Irish activists in Dublin say they are preparing to hold “a loud and colorful” protest at an upcoming Riverdance performance “to highlight the shameful fact that Riverdance is scheduled to tour Israel this September.”
The Irish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) will hold their “Don’t Dance for Israeli Apartheid” protest on opening night of the internationally-renowned Irish folk dancing performance on Tuesday, 28 June.
In a press release, IPSC states that the protest:
… forms part of the international Cultural Boycott of Israel campaign which has seen many stars such as Roger Waters, Elvis Costello, Carlos Santana, Christy Moore and Damien Dempsey refuse to perform in Israel. The Palestinian call for a cultural boycott of Israel - until it ends the occupation of Palestine and abides fully by its obligations under international law - has also been endorsed by over 200 Irish performing and creative artists as well as countless others internationally.
Raymond Deane, composer and IPSC Cultural Boycott Officer — and contributor to The Electronic Intifada — stated:
Riverdance is often seen as a cultural ambassador for Ireland, a role that entails great responsibility. The Irish people have repeatedly shown that they passionately support Palestinian rights. By touring Israel next September in defiance of the Palestinian call for a cultural boycott of Apartheid Israel, Riverdance is simultaneously betraying the Palestinians and misrepresenting the Irish people.
IPSC also noted that within the Riverdance company itself, there has been internal protests regarding the decision to perform in Israel. Irish artist and set designer Robert Ballagh wrote an open letter to the company’s producers earlier this year. In his letter, he stated that he was “disappointed to learn of the decision to perform the show in Israel at this time,” and announced that he would donate his share of royalties acquired during the performances in Israel to the Irish ship to Gaza — a part of the second Freedom Flotilla attempting this week to break Israel’s blockade against Gaza.
IPSC added that a demonstration organized by the Irish ship to Gaza campaign “will link up with the ‘Don’t Dance for Israeli Apartheid’ protest and all participants will march to the Israeli embassy [in Dublin].”