrote to right-wing activist Itamar Ben-Gvir: "God does not reward those who bring terror to the children of the world. So you have succeeded in nothing but your soul's failure."
Well, it's hard to believe she didn't know about BDS. It would appear that she values money more than human rights and votes with her purse, so I will do likewise: If she performs in Israel, no more Sinead O'Connor concerts (or CDs) for me.

How is Sinead not aware of where her gigs are being booked? The answer is she is very aware of what she is doing. She's playing the propaganda game with/on behalf of the big boys and getting free press and self promotion. Sinead has a song called Jerusalem on her first album for God's sake....

So it proves that Sinead's caring, sincere image was just that -- an image, a front, and as we know, pop stars need an image to sell their pop music. Why was she so full of passion when claiming to work against the Catholic power structure, and claiming to want justice for the abused Catholic children and women? And I, more fool me, believed that was all real.

Must be just another image then -- otherwise, why would she ever even consider playing for, and entertaining IDF killers, who are behind not only the suffering in Palestine, but have also had their hand in bombing and subverting Syria and Lebanon -- why would she do that? Would she have played for the South African or Rhodesian army at the time of apartheid, in the 70s? What is the difference then, in playing for the IDF?

Sinead, it's not that hard to get locked out of Israel for a decade by Israeli border control/security. Be creative & get deported before you even set foot in town ... perfect opportunity. Let 'em sue Mossad.

How is she even relevant? She builds her brand on being "edgy" and "progressive" but hasn't managed to save one nickle over the years or pick up the paper in her country. She's just another black lipstick wearing, middle of the mall, mediocre nobody who is broke. Alot of people talk or sing about the marginalized or the oppressed, but when it comes to going to the mat and taking a stand, they run and cry in the corner. She needs to grow some balls, or better yet, find a conscience.

Really, and what the heck does being edgy and progressive have to do with saving one's nickels? You sound like you might be jealous of her talent. She does sing like an angel. While, on the other hand croak like a bitter old crow.
Stick to the issue if you really want to be of any help to anyone.

Well John, that was a strange response to my personal opinion. As far as jealous, no way. That woman has not put out a song in a long time. I am not sure if you saw her comment about contractual obligations and putting food on her table, but I did. Worrying more about money and resources ( in this case Palestinian land ) vs. basic human rights, is in my opinion, the root of the problem. How does she call herself an "activist" or "alternative" if she's so concerned with getting sued for breaking her contract? I just wanted to state my frustration with people tagging themselves as one thing and building their brand on it, then turning around and breaking their solidarity with ALL OPPRESSED PEOPLE! Hopefully you will understand my point. As far as sticking to the subject, I do that very well and there is nothing worst than a thug with a keyboard, so step off. I have an opinion and you will not shut me up, ever!

A mean-spirited, misdirected opinion from a clearly privileged or immature individual with little empathy or regard for the frustration and restrictions placed on those who would love to express themselves more provocatively were it not for the seriously debilitating repercussions, you will not know. Hopefully she'll do what she can if she's shown a little love.

John, you went so far off the topic, that I guess it is important for me to explain the language of my previous statements, but that could get even weirder for both of us, so PLEASE TAKE THE TIME TO READ THE LANGUAGE USED IN MY PREVIOUS STATEMENTS - LOOK AT THE USE OF "ALL MARGINALIZED PEOPLE", PLEASE! Understand, that my anger comes from profit over people, nothing else. Maybe you can explain to me why you used the word "privileged", and please be as specific as possible as to what you know about my personal situation. I am really confused the use of it in your last reply.

Jane, this is probably not an appropriate forum for what appears to be turning a bit personal. Please allow me to offer a public apology for my presumptuous speculations and moreover admit that I myself, as a white American male, am privileged. If, sadly, not immature. All the best and you might consider giving Sinead a break. She's only human and you catch more fly's with honey...