Sunday 28 December 2014

Leonard Cohen faces Palestinian picket at his Belfast show

Emily Moulton

Published 24/07/2009 | 10:33

Palestinian supporters are planning to protest outside Leonard Cohen's Belfast concert. Photo: Getty Images

Palestinian supporters are planning to stage a protest outside the Odyssey Arena this weekend.

They are staging the demonstration as part of a worldwide campaign to force the Grammy-winning artist to cancel his scheduled appearance in Israel later this year.

The Canadian (74) is set to perform in Tel Aviv on September 24 as part of his 2008/2009 world tour. But campaigners, including the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC), want the musician to cancel the show.

After the Israeli date was announced, Cohen said a concert was scheduled in the West Bank.

He was to play at the 736-seat Ramallah Cultural Palace a day after appearing at the 55,000 capacity Ramat Gan stadium, near Tel Aviv.

But neither concert appears on the singer's official website.

According to The Guardian newspaper, the Ramallah event was to be hosted by the Palestinian prisoners' club and attended by families of some of the 11,000 Palestinians in Israeli jails of detention centres.

But the Palestinians cancelled the gig after the acclaimed performer refused to cancel his Tel Aviv show.

As a result pro-Palestinian campaigners have protested at his concerts around the world.

They are set to do the same in Belfast on Sunday.

The Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign said pro-Palestinian supporters had pleaded with the musician to cancel the Tel Aviv concert. However, he has refused.

“Palestinian representatives and organisations campaigning throughout the world against the ruthless policies of Israel towards the Palestinian people — and particularly given the recent horrendous military onslaught on Gaza — have pleaded with Cohen to cancel this event in Israel in protest at its policies,” the group said.

“The Ireland Palestinian Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) has also written to the singer asking him not to go ahead with his Tel Aviv show.”

Last May a demonstration was staged by the ADALAH — a coalition of organisations including the National Council of Arab-Americans and Jews Against the Occupation — outside one of Cohen’s concerts at Radio City Music Hall in New York.

Protesters are planning to leaflet concerts by the musician in Dublin this week.

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