Batsheva, the Auckland Jewish Council and BDS
Leslie Bravery | Palestine Human Right Campaign Aotearoa New Zealand www.palestine.org.nz | 9 February 2014
The Auckland Jewish Council is quoted in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, saying that the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) call to keep the Batsheva Dance Company out of New Zealand is “a cheap publicity stunt that should be exposed for its sinister agenda.” What the Auckland Jewish Council is anxious to hide from the public, however, is the fact that the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs funds Batsheva’s international tours on behalf of a government that for over six decades has imposed, with impunity, a regime that hasturned millions of Palestinians into refugees, while millions more struggle to survive under conditions referred to by Archbishop Desmond Tutu (Jewish Voice for Peace) as worse than apartheid. The sad truth is that the Batsheva Dance Company is willingly participating in the ‘Brand Israel’ initiative that helps to divert attention from the Zionist state's own sinister agenda of constant human rights abuses and violations of international law.
The former honorary Israeli consul in Wellington, David Zwartz, told Haaretz that “the BDS movement, fronted by Mr Minto, is hiding its real agenda, which is the destruction of the State of Israel.” Actually Swartz's attack on John Minto is designed to hide the real agenda of Israeli anti-BDS propaganda. The dance company’s complicit ties with the state of Israel's foreign ministry make it impossible to consider the group ‘apolitical’. As for destroying Israel, Israel's own behaviour is causing its image to self-destruct in the eyes of the majority of world opinion. Just one example: Israel is the only state that discriminatingly prosecutes children in military courts – courts that lack even basic standards of due process. Around 500 to 700 Palestinian children, some as young as 12, are taken prisoner and prosecuted in the Israeli military prison system each year. NoJewish children ever appear before Israeli military courts. For as long as it is the Israeli government's ideologically-driven policy to subjugate the Palestinian people to brutal military repression and territorial occupation, then it is the duty of the world community to non-violently oppose it.