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Monday, May 28, 2012

Habima's "Merchant of Venice" goes on despite interruptions

From BBC:
A performance of The Merchant of Venice by Israel's Habima theatre company has taken place at Shakespeare's Globe in London amid protests by pro-Palestinian activists.

Around 15 protesters were led or carried out during the performance after unfurling banners and Palestinian flags.

The actual performance carried on despite the disruptions.

The Hebrew-language production has proved controversial since a group of high-profile stage names called for the Globe to boycott the company over its performances in Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

On Monday late afternoon there were small-scale demonstrations outside the Globe by both pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli groups.

There was also a police presence outside the theatre, while a private security firm was employed inside the building.

About 10 minutes into the play, a banner reading "Israel Apartheid leave the stage" was unfurled from the first-floor balcony accompanied by several Palestinian flags.

Security men moved in and several people were removed, some of them saying "No violence!"

Other protesters showed peace signs or stood up with tape over their mouths.

Audience members who attempted to take photos were asked to stop by stewards.

More banners and flags were unfurled on two more occasions before the interval.

As the protesters were removed, some shouted "Free Palestine!"

After the interval, a man standing in front of the stage was ejected after shouting: "Hath a Palestinian not eyes?" in a twist on Shylock's famous speech.

Another performance of The Merchant of Venice is due to take place on Tuesday.
The idea that the protests were because Habima performed in Ariel, and not simply because it is Israeli, is  a lie. The protesters themselves admit it:
Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, co-ordinator with the Boycott Israel Network, said: "This campaign is not an attack on individual artists, we are not censoring the content of their work nor are we concerned about their ethnicity or the language they speak.

"As with South African sport in the apartheid era, this is about refusing to allow culture to be used to whitewash oppression."
This quote also shows that contrary to the BBC's assertion that these were "pro-Palestinian activists," they are simply anti-Israel bullies.