Bravo Elvis Costello! ‘Sometimes silence in music is better than adding to the static…’

Elvis Costello, we salute you, for heeding the BDS call and acting upon your conscience to cancel concerts in Israel. Here’s his statement:

It is after considerable contemplation that I have lately arrived at the decision that I must withdraw from the two performances scheduled in Israel on the 30th of June and the 1st of July.

One lives in hope that music is more than mere noise, filling up idle time, whether intending to elate or lament.

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.

Some will regard all of this an unknowable without personal experience but if these subjects are actually too grave and complex to be addressed in a concert, then it is also quite impossible to simply look the other way.

I offer my sincere apologies for any disappointment to the advance ticket holders as well as to the organizers.

My thanks also go to the members of the Israeli media with whom I had most rewarding and illuminating conversations. They may regard these exchanges as a waste of their time but they were of great value and help to me in gaining an appreciation of the cultural scene.

I hope it is possible to understand that I am not taking this decision lightly or so I may stand beneath any banner, nor is it one in which I imagine myself to possess any unique or eternal truth.

It is a matter of instinct and conscience.

It has been necessary to dial out the falsehoods of propaganda, the double game and hysterical language of politics, the vanity and self-righteousness of public communiqués from cranks in order to eventually sift through my own conflicted thoughts.

I have come to the following conclusions.

One must at least consider any rational argument that comes before the appeal of more desperate means.

Sometimes a silence in music is better than adding to the static and so an end to it.

I cannot imagine receiving another invitation to perform in Israel, which is a matter of regret but I can imagine a better time when I would not be writing this.

With the hope for peace and understanding.

Elvis Costello

14 thoughts on “Bravo Elvis Costello! ‘Sometimes silence in music is better than adding to the static…’”

  1. Thank you Elvis Costello! You have shown morality and courage in standing up for justice. Let’s hope others will follow your example very soon.

    1. dear mary do you realy know what you are talking?
      ig you are pure antisemiti so bye but if not,you watch the middle east map?israel is big like small town in usa ans sorrounded with 300 milion muslem that want to destroy them.
      no doubt that jews leave in this place from the bible day.even before 1948 there wasnt a palestinien state.
      every day almost there is terror in israel
      if anyone true rockets on london did you stay quiet?
      jews have more nobel prices winner then any peoples
      but ok you prefer this gays murder,wives humilieted people
      your out of your mind

      1. Adi, why don’t you cite some of these attacks that happen every day in Israel. The government would be keen to learn from what they appear not to know. Even the most fanatical of their supporters can’t find them, let alone the IDF. http://www.theisraelproject.org/site/apps/nl/content2.asp?c=hsJPK0PIJpH&b=883997&ct=3887857. Not a single Israeli civilian has died in 2010. Why don’t you poke through these, before you embarrass yourself around people who know better.

        And can you list some attacks on queers in Palestine? I can only find them in Israel. http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2009/08/200982202313848218.html

        But, anyways, congrats on your Noble Prizes.

  2. A thoughtful and effective action. I like the apology to the audience and to the peace-loving people of Israel.

    1. Rather unfortunate syntax: it implies the Israeli population at large is ‘peace-loving’ rather than a small section of its population.

  3. Mr.Costello,
    I am a Jewish Canadian and I would like to offer you my respect and my thanks. I have a ‘good’ idea what you may have been and will be, put through because of this and so I’ll say, courage such as yours is ‘being the change you want to see’. With gratitude

    1. when thwy will true us all including you to new aushwiz or dacheo you think again about how costtelo was right

  4. I believe this is a case of an artist delving into issues that he has no idea about. The issue is complicated. Not black and white. It’s so easy to try and turn life into the strong and weak. The big and the small & then make a big noise about “saving the world” or “fighting for a cause”.
    Why don’t you visit the place. Learn from the inside. Make a difference from the inside. OR is that simply too much effort?

  5. Elvis , tu as fait preuve d’un esprit étriqué , enfonçant ta tête dans le mensonge et la calomnie qui a lieu contre l’Etat d’Israel ; tu as comme beaucoup hélas de tes compatriotes , regardé par le tout petit bout de la lorgnette. pooses toi une fois la question si ceux qui t’ont demandé de boycotter Israel ne sont pas simplement eux des fascistes de gauche ou d’extréme droite qui pensent arriver à en découdre avec les Juifs . Plus de 7OOO Roquettes ont été tirées par ceux que tu veux défendre . Dommage pour ton intelligence !!!!

  6. I was a fan of his uncompromising persona in the eighties, and am so happy that Elvis Costello has demonstrated here his true integrity. Peace Love and Understanding to all.

  7. Dear Mr Costello
    Israel’s policies have not changed – why did you say yes and now say NO. Is it a game you play – perhaps to earn money or maybe to hurt other people financially. The whole things appears absurd.
    Singer/ Artist plans a couple of shows. Some “interested’ party whispers a few loaded words to he Singer/ artist. Singer/Artist is influenced by the “interested” party. Singer doesn’t really understand that much about the history & Politics of the region. Singer decides to cancel is shows to make a statement.
    Mr Costello – your statement is lame, unfounded and above all stupid.
    I suggest that you stick to singing – leave international policies and politics to those who know what they are talking about.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s