BDS and bullies


Gerard Donovan, an Irish novelist, was going to read in Jerusalem.

Then he got sick and couldn’t go.

Which didn’t prevent an Irish BDS group from chastising him in an open letter.

Donovan, reports the Irish Times, is appalled:


Mr Donovan said he was completely unaware of the campaign as he lives in a cabin in the woods in New York state and is recovering from cancer and a series of leg operations.

He questioned the campaign’s attempts to contact him as he was easily accessible by email through his publishers, Faber. “I get letters and emails from complete strangers all the time, but I received nothing from them. They are suggesting I was contacted and I ignored them, but I received no contact whatsoever from these people.”

Mr Donovan described the campaign group as “idiots” as he had cancelled his planned visit to Jerusalem two months ago, but solely on health grounds.

He said his literary agency had arranged for him to read in Jerusalem as his third novel, Julius Winsome, was first translated into Hebrew before being translated into other languages.

He added: “If I had been well, I would have gone to Jerusalem. It is the job of the novelist to write things people don’t want to read and to go places where other people don’t want to go."

Raymond Deane, the "cultural liaison officer" of the  Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign, says it was all crossed wires: He had tried another email address before going public.

Maybe. He kind of undercuts his credibility, though, when he says this of one of his group’s successes, the cancellation of an Israel tour by the Irish folk band Dervish:

Dr Deane denied that comments on the band’s website about them being subjected to a campaign of “venom” and an “avalanche of negativity” was directed at his organisation. Instead, he said the comments were really directed at supporters of Israel who had targeted the band after they pulled out of the tour.

Read the band’s statement: It’s clear that the band got the hate-grams before it called off its Israel trip:

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.

The whole statement is worth reading. It’s heartbreaking. Cathy Jordan, a vocalist, describes her hopes of connecting with people while in Israel — and how they are now dashed.

Recommended from JTA