What's so funny about peace, love and understanding? Nothing for Israeli fans of Elvis Costello who will not see the legend perform in Tel Aviv this summer after he canceled all scheduled shows there, citing concerns over the treatment of Palestinians.
"There are occasions when merely having your name added to a concert schedule may be interpreted as a political act ... and it may be assumed that one has no mind for the suffering of the innocent," Costello wrote on his website.
"I must believe that the audience for the coming concerts would have contained many people who question the policies of their government on settlement and deplore conditions that visit intimidation, humiliation or much worse on Palestinian civilians in the name of national security," the statement continued. "I hope it is possible to understand that I am not taking this decision lightly. ... It is a matter of instinct and conscience."
Reactions in Israel have ranged from disappointment to outrage.
Israeli Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat lashed out at Costello, saying: "An artist boycotting his fans in Israel is unworthy of performing here," according to Ynetnews, the website of the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper.
Ariana Melamed, also writing for Ynet, said that although she understood and even respected artists who chose to boycott Israel over the occupation, to pull out after the contracts had been signed and tickets had gone on sale was hypocritical.