Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search

 


Israeli Rent-A-Crowd in NZ evidence of BDS success

Israeli Rent-A-Crowd in NZ evidence of BDS success

by Julie Webb-Pullman
February 23, 2014

In a desperate attempt to stem the tsunami of international public support for boycott, divestment and sanctioning of Israel for its illegal activities in Palestine, an Israeli Rent-a-Crowd from a local evangelical church turned up to try to counter a picket by Kiwi anti-Zionist protestors of a performance by Israeli government-funded dance company Batsheva at the St James Theatre in Wellington, New Zealand on Saturday night.

The NZ performance was under the auspices of the New Zealand International Festival of the Arts, and partially sponsored by the Israeli Embassy in Wellington.

Despite numerous kiwi appeals to organisers to cancel the troupe’s invitation, and to the government to refuse them visas, both the festival organisers and the NZ government turned a deaf ear.

Not so the audience, who were left in no doubt as to the implications of their attendance at the event.

Two groups of protestors, one a combined network of Palestinian solidarity organisations in New Zealand and the other a group of pro-Zionists, were divided by security personnel to stand each side of the entrance way to the St James Theatre.

Waving placards and banners, the anti-Zionist protestors pointed out that The Batsheva Dance Company is part of the Israeli propaganda effort to deflect criticism of its policies towards Palestinians and other Arab countries. As the 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,” the NZ protestors said that supporting the performance is tantamount to supporting the oppressive – and illegal – practices of the Zionist regime.

To cheers from the crowd, some 15 people decided to forgo their tickets, saying they had no idea it was an Israeli-government sponsored event, and would never have bought them if they had been aware.

Shouts of “Shame” accompanied those who continued through the doors.

Meanwhile, in what is the clearest evidence yet that Israel’s propaganda campaign is an abject failure, the Rent-a-Crowd in the front line of the pro-Zionist group demonstrated not only their ignorance of the issues at stake, but also their general ignorance.

Waving placards with personal jibes at one of the anti-Zionist protestors, yelling personal abuse at the picketers, and merely screaming “lies” without providing any supporting evidence, this pro-Israel frontline showed none of the usual slick hasbara, but instead publicly displayed an appalling lack of personal respect and diplomacy, as well as a paucity of any arguments in Israel’s defence – quite possibly because there are none. Israel must surely be desperate to resort to such ‘supporters.’

As the anti-Zionist protesters said loud and clear, in a message which obviously rang true for many of the audience, “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.”

They also had a message for those who make the spurious claim that dance has no place in politics. Quoting University of Auckland Dance Studies Associate Professor Nicholas Rowe:

“If Ohad Naharin and Batsheva Dance Company would have the courage to refuse to offer their bodies up to the Israeli Defense Forces for annual military service, if they would have the courage to publicly condemn the illegal military occupation of the West Bank and the ongoing theft of land and property by the government that pays them to tour in the name of Israel, if they would have the courage to publicly state that they do not judge people by their religion or ethnicity and so would welcome the return of non-Jewish refugees back to their homes inside what is now Israel, then they would be touring to New Zealand as dance artists, and not just as political puppets.”

Israel, by its own efforts, has booked its ticket in history alongside the South African apartheid regime. A Rent-a-Crowd of slogan-shouters hurling personal abuse is not going to save it from admission to a similar fateful performance.

A short video of the picket is below.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Binoy Kampmark: Dysfunctional Hagiography: Australia & Gough Whitlam's Death

Hagiography is the curse of the Australian Labor movement. It is a movement that searches for, and craves, mythical figures and myths. Such a phenomenon might be termed mummification, and detracts from closer examination. More>>

David Swanson: On Killing Trayvons

This Wednesday is a day of action that some are calling a national day of action against police brutality, with others adding 'and mass incarceration,' and I'd like to add 'and war' and make it global rather than national. More>>

Uri Avnery: Israel Ignoring “Tectonic Change” In Public Opinion

If the British parliament had adopted a resolution in favour of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, the reaction of our media would have been like this: More>>

ALSO:

| UK MPs blow a “raspberry” at Netanyahu and his serfs

Byron Clark: Fiji Election: Crooks In Suits

On September 17 Fiji held its first election since Voreqe “Frank” Bainimarama seized power in a 2006 coup. With his Fiji First party receiving 59.2% of the vote, Bainimarama will remain in power. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: ‘Islamic State’ Sectarianism Is Not Coincidental

Consider this comical scene described by Peter Van Buren, a former US diplomat, who was deployed to Iraq on a 12-month assignment in 2009-10: Van Buren led two Department of State teams assigned with the abstract mission of the ‘reconstruction’ of ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Case For Using Air Power Against The Islamic State

There is an Alice Through the Looking Glass quality to the current response to the Islamic State. Everything about it seems inside out. Many people who would normally oppose US air strikes in other countries have reluctantly endorsed the bombing of IS positions in Iraq and Syria – not because they think air power alone will defeat IS (clearly it won’t) but because it will slow it down, and impede its ability to function. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news