The Irish band Dervish announced today that it has pulled out of a series of Irish music concerts in Israel this June, so as not to violate calls for the cultural boycott of Israel.
“At the time we agreed to these performances we were unaware there was a cultural boycott in place. We now feel that we do not wish to break this boycott,” the group said in a statement on its Facebook, adding, “Our decision to withdraw from the concerts reflects our wish to neither endorse nor criticise anyone’s political views in this situation.”
Composer and writer Raymond Deane, hailed the decision, commenting, “I salute you for this courageous and morally correct decision. You will now be subject to massive defamation from Zionists and their fellow-travellers - you should see this as proof that you have made the correct decision, because it will reveal to you the viciousness and mendacity of Israel’s apologists.”
Deane has been a leading Irish campaigner for the cultural boycott of Israel and a signatory along with 150 other Irish artists of an August 2010 pledge to boycott Israel. Since the pledge’s launch, the number of signatories has reached more than 200.
Deane had written to Dervish, in the name of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Committee urging them that:
If you cancel your trip to Israel, thus incidentally saving the members of FullSet from the infamy of breaching the Palestinian cultural boycott so early in their career, you will have joined the likes of Roger Waters, Elvis Costello, Cassandra Wilson, and Carlos Santana who, having at first agreed to perform in that country, decided that it was of greater importance to support the just struggle of the Palestinian people against Israeli oppression.
As news of Dervish’s cancelation spread via Facebook, some people were intensifying efforts to get other the other Irish band, FullSet to cancel as well.
Insults from Israeli embassy
As the now successful campaign to urge Dervish to respect the cultural boycott proceeded, the Israeli embassy in Dublin hit back. On its Facebook page, it called Israeli citizens and others who urged respect for the boycott “Israeli self-haters and anti-Semites,” as a screen capture shows.
It appears that these insults had no effect.