Saturday, 10 November 2012

Batsheva Boycott Success in Brighton


Concert goers and Brightonians faced a clear call to boycott Israeli Apartheid Dancers

 
Israel's New Found Friends - just prior to their leaving for the Knesset. KGS the Far-Right and assorted Holocaust Deniers pose for pIcture at Yad Vashem - Israel's holocaust memorial museum!
Pictured are Marc Doll  of Germany’s Freedom Party Die Frieheit, Filip DeWinter  of Vlaams Belang, a Flemish far-right party, René Stadtkewitz  of Die Freiheit,  Heinz-Christian Strache leader of the neo-Nazi Austrian Freedom Party (FPO),  David Lasar (FPÖ); Haim Muehlstein (shady far-right Israeli settler/businessman); Eliezer “Cheetah” Cohen (a Likud MK);
EDL's Union Jack alongside fellow bigots
The Zionist Star of David - the only legal flag bar the swastika in Nazi Germany - was surrounded by an anti-racist messsage
EDL & Zionists - united in bigotry and hate
A Loud & Clear Message - Boycott Batsheva
2 new Zionists obsessed with death whilst chanting 'shalom'!
 
Christian Fundies Experiment with Cameras

One Concert Cancelled, the Other Disrupted as Public Stays Away

Perhaps the most moving and visible display of our success in persuading people to boycott Batsheva was when a woman, with a child aged about 10, came up to the picket and said that she couldn’t in all conscience go in and watch a concert that was seen to be in support of the ongoing occupation and terrorisation of the Palestinian.  She later obtained a refund.

Other examples were the cars who stopped to honk their support of the Palestinian demonstration.  The Zionists don't seem to get the fact that public support for their murderous enterprise is at an all-time low.



Inside the concert hall was just over ½ full and despite elaborate security precautions, there were 4 disruptions of the concert.  As one witness said, the dancers seemed anxious as to when the next disruption would occur and never gained their rhythm.  Perhaps that is understandable.
Outside there was a large pro-Palestinian contingent consisting of Palestinians and their British supporters.  The supporters of Israel right or wrong consisted of the usual eclectic mixture of die-hard Jewish Zionists and Christian Fundamentalists and a couple of fascist (EDL) supporters.  Quite a combination!

The (Jewish) Zionists seem to find it difficult to understand that there are many Jews who oppose racism – be it anti-Semitism directed at Jews or Jewish racism directed at Palestinians.  One particular woman seemed obssessed with the idea that I might not have anyone to say kaddish (the Jewish prayer for the dead!) when I pass away, not seeming to understand that as an atheist I might not want a religious service anyway!   However it is not the petty nationalists who are remembered but the Jewish heretics and anti-fascists such as Hanna Arendt, Spinoza, Marek Edelman and Freud.  I know whose company I’d rather keep!

A special mention should be made for the Christian Zionists who were somewhat more vociferous than their Jewish counterparts.  They seem determined to ensure that as many Jews as possible ‘return’ to the holy land in order that Revelations can be fulfilled and the vast majority devoured in the flames of Armageddon before the Elect float to heaven in the Rapture!   What with harassing women seeking an abortion to portraying gays as uniquely evil, they certainly have their work cut out when it comes to being full-time bigots.

As the Press Release below states, about 70 people were on the Palestinian picket and the numbers increased as the night wore on whereas the Zionists either went inside or drifted away.

On a personal level I had a long discussion with a young Israeli woman who thought that politics and culture did not mix.  When I put it to her that the same was said about the German Philharmonic Orchestra in the 1930’s and their famous conductor, Wilhelm Furtwangler and of course that the same argument was made in respect of the cultural and sporting boycott of South African apartheid she was less sure.

Culture does not exist in a vacuum but is a product of the society from which it originates, which is why the Israeli government sponsors the Brand Israel image and funds tours like those of Batsheva.  Its problem is that in so doing they are actually contributing to the cultural isolation of Israel, which isn’t hard to do given that the present government includes open fascists and racists, like Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman in it.

Ironically, despite their attempts to ingratiate themselves with Zionism, the majority strand of religious Zionism and Orthodoxy has nothing but contempt for Christianity.  This is most evident in the actions of Michael Ben Ari, a member of the governing coalition, who on receipt of a copy of the New Testament promptly ripped it up and threw it in a trash can, stating that:
‘“This abominable book (the New Testament) galvanized the murder of millions of Jews during the Inquisition and during auto da fe instances,” Ben Ari said adding that “Sending the book to MK's is a provocation. There is no doubt that this book and all it represents belongs in the garbage can of history.”
But Ben Ari’s actions are in a long line of such attacks, not only on Palestinian Christians but even on Zionism’s Fundamentalist Christian supporters.  Examples include ‘Orthodox Jewish youths burn New Testaments in Or Yehuda’   and a bomb attack on one Christian Zionist family living on a settlement.

Last year a Christ at the Checkpoint Conference was held in Bethlehem, a town that was 70% Christian before the Israeli occupation.  It is often the villages of Christian Palestinians which have been at the forefront of opposition to Zionist colonisation, such as Bi’ilin.  As Stephen Sizer, an Anglican vicar under attack by the Zionist movement in this country explained:
“The Spanish used the church to suppress the Incas and the other people in Latin America, the British used the Bible to justify the colonisation of East Africa and Asia. In South Africa the Dutch Reform Church used the Bible to justify why the blacks were inferior to the whites.”
And of course when it comes to anti-Semitism, Christian Fundamentalists - the backbone of segregation and the KKK - are no slouches either.  Glenn Beck, ex-Fox News TV Presenter so indulged himself in portraying Jews as the cause of the financial crisis, using every trope and stereotype in the book, including an attack on George Soros, a childhood survivor of the Hungarian holocaust, as being a collaborator with the Nazis, that even the avidly pro-Zionist Anti-Defamation League launched an attack on him.   None of which stopped the Knesset from conferring its most prestigious honour on him, allowing him to address them in session.

Tony Greenstein

Press Release  Friday 9th November 2012

Disruption of Israeli state funded Batsheva Dance performance : Brighton Dome

Friday 9 November

There have been four disruptions of the Batsheva Dance Ensemble's performance at Brighton Dome tonight. Over 70 people protested against the dance performance outside the venue while several people purchased tickets and protested inside the performance.

Soon after the performance began shouts of 'free Palestine' and 'end the occupation' rang out inside the Dome. The performance was repeatedly disrupted by a total of four pairs of demonstrators.
The demonstrators are responding to a call from the people of Palestine for a campaign of 'boycott, divestment and sanctions' similar to the boycott campaign waged against apartheid South Africa.
The demonstration included many Jewish people who oppose Israel’s policies.

The demonstrators informed attenders at the performance that Israel’s Batsheva dance company is financed by the Israeli state, invested in by Israeli arms companies and the racist Jewish national fund which works openly to dispossess Palestinians and replace them with Jewish immigrants.
One of the two planned performances of this company has been cancelled, and Friday’s performance will be subject to special security arrangements.

Andrew Comben, the Dome Director, has appealed to ‘artistic freedom’ to justify the Batsheva appearance, but the demonstrators argue this is an empty defence in light of the oppression and war crimes faced by the Palestinians. The apartheid wall, checkpoints and military attacks leave them no freedom to perform and travel as Israeli companies do.

Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion, has stated that ‘Constituents have raised concerns with me about forthcoming performances by the dance group Batsheva and I’ve passed those on to Brighton Dome – asking whether they took the cultural boycott into consideration when making decisions about events’.

The Brighton demonstration is one of a series taking place at Batsheva performances around the country – including Edinburgh, Bradford, Salford, Leicester, London and Plymouth. These local demonstrations are part of a wider and growing ‘Don’t Dance with Israeli Apartheid’ campaign which faced Batsheva during its North American tour earlier this year, and will surely face it during its future tours.

Notes
For information about the Don’t Dance with Israeli Apartheid campaign see
For information about the Edinburgh demonstrations see
Full statement by Caroline Lucas MP:

As a long standing campaigner for peace, justice and freedom in Palestine, I am committed to raising awareness of ongoing human rights abuses against the Palestinians and the Israeli state’s continued breaching of international law. Israel’s sponsorship of arts and cultural events is one deliberate way in which it is actively seeking to repair the reputational damage inflicted by its treatment of Palestinians, so Palestinian civil society has called for a full cultural boycott of all cultural performers and exhibitors that are institutionally linked to the Israeli state. The arts can play a role in helping to build bridges between the two communities but their potential to act as a forum for promoting peace and understanding is being undermined by the restrictions placed on Palestinian artists and performers who want to participate in tours or festivals abroad, for example.  For this reason, I believe cultural boycotts should be applied on a case by case basis.
 

Constituents have raised concerns with me about forthcoming performances by the dance group Batsheva and I’ve passed those on to Brighton Dome – asking whether they took the cultural boycott into consideration when making decisions about events.
For further information and comment phone
(0044) 7778625910 or
(0044) 7778110961

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Tonyle dear
Those flags are Union Jacks . One sits atop Buckingham Palace . Are you suggesting that the Queen is EDL now ?

Tony Greenstein said...

strange. I didn't see the Queen or her entourage anywhere on the demo with a union flag, whereas fascists regularly demonstrate with the flag to show their 'patriotism'

aparatchik said...

All these protests do is give the concert-goers a direct experience of the destructive aggression that Israelis and Jews have faced, traditionally and currently, and create a sense of solidarity with Israel and Jews in general.

It's also helping to sell out the venues. I'd never heard of Batsheva and am not into dance but will be going to at least one other night on the tour - with four other members of my family.

In that sense, BDS is working. Assuming you are a Jew yourself, you should be secretly proud.

Candyfloss girl said...

Deeply, deeply stupid.

thankfully as poorly-attended as ever

Tony Greenstein said...

Yes, despite cancelling one performance Batsheva was indeed poorly attended and it mainly consisted of Zionist and Christian fundamentalists. In other words most people in Brighton boycotted it by staying away!

Tony Greenstein said...

Yes Apparatchik (good name by the way) and no doubt you and your ilk would have said the said of those who boycotted Nazi German goods. The Jews were everything Hitler said of them, the old stab-in-the back legend no less. They were the exploiters and wielded their supra-national power. Fortunately the Zionists of the day opposed Boycott and thereby held reinforce the Nazi hold on power, which in 1933 they were not unhappy about.

People like you would have taken pride in crossing a picket line outside a shop to buy German goods to help the Nazi economy. Fortunately people like you are in a small minority and most people do understand that when you have ethnic cleansing and worse that it is a small sacrifice not to enjoy oneself at their expense

Luther Blissett said...

What are the views of Batsheva?

Tony Greenstein said...

It's a good question. As far as I'm aware Batsheva have said nothing at all about the Occupation and discrimination against Palestinians inside Israel and that in itself makes them complicit in what is happening

Mako said...

Batsheva's artistic director Ohad Naharin has been vocal in his criticism of Israel's occupation of Gaza and the West Bank......
Greenstien playing stupid again.....

As Naharin supports boycot of Israel Activities..... well good for him to face it.
Will bring sense to his foolish ideas......

Anonymous said...

Tonyle dear
Can you explain why Norman Finklestein , former doyenne of the BDS movement should suddenly label it a cult with no political support and no critical mass to make a difference . Frankie ' Spencer ' Borat looked about as clueless as his namesake failing to even realise on interview that Norm had taken a reality check .

Tony Greenstein said...

Well the simple answer is that Norman Finkelstein has never been a supporter of BDS!! He's always supported a 2 States position and is now an oddity in that respect as most people today realise that is impossible.

There was a time when people like me, who advocated a one state solution, were in a minority. No longer I'm pleased to say.

Individuals change. Avraham Burg is no longer a Zionist, Amos Elon died disillusioned in Tuscany, Simha Flapan, former Secretary General of Mapam, also abandoned Zionism with his book on the Myths of Zionism. People change, some for the better some for the worse.

Tony Greenstein said...

I'm afraid Mako you are being incoherent. Batsheva's artistic director Ohad Naharin might be a critic of the Occupation, though not very loudly, but he's not a supporter of Boycott. The two are different animals though I'm glad you see opposition to the settlements as inevitably leading to support for the Boycott. You are quite right and that of course includes settlement inside the so-called Green Line.

Anonymous said...

Going by the PSC and FOSIS Facebook walls and twitter accounts , Finklestein on campus was being proclaimed as a visit by the New Messiah . Mass adulation and hysteria . That would not have been the case had it been known that he was not in favour of BDS. You alone appear to have had inside knowledge . It's for certain Frankie 'Borat was caught like a startled rabbit not having the gumption to pull the video before it was saved . If it was of so little consequence why did you take it down ?

Tony Greenstein said...

I am not accountable for what appears on other walls and sites. I think you over egg the pudding. Finkelstein used to be an astute commentator and analyst - unfortunately he has passed his sell by date. Something Israel didn't realise when it slapped a 10 year ban on him.

I have argued with him for a no. of years over 2 states and if u support 2 states then BDS is unlikely to be something u support. In addition Finkelstein's hero, Chomsky, has always (at least until recently) been opposed to BDS.

I've pulled no video - you must be getting paranoid - which is par for the course where Zios are concerned.

James said...

BDS the home for Jew Haters.......
Greta and her supporters........

Are you also a supporter......

Tony Greenstein said...

It's always a delight James to publish the comments of the more articulate Zionist! No doubt the boycotters of Germany in the 1930's were anti-German and German haters? Hitler believed they were.

Greta, whatever her sins, is mild in comparison with the rabid racist of the Israeli Orthodox rabbinate such as Dov Lior and Chabad. But then I don't suppose u r aware of such

Rob said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rob said...

An antisemite is an antisemite, with no comparison to anything.
If you start comparing between Antisemites and Antisemite Greta is not too bad for you, because she among other Antisemites is in the BDS.

Tony Greenstein said...

No you fool, anti-Semitism is a form of racism and therefore very comparable to other things and since anti-Semitism is a marginal form of prejudice today, it is far less dangerous than Islamic bigots like you

I haven't actually seen any comments from Greta which are anti-Semitic. have you? Quote and source me some. It seems to be guilt by association and her own stupidity. Whereas we can all source Rabbi Dov Lior's a 'Jewish fingernail is worth a thousand Arabs.'

Easy isn't it you Zionist idiot

NaomiF said...

Great posts, Tony, enriched by your deep historical perspective and lacerating humour, as usual. Loved the 'full-time bigots' riff! As a fellow demonstrator, I'm also glad to hear the woman and her child refunded their tickets. This is a similar demo in India, against the Cameri Theatre, which also resulted in ticket-buyers joining the boycott.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_uYaFx4SxM&feature=youtu.be