Tony Greenstein | 29 May 2012 | Post Views:

Excellent and impartial review of how the security last night affected the whole performance.

Only Airport Security and Dozens of Security Goons & Police Allows Habima’s Performance to Go Ahead

Left – Protest outside as seen from window of the Globe
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Protestor with Mouth Taped   – left

As Bob Dylan noted, there’s no success like failure, but failure’s no success at all.  So it was with Habimah’s distinctively unimpressive Merchant of Venice.  Indeed it is ironic that the ‘Jewish’ State’s only contribution to the Globe’s Shakespeare Festival was to stage a recreation of Shylock and Shakespeare’s depiction of Venetian anti-Semitism.

After a group of us had met at a secret location in Central London we made our way to the Globe.  We had no illusions that the security in place would make our job difficult but in a sense it didn’t matter.  The very fact that Zionist Theatre can only perform under unprecedented lock-down conditions guaranteed that we had already won.

There was an especially large police presence to ensure that the theatre production could go ahead.

I was convinced that I personally wouldn’t get in, being one of the better known anti-Zionists on the scene.  However the triumph of innocence won out as I strolled passed the intense security and a blind Jonathan Hoffman to take my position in the ‘pit’.

No sooner had the performance begun than the interruptions began.  A group of women in the balcony unfolded a banner and were the object of the attentions of some quite vicious stewarding but to no avail.  One of the women, who shall remain nameless, persisted in her protest throughout the first half, having a large plaster across her mouth to symbolise the silenced voice of the Palestinians.

I was caught by Zionist spotters in the interlude before I could add a harmonious touch but my place was easily filled by others who congregated in the pit.  It was somewhat amusing as Jonathan Hoffman’s even uglier twin, Harvey Garfield and a screaming Martin Sugarman and another Zionist decided to try to detain me.  Unfortunately the overweight Harvey appeared to stumble under his own weight and like all Zionist aggressors started squealing about having been assaulted.  However I had no problem persuading the police that I was lawfully entitled to resist an unprovoked physical attack which was common assault.  The Zionists thought better of trying to have me arrested and I was released without charge.

Given the assaults by the security goons on other protestors, the fact that one protestor has been detained on suspicion of attacking a goon is ludicrous.

When I emerged into the sunshine there was still a healthy Palestinian demonstration and no sign of the Zionists.   Meanwhile the Piza Express opposite functioned as our media centre.  Truth and justice had won out as we made it clear that Brand Israel and the Culture of Genocide will no longer be allowed a free pass.

Below are a few other articles including from Y-Net, Israel’s Yediot Aharnot on-line.

Palestinians disrupt Habima performance in London

Pro-Palestinians demonstrating against national company’s performances in the West Bank, disrupt showing of The Merchant of Venice at London’s Globe Theater

Rona Zinman, Published:     05.28.12, 23:08    

The show must go on: Pro-Palestinian protestors disrupted the performance of the Habima National Theater Company’s The Merchant of Venice at the Globe Theater in London on Monday, but the actors proved they were true professionals – carrying on with the show.

During the performance, a new Hebrew production of the Merchant of Venice which is part of the “Globe to Globe” festival, some 10 Palestinian demonstrators in the audience suddenly began waving Palestinian flags and signs against Israel.

Security personnel removed them from the theater. Later on, another group stood up with band-aids plastered to their mouths.

The protests began outside the theater with dozens standing with Palestinian flags and signs calling for an end to the “Israeli Apartheid regime” as well as for a boycott on Israeli products.

The Pro-Palestinians were demonstrating against the Habima performance over the fact that Israel’s national theater company previously performed in the West Bank.

Meanwhile, pro-Israeli demonstrators also gathered outside the theater waving Israeli flags with signs that read: Culture unites, Boycotts divide. They also expressed their support for the Israeli actors.

Israel’s UK embassy plans Twitter campaign against boycott of Tel Aviv theater group

Submitted by Ben White on Sat, 05/26/2012 – 05:43

The Israeli embassy and Zionist groups in Britain are coordinating a “social media” campaign to counter calls to boycott performances by the Tel Aviv-based drama group Habima in London’s Globe theater.

On Friday afternoon, the Liverpool Jewish Community sent out an email with the heading “An Important Message from the Israeli Embassy”. The email contained step by step instructions for a planned Twitter campaign this coming Tuesday, designed to trend the hashtag #LoveCulture.

The email begins (my emphasis):

As part of the campaign around Habima’s performance at the Globe this coming week, we are aiming to get something relevant trending on Twitter. After careful consideration, we have decided to use the hashtag #LoveCulture as it is short enough to fit on a substantial tweet and won’t be taken at first glance as a political statement.

It continues:

we will start tweeting with #LoveCulture at 08:00 UK Time (which is GMT +1) on Tuesday 29 May

The message from the Israeli embassy also includes specific suggestions about what to tweet:

Examples of tweets that you can use (please try and edit them) are:

Great to see @HabimaTheatre celebrating the Cultural Olympiad @the_globe…all the world’s a stage #LoveCulture
Fantastic seeing the foremost Hebrew speaking theater company perform the Merchant of Venice @the_globe #LoveCulture
Was great to hear @edvaizey enjoyed watching @HabimaTheatre…did he understand any of it though? #LoveCulture
Jealous of all those off to see sold out @HabimaTheatre at @the_globe tonight…last night was great #LoveCulture

The message concludes by saying that any questions should be directed to two email addresses: [email protected] and [email protected]

The former is clearly associated with the Israeli embassy in London, while the latter is the address for Elliot Jebreel, public affairs officer for the Jewish Leadership Council (JLC) whose role includes implementing “the JLC’s social media strategy.”

It seems some were too excited to wait until the appointed hour, since on Friday morning, the #LoveCulture hashtag had already been used in relation to Habima, which has previously performed in illegal Jewish-only settlements in the West Bank. One use of the hashtag was by the Labour Friends of Israel account, another by Jeremy Newmark – CEO of the Jewish Leadership Council – and also by an account with no followers and only two tweets.

Just this last week, leaders from pro-Israel groups in Britain were presenting evidence to a subcommittee in the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) on “Zionism in Britain”, chaired by Knesset member Einat Wilf. Amusingly, the meeting was originally going to be called “UK: World Leader in Anti-Israel Rhetoric,” but “after concerns from the British attendees…Wilf agreed to tone it down.”

The Israeli embassy’s effort to counter the boycott call comes as The Globe’s management prepares for the performances by issuing extraordinary “conditions of entry” restrictions to ticket-holders, including:

the right to refuse admission to anyone we have reason to believe may cause a disruption to the performance.

This raises the question of how exactly the Globe is going about identifying potential “disruptors.” An article in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz mentioned that the “list of regulations” followed “discussions with London’s Metropolitan Police.” A piece in the Times of Israel noted that “the Globe says that it is taking ‘all necessary precautions’ to make sure that the performances can proceed smoothly”, but “will not disclose any details.”

The call to boycott Habima has already been a significant embarrassment for Israel advocates in Britain, with the public debate often focused on how best to respond to Israeli human rights abuses (rather than on whether those abuses are fact or not).

Even before the Israeli foreign ministry-funded performances, it all adds up to be a failure for Israel’s brand of propaganda or hasbara, as it’s known in Hebrew. Habima’s general manager might see the Globe’s invitation as an “honorable accomplishment for the State of Israel in general” but it looks more like a hasbara farce.

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