It’s a national shame..really.
“A few years ago Dervish were representing Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest, the first Irish traditional group to take centre-stage in the event. But that shouldn’t be held against them.
Neither should we hold against them their decision to finally yield to an orchestrated campaign to force them to reverse their decision to travel to Israel in order to play a few concerts with friends there.
Especially when this campaign was characterised by a torrent of “negativity and venom” on Facebook and Twitter and a caution, that the band would lose all credibility if they travelled.
Who could blame musicians for yielding to relentless pressure from the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSG), a lobby group which has recruited more than 200 of their musical and artistic colleagues to this unique cultural boycott of Israel.
“Cyber bullying” is how it was described by Justice Minister Alan Shatter — and it’s not hard to see what he’s getting at. He wondered — as we all should — why this campaign to protect human rights is targeted solely at Israel, and not at the many brutal regimes throughout the world deserving of such attention. Why has the IPSG stayed silent about the thousands of innocent civilians who have been slain by the Assad regime in Syria, for instance?
This cultural boycott is unique in the sense that there is no similar boycott in any other country in the world, though some individual artists have stated they would not travel.
Ironically Dervish are recognised by the Irish Government as cultural ambassadors and carry a banner on their website for ‘Imagine Ireland’ — promoting Irish arts worldwide.
Maybe we’ll have to add ‘except Israel’ to that banner?”