Elvis and Costello

Not being a fan of Elvis Costello, the news that he has changed his mind from performing in Israel to not performing in Israel, didn’t strike any particular chord or change my musical listening.

Nor is the underlying reason for Costello’s last minute change in decision of great importance.  Has he been personally threatened, is he afraid that that he would be subsequently criticised by the “correct-thinkers”,  is the “yes I am, no I’m not” gambit a cynical attempt by a has-been performer to garner some publicity, or indeed has his mind be changed by some sudden deep insight of righteousness?  Who knows.

Fortunately, David Horowitz, editor of the Jerusalem Post, has written an excellent riposte to Costello Elvis, you’re singing for the rejectionists. which answers both him and others like him, and exposes their hollowness.

Horowitz’s article includes the following lines “There are heroes and villains on both sides. The heroes are striving, every day, to marginalize the villains. You haven’t helped.   WE EXPECTED more of you. We thought you were a man of integrity and good conscience. At the very least, we believed that you would want to find out for yourself. You say that it would have been “quite impossible to simply look the other way.”  That’s the last thing we would have wanted you to do. You needed to come, and to look – rigorously and thoroughly – not to let others sell you their skewed vision.

You pulled out, you have written, because “there are occasions when merely having your name added to a concert schedule may be interpreted as a political act…” Indeed so. In the case of playing in Israel, it may be interpreted as having the elementary courage to dig a little deeper, to look a little closer, to allow a little more intellectual honesty.

Having your name deleted from a concert schedule is emphatically a political act as well. In your case, an act of ignorance and cowardice. You have capitulated to those who would deny Israel the capacity to convey its reality. You have joined forces with those who seek, most deliberately, to impose journalistic and academic and artistic boycotts on Israel because they know that routine interaction plays into Israel’s hands. They know that open communication punctures the lies and the distortions. They know that an honest narrative trumps their dishonest misrepresentations. They know that once you had visited, you would not be so easily fooled.”

…  If Costello’s mind is open, I wonder what he’d think about Horowitz’s clear thoughts… or does he really care!

At the risk of mixed religious metaphors, it’s good to wash away the Costello dirt down at the river.  Care for some gopher, Elvis?

Pin It

One thought on “Elvis and Costello

  1. Russell - Rose Bay May 24, 2010 at 6:55 pm -

    Jason Koutsoukis’ piece on Costello in todays (24 May) Sydney Morning Herald, is amplified by the subeditors headline “Singer’s boycott of Israel a matter of conscience”.
    I would have added a question mark to the headline, considering that Koutsoukis quotes Costello as have said one week ago “I know that there are organisations who think that they need to boycott Israel to pressure it. I, as opposed to them, think that culture is the only way in which humanity shares experiences and that is why I need to come and perform here.”
    One minor victory for pressure on artists from the hypocrites of the “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel” movement – whose acronym BDS was aptly described by you a while back as BS and Dreck.