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Monday, July 10, 2017

A group of anti-Israel artists - including, of course, Roger Waters - signed a petition to force Lincoln Center not to show a play that was partially funded by the Israeli government. As the NYT reports:

More than 60 artists, including four Pulitzer Prize winners and other prominent writers, actors, directors and playwrights, have signed an open letter calling on Lincoln Center to cancel performances of a play co-produced by two Israeli theater companies and backed by the Israeli government.

The play, “To the End of the Land,” is produced by the Cameri Theater of Tel Aviv and Ha’Bima National Theater of Israel and is based on a critically acclaimed 2008 novel by David Grossman about a mother who tries to escape from her worry over her son’s military service by going on a hike in the Galilee.

The play, part of the Lincoln Center Festival, is being presented July 24-27 “with support of Israel’s Office of Cultural Affairs in North America,” according to a news release. This is the main point of contention in the letter, even though Mr. Grossman, the play’s author, has been an outspoken critic of the Israeli government in the past. The letter was organized by Adalah-NY, an advocacy group that calls for the boycott of Israel over its treatment of Palestinians.

“It is deeply troubling that Lincoln Center, one of the world’s leading cultural institutions, is helping the Israeli government to implement its systematic ‘Brand Israel’ strategy of employing arts and culture to divert attention from the state’s decades of violent colonization, brutal military occupation and denial of basic rights to the Palestinian people,” the letter reads.

Debora Spar, the president of Lincoln Center, rejected the calls for the play’s cancellation.

“While we acknowledge the feelings of those who would prefer that we not allow that performance to continue, we will not be canceling it,” Ms. Spar said in a statement.
The pro-Israel Creative Community for Peace responded with their own letter with 45 high-level entertainment industry executives denouncing the attempt to ban the play.

But in their counter-letter, the CCFP brings up an interesting point:

As we know, government support is crucial for the arts. Just this month, in fact, there are at least three other events at Lincoln Center that include support from governments around the world:
The film “Birdshot” — funded by the Doha Film Institute, a Qatari organization headed by the ruling Al Thani family — was screened there on July 6.
From July 3-8, the American Ballet Theatre — funded by the US federal government together with the governments of New York City and New York State — is performing its “Tchaikovsky Spectacular.”
And from July 26-30, the Bolshoi Ballet — which lists as its partners two Russian government news agencies — will perform “The Taming of the Shrew.”
While some of us at CCFP (and perhaps even at Lincoln Center) may disagree with various actions of these governments, we can all agree that punishing artists from these countries by shunning them for receiving crucial funding from their governments is not the answer. Depriving audiences of their work, their perspectives, and their contributions to culture around the world is imprudent.
Punishing artists from Only One of these countries — as the signatories of open letter are attempting with Israel — is both imprudent and discriminatory.
Yes, there is no one protesting Qatari or Russian  involvement in subsidizing the arts. Only Israel.

Apparently, the BDS folks have no problem with those who subsidize Islamic terror or those who support Syrian war crimes when they subsidizing art. Only Israel.

Now, why might that be?

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.


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