Appeal to the Riverdance company not to tour Israel

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Note from IPSC: There will be a final action in the IPSC’s series of ongoing protests at the Gaiety Theatre before Riverdance heads off to perform for Israeli Apartheid – so please make the effort to come along on Thursday 18th June at 18:30, (Gaiety Theatre, South King St, off Grafton St, Dublin 2. More info here). It’s important to emphasis that this campaign is endorsed by several prominent groups, including the Israeli organisation Boycott! and the Israeli and Palestinian group Alternative Information Centre (AIC).

On 6th April last, the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign appealed to Riverdance to cancel its tour of Israel scheduled for 1-13 September next.

In response, Riverdance posted the following on its website: “Riverdance supports the policy of the Irish Government and indeed the policy of every other EU state that cultural interaction is preferable to isolation.” Significantly, all feedback comments were disabled for this posting.

This response overlooks the fact that it is precisely the policy of EU states, i.e. their refusal to apply international law, international humanitarian law or indeed EU law (embodied in Article 2, the “human rights clause”, of the Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreement) to the state of Israel and their consequent complicity in Israel’s violation of these laws, that has made it necessary for civil society to call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), including a cultural boycott, of the Israeli state. BDS is a non-violent protest strategy responding to the call by Palestinian civil society and cultural organisations for international assistance.

Since last April, when the IPSC called on Riverdance to cancel its tour, Israeli soldiers have twice raided the Freedom Theatre in Jenin, in the occupied West Bank, thus jeopardising a planned production of Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett. Two board members of the theatre, Adnan Naghnaghiye and Bilal Saadi, and actor Rami Hwayel have been kidnapped by the Israeli military in the past month and remain in detention at the time of writing. “We don’t know why we are being targeted. We’re a cultural organisation fighting for freedom,” said Jacob Gough, the theatre’s acting managing director.

On 29th July Israeli soldiers attacked the Dutch “First Night of Love Brass Band” with tear gas canisters during their performance near Nablus in the West Bank. On that same day Israeli soldiers assaulted and seriously injured the Palestinian photojournalist Moheeb Al-Barghouthi for filming a demonstration near Ramallah.

These are just random and recent examples of the indiscriminate brutality of the Israeli occupation, which does not stop short of targeting cultural and journalistic freedom. This is the basis for the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions.

Since Riverdance’s management seems determined to tour Israel, we now call upon the musicians and dancers who make up the Riverdance Company to refuse to participate in this tour, following the example of Riverdance set designer Robert Ballagh and the 208 Irish artists who have pledged to boycott Israel. We call upon them to inform Riverdance’s management that they will not be party to a breach of the boycott call from Palestinian victims of Israel’s crimes. We call upon them, as cultural ambassadors, to refuse to besmirch Ireland’s good name by lending themselves to exploitation by those who would whitewash Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people.

Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC – www.ipsc.ie )

Endorsed by:
Irish Ship to Gaza (ISTG  – www.irishshiptogaza.org – Ireland)
Peace and Neutrality Alliance (PANA – www.pana.org – Ireland)
Irish Anti-War Movement (IAWM – www.irishantiwar.org – Ireland)
Palestinian Campaign for the Cultural and Academic Boycott of Israel (PACBI – www.pacbi.org – Palestine)
Boycott! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from within (Boycott from Within – http://boycottisrael.info/ – Israel)
Alternative Information Centre (AIC – www.alternativenews.org/ – Israel/Palestine)
Artists Against Apartheid (AAA – www.artistsagainstapartheid.org/ – International)

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3 Responses

  1. Domus Canus.

    September 5, 2011 7:13 pm

    On my way to Jerusalem with my sister for the Riverdance performance on Sept. 12th.. I expect you to ‘welcome and encourage’ this lively choice of mine and not come across as a gang of withered racists. Perhaps you ought to distance yourselves from the ‘palestinian’ thugs who continue to blacken Ireland’s ‘good name’ by their very presence in my country. ‘Ciao-Ciao.

  2. Raymond

    September 5, 2011 11:39 pm

    I think that any open-minded person reading this will be pretty clear who the “withered racist” is.

  3. Alice

    September 8, 2012 4:55 am

    Israel isn’t apartheid. The problem is the terrorists who routinely blow up Israelis,or try to do so. There have been 10,000 attacks on Israelis , which is why they had to build a wall to protect themselves.

    Not to mention the revisionist history that has a bunch of Egyptian and Syrian Arabs (many with the last name of alMasri, the Egyptian)whose ancestors came into Israel because the Jews had jobs for them once they, the Israelis, made the desert bloom on wasteland have decided they are indigenous, which the Jews are. There have always been Jews in Israel since about 1500BC.
    Then the five Arab countries tried to destroy Israel the day after she gained independence, and Jordan took over Jerusalem, destroying ancient synagogues and the Jewish quarter, and took over JUDEA and Samaria (aka “West Bank”).
    And the “Palestinians” claim descent from the Philistines. Only two problems: Arabic has no “F” sound, and the Philistines were GREEK from Mycenae.