From Israeli Citizens - Please Do not Invite The Cameri to Budapest

Eniko Eszenyi
    Vigszinhaz Theater

We are Israeli citizens who are active against our government’s policies of racism, apartheid and occupation towards the Palestinian people. In particular, many of us are veteran activists in the campaign against Israel’s illegal colonization and settlement construction policies in the occupied West Bank.

We have learned of the Vigszinhaz Theater collaboration with the Cameri Theatre. Since the Cameri is complicit in grave violations of international law, which amount to war crimes, and since it serves as an official propaganda tool for the Israeli government, we are asking you to cancel these collaborations.

As Israeli activists, we belong to a small minority who demonstrates, publishes reports and condemns our government’s crimes. However, this in itself does not suffice: the decades-long reality of our government’s racist policies has brought us to the conclusion that in order to bring its crimes to an end, complicit institutions which profit from these policies must be taken to task.

The Cameri theatre serves as an official propaganda tool for the Israeli government. Its performances abroad are sponsored by the Israeli ministry of foreign affairs, headed by the notorious Islamophobic settler Avigdor Lieberman.

Furthermore, the Cameri is involved in severe violations of international law, through performing in the illegal Israeli settlement of Ariel. The construction of Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land violates international law, and amounts to a war crime. Ariel is surrounded by walls and fences, and closely guarded by soldiers and armed security personnel. A theatrical performance in a settlement is by definition a performance to an exclusively Israeli audience, with Palestinians living even in the nearest village being physically excluded from attending. By performing under such circumstances, the Cameri profits from, and legitimizes Israel’s illegal colonization policies, and becomes an accomplice to these crimes. The Cameri has performed the play "Best Friends" in Ariel several times recently.

Three years ago, a large group of Israeli theatre professionals – actors, stage directors, playwrights – declared they would not take part in such performances For several weeks, this was a major issue on the Israeli public agenda, and the aforementioned Israeli theatre professionals have received much support from colleagues abroad, such as Stephen Sondheim, Mary Rodgers, Tony Kushner, Mandy Patinkin, Theodore Bikel, Mira Nair, Julianne Moore, Vanessa Redgrave, Hal Prince, Roseanne Barr and other Broadway and Hollywood stars. Furthermore, the famous British theatre director Peter Brooke, a champion of human rights principles, has recently cancelled a scheduled collaboration of his theatre with the Cameri  because of the latter’s performances in Ariel.

Those who invite the Cameri to perform in Budapest are taking a stance against the conscientious Israeli actors and playwrights who have refused to perform in the settlements, as well as taking a stance against universal principles of human rights and international law.

As Israeli citizens who are deeply concerned about the future of all people living in the region, we believe that an honorary invitation to the Cameri to perform in Budapest incompatible its regular performances in West Bank settlements.  We therefore call on the organizers of the Cameri performance in Budapest to rescind the invitation immediately.

We are well aware of the current political situation in Hungary. Many of us are the descendants of Holocaust survivors, and we support the struggle against anti-Semitism and any form of racism. This struggle should NOT, however, be conducted at the expense of Israel's victims, the Palestinian people.

We will gladly address any questions or comments.


Boycott! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within (Boycott from Within)