The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) warmly welcomes Elvis Costello’s cancellation of his scheduled performances in Israel. Costello’s decision is a great victory for the ethical responsibilities of international cultural figures, a key factor in the cultural boycott of Israel. It comes after similar cancellations by Gil Scott-Heron, Carlos Santana and Bono/U2 upon appeals by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) and its international partners, particularly in the UK and US.
Referring to Israeli imposed “conditions that visit intimidation, humiliation or much worse on Palestinian civilians in the name of national security,” Costello’s decision not to be complicit in whitewashing these Israeli policies is exceptionally brave and principled. It is deeply appreciated by the Palestinian people and people of conscience everywhere.
US- and UK-based solidarity groups upholding Palestinian rights had urged Costello to cancel his Israel performances in order not to contribute to legitimizing Israel’s occupation and apartheid against the Palestinians.
It is worth noting that, in the last few years, many internationally renowned cultural figures have come out in support of the cultural boycott of Israel. Such a boycott against complicit Israeli institutions is seen as an effective and necessary measure to end its impunity and promote its accountability under international law. A similar cultural boycott against apartheid South Africa is widely credited for isolating it and significantly contributing to the eventual collapse of the racist system there.