Israel’s War Against Palestine: Documenting the Military Occupation of Palestinian and Arab Lands

No Tutu is Big Enough to Cover War up Crimes

21 February 2010

Human rights activists from Vermont, New York and Israel interrupted a performance of the Israel Ballet at the Flynn Theater in Burlington, VT calling attention to the dance company’s complicity in Israeli war crimes.

IOA Editor: See also Ynetnews story and correction of facts by activists:
www.israeli-occupation.org/2010-02-20/us-protestors-halt-israeli-ballet-performance/


Burlington, VT- February 19, 2010

Human rights activists from Vermont, New York and Israel interrupted a performance of the Israel Ballet at the Flynn Theater in Burlington, VT calling attention to the dance company’s complicity in Israeli war crimes.

Using two banners that read “No Tutu is Big Enough to Cover Up War Crimes” and “Sponsored by Apartheid Israel”, the activists, who had purchased tickets to the show, positioned themselves in front of the stage during the opening scenes of the performance. Two audience members attempted to pull the banners down but the activists managed to hold onto them for about 30 seconds before being asked to leave by ushers.

Former Israeli soldier and human rights activist Yonatan Shapira, who took part in the action said, “The Israel Ballet comes to the U.S. during a concerted effort by the Israeli government to use arts and culture to whitewash Israeli war crimes and to conceal facts about its occupation and racial discrimination against the Palestinian people. Rather than distancing itself from the Israeli government, the ballet has proudly embraced its ties with the state.” The Israel Ballet receives around $1 million annually from the Israeli government and is being advertised as a valued cultural representative of the state by the Israeli Consulate in New York. The dance group also boasts holding “special performances” for Israeli soldiers. Shapira is an army refuser who is active with Boycott!, the Israeli group that supports the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against the Israel.

Also joining in the action were Burlington-based David Symons who is a performer of Yiddish music, and Brooklyn-based theater artist and teacher Brian Pickett, who commented, “We took this action tonight to educate the public and to deliver a strong message to the Israeli government and affiliated institutions, that while Palestinians are being denied their rights, there will not be business as usual.”  In a letter to Israeli news website Ynet, Symons explained the action further,  “As performers and people in the arts ourselves, disrupting a ballet was not something we took lightly.  It was ultimately decided that there is always a price to pay when one wishes to change the status quo and, in light of Israel’s outrageous and unacceptable behavior toward Palestinians and Lebanese, and its attempt to distract attention from its crimes with brightly-colored artistic and cultural products, the price, in this case, was worth it.”

Video of the action is currently being censored by Youtube who claim it violates a “terms of use” policy, however the video can be viewed at the following links:
http://vimeo.com/9594080
http://samayfield.blip.tv/file/3242921/

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