A CULTURAL boycott of Israel was launched last week, with more than 150 Irish artists announcing that they intend not to perform or exhibit in Israel, or to accept any funding from institutions linked to the Israeli government.
The Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) said it was in protest at Israel’s “treatment of the Palestinian people”.
Raymond Deane of the IPSC cited a statement from the Israeli Foreign Ministry in 2005 saying they considered culture a propaganda tool.
He said: “Artists who perform there are backing it [the Israeli government] whether they like it or not.”
The pledge signed by the artists states the boycott would continue, “until such time as Israel complies with international law and universal principles of human rights”. Mr Deane said: “You can’t really pin this down”, but it means, “at least an end of the occupation of Palestine; dismantling or at least stopping the settlements; and Israel negotiating in good faith with the Palestinians”.
An Israeli embassy spokesman said the boycott “was regrettable and ill-advised” and that “vilifying and ostracising Israel and promoting a lose-lose programme of boycotts is not the way to secure legitimate Palestinian rights”.
Singer and songwriter Damien Dempsey hoped the boycott would encourage young people in Israel who disagreed with the government to “speak out”.
He said that the military were running the show in Israel and that they needed the world to stand up against them.
Musician Donal Lunny said he was taking part to “express solidarity with the Palestinian people”.
When asked about the boycott’s chances for success, Eoin Dillon, a performer with Irish and world music band Kila, said: “It worked in South Africa.”