The former Roxy Music composer, a prominent BDS supporter, has ordered the Batsheva company to stop dancing his music after discovering that its tour of Italy received Israeli government funding.
‘To my understanding, the Israeli embassy (and therefore the Israeli government) will be sponsoring the upcoming performances, and, given that I’ve been supporting the BDS campaign for several years now, this is an unacceptable prospect for me.
‘It’s often said by opponents of BDS that art shouldn’t be used as a political weapon. However, since the Israeli government has made it quite clear that it uses art in exactly that way – to promote ‘Brand Israel’ and to draw attention away from the occupation of Palestinian land – I consider that my decision to deny permission is a way of taking this particular weapon out of their hands.
‘I am trying to understand the difficulties that must face any Israeli artist now – and in particular ones like yourselves who have shown some sympathy to the Palestinian cause.
‘I feel that your government exploits artists like you, playing on your natural desire to keep working – even if it does mean becoming part of a propaganda strategy. Your dance company might not be able to formally distance itself from the Israeli government but I can and will: I don’t want my music to be licensed for any event sponsored by the Israeli embassy.’
One has to wonder if Eno would ban the Bolshoi from using his music, given that they receive Russian government funding and that the Russians are presently occupying land in at least three foreign states, Chechnya, Ukraine and Syria.
All touring dance companies receive public funding. Without it, they could not tour.
Unless Eno boycotts the Russians, this will go down as a self-serving, quasi-antisemitic gesture.