David Cronin reports:
One week earlier, The Irish Times published another article about whether Israel should be boycotted. It was written by Fintan O'Toole, a drama critic and columnist. O'Toole is usually a clear thinker, yet his contribution to the "debate" was muddled in an almost comical matter. First, he argued that Israel shouldn't be boycotted as doing so will be interpreted as anti-Semitic. Then, he proposed a code of conduct for artists undertaking promotional tours. The final two points in his code were: "don't perform to audiences forcibly segregated on lines of race, gender or ethnicity" and "don't let yourself be used for propaganda purposes."
Does O'Toole seriously think that Palestinians living under Israeli occupation are free to go to the theater in Tel Aviv? And is he unaware that the State of Israel uses art and culture for propaganda purposes? Indeed, a campaign known as "Brand Israel" has been set up by the Israeli foreign ministry for that very purpose.The IPSC has told me that it sought a right of reply to O'Toole's piece. If The Irish Times was really as committed to balance and informed debate as it purports to be, it would have published a piece by the IPSC this weekend, giving the rebuttal equal prominence in the paper to O'Toole's contradictory waffle. Rather than doing so, it published Donovan's diatribe against the Palestine solidarity movement. So much for balance.