O’Connor wants to cancel Israel show
Sinead's dilemmaSinead's dilemma

O’Connor wants to cancel Israel show

Irish musician says she didn’t know about boycott request, but can’t afford financial cost of backing out

Lazar Berman is a former breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Sinead O’Connor during a live performance in 2013 (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0, Pymouss)
Sinead O’Connor during a live performance in 2013 (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0, Pymouss)

Irish Grammy winner Sinead O’Connor said that she will cancel her September show in Israel if she can do so without incurring any financial penalties for breach of contract.

In a since-removed statement posted on her website Friday, O’Connor said that her booking agent had not informed her of the request by “the Palestinian people” not to perform in Israel.

“I was not informed by my booking agent, and was unaware myself, that a boycott of Israel had been requested by the Palestinian people,” she said in the statement. “I agreed to perform having been unaware any such boycott had been requested. Had I been aware I would not have agreed to perform.”

However, O’Connor said she may not be legally able to pull out of the show at this stage without incurring significant financial costs that she cannot afford to pay.

“I have four children for whom I am the sole breadwinner,” she said. “If I can remove myself from the show without financial cost to myself then I will do so. If I cannot remove myself from the show without cost to myself then I will perform because I can’t afford the legal costs involved in not performing.”

A number of artists have canceled Israel shows in the past several years, citing concerns over Israeli policies, including Elvis Costello, Gil-Scott Heron, Santana, Cat Power, Devendra Banhart, Gorillaz Sound System and the Pixies, though the Pixies changed tack and are playing in Tel Aviv on Tuesday night.

Many other artists have ignored the boycott pressure, notably including The Rolling Stones, Justin Timberlake, Lady Gaga, Lana Del Rey and Neil Young, who have all played or are scheduled to play in Israel this summer.

Irish Grammy winner and pope photograph-destroyer O’Connor is set to perform nearly two decades after making headlines by attacking a photographer in Israel, Channel 10 reported last week. The show’s date, however, did not appear on the singer’s website.

O’Connor, 48, who is known as much for her provocative stunts as for her music, last played in the country in 1995, but her well-received concert was overshadowed by a physical altercation with Israeli paparazzi in Jerusalem’s Old City.

In 1997, the Irish performer announced plans to hold another concert in Jerusalem entitled, “Two Capitals, Two States,” but decided to cancel the show after receiving death threats from extremist Israelis.

O’Connor, who was raised Catholic, has shown interest in Israel and Jews in the past. In a letter following the 1997 cancellation, she said she has “always had the most passionate love for the Jewish people.” Her first album in 1987 featured a track called “Jerusalem.” O’Connor also wore a Star of David necklace during several of her performances.

read more: