Dervish pull out of Israel tour after social media 'venom'


TRADITIONAL GROUP Dervish have pulled out of a concert tour of Israel citing an “avalanche of negativity” and “venom” directed towards them on social media websites.

Lead singer Cathy Jordan said the band members were not politically minded and were only due to go on the three-date tour at the invitation of an Israeli friend and musician called Avshalom.

On the band’s Facebook page, Jordan wrote: “In hindsight, it was very naive of me to think our motives would not be misunderstood and misrepresented.”

The group said they have opted out of the tour because they were unaware there was a cultural boycott in place when they agreed to the performances. In fact there is no official boycott of Israel and artists are free to play in the country if they wish.

However, some artists have chosen to state publicly that they will not perform in Israel in protest at the treatment of the Palestinian people.

The Israeli embassy described the boycott called for by some as “cultural terror” and a “particular shame as culture is supposed to unite people”.

Jordan said on the band website: “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.

“I deeply regret any upset caused by all of this. It was far from our intention to stir up all this anger and hatred, when the opposite was what was intended.”

The singer said that she would continue to attempt to make the world a better place through music. “I live in hope that one day love will conquer all,” she said.

Members of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign claimed they were responsible for forcing the band to call off the tour.

National co-ordinator Kevin Squires said the organisation had made the band aware of the cultural boycott and had directed its supporters to target its website, although he denied there was any “venom” directed towards it.

Among those who wrote on the band’s website was Dr Raymond Deane, the founder of the boycott campaign, who warned the band that it would have “lost all credibility” if it had played in Israel.

Irish artists have been prominent in the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel. The campaign started in August 2010 and, to date, 218 Irish artists have pledged not to perform in the country, including Damien Dempsey, Andy Irvine and Donal Lunny.