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Pro-Palestine campaigners opposed to ‘Riverdance’s’ planned Israel tour

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Riverdance, the Irish dance spectacular, has been targeted by pro-Palestine campaigners in Ireland who plan to demonstrate against the dance company’s plans to tour Israel this summer.

The demonstration will be held outside the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin on the opening night of the show’s month-long run, beginning on June 28.

Organized by the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the controversial protest will be held in support of the second Freedom Flotilla to Gaza, which will depart on the same day in an attempt to break the Israeli blockade of the port.

According to a report in the Irish Examiner Riverdance is scheduled to perform nine shows over two weeks in the Israeli cities of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa in September.

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The tour first created controversy when the show’s set designer, the Irish artist Robert Ballagh, announced he would boycott it by refusing to travel with the company and donating his royalties for the performances in Israel to the Freedom Flotilla fund.

Fintan Lane, the co-ordinator of the Irish ship taking part in the flotilla, said he was pleased the issue was being raised, although he had not organized the protest. Lane added that he did not believe that it would alienate the Irish public.

Lane told the Examiner: 'This has been well thought-out. It’s not just about waving placards around. The issue of a cultural boycott of Israel is based on the same principles of the campaign against apartheid.'

A spokesperson for Riverdance said he could not comment on the demonstration as he had just heard about it and he had not yet spoken to the producers of the show.

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