Comedian Izzard 'banned' from Palestine Marathon over Israel show

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British comedian Eddie Izzard on Thursday was banned from running in the Palestine Marathon, organisers 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 West Bank town of Bethlehem on Friday morning.

Izzard, known for his rambling monologues and cross-dressing, is due to perform in the Israeli commercial capital Tel Aviv on Thursday night.

Palestine Marathon organisers said earlier that the comedian, who ran 27 marathons in 27 days for charity in 2016, was not welcome unless he cancelled the 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 leftwing 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 Labour 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, organisers said.

Its aim is to highlight Israel's occupation of the West Bank, with the Jewish state's much-loathed wall cutting through t he territory.

A movement named Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) calls for a cultural boycott of Israel until it ends its occupation of the Palestinian territories.

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