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US rock band The Pixies cancel Israel gig

Israeli human rights activists asked band for boycott

U.S. alternative rock band The Pixies on Sunday cancelled their first-ever performance in Israel, the Tel Aviv promoters said in a statement, without giving any reason for the last-minute decision.

The group was to have performed a single gig in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, but pulled out just days after a deadly Israeli naval raid on an international aid flotilla, which has provoked a huge international backlash.

"It is with great regret that we announce today The Pixies' decision to cancel their appearance in Israel on June 9," promoter Shuki Weiss said in a statement.

"We'd like to extend our deepest apologies to the fans, but events beyond all our control have conspired against us," it said, adding that all tickets would be fully refunded.

The move follows a string of cancellations by high profile musicians, including Britain's Elvis Costello, rock guitarist Carlos Santana and rap forefather Gil Scott-Heron, after they came under pressure over Israel's policies towards the Palestinians.

The decision to cancel also comes three months after the U.S. band received an open letter from Israeli human rights activists.

"As much as some of us are huge fans and would love to hear your show, we won't cross the international picket line that is growing in numbers steadily nowadays to come and see you," the group Boycott! wrote in an open letter to the band sent on March 1.

"The picket line might not always be visible; yet it is there. Are you prepared to perform in Tel Aviv while, just under your nose, millions of human beings are suffocating under a cruel Israeli military regime, denying them elementary human rights?"

Three weeks ago, Costello called off two gigs which were due to have taken place in the coastal city of Caesaria on June 30 and July 1, citing Israel's "intimidation" and "humiliation" of Palestinians.

However, singer-songwriter Diana Krall, who is married to Costello, is still expected to go ahead with a performance in Israel in August.

In recent months, various Palestinian groups have stepped up a campaign for an academic and cultural boycott of Israel to protest its occupation of Palestinian territory.

As much as some of us are huge fans and would love to hear your show, we won't cross the international picket line that is growing in numbers steadily nowadays to come and see you

Boycott! , Israeli human rights activists