Irish bands cancel Israel performances citing boycott


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Two Irish bands canceled their heavily advertised concerts in Israel citing a cultural boycott.

Dervish and Fullset were scheduled to play in an Irish music concert on three dates at the end of June in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Nahalal.

In a statement published on its website and its Facebook page, Dervish called its original decision to participate in the concerts "completely non-political." The concerts were arranged by an Israeli musician called a "friend of the band."

Dervish said that once it became aware that "there was a cultural boycott in place," it was not willing to break the boycott. "Our decision to withdraw from the concerts reflects our wish to neither endorse nor criticise anyone’s political views in this situation," the statement said.

"I deeply regret any upset caused by all of this,"  the band’s lead vocalist, Cathy Jordan, said in a statement. "It was far from our intention to stir up all this anger and hatred, when the opposite was what was intended.

"In hindsight, it was very naive of me to think our motives would not be misunderstood and misrepresented. So much so it started an avalanche of negativity which has made it impossible for us to make the trip regardless of our motives."

Dervish had more than 350 comments about the concert on its Facebook page as of Sunday, and Jordan’s received more than 200.

In its statement on Facebook, the band Fullset said that because of all of the negative comments it had received about the upcoming Israel performances, "the goodness is gone out of this trip."

"We are musicians. We love music. We do not discriminate against any person nor push our individual political ideas onto anyone," the band said in its statement. "We were going to Israel to play for human beings, regardless of their beliefs, political views, religion or ethnic background."

The band concluded, "We encourage everyone to please stop arguing over this tour. It’s finished. Time to move on."

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