Israeli Actors Refuse to Perform in Settlements
After Israel’s leading theater companies announced they would appear for the first time in an Israeli settlement, 40 Israeli actors, directors and producers signed a statement refusing to perform. They were to grace the boards of a new center for the arts, performing some of the treasures of the world canon (among them Brecht’s Caucasian Chalk Circle) for the good burghers of Ariel, known to its boosters as the “capital of Samaria.”
The artists’ statement said:
“We express contempt regarding the intent of the managements of theater companies to appear at Ariel’s new hall. We will refuse to appear in Ariel and in any other settlement. We call upon the management to restrict their theatrical activity to the sovereign borders of the State of Israel.”
The response from the Yesha Council has been furious:
“Our response to the letter signed by a group of military refusers, and left-wing anti-Zionist activists will be most sharp. This hate-filled letter which showers contempt on the best of the children of the nation, those who protect them while they act on stage, demands a direct, sharp and clear response from the management of the companies and we expect this. We will announce further steps in the coming days.”
The battle is joined. One claim in the settler response is worth challenging: that the settlers protect the lives of Israelis within the Green Line. Of course, just the opposite is the case. It is the IDF which sends thousands of troops and spends hundreds of millions of dollars protecting the settlers, and not the other way around. These settlers are the most provocative thorn in the side of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They cause unending grief to Israel and prevent it from reaching a resolution of the conflict. And these are the people who claim that it is THEY who are doing favors for Israel. The nerve, the sheer nerve.
This is one boycott I’m in favor of 110%. And it shouldn’t be a controversial one since Israeli theater companies till now had never performed in the settlements. So the actors are merely asking to return to status quo ante. Kol ha-kavod to Israel’s acting community for taking a moral stand. Now let’s hear from the company management that they’ve heard their public and will accede to the wishes of their performers and home audiences.
13 thoughts on “Israeli Actors Refuse to Perform in Settlements – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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Kudos to these fine men and women! I feel that a lot of the movements for BDS (I’m to understand that they are not at all related to the global BDS movement, sorry, can’t read Hebrew) just seem to be targeting anything Israel instead of pro-occupation. I feel that this move by these performers and directors is the correct one, like the boycott of Ahava, but I feel that boycotting games with Israeli tennis stars is not the way to go.
So once again, kudos.
It’s very brave of them to take this stand, but it’s going to be hard to defend it since ariel will certainly remain a part of israel in any future peace agreement.
Not that any of it matters really – just being in theater is enough to be labeled “possible traitor”. Most ppl will completely and unquestionably accept that these are all antisemites, ariel will get it’s theater minus 36 artists and the rest of us will have another pointless lost fight to mourn about.
The actor standing immediately to the right of the person with the cigarette is Shlomo Baraba, who in his youth was one of the most vehement critics of the Israeli occupation. Surprisingly, his name is not among those who signed this courageous letter.
“[…]those who protect them while they act on stage”?
Now, I know the idea that the settlements are actually some kind of security barrier (instead of a huge security liability) is often repeated by settlers and their supporters. But what I’m asking myself is: Do they actually believe this? Do they expect others to believe it? Does anybody here have a glimpse into the settler mindset: When they say something like this, do they wink?
You are vastly underestimating settler ego.
Settlers (I mean the real settlers, not ppl who live in places like ariel just for the comfort and govt subsidies) have a crazy superiority complex. They truly and honestly believe not only that they protect israel, but that they really are better people than both other israelis and certainly the arabs. They are certain that they DESERVE everything they get from the govt.
They have built a life in the territories in which it’s practically impossible not to feel god-like, seeing as they are treated as though they were.
And this is before you factor in religion – “heavy duty” jews in israel believe that by worship alone they are solely responsible for the survival of israel.
These guys have a right to take a stand, but since they receive government money they will need to quit their jobs to actually follow through.
FWIW, Richard, I wonder how you can say ‘never performed in the settlements’. Can you back that up? In the past, many of the leading theater companies have performed ‘one off’ shows at the other various performing halls in Ariel and Maale Adumim. This is merely the first time that a dedicated performing arts location has been established with an official line up of shows.
Duck, I don’t think you actually know any settlers if you are talking like that. Health and Happiness, shana tova.
Yes, because that phrase “best of the children of the nation” speaks of humility…
Maybe you are confusing any comfort/feel good ideology settlers you might know personally with the ones who are I’m talking about, who are the driving force behind the occupation.
The Israeli media reports have said there were no previous performances in settlements. If there have been, you should be able to prove it w. real evidence rather than an unsupported claim.
there are difference performances in the settlements ALL THE TIME, latest i remember are:
1. Shlomo Grunich (שלמה גרוניך) in Ofra.
2. Eti Ankri (אתי אנקרי) in dolev
3. Hanan Yovel – Don’t remember where.
and others, the only difference is that time time a center for preforming art was built in the city of Ariel, and the actors announced they will not be preforming there.
just FYI 5 of the actors who signed the petition decided to take their statments back.
Backlash on the streets is downright sickening.
Beck. O’Reilly, Limbaugh and all their vitriol doesn’t come up to an inch to the local ferocity against those with a different opinion.
In the office where i work, LAWYERS 9 of them, the demeaning words and cursing at the actors twisted my stomach for it brought back ugly memories of my childhood while living in Egypt before 1956. I felt a knot in my throat at hearing these supposed “educated” individual get so foul.
The joke was that the Habima was calling to drum up sales, the poor lady on the phone got an earful that made me cringe.
The Right and extreme Right Rules.
Even if Netanyahu gets everything he asks, the country itself will renege no one is interested in any peace. PERIOD
The joke’s on you folks
if that’s the way you feel about that place, why don’t you move back to CA ? or better why did you move in the first place ?
you are wrong about weather or not the people in Israel want peace, they do. since the Oslo agreement was signed in 1993 we had nothing but war and terror attacks, first intifada, second intifada (which we know was a planned act by Arafat), we pulled out from the Gaza strip just to find hamas carrying terror attacks instead of building their state, so what do you want folks in Israel to do ? ask for more of the same ?
I will not allow any commenter esp one not living in Israel to criticize any Israeli for living in Israel. That is outrageous. And even if you are in Israel (which I doubt) you have no right to sniff at someone else’s commitment to Israel or criticism of it.
Maybe you should go back to English Spelling 101? As for Israelis wanting peace, indeed they do–on their terms. If not on their terms they’re not interested.
The rest of yr comment has been published here at least two or 300 times before by other right wing pro Israel commenters. It wasn’t terribly persuasive the first or even 10th time & even less so the 300th.
A country that wants peace does *not* have a government run by Lieberman, Yishai, Ye’elon and Begin. It reminds me of a scene in Fawlty Towers where a client punches the owner in the face, stands over his fallen body and says, “I am not a violent man, Mr. Fawlty.” To which the latter replies with a feeble voice, “Yes you are…”