Palestine Marathon cancels Eddie Izzard for breaking boycott

Eddie Izzard.

British comedian Eddie Izzard was told he was not welcome at a marathon in the occupied West Bank after refusing to respect the cultural boycott of Israel.

The cultural boycott is part of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign initiated by more than 170 Palestinian groups in 2005 in protest against Israel’s apartheid policies towards Palestinians

As part of the BDS campaign, Palestinian activists had called on Izzard to cancel his gig in Tel Aviv, scheduled for March 30.

Izzard ignored these calls. But days earlier, he announced on Twitter that he would be taking in the annual Palestine Marathon, held the next day.

On March 30, campaigners announced that Izzard’s registration had been cancelled by the marathon’s organisers, who confirmed the cancellation on social media.

The marathon began in Bethlehem, with part of its route going along Israel’s wall in the West Bank. It has been organised annually since 2013 to highlight the many restrictions placed on Palestinians’ freedom of movement.

The Palestinian Campaign for the Cultural and Academic Boycott of Israel accused Izzard of whitewashing Israeli occupation and apartheid and attempting an unconvincing “balancing act”.

“Eddie Izzard is not welcome in the Palestine marathon after he has crossed our boycott picket line,” the group said. “Today, performing in Tel Aviv is equivalent to performing in Sun City [South Africa] during the time of apartheid.”

[Abridged from The Electronic Intifada.]