Elvis Costello has canceled two planned concerts in Israel on political grounds, calling his decision “a matter of instinct and conscience.” Costello, who performed April 15 at Purchase College, wrote about his decision in a statement on his website:
“Then there are occasions when merely having your name added to a concert schedule may be interpreted as a political act that resonates more than anything that might be sung and it may be assumed that one has no mind for the suffering of the innocent. 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. 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.”
Israel has been the target of a cultural and academic boycott in protest of the Israeli occupation and alleged treatment of Palestinians. Costello, a 2003 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee who famously sang “(What’s so Funny ’bout) Peace, Love and Understanding,” performed at Purchase College last month in a benefit concert for the Open Door Family Medical Centers.