NCH criticised as details on Israeli support for show removed

Embassy logo and mention of support for trumpeter Avishai Cohen’s July show pulled

Trumpeter Avishai Cohen is due to play the National Concert Hall on July 13th.

Trumpeter Avishai Cohen is due to play the National Concert Hall on July 13th.

 

The National Concert Hall (NCH) has been criticised for removing an acknowledgement of financial support from the Israeli embassy.

Israeli trumpeter Avishai Cohen is due to perform at the NCH on July 13th. Publicity promoting the event, including on the NCH website, originally carried the logo of the Israeli embassy, which is providing funding for the concert.

A letter of protest from a private individual was received by the promoter, Dominic Reilly of Teddy D Promotions in Dublin, asking that he reconsider accepting support from the Israeli government.

Two days later, the logo and any mention of the support of the Israeli embassy was removed, following a request from the Israeli embassy.

However, The Irish Times has learned the embassy’s financial support for the event remains in place.

Declined to respond directly

The Israeli embassy declined to respond directly to questions from The Irish Times, but in a statement on Twitter the embassy said its efforts to bring Israeli artists to Ireland “are frequently targeted by a small minority who seek to deprive the Irish public of the opportunity to access Israeli culture, by using methods of intimidation and threatening behaviour”.

Listowel Writers’ Week recently declined embassy funding towards the attendance of an Israeli writer at its festival.

The move came after an organisation of Irish artists supporting Palestine, and writers attending the festival, criticised the acceptance of Israeli state funds towards the expenses of author Savyon Liebrecht.

Boycott call

Palestinian artists and academics have called for an international boycott of Israeli state-sponsored cultural events.

Fatin Al Tamimi, chairperson of the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC), said: “The cultural boycott is not aimed at individual Israeli performers like Avishai Cohen, but because the event in the NCH is in receipt of funding from the Israeli state, it is in violation of this call.

“We urge the promoter, the artist and the venue to respect the wishes of the oppressed Palestinian people by rejecting this sponsorship.

“Such a move would be following in the footsteps of the Dún Laoghaire Festival of World Cultures, the Irish Film Institute and the Listowel Writers’ Week festival … If Israeli funding is too toxic to be acknowledged, then surely it should not be accepted at all.”

An NCH spokesperson confirmed that following a request from Teddy D Promotions, all references to the Israeli embassy support were removed from its website on May 24th.

The spokesperson added that “the National Concert Hall has and continues to develop diplomatic relations with all embassies who wish to support cultural events at the hall”.

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