WHAT: Protest of the Israel Ballet
WHEN: Sunday, February 21st, 2010 from 1:00 to 3:00 PM
WHERE: Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College at 2900 Campus Road
2 and 5 trains to Brooklyn College / Flatbush Avenue station
(A bit further away is the Q train to Avenue H)
The Israel Ballet comes to the US in the midst of an ongoing effort to “re-brand” Israel”s image and to conceal facts about its occupation, racial discrimination and even war crimes against the Palestinian people, as pointedly revealed in the UN”s recently published Goldstone Report on Israel”s war of aggression on Gaza.
With growing criticism of Israeli state policies, arts and culture have become an important weapon in the Israeli government”s public relations campaign. In 2006, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs launched an initiative called “Brand Israel,” to salvage Israel’s deteriorating image abroad. Arye Mekel of Israel”s Foreign Ministry has stated that, “We will send well-known novelists and writers overseas, theater companies, exhibits… This way you show Israel”s prettier face, so we are not thought of purely in the context of war.”
Rather than distancing itself from the Israeli state”s cynical use of the arts to whitewash its apartheid and colonial policies, the Israel Ballet, which receives around $1 million annually from the Israeli government, has embraced its ties with the state and proudly proclaims on its website that it is “earning recognition and bringing honor to the state of Israel.” Israel”s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in turn, affirms the troupe”s service to the state, calling them “a valued cultural representative.”
In the press, the Israel Ballet actively obfuscates Israel”s regime of racial discrimination and segregation and shows complete disregard for Palestinian suffering. In late January, 2009, as Palestinians reeled from Israel”s assault on Gaza that indiscriminately killed 1400 residents, mostly civilians, Israel Ballet founder Berta Yampolsky told TimeOut Beijing, “Luckily, right now we don”t have to worry about war: despite our problems, this is a safe place; there”s no crime, and you don”t have to be afraid at night.”
To combat Israel”s denial of Palestinian rights, in 2004, Palestinian civil society, led by the newly formed Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), called on colleagues in the international community “to comprehensively and consistently boycott all Israeli academic and cultural institutions until Israel withdraws from all the lands occupied in 1967, including East Jerusalem; removes all its colonies in those lands; agrees to United Nations resolutions relevant to the restitution of Palestinian refugees rights; and dismantles its system of apartheid.”
Click here to read the full call to Boycott the Israel Ballet endorsed by Adalah-NY, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, Boycott! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within, and American Jews for a Just Peace.
And please join the ResisDance in Brooklyn on February 21st!
Location: 2900 Campus Road Brooklyn, NY