Sinead O’Connor might not be singing her song “Jerusalem” in Israel.
According to a statement posted on her website, the Irish singer said she would be trying to cancel her upcoming concert in the country. O’Conner is scheduled to play Caesarea on September 11. The concert date is not listed on her website.
When musical acts voice their intention to perform in Israel, Palestinian groups often ask them to support BDS by refusing to do so. The past year has seen many performers ignore this call with big names like Justin Timberlake, Lady Gaga and The Rolling Stones putting on concerts to the delight of Israeli fans.
O’Connor, a singer who is no stranger to mixing politics and art, made the announcement on June 13, however the statement was quickly deleted from her website. In it she claimed to have been unaware that the Palestinian people were encouraging a boycott of Israel when she agreed to the concert.
“I agreed to perform having been unaware any such boycott had been requested. Had I been aware I would not have agreed to perform. As things stand I have requested to pull out of the show but may not be legally entitled to do so,” wrote O’Connor in the now deleted statement.
She went on to say that if canceling the show were to incur a financial penalty on herself, she would go ahead and perform after all.
“No one should assume musicians can afford not to work. Neither should anyone assume we can afford to pay the legal costs involved in pulling out of shows.”
Her last performance in Israel was in 1995 and although she had another scheduled show two years later in 1997, that gig was canceled when she received death threats related to the name of the concert: “Two Capitals, Two States.” If she does decide to perform it will be her first show in Israel in 19 years.
Whatever the outcome, O’Connor asked that people refrain from “bullying” her as a result. “I do not appreciate being bullied by anyone on either side of this debate any more than I appreciate not being properly informed by my booking agent of the potential ramifications of accepting work in war zones.”
In a post on O’Connor’s Facebook page, Irish composer Raymond Deane called on her to observe the cultural boycott of Israel.
“Our Irish government, as part of the EU, is complicit in Israel’s crimes – it’s up to us, representing civil society, to stand up for truth and justice,” he wrote in part.