Zionists at the London Boycott Habima Israeli Theatre Company Demo

On Monday 28th and Tuesday 29th May 2012, protests were being held in the evening outside the Shakespeare Globe Theatre organised by London BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) and Palestine Solidarity Campaign, opposing the Israeli National Theatre Group Habima performing in London and against the Globe for associating with a theatre group which endorses racist values. The community in London were offended that companies supporting racist ideologies and discrimination against Palestinians were allowed to put a show on within our cosmopolitan city.

Habima Theatre Group receives 30% of its funding from the Israeli government and performs in settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories in the West Bank, which are illegal under international law. Habima performs to Jewish settler only audiences where not one Palestinian is allowed to attend, which clearly demonstrates the companies support for apartheid and racism. The Israeli government condemned any Theatre Group which refused to perform in illegal Israeli settlements, threatening to stop their funding. Instead of doing the right thing by opposing racism and injustice and rejecting the funding offer, Habima placed value on apartheid by supporting this ideology, whereas many Israeli theatre professionals have refused to perform in the settlements in the past.

I attended the demonstration being held yesterday and received harassment from a Zionist woman whilst holding a placard demonstrating ‘Peace and Justice for Palestine’ with a sticker over my mouth stating ‘Silenced by Globe.’ She jeered and attempted intimidation whilst waving an Israeli flag in my face and speaking of “You Arabs have all the land, we have nothing, you want us all to be thrown into the sea” alongside other common irrational statements and false facts speaking of rights from 2,000 years ago, whilst receiving support for her behaviour by fellow middle aged supporters of Israel who clearly never got over the school playground but leaned out the window, childishly raising their middle fingers and congratulating her clapping for ‘telling’ me, whilst she continued to follow me then ran over to a policeman to accuse me of verbally attacking her. Of course I did, with a sticker over my mouth.

A supporter of Israeli apartheid from ‘Culture Unites, Boycott Divides’, his argument and opposition was discussing internal Palestinian community issues such as domestic violence which is prevalent in every single community on this planet. To ask whether Israel is responsible is an understatement. As long as a nation has its basic rights removed from them on a socio, economic and political basis, internal community issues will only expand. One only has to walk into a community organisation in a working class area in London to witness issues which exist due to the structure of society and frustration amongst those oppressed by the capitalist system. With all the cuts in the public sector in England, every community issue will only become magnified as citizens are made to struggle based on the decisions of their government. There are many community organisations scattered all over Palestine where Palestinians work alongside the women and children in their community to support and iron out the taboo issues, faced by those who are psychologically affected by the hardships endured whilst living under the Israeli occupation. To argue against a military occupation not being responsible for issues within a community is naïve, especially being highlighted by a supporter of Israel who spoke of opposing the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, where the latter was emphasised and justified by Britain for intervening to liberate Afghanistan’s women. Some points in one’s opinion do not add up.

When the performance had finished and protesters chanted, ‘Shakespeare Globe, shame on you! Hosting racist theatre groups,’ a man stood there with his young children jeering and smirking with pure malice shrugging his shoulders and cheering at any mention of injustice and land confiscation. I fail to understand how a parent can brainwash their children into consuming racist ideologies. I was brought up on the basis of respecting my fellow human beings where humanity was enforced, but to witness a whole family in London mock justice for Palestinians is a sad situation. I witnessed this attitude in 2011 by settlers in the West Bank who are products of colonization and paid to live on land by buying this racist ideology, but witnessing Zionists living amongst us in London, encouraging hatred, division, abuse and lack of basic human rights for a nation of people to their children, is always difficult to watch.

Britain is historically responsible for the ethnic cleansing and state Palestine is in today since the Balfour Declaration in 1917. It is our duty as British people and believers in humanity to oppose and condemn any racist ideologies from immersing within our society and to inform and demonstrate outside venues which support companies which are offensive, racist and responsible for dehumanising and rejecting treating Palestinians as equals and giving Palestinians their lawful rights.

Shareefa

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