Elvis Costello Reneges on Israel Shows

Not a lot of peace, love or understanding

British singer-songwriter Elvis Costello has canceled his two performances in Israel later this summer for political reasons.

In a letter to the Israeli production company handling his performance he wrote that there are "occasions when merely having your name added to a concert schedule may be interpreted as a political act that resonates more than anything that might be sung, and it may be assumed that one has no mind for the suffering of the innocent ... if these subjects are actually too grave and complex to be addressed in a concert, then it is also quite impossible to simply look the other way."

The singer apologized for disappointing ticket holders and the organizers, and explained that while he believed there is no one truth, his decision was "a matter of instinct and conscience."

In the letter, which also appeared on Costello's Web site, he wrote: "One lives in hope that music is more than mere noise, filling up idle time, whether intending to elate or lament."

Costello was to have performed on June 30 and July 1 at the Caesarea amphitheater, the second show in response to an early sellout for the first concert.

Alive Productions announced that ticket holders can obtain a refund from the Hadran ticket agency beginning on June 1.

Following Costello's cancellation, Alive wrote to the singer: "Back in February, when you confirmed the performances in Israel, you were surely aware of the situation in the Middle East ... and the long-standing conflict between the two nations ... Music should be a voice of peace and brotherhood, a unifying force and should not be turned off merely because the background noises seem too loud."

Costello's wife, singer Diana Krall, confirmed that she will be performing as planned on August 4 in Ra'anana.