Protests against Israeli crimes are spreading, including against Brand Israel assets such as Batsheva Dance Company. Brighton Palestine campaigners have scored a breakthrough before the protests re-start: one of the two Brighton performances has been cancelled as a direct result of the protest preparations.
So - once again - it’s hats off to Brighton! And we should also remove our headgear to salute all those hundreds who protested in Edinburgh in August and the US human rights activists who dogged Batsheva's steps throughout their tour of that country earlier this year. All these human rights activists have contributed to the current situation the Argus article notes: “The dance company, set up in Tel Aviv in 1964, often attracts trouble when it tours.”
Batsheva at Brighton Dome, Concert Hall Fri 9 Nov & Sat 10 Nov
By working together, we are on the way to winning a breakthrough victory for the BDS movement.
This decision to cancel one of the Batsheva performances confirms that Brand Israel’s Batsheva, the Jerusalem Quartet and others can cope with, and ignore, protests that remain restricted to complaints outside against Israeli crimes; the article in the Brighton Argus makes clear that the real challenge to their culture of impunity comes when we are prepared to protest inside these venues.
This tradition was developed by Halt All Racist Tours in New Zealand and in the UK by Peter Hain and Stop All Racist Tours (before he became a New Labour Minister). The key words are ‘Halt’ and ‘Stop’ – not just ‘protest’, ‘oppose’ or ‘write letters against’.
Following this breakthrough in Brighton - thank you, Brighton activists! - we all need to mobilise for all fifteen remaining Batsheva performances with protests every five minutes inside. As the Scottish National Poet, Liz Lochhead put it after she came back from seeing Israeli crimes in Palestine recently “We must use all means. Including protesting at a dance company. Including total cultural and academic boycott.”
Appropriate methods include non-violent direct action to oppose Israel's violent and decades-long ethnic cleansing programme in Palestine. When governments support the crime, we are duty-bound to support the Palestinian appeal for solidarity protests.
Our audience is not primarily the theatre-goers, but the people of Palestine under Israel’s brutal heel. Let us send them a loud message every stop of this Brand Israel UK tour.
Every group should buy their tickets now to protest inside - if anyone is not involved with a pro-Palestine group, buy your ticket anyway and join up with the protestors when you are ejected for shouting “Free Palestine”! Anyone who is retired can protest with impunity – career prospects will not be damaged.
Everybody who wants to support Palestine against a brutal regime of occupation will be able to confront that regime’s cultural ambassadors during November. Contact the local organisers (or email here if you can’t contact them) buy tickets and book transport now to make a difference.
- See you somehwere along the route of Batsheva's Brand Israel tour of the UK, beginning October 30th in Edinburgh.
- RSVP to say you’ll be back in Edinburgh on October 30th to kick-start the UK protests.
- BDS activists in other countries will also protest the other Batsheva troupe during November.
- Edinburgh, Festival Theatre Tue 30 Oct & Wed 31 Oct
- The Lowry, Salford Quays Fri 2 Nov & Sat 3 Nov
- Bradford, Alhambra Theatre Tue 6 Nov & Wed 7 Nov
- Brighton Dome, Concert Hall Fri 9 Nov & Sat 10 Nov Nov 10 CANCELLED!
- Birmingham Hippodrome Tue 13 Nov & Wed 14 Nov
- Leicester, Curve Theatre Fri 16 Nov
- London, Sadler’s Wells Mon 19 Nov, Tue 20 Nov & Wed 21 Nov
- Plymouth, Theatre Royal Fri 23 Nov & Sat 24 Nov