Elvis has left ...
In case you didn't hear about it already, Elvis Costello, part time Canadian and full time musical sensation, has cancelled two gigs he had planned for Israel this summer. He has cancelled these to express solidarity with "suffering innocents" (i.e. Palestinians.) You can read the bare facts, Costello's explanation and the condemnations of his "boycott" from the usual suspects, here at the CBC.
I am not a big fan of the boycotts, sanctions, and divestments (BDS) campaign. I don't think they are effective, and I think the message is to often not clear. (Are the boycotters against the occupation, against a Jewish State in any form, against Jews? It often gets conflated.)
But, I might have to rethink that position in light of this report from the Promised Land Blog, by Israeli journalist and blogger Noam Sheizaf.
Elvis Costello, who cancelled his shows in Israel for political reasons, is extremely unpopular here these days. I’ve read several articles condemning him for this decision, and not one supporting him. Culture Minister Limor Livnat declared that “Costello is not worthy of performing here,” and many people commented that they would never listen to him again.
But check this out: while claiming that a more honest and effective move by Costello would have been to come here and express his opinions publicly, many commentators and writers also argued that Israel should end the occupation ASAP, or it stands the risk of facing many more such incidents.
Furthermore, Costello’s decision has been the talk of the day for many people – I also had a ticket for his Tel Aviv gig – and even when people hated him, they had to think about the political issues and about their consequences, and especially on where they stand. Just like after Gil Scott-Heron had decided not to come here, in the past couple of days I saw friends who never discuss politics going into long debates on Facebook because of Costello. For a country that is in a constant state of denial regarding the occupation, this is no small thing.
Seems maybe some boycotts can be effective sometimes.
In any case, if the organized Canadian Jewish community starts to call for a boycott of Costello popular CTV show "Spectacle", I for one will make a point of tuning in.