Support the call by Don't Dance with Israeli Apartheid to the Batsheva Dance Company to cut all ties to the Brand Israel campaign and take a stand against the Israeli government's violations of Palestinian rights. Batsheva will perform at the prestigious Edinburgh International Festival for the last two days of August and September 1st 2012.
The boycott of Batsheva is a response to the Palestinian civil society call for the academic and cultural boycott of Israel, which is part of the growing Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement calling for a boycott of Israeli institutions and companies until demands for equality are met, including the end to the military occupation of Palestinian land, equal rights for Palestinian citizens of Israel, and the right of return for refugees, which is guaranteed by UN resolution 194.
Scottish civil society organisations will act in support of the Palestinian civil society call for BDS as a form of non-violent resistance to Israeli apartheid, and that should Batsheva fail to take action, their appearances at ther EIFwill be met with demonstrations and a call for boycott of their performances.
In an open letter addressed to the dance company, US organizations earlier this year pointed out that the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has characterized Batsheva as "the best known global ambassador of Israeli culture.” The letter goes on to argue that Batsheva, because of its ties to the MFA, is “actively complicit in whitewashing Israeli human rights abuses, apartheid, and occupation of Palestinian land.”
Batsheva also receives funding from the MFA for their international tours, with their recent US tour prominently advertised on the cultural calendar of the Israeli consulate in New York City. The website of the Israeli Embassy in London promotes Batsheva.
Using a range of methods from outright theft to the use of force by armed police, and preventing freedom of movement, Israel incessantly harrasses Palestinian cultural activities. While Israeli artists and performers have so far been allowed to tour, exhibits and performances by Palestinian artists are systematically banned, sabotaged, and closed down by Israeli occupation. Hana Awwad, longtime member of El Funoun, one of Palestine’s premiere dance troupes, told the human rights organization Adalah-NY:
As a Palestinian dancer based in the West Bank, I am prohibited by the Israeli government from traveling to Gaza for performances. After Israel's 2008-2009 military assault on Gaza, our Ramallah-based dance troupe resorted to performing for our people in Gaza via a satellite link in protest of Israel's siege on Gaza. Some of our dancers are also prohibited by the Israeli government from ever accompanying the troupe when it performs in neighboring Palestinian cities and abroad.
Iman Fakhouri, director of the Popular Arts Centre in Jerusalem, told human rights activists:
Two of our dance performances were cancelled because Israel denied our dancers entry to Jerusalem and the theater where a German hip hop dancer was to perform was closed down by the Israeli authorities at the last minute. Israeli forces outside the theater were trying to remove people by force. Some people, both from the audience and the artists, were beaten up and arrested.”
We hope Batsheva, like a growing number of Israelis, will stand against Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and support justice and equality for all. Until then, we will continue to urge a popular boycott of, and protests against, your performances in Edinburgh in August/September
Batsheva's 2009 and 2010 US tours were met by protests. Recently another Brand Israel participant, Habima Theatre Company, met with vigorous protests during their two nights at the Globe Theatre in London. Anger at Israeli crimes is rising worldwide and there can be no business-as-usual for those who try to draw a veil over Israeli apartheid, occupation and atrocious crimes against the long-suffering people of Palestine.
They also have a UK tour in October/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
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