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March 31, 2017 5:21 pm

Anger Among Palestinians Over Tel Aviv Show Prompts British Comedian to Nix Plans to Run in Bethlehem Marathon

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British comedian Eddie Izzard. Photo: Nickjwebb via Wikimedia Commons.

A British comedian nixed plans to run in Friday’s Palestine Marathon in Bethlehem after being pressured to do so by race organizers angered by his decision to perform in Tel Aviv the night before, the UK’s Daily Mail reported.

“British comedian Eddie Izzard cannot run for freedom this Friday if he entertains in Tel Aviv on Thursday,” the marathon’s official Twitter account said. “We refuse to be used as a fig leaf to cover up Izzard’s whitewashing of Israel’s occupation and apartheid.”

The 55-year-old Izzard told MailOnline on Friday, “As someone who was born in Yemen, I took political advice before deciding to perform a show in Tel Aviv, Israel.”

“I came to the conclusion that as there are many different feelings on this subject and that if I was trying to be balanced, I should do something in Israel and something in the occupied Palestinian territories as well,” he continued. “So, as someone who is well known for my comedy and my marathon running, I decided to perform the show in Tel Aviv and also run the Palestine Marathon in Bethlehem.”

“I have now performed my show in Tel Aviv but even though the Palestinian Authority are allowing me to run in the Palestine Marathon, others do not want me to run,” Izzard noted. “All I wanted to do was to try and bring a little extra focus to the Palestine Marathon and to the situation there. But if they would rather I didn’t, I’m fine with that.”

“But good luck to all the runners and I hope they run great marathons,” he concluded.

Before his Tel Aviv show on Thursday, Izzard tweeted a photo of himself in the Ben-Gurion International Airport arrivals area.

Around 5,500 runners took part in Friday’s fifth-annual Palestine Marathon, which was won by South African Mervin Steenkemp with a time of 2:51:08.

Last year, Izzard ran 27 marathons in 27 days to raise money for charity.

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