Eddie Izzard’s registration for Palestine Marathon this Friday sent back to him by organisers

British comedian Eddie Izzard holds a South African flag beneath a statue of former president Nelson Mandela at the government’s Union Buildings in Pretoria, South Africa, Sunday, March 20, 2016. Izzard completed 27 marathons in 27 days for Sport Relief to remember the 27 years Mandela spent in prison in 2016. (AP Photo)

MEDIA: Eddie Izzard Misses Palestinian Marathon Following Backlash Over Tel Aviv Gig, Hollywood Reporter 31/3/2017
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Israel bans Gaza runners from Palestine Marathon in Bethlehem’ Middle East Monitor March 30, 2017
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In a development saturated with political and emotional charge, South African runner Mervin Steenkamp came in first, for the second year in a row. Second-placed Thaer Shanaah is from Gaza, the densely populated coastal strip under blockade by Israel’.

                                                                                  London, 30 March 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

  • British comedianEddie Izzard ‘cannot run for freedom this Friday if he entertains in Tel Aviv on Thursday’, say Palestine Marathon organisers.
  • ‘We refuse to be used as a fig leaf to cover up Izzard’s whitewashing of Israel’s occupation and apartheid’ Palestinian campaigners commented.
  • Eddie Izzard, who ran 27 marathons in tribute to Mandela in 2016, and who is a UNICEF ambassador, should be consistent and stand against Israeli Apartheid, say Artists for Palestine UK.

Artists for Palestine UK (APUK), whose Artists’ Pledge for Palestine has over 1200 signatories, has been campaigning for British comedian Eddie Izzard to withdraw from his projected March 30 gig in Tel Aviv.

Izzard, known for his progressive views and loved for his outspokenness on a whole range of issues, has – surprisingly – so far declined to comment; but on March 28 he posted a Tweet saying he was looking forward to playing Tel Aviv, and running in the Palestine Marathon the day after:

Eddie Izzard‏ Verified account ‪@eddieizzard

I’m looking forward to performing in Tel Aviv, 30 March – ‪‬
http://bit.ly/2lG7lIz 
– and running in the Palestine Marathon on the 31 March!

Now Palestine Marathon organisers have sent back his registration.

APUK commented: ‘It’s hard to believe that someone as politically aware as Eddie Izzard should imagine he could get away with this.   He should know as well as anyone that you can’t hunt with the hounds and run with the hare – particularly when the hare in this case is the squeezed and besieged Palestinian population, under illegal military occupation by Israel.   Quite rightly, they’ve declined to indulge his desire to run with them the day after he entertains their oppressors.   We wish he’d listened to us sooner and avoided this unfortunate situation.’

The Palestinian Campaign for the Cultural and Academic Boycott of Israel, commented:  ‘Eddie Izzard is not welcomed in the Palestine marathon after he has crossed our boycott picket line. Today, performing in Tel Aviv is equivalent to performing in Sun City during the time of apartheid, and there is no balancing act that can justify violating the Palestinian boycott call. We refuse to be used as a fig leaf to cover up Izzard’s whitewashing of Israel’s occupation and apartheid’.

NOTES TO EDITORS

  1. The Artists’ Pledge for Palestine was launched in January 2015 with 700 signatures: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/feb/13/cultural-boycott-israel-starts-tomorrowhttps://artistsforpalestine.org.uk/introduction/a-pledge/
  2. The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) was launched in 2004 by Palestinian academics and intellectuals, and is supported by large numbers of Palestinian civil society organisations. https://bdsmovement.net/pacbi
  3.  An appeal:  ‘From Israeli citizens to Eddie Izzard: Please do not take part in apartheid, please boycott Israel!’ 21.03.2017
  4. UK fans ask Eddie Izzard – “Don’t support Apartheid Israel” https://artistsforpalestine.org.uk/2017/03/18/fans-ask-eddie-izzard-dont-support-aparth
  5. The Palestine Marathon takes place on Friday 31 March 2017 https://www.palestinemarathon.org/en

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