Costello cancels Israel shows as ‘matter of instinct and conscience’

Published today (updated) 18/05/2010 19:10

Bethlehem – Ma’an – Seventies-era singer and songwriter Elvis Costello canceled his June/July concert series in Israel, citing – in part – the “despicable acts of violence perpetrated in the name of liberation.”

The move was immediately welcomed by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, whose director of campaigns and operations, Sarah Colborne, said an increasing number of artists were declining to perform in Israel, calling the move a ” clear stand for peace and justice.”

In a statement to fans and concert organizers Costello said he worried that by performing in Israel, he would be implicitly endorsing the “suffering of the innocent,” and adding that it was “quite impossible to simply look the other way.”

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign indicated in a statement that members “urged Elvis Costello to respect the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions on Israel, and our members and supporters also deluged him expressing their concerns.”

Costello himself thanked members of the Israeli media for helping him gain “an appreciation of the cultural scene,” and informing him in his ultimate decision.

“I hope it is possible to understand that I am not taking this decision lightly or so I may stand beneath any banner,” Costello wrote, offering “sincere apologies for any disappointment to the advance ticket holders as well as to the organizers.”

Calling his decision a “matter of instinct and conscience,” Costello said he realized that he would not likely be soon invited back to Israel, just as the country’s minister of culture called him “unworthy” of performing in the state.

He said he regretted the state of relations between him and the country, but noted he could “imagine a better time when I would not be writing this.”

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