British comedian banned from PA marathon over Israel show

Organizers of 'Palestine Marathon' ban left-wing comedian from participating after he refuses to cancel performance in Israel.


Pro-BDS display
Pro-BDS display

British comedian Eddie Izzard on Thursday was banned from running in the 'Palestine Marathon,' organizers said, after he refused to cancel a show in Israel.

Izzard's representative, however, denied he was banned and said he still planned to run in the Palestinian Authority-controlled town of Bethlehem in Judea on Friday morning.

Izzard, known for his rambling monologues and cross-dressing, is due to perform in Israel's culturally au courant coastal city of Tel Aviv on Thursday night.

'Palestine Marathon' organizers said earlier that the comedian, who ran 27 marathons in 27 days for charity in 2016, was not welcome unless he cancelled the Tel Aviv gig.

"British comedian Eddie Izzard cannot run for freedom this Friday if he entertains in Tel Aviv on Thursday," the race's official Twitter site said.

"We refuse to be used as a fig leaf to cover up Izzard's whitewashing of Israel's occupation and apartheid."

A spokeswoman for the left-wing comedian later said they had received assurances he would be allowed to run, despite the statement.

"I believe... in the co-existence of an Israeli state and a Palestinian state," a statement from Izzard, explaining his actions, said.

"I decided, rather than doing nothing, to be proactive and play a gig in Tel Aviv and also run the Palestine Marathon the day after."

A prominent supporter of the British Labor Party, Izzard campaigned vocally to stay in the European Union and often speaks at rallies.

Around 5,500 people are due to run the marathon, organizers said.

Its aim is to highlight what the Palestinian Authority describes as Israel's 'occupation' of the 'West Bank', with the Jewish state's anti-terrorist security fence, much-loathed by the PA, cutting through territory PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas has demanded for a future Palestinian state. Before the security fence was built, but after the Oslo "Peace Accords" were signed by Israel and the PLO, over a thousand Israeli civilians were murdered by terrorists who entered Israel from PA controlled areas of Judea and Samaria.