Monday, 28 September 2009

After the event - updates following the Israel show

We are pleased to report that our petition has now hit the symbolic figure of 100 signatures, showing that concerned fans are still keen to show their support even after the Israel concert went ahead.

Leonard Cohen's manager Robert Kory announced that the Tel Aviv show last week raised over $2m for local groups working for peace and coexistence, including the Parents Circle, reports Bloomberg. Cohen is quoted saying the show represented a "triumph over the inclination of the heart to despair, revenge and hatred."

Talking of Cohen quotes, band member Dino Soldo tweeted after the show that Leonard spoke "the most moving words on suffering I've heard, EVER." If anybody has a transcription of what Leonard said, we would love to hear them.

Further evidence that the show may have had positive effects comes in the form of this article by the Fox News Middle East producer Yonat Frilling, who says that despite the fact she "thrives on cynicism" the concert made her feel as if peace really was possible... albeit only for the three hour duration of the show.

Meanwhile, Robert Kory claims in an interview with Forward that it was some UK academics who scuppered the Ramallah show, not the Palestinian hosts as was originally reported in reputable sources such as the Guardian. "I am an American, I support free speech," Kory is quoted. "They are British academics and I don’t know, they’re ‘right’… I don’t want to name names but there are those in the academic community who suppress speech because they know what’s right."

Kory may be Leonard's financial saviour and we thank him for that but he sure has a tendency to fall back on generalisations about "free speech" when people disagree with him. The Leonard Cohen Boycott Israel Campaign was started by British, Irish and American fans of Cohen and if none of those nations supported free speech then we wouldn't even have been able to put up this blog.

Finally, one of the founders of the Leonard Cohen Boycott Israel Campaign blogged on the night of the show about why he opposed the concert. The post immediately drew comments from both sides of the argument.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

A message from the Leonard Cohen Boycott Israel campaign

Well the day has arrived! Tonight despite all our efforts and the efforts of many other groups and individuals, Leonard Cohen will perform his concert in Tel Aviv. Thanks to all who signed the petition and commented on the blogs. We cannot stop the concert at this late stage obviously, but think it still worthwhile to ask you to sign the petition if you haven't done so yet and to continue to circulate it for a while in order to provide a place where people can voice their concern and disaproval.

It is the fact we think that it is due to his integrity and the deep respect and affection in which Leonard is held, that makes it all the more disappointing that he has chosen to ignore the appeals to him on this issue. That however is his choice and it does seem that he sincerely believes it to be the right thing to do. Obviously we can now only accept that decision.

As you probably know Leonard was stricken with a bout of illness recently and had to come off stage at Valencia and discontinue the performance after collapsing. Happily he has recovered and is said to be fit and well. I'm sure, despite our differences with him and his management, we all wish him continuing good health and when this marathon tour finally comes to an end in the U.S. that he can retire and enjoy a long and full life.

The proceeds of tonight's concert will go to charity, in particular to a worthy organisation called The Parents Circle which is both a support group for parents who have lost children to the violence in both Israel and Palestine and a peace and reconciliation group which connects people on both sides of the divide. A very worthwhile cause, ultimately though no matter how good the intentions of the people involved, and they certainly are good, there can be no real and lasting peace for everyone and justice for the Palestinians until all the walls, real and metaphorical, are torn down and the Palestinians can be assured of their place alongside the Israelis with all their lands restored to them. Therefore a continuing international boycott of Israel is unfortunately necessary.

The New York Times has published an informative but bland article on the concert today at

Watch this space and presumably many other spaces for reports and reviews of the concert.

Please post up your own reviews and opinions on the concert too.


Thursday, 20 August 2009

Amnesty International pulls out of Cohen concert

Amnesty International has announced it was pulling out of its involvement with Leonard Cohen's concert in Tel Aviv. The announcement comes in the wake of many vociferous protests from around the world, including from its own members. This is a sensible move, but also a self-preserving one since it was becoming likely that it would lose support and members if it persisted with its administration of the concert funds and its partnership with the notorious Discount Bank. Link to Amnesty's statement at the bottom of this article.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

A Plea to Leonard Cohen

Here is an interesting point of view from someone who having been conflicted by the boycott appeal regarding asking Leonard Cohen not to perform in Israel finally came to the regretful decision that despite his deep affection and respect for Cohen, the right thing to do in the end was to add his voice to the general appeal and register his support for the boycott. I'm sure many people who are fans of Leonard Cohen, but dismayed by his decision to play Israel, will relate to this.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Tel Aviv concert sells out

All 47,000 tickets for Leonard Cohen's Tel Aviv concert sold out within hours of going on sale, according to reports.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

NYCBI condemns Amnesty over Leonard Cohen Israel support

The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel has written an open letter to Amnesty International calling on the human rights organisation to withdraw its support for Leonard Cohen's planned Tel Aviv concert, which it has been reported will benefit Palestine-friendly charities.

Among NYCBI's claims is that "the only Palestinian organization falsely reported in the Jerusalem Post article as being a partner in this project, the Palestinian Happy Child Center [PHCC], has confirmed that it is not taking part." LCBI could not however find a website for PHCC or any news coverage supporting this claim.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Tel Aviv concert to go ahead and benefit pro-peace groups - reports

While there is still no official word from the Cohen camp, Leonard is reportedly donating 100% of the proceeds of his concert in Tel Aviv to various pro-Palestinian and pro-peace organisations.

What do you think? A good move, or will nothing short of a full boycott suffice? Use the blog comments facility, or discuss this on the Facebook group.

Monday, 20 July 2009

Protests outside Dublin concerts

Members of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign held a protest against Leonard Cohen's plans to play in Israel outside the Dublin O2 venue where Leonard is playing his latest shows in Ireland, according to today's Irish Times.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

West Bank concert cancelled - reports

Leonard Cohen's proposed concert in Ramallah has been cancelled, according to various news sources in the last few days, most recently today's Guardian. "The Ramallah date was added allegedly in response to pro-Palestinian campaigners who had tried to dissuade Cohen from appearing in Israel," runs the report. "Now Cohen's Palestinian hosts have cancelled the West Bank concert, amid claims that the planned gig was a hollow attempt to 'balance' performances." PACBI's statement says "Ramallah will not receive Cohen as long as he is intent on whitewashing Israel's colonial apartheid regime by performing in Israel."

Here at LCBI we do feel this is a missed opportunity on Ramallah's part and hope they reconsider.

Both shows meanwhile are still unlisted on Cohen's official tour schedule, and the Cohen forum thread which has promised a "big announcement" about this for the past three weeks has been updated only to say that the announcement has been delayed, and won't appear in the first half of July.

In other news, our petition asking Leonard not to perform in Israel now has 83 signatures, and the Leonard Cohen Boycott Israel Facebook group has risen to 61 members.

Friday, 26 June 2009

Concerts in Israel and West Bank?

According to this article in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Leonard Cohen will be performing at Ramat Gan Stadium near Tel Aviv on September 24 and also at the Cultural Palace in the Palestinian city of Ramallah on September 26.  

Note that neither date is yet listed on the official tour itinerary.

We welcome the news of the Ramallah concert as a positive development and await more specific information next week.