The Ariel Cultural Center Controversy – Beyond the Parsing of Boycotts – Supporting the Right to Say No (via The Theater J Blog)

I’m revising this posting — revising the entirety of the op-ed itself, which first ran in this week’s Washington Jewish Week — and I intend to have WJW post the revision of this piece when it’s complete. For now, suffice that I wish to re-characterize my experience of coming upon the Jewish Voice for Peace website to more accurately reflect the nature of JVP’s selective boycott and targeted divestment campaign. While I have strong feelings about the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement and differ from JVP in our respective viewpoints about the BDS movement, I have come to realize that I know a good many people associated with JVP who’ve reached out to me only AFTER I published my 11th hour (or 6 in the morning) op-ed piece.

So, even over this busy family holiday weekend, many conversations have been taking place between myself and important folks at JVP and the result is a desire on my part to more accurately convey what JVP stands for. As Theodore Bikel recently shared with me:

“Here is JVP’s unambiguous statement, online for everyone to see, about what the boycott is NOT:

It is NOT about divesting from companies that do business in Israel or with the Israeli government. It is NOT about divesting from Israeli companies.
It is NOT about academic or cultural boycotts of Israel.
And here is what it is:
Divesting from companies that profit from the Israeli occupation (including) companies operating in the occupied territories, exploiting Palestinian labor, providing material or labor for the settlements, etc.

I’ll also be stating in the revised op-ed piece that JVP in no way INTENDED to disguise or “trick” or make use of a hidden agenda in approaching the American artists. The solicitation I received had indeed gone viral and was denuded of any mention of JVP sponsorship or any links to its site. But JVP does seem to have been very forthright with everyone who signed the letter and stressed that many of the signers may have been coming from different points of view pertaining to other issues related to Israel-Palestine, but on this issue of supporting the protesting Israeli artists, all the American artists and JVP were united. I accept this absolutely and regret any inference to the contrary.

More on this soon…

The news first broke on August 27: "Artists to refuse to perform in Ariel culture hall. Prominent actors, directors, playwrights send letter to boards of Israeli theaters in protest of plans to put on shows in news culture auditorium beyond Green Line. Yesha Council vows harsh response to 'vile, anti-Zionist' letter." Here's my up-dated op-ed piece, requested by the Washington Jewish Week, and submitted on Tuesday (revised thereafter, printed in … Read More

via The Theater J Blog


2 thoughts on “The Ariel Cultural Center Controversy – Beyond the Parsing of Boycotts – Supporting the Right to Say No (via The Theater J Blog)

  1. I still wonder about your emotional reaction to JVP. Perhaps even a good peacenik like you is influenced by the right wing campaign to delegitimize certain parts of the community.

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