Daily Archives: November 7, 2012

Anti-Israel Brighton activist: “Go and disrupt the Batsheva performance.”

Introducing the Batsheva Ensemble Dance Company from Israel who are currently touring the UK.

In her review of their recent performance at The Lowry in Salford Sally Cinnamon writes of Batsheva:

“The talent, maturity and complexity of the dancer’s abilities belie their tender age. Dancer, Oz Shoshan prologues the show as the audience filters to their seats. He’s dancing alone on stage. It looks improvised, it might be choreographed, either way, it’s the best opening I’ve seen in recent years and a sample of things to come.”

But, as ever, when an Israel production comes to town so do those who harbour a particular hatred towards the Jewish state and its Jewish citizens. Cinnamon writes:

“a couple of the protesters infiltrate the performance and bring proceedings to a temporary halt. It’s a sour start to the evening and although everyone has the right to protest, it seems bizarrely worthless to be hollering remonstration at young dancers.”

Cinnamon signs off her review:

“The show is on tour throughout the UK and has been harboured by protest at every venue so far. It shouldn’t put you off. There were those outside in the cold that protested and there were those of us watching that warmed to some of the very best young dancers in the world.”

This Friday the company are performing their Deca Dance at the Brighton Dome. Here’s the trailer:

There was due to be a Saturday performance, but The Dome pulled it due to concern over security. Their idea is to beef up security for the one night instead of spreading it over the two nights. This is a shame because Jews who live in Brighton who keep the Shabbat and who bought tickets for the Saturday night performance cannot go to the one on Friday night.

The usual accusation being thrown at the Batsheva Ensemble by the protesters is that it is government funded and, therefore, being used by the Israeli government to promote Israel in a good light. If this isn’t pure anti-Semitism then where were the protests interrupting British and American government funded shows when those countries went into an allegedly illegal war in Iraq?

An anti-Israel activist who recently spoke at a meeting in Brighton about disrupting the Batsheva Ensemble said:

“I do support a non-violent disruption of the Batsheva performance. I encourage everyone to go and protest there. I would support people in non-violently disrupting a performance that I don’t think should go ahead, the performance needing the funding that it does.”

Here’s the audio:

Brighton meeting part-audio.

So once again it seems people will be having their evening’s entertainment disrupted having paid good money for tickets. It happened at the Royal Albert Hall when the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra performed. It happened when Israel’s National Theatre (Habima) performed The Merchant of Venice at The Globe.

Now it is happening to the Batsheva Ensemble, a young dance group making a name for themselves on the world stage.

Incredibly, no charges were pressed against any protesters who were taken out after disrupting despite those protesters acting contrary to Section 68 (1) of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, which states:

“A person commits the offence of aggravated trespass if he trespasses on land and, in relation to any lawful activity which persons are engaging in or are about to engage in on that or adjoining land, does there anything which is intended by him to have the effect—

a)of intimidating those persons or any of them so as to deter them or any of them from engaging in that activity,

(b)of obstructing that activity, or

(c)of disrupting that activity.

It is about time the venues and police acted by pressing charges.

Nick Clegg just can’t bring himself to support Israeli defensive action against Iran.

The UK’s Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg attended a Q&A session at Hasmonean School in north-west London last night. The event was staged by the Jewish News and chaired by ITV correspondent Tom Bradby

While Israel was under concerted rocket fire from Hamas in 2009 Clegg wrote “We must stop arming Israel”. In 2010 he acknowledged that there had not always been an equal voice for Israel within the Liberal Democrats and in 2011 he said he craved a time when the Community Service Trust, which protects Britain’s small Jewish community, wasn’t needed.

He did finally force Jenny Tonge to resign from the Lib Dems. when she said that Israel won’t be here forever, but it was also back to business as usual this year when he called Israel’s settlements “deliberate vandalism”.

Clegg doesn’t get that it’s precisely this hostility to Israel which is one of the main reasons the CST continues to be needed. Whenever he and his ilk criticize Israel’s defensive actions or the settlements in such an unbalanced manner synagogues and Jewish schools have to tighten their security and it gives encouragement to those seeking to harass Israeli-owned shops and disrupt Israeli productions visiting these shores.

Surprisingly, there were very few questions about Israel and the Middle East last night considering that Israel is still under constant fire from Hamas rockets, David Cameron is currently in the Middle East selling arms to Saudi Arabia and the so-called Arab Spring is descending into mass murder and oppression.

However, my colleague Jeremy Havardi was given the opportunity to ask the following on Iran:

“I gather you support the policy of sanctions against Iran, which is great. Will you support an Israeli strike on Iran if it was an absolute last resort in stopping its illegal nuclear weapons programme?”

Notice the words “absolute last resort”. A simple question, but Clegg spent the next 6 minutes obfuscating even when pushed twice to answer Havardi’s question by Bradby. Here is some of how Clegg didn’t answer the question:

“I would counsel against the idea that there is a simple military solution.”

“Most experts say that if you took military action you’d probably delay a nuclear programme, but you wouldn’t eliminate it.”

“What we are doing is, if it works, more effective….squeezing harder and harder with tougher sanctions, which are having a real effect…”

“To risk all the dangers of a unilateral military strike, which might not provide a permanent solution… is unwise.”

Clegg continued in the same vein even when Bradby asked whether Clegg would expect military action once Iran had loaded nuclear weapon technology into a missile and, finally, if Israel’s intelligence showed that they couldn’t sit and tolerate the situation anymore.

Yet still Clegg could not bring himself to support Israeli defensive action, even against such an existential threat as an all-out nuclear attack.

Luckily, my colleague Clive wasn’t given the opportunity to ask “What’s the capital of Israel?” Just imagine how long it would have taken Clegg to answer.

Here is Clegg’s full answer from last night: