Sunday, May 27, 2012

The original letter to Gerard Donovan

On 14th May I posted an apology to the novelist Gerard Donovan (see blog below). Mr Donovan replied on 26th May with a lengthy and incoherent diatribe in the Irish Times.

Mr Donovan refers to the letter I had posted to him on 25th February last as his "experience at the hands of Dr Raymond Deane", as "interference" from "a man who actively intimidates an Irish writer", a "threat" and, again, "intimidation".

For the record, then, here is the full text of the letter in question that I withdrew from circulation as soon as I learned that Mr Donovan had been ill and had not travelled to Israel. I believe that no further comment is necessary, and that readers will make up their own mind as to whether this formal, polite and minimalist message conforms to Mr Donovan's rather novelistic description.

Dear Gerard Donovan -

I am pasting below an appeal from PACBI (Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel - to all writers planning to participate in the International Writers' Festival to be held in Jerusalem next May.

There is nothing that I can add to this eloquent appeal, save to stress (this is often misunderstood, sometimes deliberately) that the call for a cultural boycott of Apartheid Israel is not directed against individual artists but against the Israeli state, which is deemed to be whitewashed by the participation of international artists in events subsidised by that state.

Let me also draw your attention to the Pledge signed, to date, by 216 Irish artists ( who refuse to perform, exhibit, read, etc. in the state of Israel until that state abides by international law and international humanitarian law and ends its criminal practices against the Palestinian people.

Yours sincerely – 
Dr Raymond Deane
Cultural Liaison Officer, Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign

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