Thursday, May 31, 2012
HABIMA THEATRE SUCCESS AT SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL
Despite efforts of the UK Guardian, the boycotters and the BDS lobby to claim that they disrupted the Israeli group, Habima, Shakespeare performance at the Globe last night, the reality was very different and their attempts to disrupt failed miserably.
When there WAS a small disruption the performers were unphased and pre-briefed, and the Globe staff handled the situation quickly and effectively and are to be greatly congratulated, not just for handling a potentially explosive situation so well, but also for not giving in to huge pressure they received to cancel the invitation to Habima.
Theatregoers in the main were angered by the intrusion and later by the shouting and obstruction they were subjected to as they were leaving the theatre after the performance,
There was a large and peaceful pro Israel counter demo with music and Israeli dancing in the streets, which was in huge contrast to the shouting abuse and demonisation of Israel of the anti Israel demonstrators.
Habimah were delighted by the warmth of their welcome from the community and Christian groups and although they won't admit it the Palestinian Solidarit Campaign, (PSC), the Boycott Israel Network and Jews for Justice for the Palestinians must be really disappointed.
Their main achievement was that they ensured two sellout performances for Habima, something they and the Globe can't fail to be pleased about. Hopefully, despite the extra work this provided for the Globe, it is hoped the outcome empowers them to know that inviting Israel performers gains more support than opposition, and they will invite Habima back again.
For once, there was a tremendous communal effort, together with Anglican Friends of Israel, Christian Friends of Israel and individual Christians who turned up as they always do to stand up for Israel, to counter the attempts of the boycotters, who first tried to get the Habimah invitation cancelled, supported by some ill-informed fellow artists, and then to cause effective disruption during their performances.
The Globe are to be congratulated for standing firm and putting in place all the necessary security to contain any disruptions. There is the added bonus of Habimah getting glowing reviews for their performance.
The comment in the article in the Guardian from Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, co-ordinator with the Boycott Israel Network is ludicrous. Israelis and Israeli Arabs performing in the UK are not whitewashing anything. They are using their talents to promote peace and harmonious co-existence. Just what do the boycotters think they achieved for the Palestinians last night. They just made a lot more people aware of the futility and aggression of the BDS campaign and, perhaps, did Israel a great favour.
Congratulations are due to all the organisations who worked so well together to achieve this outcome, from the Zionist Federation in London and StandWithUs UK who were proud to work alongside all the organisations who came together on this and helped to achieve this result.
Hopefully one outcome will be that more Israeli groups will be invited to the UK which would be the best outcome of all.
Please do not allow the false impression that the disrupters succeeded to gain credence.
There is massive social media traffic on Twitter and Facebook congratulating Habima and the Globe, (@habima and @globe) and the pro Israel demonstrators and those attending the perfomance last night are to be congratulated for their restraint in not rising to the disrupters.
Reviews and audience reaction have been amazing, congratulations are due to the Globe management and to everyone who supported either inside or outside the theatre on both nights.
This was a real blow to the BDS movement and a great example of cross community cooperation to get the strategy right with the cooperation of the Globe management It has been a boost for those of us who were starting to be wary of having major Israeli events and productions because of the anti activity they generated but this has shown what can be done and the experience of all working together has been a great one and certainly the way forward to greater success.
A strong recommendation – contact or email the Globe to thank them for the way they handled things last night or Tweet @theGlobe and @habima
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