News just in from David Landy in Ireland:
This is good news. Dervish is a decent Irish traditional band from Sligo - although they did a fairly underwhelming Eurovision entry a few years agohttp://www.youtube.com/watch?
v=NeoSXqOh6ZY&feature=related (Not their choice of song though). A much better song, with the great Kate Rusby, is here (http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=8671ZVYrKLw&feature=related) Anyway, they were scheduled to play Israel, and after people started asking them not to (and really it was a very short campaign), they issued a statement saying they wouldn’t break the boycott.
I’m probably not alone in being disappointed by the statements that are issued by bands that boycott Israel. I want them to say ‘We are not playing Apartheid Israel. Victory to the Palestinian struggle!’ And of course, they usually come out with more milk-and water stuff – we don’t want to aggravate the situation, there are extremists on all sides but maybe in such a tense situation we shouldn’t go etc.
This disappointment was my initial reaction when reading Dervish’s statement from their facebook page below. But thinking more, it’s a good thing that a band says that their decisions are ‘completely non-political’ AND at the same time ‘we do not wish to break the boycott’. It shows how normal the boycott is getting, that breaking it is starting to be seen as a political act – whereas not going to Israel is seen as apolitical – that is, ordinary. Israel is gradually being placed outside the ordinary – another victory for the anti-normalisation campaign.
And well done to Dervish!
‘Dervish wish to announce they will not be taking part in the Irish music concert series in Israel this June.
Our original decision to participate in the concerts was, like all our tours and appearances, completely non-political.
The organiser of the shows is a musician and friend of the band for many years. He has worked to bridge divides between people through music for much of his life. These concerts were organised in this same spirit.
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.
Our decision to withdraw from the concerts reflects our wish to neither endorse nor criticise anyone's political views in this situation.
Dervish are a grouping of like musical minds, we are not a political party.
Our motivation as a band has always been and will continue to be our love of music’