Letter published in the Guardian: “We welcome Israel’s national theatre”

H/T to Jonathan Sacerdoti, of the Institute for Middle Eastern Democracy, who wrote the letter in the Guardian posted below.

To read some background on the Guardian’s coverage of shameful efforts by UK artists to bar the Israeli national theater company from performing at the Globe in London (as part of next month’s Cultural Olympiad event) read here, here, here and here.

Briefly, a letter signed by 37 leading actors, directors, producers and writers – including Emma Thompson, Mike Leigh and Mark Rylance – published in the Guardian last week, called for the invitation to be withdrawn because Habima had performed in Israeli settlements.

The following letter was published in the Guardian on April 10th. 

12 replies »

  1. Some very heavy hitters signed this letter. FInally some well-known Jews in the UK are willing to go public to support Israel and Israelis.

  2. Having clicked on the link to the Guardian page where the letter is written, one cannot help notice the publication of the obnoxious letter from Mr Ellman. Is this The Guardian’s way of diluting the impact of the balance it attempts (pretends) to restore? Here is the the text:

    “• Binyamin Netanyahu and Avigdor Lieberman (Report, 9 April) should realise that a fair proportion of the world’s Jewry feel the same way as Günter Grass about the Israeli government’s policies – which are in breach of Jewish law (“Do not mistreat an alien or oppress him, for you were aliens in Egypt”, Exodus 22:21) and the Jewish tradition of support for the oppressed, especially at this time of Passover – and feel that it is they who are “sacrificing the Jewish people” in their militaristic and intransigent policies towards the Palestinian people in Gaza and the West Bank. Many of us who were supporters of Israel and the Zionist project have become disillusioned by the injustice of the present government, and their failure to take steps to achieve a lasting peace.
    Michael Ellman

    The link:

    • Imagine the scene at Guardian Towers:

      Rusbridger to Letters Editor: “Guess we have to publish this pro-Israel letter because so many eminent people have signed it but find an Israel-bashing letter – preferably from a Jew – to publish underneath it….”

    • It’s probably a lame-brained attempt at “balance” – its axiomatic that in the Guardian such things are a one-way street….

      And what on earth constitutes “a fair proportion” of the world’s Jewry? This is weaseling indeed. What an ignoramus!

      (Note also the entirely specious biblical reference. That he obviously believes that Palestinians are aliens in the Middle East – I hope he isn’t planning a trip to Gaza in the near future. Perhaps he should preach that at the Arab/Muslim leaders who oppress Christian and other aliens in their countries because they are not Muslim. But I forget, “be kind to the stranger and do not oppress him” is not part of the ethos of Islam, unless it comes with an “invitation” to accept their prophet.)

  3. I’m opposed to this silly boycott attempt against Habima.
    But where do those people “delegitimise the state of Israel and its success, the Jewish people, and even the Hebrew language itself”?
    It is also dishonest to claim that Habima re being targeted “simply because they are Israeli”
    And where on earth do they “they demonstrate the continued persecution of Jews”??
    This is specifically about the West Bank settlements.

    • One thing I have noted in my own piece is that Habima did not perform at illegal West Bank settlements, but at settlements that Israeli and Palestinian negotiators agreed to leave to final status negotiations under.

      I’d also note the futility of the March 29th boycott call, given that Shakespeare’s Globe had already publicly rejected a similar boycott call in early January– did they really expect the Globe to suddenly back down from their position that Habima would perform?

      • “…but at settlements that Israeli and Palestinian negotiators agreed to leave to final status negotiations under.”

        Pardon me, but that should read:

        “…but at settlements that Israeli and Palestinian negotiators agreed to leave to final status negotiations under the Oslo Accords.”

    • “It is also dishonest to claim that Habima re being targeted ‘simply because they are Israeli’.” But they are. Look at Ian Thal’s post, and if that isn’t enough look at who else has been invited to perform with no objection.

  4. Heir Emma Thompson, and her gaggle of idiots, needs to be aware and remember that the GLOBE theatre was a vision of the late actor Sam Wanamaker, took him till his death to see the magnificent building arise from the ashes.
    As a Jew and hr hsf lived through the holocaust, I am sure he would have been totally against this boycott.