Palestine Marathon cancels Eddie Izzard

Eddie Izzard speaks to the press after the conculsion of one of his runs in 2009. (Liz Smith/Flickr)

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.

Original article

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.

Palestinian campaigners had called on Izzard to cancel his gig in Tel Aviv, scheduled for Thursday night.

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.




I think the PACBI may have erred in this case.

Why not get Eddie Lizzard to agree to a short tour around the West Bank and take in a visit or two to refugee camps and a stroll thru downtown Hebron as a condition of participation in the Marathon.

Shunning the comedian may drive him back into the zionist camp.

Having said that , I guess the people at PACBI know what they are doing.


Now make him pay for it.

Be in his face, unceasing and LOUD!

Make it so he will not have time for a "musical career."

Despite reports to the contrary, the Torah desecraters do not like it one bit when they are exposed as the racist charlatans and hypocrites that they are.


Good point. If he were to be educated in his error, I believe he would become a great, vocal ally. He is educated and principled, as is evident in his comedy.


A boycott is a boycott, a pucket line is a picket opressive regime is an oppressive cant disrespect a boycott and in doing so kegitimise an oppressive regime and think that you will be forgiven by standing with the oppressed the next day! Collusion is NOT opposition.


I agree with Larry White and think the Palestinian team has made a considerable error by not allowing Eddie Izzard to see the results of Israel's control over Palestine to take back to his fellow Labour Party members!


I can understand the problem. As an avocado-eater, my preferences shifted south when apartheid ended. This problem would never have happened with Daniel Barenboim. There again, Barenboim doesn't do much stand-up, wear make-up nor run marathons.


Really no suprise here, Eddie Izzard is utterly incapable of comprehending the legitimate right and desire of a people of a nation to self-determination. He has been an ardent supporter of Unionisim in UK, that continues to oppress the people of Scotland, by allowing us to be governed from Westminster by a political party that has only a single representative in Scotland. Izzard considers it acceptable that Scottish citizens will loose their European citizenship, dispite them resoundly rejectioning the withdrawal from Europe, demonstrating taht the voice and will of the Scottish people stands for nothing in his world.


I would recommend not slapping away any hands reaching to support freedom and equality for Palestinians, especially those of celebrities who have the power to reach tens of millions of people at zero cost. Most celebrities charge fees because they know the value of their endorsements. Finally, irregardless of my opinion on this issue I support anyone striving for a free, independent Palestinian with autonomous borders of their own state, provided their recognizing Israel's similar rights.


Just to get an idea of the man's marathon self-promotion capacity, check out this website extolling his great devotion to humanity-

I confess I'm at a complete loss as to what contribution the Palestinian people would have derived from his publicity run and immediate exit back to London. And by the way, his claim to have run 27 marathons in 27 days across South Africa in blistering heat at the age of 54 strikes this observer as patently absurd. That's twenty six-plus miles a day. His press office even maintains that he ran a double marathon on one of those days. If there's one thing the Palestinian cause doesn't need it's a camera hogging narcissistic fantasist carrying the banner. But then, maybe that's why he chose Israel.

He claims to revere Nelson Mandela. But he plays the current equivalent of Sun City.


I can just imagine what questions the organisers put on the application form for the marathon.

Asa Winstanley

Asa Winstanley's picture

Asa Winstanley is an investigative journalist who lives in London.

At The Electronic Intifada he is associate editor and co-host of our podcast.