Thursday, 10 May 2012

Respecting a friend

'Dervish wish to announce they will not be taking part in the Irish music concert series in Israel this June. Our original decision to participate in the concerts was, like all our tours and appearances, completely non-political. The organiser of the shows is a musician and friend of the band for many years. He has worked to bridge divides between people through music for much of his life. These concerts were organised in this same spirit. At the time we agreed to these performances we were unaware there was a cultural boycott in place. We now feel that we do not wish to break this boycott. Our decision to withdraw from the concerts reflects our wish to neither endorse nor criticise anyone's political views in this situation. Dervish are a grouping of like musical minds, we are not a political party. Our motivation as a band has always been and will continue to be our love of music’


 Dervish are an Irish traditional band based in the democratic republic of Ireland. Their friend wants to support the hunger strike in Palestine by peaceful means.

 How did the Irish government respond to this? '

'The Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) has been subjected to unprecedented attacks after the traditional music band Dervish refused to break the boycott and play in Israel. The Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter, who is an ardent Zionist has, in a frankly unbelievable press release, slammed the ‘IPSG’ [sic] for ‘cyber-bullying’ Dervish, has linked us with Al Qaeda, and has claimed we are taking away the constitutional rights of Irish citizens by asking them to boycott Israel.

 What is worrying – showing the deference to power among the Irish media - is that these statements have been taken at face value, rather than treated as an ideologically motivated assault on peaceful Palestinian rights campaigners. With our minds on the hunger strikers facing death in Israeli prisons, this minor media mugging seems trivial – talking about it sounds narcissistic. But this bullying of Irish people who support Palestinian rights is part and parcel of a so-far successful campaign to ensure that Palestinian voices are drowned out in the media.

 There has been no coverage at all of the hunger strikes in the Irish press. In comparison, there has been a flurry of articles on Dervish and the cultural boycott. You can find indignant voices talking of the value of cultural exchange as Palestinian prisoners are starving to death - here and here in the Sunday Independent; here and here in the Irish Times - and also in the Sunday Times (behind a paywall, but really, you’re not missing much). The worst of these articles come from the Sunday Independent, the Irish version of the Daily Mail. Over the past few weeks, the Sindo has been launching ongoing attacks on the IPSC – their articles and various responses are here – something which demonstrates the success of the Israeli media machine in targeting Ireland, as they had previously promised....'

  How democratic is YOUR government?

 Can you make a peaceful, non-political gesture without being branded a supporter of terrorists? The Dixie Chicks learnt the consequences of criticising George Dubya Bush's foreign policy and now it's the turn of Dervish.

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