This could mark a significant tipping point in the BDS movement — not just the support from big name artists such as Elvis Costello, but the fact that others who might not voice support are simply deciding that it is not in their commercial interests to perform in Israel.
Costello’s action [cancelling his planned concerts in Israel] is the first open endorsement of the boycott movement by an A-list artist in protest of Israel’s policies in the occupied West Bank and of its siege of Gaza. In a detailed statement, the performer argued that he could not perform in Israel because by doing so, “it may be assumed that one has no mind for the suffering of the innocent.
“One lives in hope that music is more than mere noise, filling up idle time, whether intending to elate or lament,” Costello wrote in his statement.
He suggested that his decision had been complex and difficult. “I must believe that the audience for the coming concerts would have contained many people who question the policies of their government on settlement and deplore conditions that visit intimidation, humiliation or much worse on Palestinian civilians in the name of national security,” he wrote. “I am also keenly aware of the sensitivity of these themes in the wake of so many despicable acts of violence perpetrated in the name of liberation.
“I offer my sincere apologies for any disappointment to the advance ticket holders as well as to the organizers.”
In reaction, a music industry insider confirmed that the winds could be shifting. The music executive, who spoke on condition of anonymity in light of his ongoing business ties with artists, said that in recent months he had approached more than 15 performing artists with proposals to give concerts in Israel. None had agreed. The contracts offered high levels of compensation. He called them “extreme, big numbers that could match any other gig.”