Irish activists plan protest aimed at Riverdance’s upcoming performances in Israel

As part of the ongoing “Don’t Dance for Israeli Apartheid” campaign in Ireland — organized by the Irish Palestine Solidarity Committee (IPSC) — activists in Dublin are continuing to protest Riverdance’s decision to perform in Israel next month. 

IPSC stated that another demonstration will be held on 18 August outside the Gaiety Theater — “the final action in our series of ongoing protests before Riverdance heads to perform for Israeli Apartheid.”

In a press release published this week, IPSC said that Riverdance had responded to their earlier appeal to not perform in Israel this fall. The dance company had posted on its website — with comments disabled — that: “Riverdance supports the policy of the Irish Government and indeed the policy of every other EU state that cultural interaction is preferable to isolation.”

IPSC explained:

This response overlooks the fact that it is precisely the policy of EU states, i.e. their refusal to apply international law, international humanitarian law or indeed EU law (embodied in Article 2, the “human rights clause”, of the Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreement) to the state of Israel and their consequent complicity in Israel’s violation of these laws, that has made it necessary for civil society to call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), including a cultural boycott, of the Israeli state. BDS is a non-violent protest strategy responding to the call by Palestinian civil society and cultural organisations for international assistance.

Since last April, when the IPSC called on Riverdance to cancel its tour, Israeli soldiers have twice raided the Freedom Theatre in Jenin, in the occupied West Bank, thus jeopardising a planned production of Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett. Two board members of the theatre, Adnan Naghnaghiye and Bilal Saadi, and actor Rami Hwayel have been kidnapped by the Israeli military in the past month and remain in detention at the time of writing. “We don’t know why we are being targeted. We’re a cultural organisation fighting for freedom,” said Jacob Gough, the theatre’s acting managing director.

On 29th July Israeli soldiers attacked the Dutch “First Night of Love Brass Band” with tear gas canisters during their performance near Nablus in the West Bank. On that same day Israeli soldiers assaulted and seriously injured the Palestinian photojournalist Moheeb Al-Barghouthi for filming a demonstration near Ramallah.

These are just random and recent examples of the indiscriminate brutality of the Israeli occupation, which does not stop short of targeting cultural and journalistic freedom. This is the basis for the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions.

Since Riverdance’s management seems determined to tour Israel, we now call upon the musicians and dancers who make up the Riverdance Company to refuse to participate in this tour, following the example of Riverdance set designer Robert Ballagh and the 208 Irish artists who have pledged to boycott Israel. We call upon them to inform Riverdance’s management that they will not be party to a breach of the boycott call from Palestinian victims of Israel’s crimes. We call upon them, as cultural ambassadors, to refuse to besmirch Ireland’s good name by lending themselves to exploitation by those who would whitewash Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people.




"cultural interaction is preferable to isolation.”
What exactly is 'cultural' about 1.6 million men, women and children penned up in a tiny strip of land in conditions worse than cattle?

If Riverdance values 'culture' so much, does it not think the Palestinan people are just as worthy of their share of it as presumably the Israelis are?

Where and how does the 'interaction' part come into play? How does Riverdance performing in an illegal, apartheid state benefit the Palestinians (or Riverdance, for that matter)? I won't be holding my breath for an answer.

One thing I DO know; Riverdance has sold itself well and truly down the wrong side of the river, if it plays in Israel.


"cultural interaction is preferable to isolation.”
If the above statement is correct can Riverdance please explain their definition of 'isolation'? The people of Gaza have been 'isolated' for over four years now (collective punishment) from their families / friends and the rest of the world (forbidden to travel). Children are 'isolated' from their schools due to settler violence. Students are 'isolated' / prevented from traveling to their hard earned university places. Electricity is 'isolated' / cut off (literally) several hours a day, together with a lack of / 'isolated' safe, clean drinking water. Not even water for fishermen to fish in! unless you count the illegal, laughable, three mile limit (the fish are certainly laughing) set by 'democratic' israel, in place of the legal 20 nautical miles, (Oslo accords 1993) and they STILL shoot the fishermen down, wrecking their boats in the process. Farmers / Bedouin are 'isolated' from their land /olive groves or what's left of them, after settler scum torch them to the ground. Terminally ill people are 'isolated' from hospitals, humiliated and made to stand at checkpoints for hours. Women GIVE BIRTH at checkpoints, 'isolated' from essential medical care, resulting in a tragicaly high percentage of still born babies. In short; Ad Nauseum Infinitum. Gaza is a world class 'isolated' open air prison camp inhabited by people bereft of so much as a glimmer of their basic human rights. If Riverdance wants a true definition of the word 'Isolation' it need look no further than the barbaric APARTHEID SEPARATION WALLstaring it in the face if it plays there. If they prefer the official version, here it is. (Websters ref library) Isolation; 'To set apart from others; to place alone; to quarantine a person or animal with a contagious disease'. I think I've about covered it. Suffice to say, we all know who the 'contagious disease' is. Riverdance - can you STILL justify playing in APARTHEID ISRAEL?


If E.I. were to include a petition on its site asking Riverdance to rethink its decision, many readers would be willing to sign on.


Yes! Yes! Yes! C'mon EI. Get it sorted.


Bank robery is cultural interaction too, but isolation from that is preferable.
Moral support for Israel is being complicit in all their atrocities, do not do it.
Cancel the Riverdance trip to Israel

Nora Barrows-Friedman

Nora Barrows-Friedman's picture

Nora Barrows-Friedman is a staff writer and associate editor at The Electronic Intifada, and is the author of In Our Power: US Students Organize for Justice in Palestine (Just World Books, 2014).