Dozens of world-renowned artists have called on the Edinburgh Festival Fringe to cancel the participation of a show staged by the Jerusalem-based Incubator Theater, due to the Israeli operation in Gaza.
The production, “The City,” is a film noir-style hip-hop opera. It was invited to perform at the Underbelly venue in the Scottish capital from July 30 till August 25.
The petition was signed by 50 leading arts figures, including national poet Liz Lochhead, writer Alasdair Gray, playwright David Greig and theater directors Ben Harrison, Scottish media reported over the weekend.
“We the undersigned … write to you to protest against your programming of a show entitled ‘The City,’ by the Israeli company Incubator Theater, during the forthcoming Edinburgh Festival Fringe,” reads the letter, which was organized by theater critic and writer Mark Brown.
“The current, brutal assault by Israel upon the people of Gaza, which is an appalling collective punishment, underlines the seriousness of your error in cooperating with a company which is funded by the Ministry of Culture of the State of Israel.”
Cancel it for being a “film noir-style hip-hop opera”, by all means. But for being Jewish?
And to describe the effort to end Arab terror from Gaza as a “brutal assault” and a “collective punishment” is a stretch not even Roger Waters and Alice Walker could limber themselves up to make. Not even a sniff of the three murdered Jewish teens or the hundreds of missiles fired?
“The State of Israel uses the international ventures of its artists to attempt to lend itself a sense of cultural legitimacy and to distract attention from the brutality of its illegal occupation.
How sneaky of them! So like the Jews, don’t you think? But what “illegal occupation” do they speak of? Israel left Gaza nine years ago, and persistent shelling since is how they’ve been repaid.
It’s almost unfair to let these dimwits speak for themselves. I’d much rather quote the Israelis:
Incubator Theater’s founder and director, Arik Eshet, said in response: “We have nothing to be ashamed of. We are Israelis, and whether we like it or not, it puts us in the position of ambassadors. But treating Israeli artists as government agents is ridiculous.
“Israel is a censorship-free democratic state, and one cannot say that the Israeli theater and art represent the government. This is nonsense which at best stems from ignorance. I have invited the letter’s initiator to engage in a dialogue, but they are not interested because they are convinced they hold the absolute truth.
“This letter was signed by artists and intellectuals who claim to sanctify human rights, but what does that mean when, in practice, they won’t give us the opportunity to fulfill the right to freedom of expression? It’s outrageous and infuriating. Artistic work should be a place for exchanging opinions, but is seems that they don’t believe in that.
“We are proud of who we are and what we do. It’s their right to boycott us, but they are missing a wonderful show.”
You have nothing to be ashamed of because your nation is defending itself from an existential threat to the Jewish people. The “artists and intellectuals” who condemn Israel for that inherently agree with Hamas’ annihilist aims.