ELVIS COSTELLO CANCELS ISRAELI
CONCERTS IN PROTEST
It Is After Considerable Contemplation....
It is after considerable contemplation that I have lately arrived at
the decision that I must withdraw from the two performances
scheduled in Israel on the 30th of June and the 1st of July.
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
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
Some will regard all of this an unknowable without personal
experience but if these subjects are actually too grave and complex
to be addressed in a concert, then it is also quite impossible to
simply look the other way.
I offer my sincere apologies for any disappointment to the advance
ticket holders as well as to the organizers.
My thanks also go to the members of the Israeli media with whom I
had most rewarding and illuminating conversations. They may regard
these exchanges as a waste of their time but they were of great
value and help to me in gaining an appreciation of the cultural
I hope it is possible to understand that I am not taking this
decision lightly or so I may stand beneath any banner, nor is it one
in which I imagine myself to possess any unique or eternal truth.
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.
I have come to the following conclusions.
One must at least consider any rational argument that comes before
the appeal of more desperate means.
Sometimes a silence in music is better than adding to the static and
so an end to it.
I cannot imagine receiving another invitation to perform in Israel,
which is a matter of regret but I can imagine a better time when I
would not be writing this.
With the hope for peace and understanding. Elvis Costello
May 5, 2010
I don't know how to express how disappointed I am to see this
kind of nonsense from you. I generally don't give a rat's ass about the
constant flow of cheap moral grandstanding from spoiled pop singers and
celebrities, but you in particular are just way too smart for this kind of BS.
In the first place, it speaks to an unfortunate trait of
self-aggrandizement that you sometimes show. This jumped out at me a
couple of years ago when you were getting some free speech award and talked
about how dangerous it was now (the Bush era) to be an artist speaking out on
"matters of conscience." Of course, I can imagine how you'd be a little
fearful after that evil Bushitler had the
Dixie Chicks shot.
Oh right, now
I remember - that never happened. This intimidation and oppression was
purely a cheap fabrication on your part so you could imagine that The Man would
give a damn about anything you could possibly say when you think you're speaking
truth to power. Sorta like the "Radio, Radio" thing on SNL back in the 70s
where you imagined that you would have to go rogue because the evil suits at GE
would never allow you make such a scathing indictment on their air (as if they
would even care) - but not as
cute, nor having the excuse of youth.
"One lives in hope that music is more than mere noise, filling up idle time"
Yeah, I'ma have to call bullshit on you right here specifically. Of course
music is more than mere noise, although it certainly is good for filling up idle
time with life giving art and joy. Music is an important art form - the
most important one, if you asked me. But you're jumping all the way from
"more than mere noise" into being the Conscience of the Nation or some such
pretentious nonsense. Be grateful simply to be "God's Comic."
It's not enough to be one of the greatest songwriters and
singers in the history of recorded music, admired by millions. Making
Imperial Bedroom and The Delivery Man
isn't enough, you apparently also have to be some self-appointed Gandhi, a voice
Why, just you showing up and doing your job singing songs in a country whose policies you
disagree with would be a political statement in their support. Your mere
presence would "resonate." Hey, everybody, look - Elvis Costello is
playing in Israel. He must be supporting the policies of Netanyahu. You
seriously need to get over your bad self there. Jumpin' Jehosophat!
Further and much worse, you now choose to indulge this self-aggrandizement
through a thoroughly morally repugnant expression of supposed "conscience" to
rebuke some of the very finest and most compassionate people on the planet on
behalf of absolutely the worst and wickedest. Your moral "instinct" to
support the weak and downtrodden is made pretty seriously perverse and out of
whack in that you simply disregard any accountability for them.
For one part of that, I'm less than impressed with what you try
to get away with in that phrase about how the Jews are supposedly oppressing the
poor Palestinians "in the name of national security." That phrase clearly
implies that you summarily reject Israeli concerns of security as just a made up
excuse. They claim to be acting "in the name" of something - but why do
you think the Jews are really busting heads?
What, the Jews don't really seriously need to take any military
actions or place naval blockades and such to protect themselves? They
don't really have bomb makers embedded into schools and mosques? The Jews
should make nice? How's THAT worked out for them in the last 20 years and
more? Has giving up land gotten Israel MORE peace or LESS?
The Palestinians deserve and to a large and perverse extent
actually actively desire every bit of the misery that they suffer. If you worry for
the innocent Palestinian children (disregarding the innocent Israelis they constantly
slaughter) then you might better address that indignation to their parents who
volunteer their young children as human shields for Hamas bomb makers, just for
starters. Noticing actual behavioral facts does not constitute racial
prejudice (pre-judging based on race without knowing actual facts of behavior) or bigotry, so save it, m'kay?
By their actual behavior, the big majority of Palestinians show far more
interest in spiting and killing Jews than in having anything positive for
In short, being
powerless and weak does not in any way imply any presumption of superior moral
stature. Nor does suffering necessarily imply oppression. If you
look up from your cheesy ideologies to see how your map fits the actual road,
you'll see something way different than the pampered view from your nice gated
Now, if you're done jacking off your
fourth circuit there Mr Voice of Conscience, can you kindly get back to work?
Your Biggest Fan
PS If you were concerned and wanted to talk about actual fearful
oppression of free speech, you might better address some of your
moral indignation to the
Muslim backers and cousins of your poor oppressed Palestinians. You might
ask Trey Parker for a little update on that situation sometime.
I also observed that the fact that they were poets made them think that they had
a perfect understanding of all other subjects, of which they were totally
ignorant - Socrates
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