A Palestine support group has claimed they are responsible for the cancellation of an Israeli concert tour by traditional Irish band Dervish.

The Donegal based group has confirmed to the Irish Times newspaper that it is withdrawing from a three gig visit to Israel.

Band leader Cathy Jordan told the paper that they have pulled out of the concert tour due to an: “An avalanche of negativity and venom directed towards us on social media websites.”

She said: “We are not politically minded and were only due to go on the three-date tour at the invitation of an Israeli friend and musician called Avshalom.”

Writing on Facebook, Jordan added: “In hindsight, it was very naive of me to think our motives would not be misunderstood and misrepresented.”

Jordan said on the band website: “Although I was aware of the concerns with our proposed visit to Israel, I wasn’t quite prepared for the extent of the venom directed at us.

“I deeply regret any upset caused by all of this. It was far from our intention to stir up all this anger and hatred, when the opposite was what was intended.”

“I will continue to attempt to make the world a better place through music. I live in hope that one day love will conquer all.”

The band added: “We have opted out of the tour because we were unaware there was a cultural boycott in place when we agreed to the performances.”

The paper reports that, in fact, there is no official boycott of Israel and says Irish artists are free to play in the country if they wish.

Some Irish acts however – including Donal Lunny and Damien Dempsey - have refused to play in Israel in protest at the treatment of the Palestinian people.

The Israeli embassy in Dublin has described the boycott called for as ‘cultural terror and a ‘particular shame as culture is supposed to unite people’.

Meanwhile members of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign have claimed that they were the ones responsible for forcing the band to call off the tour.

National co-ordinator Kevin Squires told the Irish Times that the organisation had made the band aware of the cultural boycott and had directed its supporters to target its website, although he denied there was any venom directed towards it.

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