Anti-Israel protesters target Batsheva dance

October 31, 2012 | By | Reply More

AD Naharin speaks of support for Palestine

Ohad Naharin (right) speaking during the post-show Q&A. Photo © Æ

Ohad Naharin (right) speaking during the post-show Q&A. Photo © Æ

By Thom Dibdin

Batsheva Ensemble artistic director Ohad Naharin spoke of his support for Palestine last night, following attempts by protesters to disrupt the company’s performance at the Festival Theatre.

During the performance a total of seven individual protesters shouted slogans against the Israeli state’s suppression of Palestine and were ejected from the auditorium. Another protester stayed until the post-show discussion. About a hundred protesters chanted slogans and gave out leaflets outside the theatre before and during the performance.

Speaking at the post-show Q&A session, Batsheva’s artistic director Ohad Naharin spoke of his support for the Palestinian cause, but was forceful in his opposition to the disruption of the performance itself.

He said: “The company is supported by the state since 1965 when it was formed. It is not supported by the government. It is supported by the idea that money has to go back to art. That is why we get money.

“We are not a political organisation and we don’t have a political statement. We are a composition of many people who have many different ideas. As a private citizen I have voiced, over and over, my political views. If you go onto the internet you will see and you will know that I am knowledgeable and also very clear with my opinion abut what the people are protesting here and the people outside.

Turning conflict into a dialogue should the heart of our efforts
Protesters outside the Festival Theatre. Photo © Æ

Protesters outside the Festival Theatre. Photo © Æ

“I do oppose – a lot – the idea of disturbing the show. If I would think that for a moment that this can help the Palestinian cause – and I do want to help the Palestinian cause, it is a huge, huge problem – if I would think for a moment this can help the Palestinian cause I would even welcome it: lets disturb the show, break my house, break my windows if it can help the Palestinian cause. But it really doesn’t help

“I think that what comes to here is the frustration and also a little bit of a sense of revenge. Unfortunately both frustration and revenge should never fuel our decisions unless we want to destroy something.

“We are here to build not to destroy. It is true, Batsheva is here representing Israel but we are representing something very important about Israel. We are representing an idea that there is another group of people that are looking for new solutions, that are creative that are open. In our company we have people from different nationalities, our national, ethnic, geographic, religious concerns play nothing in the decision making of our company.

“We are an exemplar for Israeli society, for Israel and for the world. We should be supported by the people outside instead of disrupted by them.”

He added: “The idea of turning conflict into a dialogue should be the heart of our efforts to keep this world. What you see here is not a dialogue, you see a conflict. I would put a lot of energy – and I did already and have communicated with the protesters and the leaders of the protesters – to try and create a dialogue.”

The Batsheva Ensemble tour continues until November 24.

A review of the performance is here: alledinburghtheatre.com

ENDS

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