Tommy Sands 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
We’re getting used to international musical acts canceling their shows because
they don’t agree with Israel’s political and diplomatic actions. But now, in an
unusual twist, the cultural boycott has become double-edged: An Israeli venue has
called off the performance of an artist because of his political
Veteran Irish folksinger Tommy Sands, who is here in the midst of
a two-week tour that has taken him from Jerusalem and Tel Aviv to Ramallah and
Gaza, is the artist in question, and the show in question was to have taken
place on Sunday in Ramat Hasharon. It was called off by the sponsors –
ironically, the Ireland Israel Friendship League.
“Due to extenuating
circumstances, we decided for all parties concerned, it would be best to
the show,” the president of the IIFL, Malcom Gafson, said on Thursday,
to comment further.
An e-mail sent to the mailing list of the league
earlier this week provided similar terminology in announcing the
However, Sands said he had been told that due to the recent
sailing of the Irish ship the Rachel
as part of the Gaza flotilla, and
the expulsion of an Israeli diplomat from Dublin in retaliation for the
alleged use of Irish passports in Dubai, the IIFL felt that the
not ripe for the show by the 64-year-old entertainer, who has been
Irish Pete Seeger.
Adding fuel to the fire was the fact that a Sands
song, “Sails of Gaza,” was adopted by the Rachel Corrie
passengers as their
theme song for the voyage.
After reading about the song in a Jerusalem
story ahead of Sands’s arrival, the IIFL received complaints
members protesting his appearance, Sands said he had been told.
are about making people think, not to offend them,” said Sands Thursday,
that there was nothing “anti-Israel” in the lyrics of “Sails of Gaza” or
“I came here despite pressure I received to stay away from
those that aren’t friends of Israel. Having said that, everybody else
here – both Israeli and Palestinian – have been great,” he said.
the reasons I came was to learn, and I’ve learned an awful lot,” added
“The idea of the bard in Irish tradition is someone with a coat of
many colors, the colors of all the tribes but under the thumb of none.
enables him to move between the various peoples and bring messages from
to the other.”
Sand said he had found that most people he’d met in Israel
and the PA were serious about peace and against violence, and added that
in the Palestinian cities had been well-received and had not descended