Israeli group claimed they had to cancel feis after receiving threats
An Irish dance festival to take place in Israel has been called off after organisers claimed their young student dancers were threatened by fringe Palestinian solidarity groups in Ireland.
The “1st Tel Aviv feis” was due to take place in the Israeli city in August and was being organised by the Carey Academy in Israel, an offshoot of the successful Carey Academy in Birmingham, England.
However, posting on its Facebook page, the Israeli Irish dance academy said it had been forced to call off the festival after “threatening messages were sent to our teachers and students”.
“We do not want to risk the safety of anyone connected to the Carey Academy. The feis was not meant to be anything more than what it really is - a celebration of dancing, friendship and joy.
“We are sorry for any inconvenience caused to people who may have already booked tickets but I am sure you understand the safety of our dancers is our number one priority.”
The announcement of the feis, which came about due to an increasing interest in Irish dancing in Israel, was met with a major backlash online, with many Irish supporters of Palestine calling for a boycott of the competition.
In messages of support posted on the group’s Facebook page, a number of users said they were disappointed with the news, adding that “a dance competition did not equal support for the actions of the Israeli government.”
“A sad day when people can't dance together... I hope one day you will visit Israel and see for yourself how Irish culture especially music and dance are appreciated,” said one user.
Another added: “I am sorry to hear that this has happened... Although I think you have done correctly by placing the safety of everyone involved first, it is a very sad thing to have to do. I think a big Thank You is in order nevertheless to try to organise such an event despite the world's turmoil.”
One user however said she was “delighted” that it has been called off, adding: “Next port of call is to publicise each dance academy who supported this event to every parent who sends their children to academies that support the slaughter and imprisonment of children.”