Hebden Bridge Martha Wainwright show embroiled in Israeli boycott row

The upcoming performance by Martha Wainwright has put Hebden Bridge Trades Club at the centre of a boycott row
The upcoming performance by Martha Wainwright has put Hebden Bridge Trades Club at the centre of a boycott row

An appearance at Hebden Bridge Trades Club by internationally-known singer-wongwriter Martha Wainwright has embroiled the venue in a cultural boycott row.

It is alleged the singer has broken a cultural boycott supported by Palestine solidarity groups by performing concerts in Israel on November 6 and 7, and on social media contributors have indicated that they would picket the Holme Street venue if the performance, on the evening of Wednesday, November 26, goes ahead.

The club, which has itself hosted many benefits in support of Palestine, is contractually obliged to go-ahead with the gig or risk legal action and attendant financial consequences even though it finds the situation, of which it was unaware, upsetting and disappointing.

It has said it does not want to profit from the event, and intends to donate any money made from the show to the Medical Aid for Palestine charity.

In the meantime, the issue has been discussed on a variety of social media, with commentators, some of them with tickets for the concert, speaking of boycotting the gig, picketing it and even of trying to raise enough money to cover the artist’s fee and offering to the club to cancel the show.

Trades Club Secretary Ed Stutt said: “Martha Wainwright is booked to play at the Trades Club on Wednesday 26th November.

“In common with many others the Trades Club is very disappointed to discover that Martha Wainwright recently chose to play in Israel.

“The club had no prior knowledge of her intention to do so when we made the booking.

“We support the cultural boycott of Israel and would not knowingly engage anyone who has or intends to contravene it.”

Liz Kirby, Trades Club Treasurer added: “We are under a contractual obligation to continue with the gig, however we do not want to profit from this event.

“It is our goal to continue our historical and on-going support for the fight for a just settlement in Palestine. In the light of this we intend to donate any money made from the performance to Medical Aid for Palestine.”

The Hebden Bridge date is not the first to have come under the spotlight since the Israeli concerts were announced, with picketing taking place at some dates in Ireland and England.

The singer’s own Facebook site has many extremely heated comments on the issue, though since announcing the Israel concert dates, she does not seem to have commented further herself.