Let's take a close look at some of the sponsors of the Israel International Harp Contest contest. Understanding who finances the contest helps to show why its a good idea to refrain from participating. The contest website shows these sponsors.
Young harpists should not be falsely lured into thinking it is a good thing to have Israel on their resume. Its not prestigious to be seen as endorsingIsrael's policies. Harpists are being sold the notion that historical sites in "the Land of Israel await you," and then expected to blindly think that Israel is a normal, or even advanced nation through its "vibrant musical life."
The boycott seems to have taken hold in other genres of the musical world, with well known Roger Waters of Pink Floyd among many others. Should harpists be expected to leave behind their conscience, and go ahead and ignore the boycott? Roger Waters wrote not long ago:
Artists were right to refuse to play in South Africa's Sun City resort until apartheid fell and white people and black people enjoyed equal rights. And we are right to refuse to play in Israel until the day comes – and it surely will come – when the wall of occupation falls and Palestinians live alongside Israelis in the peace, freedom, justice and dignity that they all deserve. (see http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/mar/11/cultural-boycott-west-bank-wall)