BDS to New Zealand: ‘Refuse visas to Israeli dance troupe’

BDS & Pro-Palestinian activists are trying to prevent Israel’s Batsheva Dance Company from performing in February at the New Zealand arts festival.

 

 

Pro-Palestinian activists in New Zealand have called on the government there not to issue visas to members of Israel’s Batsheva Dance Company, which is scheduled to perform at next month’s New Zealand Festival of the Arts.

In letters to New Zealand’s immigration and foreign ministers, activists from several different pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel boycott groups expressed their “concern” about the scheduled Batsheva performance, according to J-Wire, a Jewish news source from Australia and New Zealand.

The letters claim that the Israeli troupe is “largely funded by the Israeli Ministry of Culture & Sport, the City of Tel Aviv and the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs who praise the troupe as “ambassadors of Israeli culture.

In an effort to provide “practical solidarity to the Palestinian struggle” the activists have asked that their government “refuse visas to this dance group to enter New Zealand.”

The letter goes on to detail what the activists call Israel’s “unashamedly racist treatment of its Arab-Israeli citizens” and other offenses for which it is being targeted by the international boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.

The activists said that New Zealand should take step toward fulfilling its “obligations” to the Palestinians under international law.

“For the same reasons New Zealanders called for the end to rugby links with apartheid South Africa we are calling for the cutting of ties with apartheid Israel,” their letter reads.

“Such a decision would be welcomed by Palestinians as part of the international pressure to bring change to the policies of the Israeli apartheid state as well as by those countries thinking of supporting New Zealand’s bid for a UN Security Council seat,” the letter continues.

It ends by quoting the late Nelson Mandela, who said, “We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”

As of Thursday, the activists had not received a reply from New Zealand government officials.

In response, the dance troupe’s artistic director Ohad Naharin said he was disappointed “to see a group of intelligent people wasting their money and their energy on something that won’t result in anything.”

“The situation in the West Bank is tragic and indeed every effort must be made to change it. If I believed that boycotting our performances could bring any progress in ending the occupation, I would boycott myself,” Naharin said.

 

View original HAARETZ publication at: http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.571753

3 comments

  1. Steven Shane says:

    Is there a way to expose the BDS violence?

  2. Harvela says:

    There are things that can be done .
    Be aware these people will try to get as many of their activists into the performance in order to disrupt it .
    They will position themselves in small groups or individually around the auditorium .
    They will disrupt at previously agreed timings and not all at once . As one group is ejected , another will start .

    What you can do .
    1. Make sure the police and the event organisers are aware that a public disturbance is likely to take place .
    Meet with event organisers and ask what their policy is in the event of disruption .
    It is aggravated trespass but requires a ‘ victim ‘ to press charges . These people rely on venue organisers and shops etc to simply dismiss the action once the protestors have been ejected .

    Ask the question , ‘ in the event of a public disturbance will you press charges .

    2. The activists know their rights and will maximise the disruption until issued with a final warning to leave the venue at which point they will leave shouting a few slogans . However this does not prevent the venue from pressing charges of aggravated trespass and on basis that tickets were purchased for reasons other than their intended purpose .

    3. Record disturbances . Pass to police and venue .

    4. As a disturbance takes place , Batsheva will wait till it has been dealt with giving the audience time to provide repeated standard ovations .

    Hope that helps

    Harvey Garfield
    British Israel Coalition

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