Update: Eddie Izzard’s publicist confirmed to The Electronic Intifada on Friday morning that he would not be participating in the marathon.
“I have now performed my show in Tel Aviv but even though the Palestinian Authority are allowing me to run in the Palestine Marathon, others do not want me to run,” Izzard said in a statement.
British comedian Eddie Izzard has been told he is not welcome at a marathon in the occupied West Bank after refusing to respect the cultural boycott of Israel.
Izzard ignored these calls. But earlier this week he announced on Twitter that he would be participating in the Palestine Marathon.
But on Thursday morning, campaigners announced that Izzard’s registration had been canceled by the marathon’s organizers.
Marathon organizers confirmed the cancellation with messages posted on Twitter and Facebook.
The marathon will start in Bethlehem on Friday. With part of its route going along Israel’s wall in the West Bank, it is has been organized to highlight the many restrictions placed on Palestinians’ freedom of movement.
The Palestinian Campaign for the Cultural and Academic Boycott of Israel accused Izzard of whitewashing Israeli occupation and apartheid and attempting an unconvincing “balancing act.”
“Eddie Izzard is not welcome in the Palestine marathon after he has crossed our boycott picket line,” the organization said in a statement. “Today, performing in Tel Aviv is equivalent to performing in Sun City [South Africa] during the time of apartheid.”Izzard’s publicist told The Electronic Intifada that they had received confirmation of Izzard’s registration, and had heard nothing of a cancellation from the marathon’s organizers.
In a statement, Izzard said: “I believe, as does the UK Labour Party, in the co-existence of an Israeli state and a Palestinian state. I decided, rather than doing nothing, to be proactive and play a gig in Tel Aviv and also run the Palestine Marathon the day after.”
Izzard is a long-standing member of the UK’s main opposition Labour Party, often appearing in its electoral commercials and campaigning for its candidates.