Tag Archives: Batsheva

Honking bus driver reprimanded for anti-Israel protest.

I was reading through my copy of this week’s Jewish Chronicle when I saw a piece by Jennifer Lipman.

It was about the driver of Bus No 38 who had repeatedly honked his horn as he drove passed Palestine Solidarity Campaign protesters outside Batsheva’s performance of Decca Dance on its first night at Sadler’s Wells. The protesters cheered in response.

I caught the honking on film, but thought nothing more of it.

I was more interested in hoping that the anti-Israel protesters who disrupted each of Batsheva’s three performances might be prosecuted for aggravated trespass.

Obviously that didn’t happen. Neither did it happen when the protesters disrupted Habima at The Globe nor when they disrupted the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall.

But someone did complain about the honking bus driver.

Jennifer reports that a spokesman for Arriva, responding to the complaint, said:

“That sort of behaviour is totally inappropriate whilst on duty and I can confirm that the driver has been identified and interviewed by his manager. He was advised on all aspects of your complaint and his performance will be closely monitored to make sure that there are no further incidents of this nature. I am sorry that a member of our staff should have acted in this manner.”

And a Transport For London spokesman said:

“We expect drivers to promote a positive image of London Buses and to act professionally at all times. Clearly, a London bus driver should not be participating in a protest while performing their duties.”

Here is the honking bus driver in action on the night:

And here is anti-Israel activist Deborah Fink just after she had been ejected for disrupting Batsheva’s first night performance:

Protests fail to disrupt Batsheva Ensemble’s Deca Dance show at Sadler’s Wells.

The Batsheva Ensemble, the youth wing of the main Batsheva dance company, received a standing ovation at Sadler’s Wells in London last night after an outstanding display of music and dance. Batsheva’s Deca Dance show, a collage of impressive pieces, consists of 16 dancers aged between 18 and 24 years-old. The 16 are mainly Israeli although there are two dancers from Spain and one from Russia, America and Japan, respectively.

As you enter the auditorium there’s a single dancer already on stage welcoming you in with some humorous improvisation.

Ten minutes in to the show shouts of “Free Free Palestine” were quickly drowned out by spontaneous audience applause. Security was dotted unobtrusively around the theatre to deter anything more prolonged. Two more similar attempts at disruption took place during the show but they were met with a similar audience response.

The second half was dominated by the female and male dancers seemingly dressed as Chabad Lubavitch Jews in dark hats, white shirts and dark trousers. They then interacted brilliantly with the audience, and the audience with them, before bringing the curtain down with the most powerful rendition of all thirteen verses of Echad Mi Yodea, the Passover table song, you will ever see and hear.

The 1500 seats were virtually sold out although you can walk in just before the show and pick up a ticket. The show continues tonight and tomorrow night at the same place before, finally, moving on to Plymouth on Friday and Saturday. Try to see it before it leaves these shores.

Typically, The Guardian newspaper, who are quite happy to promote racist cultural boycotts against Israel that also demean apartheid, linked their report Batsheva Dance Company braces for Gaza protests in London straight through to the Facebook page of Don’t Dance With Israeli Apartheid.

Sadly, for The Guardian and the boycotters the disruptions were muted and the audience loved Batsheva’s performance, as could be seen by the rousing ovation and the three curtain calls given to Batsheva last night. Here is part of that ovation:

Israel’s Batsheva dances on in Edinburgh despite PSC invasions.

Disruption during Batsheva's Thursday performance at Edinburgh's Playhouse Theatre.

Disruption during Batsheva’s Thursday performance at Edinburgh’s Playhouse Theatre.

What follows is a first hand account by our good friend Harvey of the racism, lies and abuse hurled at innocent theatre-goers by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign when Israel’s Batsheva dance group performed last Thursday, Friday and Saturday at The Playhouse Theatre in Edinburgh. Harvey also highlighted the frightening lack of security inside the theatre.

He took footage and photos of Thursday’s anti-Israel protests before, during and after Batsheva’s performance of Hora. By Saturday, when he had been identified as a supporter of Israel, he received this volley of abuse from PSC’s Scottish Chair Mick Napier for merely standing alone and filming Napier’s protest:

Napier screams at Harvey:

“Tell him to put his camera away. It’s intimidating. We know what they do with images. They use it to torture. They put Palestinians in their dungeons. And you. You think we’re afraid? You can’t call in your dirty little IDF to torture us as you do our friends. You’re a disgusting specimen.”

Disgusting specimen, eh? Such a pleasant chap that Napier. And it’s alright for Napier to have a go at members of the public out for a pleasant Thursday night’s entertainment; just don’t intimidate poor, defenceless Napier and his flock.

And one of Napier’s flock was this equally lovely chap:

Does anyone need reminding about the exhortations of Hezbollah’s Sheikh Nasrallah who has characterised Jews as the “grandsons of pigs and apes” and has said that if every Jew gathered in Israel it would save Hezbollah the effort of going after them worldwide. And go after them worldwide they have with terrorist attacks in Argentina in 1992 and 1994 and this year in Bulgaria.

Here is Harvey’s footage of PSC activists taunting the theatre-goers before Thursday’s performance with cries of “Your tickets are covered in Palestinian blood”:

Harvey reports that on entering The Playhouse the security, which consisted of a trestle table for checking bags, was “optional”. He walked in on the Thursday night without even showing his ticket, something which the PSC got wind of allowing them to run amok during the Saturday night performance and force some nine stoppages of the show.

On the Thursday, Harvey reports, there were three stoppages. Each time the Batsheva dancers came into a line at the front of the stage and stood like soldiers to attention while the lights went up to allow security to evict the PSC activists. And each time the audience responded with a spontaneous standing ovation to drown out the noise of the activists.

At the end of the performance the dancers received a proper standing ovation:

But on leaving the theatre the audience were once again confronted with crazed calls for the destruction of Israel:

It is incredible that after the disruptions during the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra’s performance at the Royal Albert Hall and Habima’s Merchant of Venice at The Globe there have been no prosecutions for aggravated trespass.

But this will always be the case without complaints by the likes of the Royal Albert Hall, The Globe and The Edinburgh Playhouse to the police.

There’s much more to come from Batsheva in the UK: Edinburgh, Festival Theatre (30, 31 Oct.), The Lowry, Salford Quays (2, 3 Nov.), Bradford, Alhambra Theatre (6, 7 Nov.), Brighton Dome, Concert Hall (9, 10 Nov.), Birmingham Hippodrome (13, 14 Nov.), Leicester, Curve Theatre (16 Nov.), London, Sadler’s Wells (19,20, 21 Nov.) and Plymouth, Theatre Royal (23, 24 Nov.)

Please come and support the wonderful dancers and help drown out the noise of the PSC’s professional disruptors.

More clips:

Here Napier says that if Batsheva “breaks their links with the state of Israel, then they may be welcome as normal citizens, but not as agents for the Israeli state.” Of course, that is impossible as Batsheva would not be able to operate without state funding, just like any other dance group. Yet another example of holding Jews to a higher standard:

And here is another anti-Israel activist explaining to the mob that the problem is simply with Batsheva’s state funding. Would he demand the arts in the UK go without state funding for the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq? I think not:

In this footage an activist claims that some theatre-goers are destroying their Batsheva tickets. There is no proof. It’s just in his mind:

Finally, here is footage of a choir pleasantly singing for Israel’s security wall to come down. One woman even sings “inshallah”. Jewish babies having their throats slit by Hamas is obviously not a concern for some small-minded people: