Elvis Costello was supposed to play two concerts in Israel this summer. But, now, he writes, as “a matter of instinct and conscience,” he has cancelled both concerts.

“…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,” Costello pontificated.

Well let me tell you something, Elvis Costello.

There are also occasions when having your name publicly removed from a concert schedule is interpreted as a cheap, mindless political act. Instead of using your vast musical influence to inspire unity, you’ve decided to zero in on issues of colossal triviality? It’s people like you, people who cite the settlements as the preeminent roadblock to a two state solution, who shrug off the Palestinians’ abuse of the Israeli people with statements saying that their violent acts of brutality are justified because they’re doing it “in the name of liberation,” who are ultimately impeding on the peace process in the Middle East. Get off of your high horse and cut out the holier-than-thou pose.

Through your effort to be stylishly vague, you’re setting a double-standard for yourself and other figures of potential persuasion. Are you trying to say that you’ll refuse to hold a concert in any country that has internal conflicts? Or any country that is controversial in the eyes of the world? Greece is still engaged in a farcical naming dispute with Macedonia, causing the Macedonians much economic turmoil…but you’ve got a concert there.

Or perhaps you’re trying to say that you won’t play your music in a country whose leader is controversial? You’re playing three concerts in Italy, whose Prime Minister is the sleazy, corrupt, womanizing Silvio Berlusconi…but you won’t play a concert in Tel Aviv.

Note to the world: Please don’t try to make a political statement for the sake of making a political statement. Think about who you’re affecting.


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