Elvis Costello Cancels Israel Gigs

Elvis Costello’s world tour will no longer include shows in Israel. The British singer-songwriter made the announcement in a blog post explaining that he was canceling the gigs in protest of Israel’s treatment of Palestinian civilians.

The performances would have taken place in Israel on June 30 and July 1.

Costello wrote that he was not “taking this decision lightly” but that it was a “matter of instinct and conscience.”

The lengthy post, titled “It Is After Considerable Contemplation,” explained his position over the course of several paragraphs.

“Then there are occasions when merely having your name added to a concert schedule may be interpreted as a political act that resonates more than anything that might be sung and it may be assumed that one has no mind for the suffering of the innocent,” he wrote.

“I must believe that the audience for the coming concerts would have contained many people who question the policies of their government on settlement and deplore conditions that visit intimidation, humiliation or much worse on Palestinian civilians in the name of national security. … Sometimes a silence in music is better than adding to the static and so an end to it.”

Photo: Jason Moore
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, New Orleans, La.

Costello thanked members of the Israeli media for their “rewarding and illuminating conversations” and apologized to ticket holders and organizers for any disappointment the cancellation had caused.

The singer-songwriter wrapped up the post by noting that he “cannot imagine receiving another invitation to perform in Israel, which is a matter of regret.”

While Israeli fans might be disappointed by the cancellation, Israeli Sport and Culture Minister Limor Livnat was also not pleased.

“An artist who boycotts his fans in Israel is not worthy of performing in front of them,” Livnat said in a statement, according to Agence France-Presse.

Carlos Santana and Gil Scott-Heron have also recently canceled shows in Israel in protest.

Costello is touring in support of 2009’s Secret, Profane & Sugarcane. Sunday he performs at Sonoma Jazz + Festival at Field of Dreams Park in Sonoma, Calif., followed by two gigs May 28-29 at Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas, Texas. In June and July Costello can be found playing gigs in the United Kingdom, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland and Portugal.

Click here for Elvis Costello’s official website.

Click here for the AFP article.