New protest at invite to Israel's national theatre to perform at Globe

March 30, 2012
Sarah Benton

Report of first protest at Globe invitation: Demand for boycott of Israeli theatre company at Globe, London

Dismay at Globe invitation to Israeli theatre

Letters, Guardian

We notice with dismay and regret that Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London has invited Israel’s National Theatre, Habima, to perform The Merchant of Venice in its Globe to Globe festival this coming May. The general manager of Habima has declared the invitation “an honourable accomplishment for the State of Israel”. But Habima has a shameful record of involvement with illegal Israeli settlements in Occupied Palestinian Territory. Last year, two large Israeli settlements established “halls of culture” and asked Israeli theatre groups to perform there. A number of Israeli theatre professionals – actors, stage directors, playwrights – declared they would not take part.

Habima, however, accepted the invitation with alacrity, and promised the Israeli minister of culture that it would “deal with any problems hindering such performances”. By inviting Habima, Shakespeare’s Globe is undermining the conscientious Israeli actors and playwrights who have refused to break international law.

The Globe says it wants to “include” the Hebrew language in its festival – we have no problem with that. “Inclusiveness” is a core value of arts policy in Britain, and we support it. But by inviting Habima, the Globe is associating itself with policies of exclusion practised by the Israeli state and endorsed by its national theatre company. We ask the Globe to withdraw the invitation so that the festival is not complicit with human rights violations and the illegal colonisation of occupied land.

David Aukin, producer
Poppy Burton-Morgan, artistic director, Metta Theatre
Leo Butler, playwright
Niall Buggy, actor
David Calder, actor
Jonathan Chadwick, director
Caryl Churchill, playwright
Michael Darlow writer, director
John Graham Davies actor, writer
Trevor Griffiths, playwright
Annie Firbank, actor
Paul Freeman, actor
Matyelok Gibbs, actor
Tony Graham, director
Janet Henfrey, actor
James Ivens, artistic director, Flood Theatre
Andrew Jarvis actor, director, teacher
Neville Jason, actor
Ursula Jones, actor
Professor Adah Kay,  academic, playwright
Mike Leigh film-maker, dramatist
Sonja Linden, playwright, iceandfire theatre
Roger Lloyd Pack, actor
Cherie Lunghi, actor
Miriam Margolyes, actor
Kika Markham, actor
Jonathan Miller director, author and broadcaster
Frances Rifkin, director
Mark Rylance, actor
Alexei Sayle comedian, writer
Farhana Sheikh, writer
Emma Thompson actor, screenwriter
Andy de la Tour actor, director
Harriet Walter, actor
Hilary Westlake, director
Richard Wilson actor, director
Susan Wooldridge actor, writer

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