Boycott Batsheva, Israeli Apartheid’s Cultural Ambassador
Occupied Ramallah, 28 August 2012 -- Palestinian civil society stands united in its support for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel, including in the cultural field.
Occupied Ramallah, 28 August 2012 -- Palestinian civil society stands united in its support for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel, including in the cultural field. Israeli dance companies are as guilty as other Israeli academic and economic institutions in consciously contributing the state‘s attempts to whitewash its occupation, colonization and apartheid. Based on this, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) calls on the Edinburgh International Festival to cancel its invitation of the Israeli dance company Batsheva, which is particularly complicit in covering up Israel’s egregious human rights violations against the Palestinian people.
Some claim that art and politics can be separated, but the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) knows this is not the case when it refers to Batsheva as " – which cynically uses the arts as a way to distract attention from Israel‘s oppression of Palestinians. ” Indeed, Batsheva receives funding
In 2009, , "We will send well-known novelists and writers overseas, theater companies, exhibits . . . This way you show Israel’s prettier face, so we are not thought of purely in the context of war.” Batsheva’s tours are often prominently of Israeli consulates around the world.
Brand Israel initiatives , including: Israel’s ongoing occupation of Palestinian lands; Israel’s built on Palestinian land in violation of international law; in the West Bank that further appropriates Palestinian land, also in violation of international law according to the International Court of Justice; since 1967; and Israel’s 2008-2009 invasion of Gaza, which killed over 1,400 Palestinians, prompting allegations of war crimes by a . In addition, Israel has enacted that discriminate against Palestinian citizens of Israel and enshrine their status as second-class citizens.
As Batsheva artistic director Ohad Naharin : "I continue to do my work, while 20 km from me people are participating in war crimes.” Even with this knowledge, Batsheva has not once taken a stand, as an institution, against the oppression of the Palestinian people.
Today, Israel‘s intensifying construction of illegal colonial settlements and the wall on occupied Palestinian land as well as its warmongering and obdurate disregard for international law in committing war crimes against the Palestinians have all made Israel increasingly isolated in the world. A recent BBC poll reveals that Israel competes with North Korea over the third most negatively viewed country in the world. Large majorities across the world, including in all major European countries, view Israel "mostly negatively." This explains the urgent need for polishing the state‘s image through dance, music and other fig leaves.
During the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, no respectable festival invited South African dance or music groups that were complicit in any way in justifying or whitewashing apartheid. Taking no position on apartheid was rightly regarded not as an expression of “neutrality” but rather as a form of complicity. As Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu says, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”
Israel and its complicit institutions, including dance companies, should be treated with the same principles that were applied to apartheid South Africa. We call on the Edinburgh International Festival to cancel its invitation of Batsheva.
We salute intellectuals and artists across Scotland and elsewhere who have called for disinviting Batsheva to uphold international law and stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people.