Renowned artist Robert Ballagh has donated all royalties from the recent performance of Riverdance in Israel to the Irish Ship to Gaza campaign. As the set designer for Riverdance, Mr. Ballagh had opposed the performance in Israel saying that Israel should be boycotted until Israeli apartheid policies against the Palestinians are ended.
Thanking Mr Ballagh for his “principled advocacy of Palestinian human rights”, Dr. Fintan Lane, national coordinator of Irish Ship to Gaza, said: “This generous donation will be well deployed. In fact, the money will be used specifically to buy fuel for the MV Saoirse to help us on our journey to Gaza. Ironically, those who paid into the show in Israel are helping us in our efforts to breach the immoral Israeli blockade. We welcome this support from Israel for the flotilla movement.”
He continued: “Robert Ballagh's consistent and principled support for the BDS campaign against Israeli apartheid should be applauded. BDS – boycott, divestment, sanctions – is one of the most powerful and effective methods by which global civil society can demonstrate its solidarity with the Palestinian people. Israel is an apartheid state and ‘Riverdance’ should never have agreed to perform there.”
The Irish vessel, the MV Saoirse, attempted to sail to Gaza in June of this year but its journey was cut short when its propellor shaft was sabotaged at port in Turkey. It has now undergone repairs and plans to set sail for Gaza soon.