Sharing cultural values starts with sharing human values – Why Batsheva Dance is not welcome in the Netherlands.
A coalition of Dutch organizations and members of Dutch civil society urges the Israëli dance group Batsheva to cancel its performances in Amsterdam (9-10 January 2015). As a prominent representative of a brutal regime and its 'Brand Israel'-campaign, the group is not welcome in the Netherlands. Batsheva's role is at home, ensuring the occupation as a key issue in the upcoming elections.
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Ongoing Israeli crimes
It's a clear fact that the world has had enough of the brutal Israeli misconduct and crimes against the Palestinian people, of which we have seen horrifying examples over the last months: the military expeditions against the West Bank and Gaza; the ongoing ethnic cleansing and colonization; the daily violence against innocent civilians; the discrimination of Israeli Palestinians; the proposed law to officially turn Israel into an apartheid state; the plans to cut off the West Bank from East Jerusalem and slice the West Bank in pieces; the plans to transfer tens of thousands of native bedouins; the threatening and racist idiom of Israeli ministers and officials — and so on.
By openly sabotaging the latest US-led peace-initiative, Israel has made clear to the world it is no longer a partner for peace. Since then, the country is headed In words and deeds for the total destruction of historical Palestine. The last bit of trust that Israël will engage in a just peace agreement with the Palestinians is gone – pulverized by the Israeli government, that has let the world know in deafening terms that it will not listen to anyone, including its friends. Decades of talking, begging and warning have thus come to an end; Israel leaves the world no choice but to accept that it has indeed been using the 'Status Quo' for colonizing more land and driving out more Palestinians; that it intends to aggressively continue doing so; and that other means are needed to stop it.
Role of the civil society
As justice for the Palestinians has been openly sabotaged by a coalition of interests for decades – vetoing the UN, silencing protests, blocking inspections and sanctions, etc. – it's now up to the international civil society to act. If we don't act, the last remains of Palestine will be detroyed under our eyes. It's up to us to send a peaceful but clear signal to Israeli society that it is responsible for the fate of the Palestinians, and that it should act now.
We demand that Israel without further delay accepts and guarantees the rights of the Palestinian people within the framework of international law: ending the occupation of Palestine, retreating behind the green line; lifting the blockade of Gaza; facilitating the return (or voluntary non-return) of the Palestinans that were driven out since 1947; granting full rights to Palestinians inside Israel.
As long as these demands are not met – as long as Israel is obviously not ready for a relationship based on common civilized practise –, its cultural representatives are not welcome in our midst. Sharing cultural values starts with sharing human values. Representing a brutal regime and whitewashing its crimes is not part of these. There is nothing to enjoy when bitter crimes against humanity are being danced away, and when the final bits of Palestine are being destroyed backstage.
First things first
The upcoming months are of vital importance for all stakeholders in Israeli society to ensure that the occupation of Palestine will be a key issue at the upcoming elections. Dance companies of name and fame should play a leading part in this urgent initiative, instead of participating in a 'Brand Israel' whitewashing campaign abroad.
E-mail to Batsheva
Dancers and staff of Batsheva Dance: cancel your performance in the Netherlands
I support the call from Dutch civil society urging Batsheva Dance to cancel its planned performances in Amsterdam, the Netherlands (9-10 January 2015).
• I believe there is nothing cultural in upholding a 'civilized' image of a country that has clearly lost its human values.
• I believe there is nothing to enjoy when bitter crimes against humanity are being danced away, and when the final bits of Palestine are being destroyed backstage.
• I believe Batsheva's role is in Israel, ensuring the occupation of Palestine will be a key issue at the upcoming elections.
• I believe that dance companies of name and fame should play a leading part in this urgent initiative, instead of participating in a 'Brand Israel' whitewashing campaign abroad.
• I believe that not acting now implies that the last remains of Palestine will be destroyed under our eyes.
Sharing cultural values starts with sharing human values. That's why I urge Batsheva to stay in Israel.