Pro-Palestinian group targets Irish writer

Mon, May 14, 2012, 01:00

NOVELIST AND poet Gerard Donovan has become the latest Irish artist to be targeted by the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) which is advocating a cultural boycott of Israel.

Mr Donovan, the author of several novels including Schopenhauer’s Telescope which was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize, is due to participate in the International Writers Festival in Jerusalem this week.

Attempts by the IPSC to contact Mr Donovan proved unsuccessful last week so the campaign’s cultural liaison officer Dr Raymond Deane issued an open letter to the writer urging him not to “whitewash” Israel by participating in the festival.

The letter contained a link to an appeal by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel asking writers not to participate in the festival.

It also included a list of the 216 Irish artists who have signed up to the boycott.

Mr Donovan, who is a lecturer in the University of Plymouth, could not be reached for comment last night.

Last week the folk band Dervish announced on their website that they were withdrawing from their proposed tour of Israel citing “venom” and an “avalanche of negativity” directed against them.

In the Seanad last Wednesday, Fianna Fáil Senator Paschal Mooney condemned the campaign and said Dervish’s cancellation came as a “result of intimidation and bullying”.