Israel’s pretence of keeping culture separate from politics has disintegrated in the days leading up the appearance of the flagship theatre company Habima at Shakespeare’s Globe in London on May
No doubt under extreme pressure from the Zionist lobby, the Globe is imposing unprecedented security measures on audiences on Monday and Tuesday, in a misguided attempt to prevent protesters expressing their outrage at the presence of Habima, which entertains colonists illegally settled on Palestinian land.
In moves that will make the theatre resemble an Israeli checkpoint, bags “and audience members” will be subjected to “extensive searches”; the audience will be required to check in an hour and a half before the start of the performance and no bags larger than a medium-sized purse will be allowed into the auditorium.
Now evidence has emerged that the Israeli Embassy is instructing Israel’s supporters in the UK on how to use Twitter in Habima’s defence.
In emails circulated to some sections of the Jewish community, the embassy is launching a Twitter campaign using “the hashtag #LoveCulture as it is short enough to fit on a substantial tweet and won’t be taken at first glance as a political statement” (our emphasis).
Suggested hasbara tweets from Tuesday morning onwards include:
Great to see @HabimaTheatre celebrating the Cultural Olympiad @the_globe…all the world’s a stage #LoveCulture
Fantastic seeing the foremost Hebrew speaking theatre company perform the Merchant of Venice @the_globe #LoveCulture
and, with an ungrateful dig at Conservative MP Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, who has made a point of promising to attend the Israeli cultural ambassadors’ performance on Monday:
Was great to hear @edvaizey enjoyed watching @HabimaTheatre…did he understand any of it though? #LoveCulture
Those interested in helping the Brand Israel Hasbara effort are invited to email the embassy at this address: email@example.com
For those who, on the other hand, respect the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions and recognise cultural boycott as a legitimate weapon in the non-violent struggle for freedom, justice and equality, we recommend joining a mass protest outside the Globe at 6pm on Monday May 28 and again on Tuesday 29th.
The protest is a joint effort by the full range of Palestinian solidarity organisations including Jews for Justice for Palestinians, J-BIG, the Boycott Israel Network, PSC and many more.
Film maker Ken Loach said in statement before the protests that Habima, in common with other Israeli cultural institutions travelling abroad, was part of Israel’s propaganda campaign.
“These performances attempt to normalize the unacceptable, the occupation of land that belongs to the Palestinians,” said Loach. “This complicity makes a mockery of Habima’s claim to freedom in its work.”
Despite appeals over recent months from Israeli campaigners and many respected UK theatre actors, directors and playwrights, the Globe has declined to respect the Palestinian boycott call aimed at institutions, like Habima, that use culture to legitimise the Israeli state’s infringements of human rights and breaches of international law.
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