´Avalanche of Negativity,´ ´Venom´ Surrounding Israel Boycotts (INN) ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS) By Rachel Hirshfeld 05/22/12)
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Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore has criticized what
he described as “unacceptable efforts to harass artists with a view
to intimidating them from exercising their freedom of choice” in
relation to engagement with Israel, The Irish Times reported.
Gilmore’s remarks follow two recent incidents in which the Ireland-
Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) exerted pressure on Irish folk
band Dervish and Irish novelist Gerard Donovan to cancel their
planned trips to Israel.
“Although I was aware of the concerns with our proposed visit to
Israel, I wasn’t quite prepared for the extent of the venom directed
at us,” said singer Cathy Jordan in a statement on Dervish’s decision
to cancel its Israeli tour. She later referred to “an avalanche of
negativity” surrounding the originally planned visit.
Raymond Deane of the IPSC has denied that any such “avalanche of
negativity” or “venom” was directed at Dervish by activists calling
for the band to boycott Israel.
Gerard Donovan, who had been invited to the International Writers
Festival in Jerusalem this week, described the IPSC’s lobbying
as “outright intimidation” and said he would not be “bullied or
cajoled” into responding to the group’s denunciations.
The novelist had already cancelled his visit to Jerusalem on health
Foreign Minister Gilmore reiterated the government’s position that it
does not support cultural or other boycotts against Israel. “While
the Government is firmly opposed to campaigns which seek to impose a
cultural boycott on Israel, it is the right of others to take a
contrary view,” he said.
“Irish artists are free to decide for themselves whether or not to
engage with Israel. However, I would regard as unacceptable efforts
to harass artists with a view to intimidating them from exercising
their freedom of choice in relation to engagement with Israel,”
He also referred to discussions held by EU foreign ministers early
this week, which resulted in strong condemnations of the so-
called “Israeli settlements.”
“I have not disguised the serious concerns which Ireland has in this
connection about current Israeli government policies in relation to
the occupied Palestinian territories,” Gilmore said. “However, in my
view, political differences of this kind should not prevent us from
seeking to develop Ireland’s relations with Israel in other spheres.”
(IsraelNationalNews © 2012 05/22/12)
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