More Responses on the Dubious Call to a World Wide Cultural Boycott of Israel

from our friend Jim Petosa:

Many good words being written here. To add a modest thought: Rather than any “cultural boycott”, (a strange notion – the words don’t seem to go together naturally), how about promoting as much Israeli culture as possible? While we’re at it – how about promoting Palestinian culture? And Afghani culture? And Iraqi culture? Aren’t the arts the way in which we gain understanding and identification with people whose journeys are different than our own?
Best to all, Jim

from our good friend Down Under, Deborah Lesier-Moore of Tashmadada in Melbourne, Australia:

…How wonderful that by sending around this email, there have been so many passionate responses from around the world. Exactly why artists are so important and must be heard – not gagged.The idea of a cultural boycott seems, to me, to display a distinct ignorance of the importance and power of the arts – that is, as a language and tool to transcend politics, and for people to hear and listen to each other. The arts are about the universal human core, the sensibilities that unite us as human beings rather than the opposite. The place to engage in dialogue – alike – as artists and as human beings.

And, art and sport seem to be the last bastions of this type of dialogue – although, maybe even sport is proving problematic. Not sure if any of you have heard about the recent Australia/India debacle! When it comes down to it, the natural extension of ‘boycott’ is censorship. And that is truly terrifying.

from Linda Chapman of New York Theatre Workshop:

I want to add my voice in support of free and open speech for artists and everyone else in Palestein/Israel and anywhere else in the world.
-Linda Chapman

from Dr. Al Munzer:

“Cultural boycott” surpasses “government intelligence” as an oxymoron. It is offensive and goes to the heart and soul of what the arts and especially theater are all about. Have people forgotten the quiet but persistent subversive role that theater played in Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia as people there sought to end oppression? The examples you cite and other productions I have seen clearly show that theater in Israel fulfills that same role. Would that the American theater of 2008 had the same guts!

from author and journalist David Shipler:

…”cultural boycott?” It’s an oxymoron. Should the New York Philharmonic not have gone to North Korea? Should Isaac Stern have stayed out of China? Good grief, what have we come to if we can’t see cultural and artistic interaction as precisely the remedy for the rifts of a world steeped in violent supicion? And who are Americans, of all people, to be launching this? After what our country has been doing, we might be first on the list of legitimate targets–if there were any targets that were legitimate.
Best, Dave Shipler

from author and CBS broadcaster, Dan Raviv:

I’d like to say that i wholeheartedly agree with the views expressed by Ari Roth and Theodore Bikel, among others. A cultural boycott would be abhorrent. A boycott? The antithesis of the arts. A terrible idea.
-Dan Raviv