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

 


Protests Outside Israeli Dance Troupe’s Performance

Protests Outside Israeli Dance Troupe’s Performance

By Jamie Neikrie

This past weekend, protests erupted outside Wellington’s St. James theatre, which was hosting a performance by an Israeli dance troupe, Batsheva.

John Minto, a key organizer in the 1980 protests of the South African apartheid protests, led a pro-Palestinian group of 40-plus strong. Using much of the same rhetoric used in the South African protests, the protestors denounced the treatment of the Palestinians by the Israeli government.

While the protestors allowed visitors to enter the performance, many of the guests were discouraged from attending. The pro-Palestinian supporters highlighted the fact that the dance troupe received funding from the Israeli government. “I’m sure many of these dancers are lovely people,” acknowledged protestor Dougal McNeill. “But by coming to New Zealand and representing Israel, they are attempting to normalize an apartheid state and unjust treatment of the Palestinian people.”

David Zwartz, a leader in Wellington’s Jewish community, led an equally powerful and animated pro-Israel response to the protests. Chief among Zwartz’s criticism of the protest was the decision to picket an arts performance. “There are numerous examples in history of countries and governments using cultural outreach programs,” Zwartz said. “The New Zealand government sends dance troupes, symphonies, and other arts programs across the world. This is not a novel idea.”

The pro-Israeli side also took offence to the use of the word “apartheid.” “To compare to Israel to South Africa, or compare the Palestinians to the blacks in South Africa is patently false, and disingenuous.” Zwartz claimed*.

An unlikely ally came to the aid of Zwartz and the pro-Israel side in the form of the Flaxmere Christian Fellowship. Over 20 of the church’s members, many of them Samoan and Maori, had travelled all the way from Auckland to aid the pro-Israel side. “From a spiritual sense, we feel it is out duty to come to aid of Israel,” said Fellowship member Doug Ho, a leader in the church’s youth program. “But we also feel that protesting a dance troupe just because they are Israeli is also wrong.”

The protests largely felt like an unproductive shouting match between two equally staunch sides. But information distributed by both sides, as well as their presence at a public event, will help to advance public debate over the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

***

* For an opposing view of the aptness of the apartheid metaphor, see this interview with the Israeli journalist Amira Hass

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>

ALSO:

Buildup:

Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>

ALSO:

Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>

ALSO:


Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news