[Marxism] Outrage over Israel variety show in London
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
"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
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