Elvis Costello’s ‘Conscience’ Forces Israel Concert Cancellation
May 18, 2010
(ChattahBox)—British rock singer Elvis Costello, has decided “instinct and conscience” cannot allow him to perform in the Jewish State of Israel. In a lengthy post on his website, Costello, of “Pump it Up” fame, wrote that after “considerable contemplation,” he could not support the “intimidation, humiliation or much worse on Palestinian civilians.”
Costello canceled his June 30 and June 31 Tel Aviv concerts, joining performers Santana and Gil Scott-Heron, whom have also canceled appearances in Israel in support of the Palestinians.
Costello wrote that he didn’t want his Tel Aviv appearances to serve as support for Israel’s settlement policies, which cause “suffering of the innocent,” so he prefers to offer his musical silence instead:
“One lives in hope that music is more than mere noise, filling up idle time, whether intending to elate or lament. 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. 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.”
Costello also acknowledged violent acts carried out by Palistinians to gain independence. “I am also keenly aware of the sensitivity of these themes in the wake of so many despicable acts of violence perpetrated in the name of liberation.”
Costello continued, saying that he spent some time trying to make sense of the toxic political climate in the Middle East, before making his decision to pull out of his Israeli tour dates:
“It is a matter of instinct and conscience. It has been necessary to dial out the falsehoods of propaganda, the double game and hysterical language of politics, the vanity and self-righteousness of public communiqués from cranks in order to eventually sift through my own conflicted thoughts.”
The rocker ended his missive, by expressing “regret” that he would probably not be invited back to perform in Israel.
Israel and the Palestinians have returned to peace talks, which are on shaky ground with the continued expansion of Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem.