Ballagh in protest over show going to Israel


ARTIST ROBERT Ballagh, who designed the set for Riverdance, is boycotting an upcoming tour to Israel by Riverdance in support of justice for the Palestinian people.

In an open letter, Ballagh has also said he will donate any royalties due to him for performances by Riverdancein Israel to the fund for an Irish boat, which is taking part in an flotilla of vessels that hopes to break the “illegal and inhuman blockade” of Gaza.

“I, along with many other Irish creative and performing artists, signed a cultural boycott pledge not to visit Israel. This was a positive response to the call by Palestinian filmmakers, artists and cultural organisations for a cultural boycott of Israel. I believe that this non-violent cultural boycott will contribute to the struggle for justice for the Palestinian people.”

“Because I have signed up to support the cultural boycott I will not be travelling to Israel with Riverdance,” he said.

Ballagh said his decision to support the boycott was inspired by a meeting with Nelson Mandela, who told him the sporting and cultural boycott of South Africa was an essential weapon in the struggle against apartheid.

In a second open letter published today, the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign says the Riverdance“farewell tour”, which includes events in three Israeli cities, violates a call for boycotts issued by 170 Palestinian civil society organisations in 2005 and a subsequent cultural boycott issued by filmmakers and artists.