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Elvis Costello cancels Israel concerts as protest

JTA

May 18, 2010 | 11:18 am

In a political protest, British rocker Elvis Costello canceled his scheduled performances in Israel.

“One lives in hope that music is more than mere noise, filling up idle time, whether intending to elate or lament,” Costello wrote in a message posted on his Web site, in which he discussed his decision to cancel his June 30 and June 31 Tel Aviv concerts.

“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.”

Costello said he believed that some in his audience would “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.”

He also acknowledged the Palestinians’ “many despicable acts of violence perpetrated in the name of liberation.”

“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,” Costello wrote, concluding that “Sometimes a silence in music is better than adding to the static.”

He called the cancellation “a matter of instinct and conscience.”

Prominent musicians Santana and Gil Scott-Heron also have canceled their summer concerts due to pressure from pro-Palestinian organizations.

Costello’s wife, vocalist and pianist Diana Krall, is scheduled to perform Aug. 9 at the Ra’anana Amphitheater. Costello acknowledged in his message that he likely will not be asked again to perform in Israel, calling it “a matter of regret.”

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