Pixies pull out of Israeli concert
Music festival organizers say cancellation related to flotilla raid
Last Updated: Sunday, June 6, 2010 | 11:51 AM ET
U.S. alternative rock band Pixies has cancelled a concert in Tel Aviv this week and organizers say it's in protest over Israel's commando raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla in which nine activists died.
The band's Tel Aviv promoter, Shuki Weiss, sent out a statement Sunday saying the band would cancel "with great regret."
The group — comprised of Frank Black, Kim Deal, Joey Santiago and David Lovering — was slated to perform a single gig Wednesday as part of a five-day music festival in Tel Aviv.
"We'd like to extend our deepest apologies to the fans, but events beyond all our control have conspired against us," stated the band, adding that all tickets would be fully refunded.
"We can only hope for better days, in which we will finally present the long-awaited visit of the Pixies in Israel."
While the group didn't specify the reason behind their sudden pullout, organizers of the festival say it is related to the May 31st flotilla raid.
Two other acts — London punk band Klaxons and Gorillaz, a multi-member act fronted by Blur's Damon Albarn — also cancelled their appearances this week at the same festival, though neither act indicated why.
On May 31, Israeli commandos conducted a pre-dawn raid on the six-ship flotilla, which happened in international waters more than 60 kilometres from shore. The move was widely condemned.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the commandos were trying to defend themselves after being attacked by activists.
Boycott pressure on artists
The action by the Pixies comes in the wake of Elvis Costello's recent cancellation of a concert in Israel, objecting to the country's treatment of Palestinians. Costello's wife, Canadian jazz pianist Diana Krall, is still expected to perform in Israel this August.
Other artists, including Rod Stewart and Elton John, are still planning to go ahead with their Israeli concerts this summer.
Even prior to the raid on the flotilla, many performers had been under pressure this year to boycott Israel.
The Pixies were one of many artists targeted in an open letter posted March 1 by Israeli human rights activists urging them not to come to the Jewish state.
"As much as some of us are huge fans and would love to hear your show, we won't cross the international picket line that is growing in numbers steadily nowadays to come and see you," the group Boycott! wrote.With files from The Associated Press
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