[Marxism] Outrage over Israel variety show in London

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Apr 20 07:17:23 MDT 2009

Outrage over Israeli It Ain't Half Hot Mum-style show

Critics condemn London show featuring Israeli Defence Force dance troupe 
as 'ghoulish and retrograde'

by Haroon Siddique

An Israeli Defence Force song-and-dance troupe is to perform in London 
at a show to commemorate the founding of Israel, provoking anger among 
groups that campaign for the rights of Palestinians.

The IDF group was likened by the event organisers, the Zionist 
Federation, to the troupe portrayed in the 1970s BBC comedy It Ain't 
Half Hot Mum – but not everyone sees the funny side.

Human rights groups accused the IDF of committing war crimes during the 
three-week invasion of the Gaza Strip, which began in December – 
allegations denied by the Israeli government – and the army is the 
subject of a UN investigation.

"This is akin to singing and dancing on the graves of the 400 
Palestinian children that the IDF was responsible for killing in 
January," said Chris Doyle, the director of the Council for Arab-British 

"We should not be permitting a dance troupe from an army currently under 
a UN investigation for possible war crimes to be coming to the United 
Kingdom. It is sick."

The family show, an annual event run by ZF, was due to be held at the 
Bloomsbury theatre in central London but was moved to a new venue, which 
is being kept under wraps, after the Bloomsbury pulled out last week on 
discovering that the IDF troupe was on the bill.

"Obviously we couldn't have them perform here," said a theatre 
spokeswoman. A number of groups had contacted the Bloomsbury theatre to 
protest about the show.

Dan Judelson, from Jews for Justice for Palestinians, which claims to be 
the UK's largest Jewish peace group, described the event as "ghoulish 
and retrograde".

"The Zionist Federation, with their support for the occupation of 
Palestinian land, seem massively insensitive to the reactions of most 
people, who want an equitable settlement for Israelis and Palestinians 
alike and who will be appalled by the involvement of the IDF in such an 
event," he said.

Yael Khan, from Islington Friends of Yibna (a Gaza refugee camp), said: 
"It's grotesque to think that they would invite the Israeli army to 
perform in London after the massacre in Gaza."

She said protests would be directed to the new venue once it was identified.

A new poster on the ZF website for the event makes no mention of the IDF 
troupe but a ZF spokesman confirmed it would be performing. He refused 
to reveal the new location for the event – advertised on the poster as 
in north London.

"We don't want it spoilt by a group of people who transfer from a 
climate camp celebration to an animal rights protest to a dance troupe 
protest," he said.

"How sad that once again a small group of people have politicised an 
arts and culture event. Freedom of expression has become selective in 
this country."

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