Israeli coverage of politicization of Sydney Festival
120 artists, industry officials slam boycott of Sydney festival over Israeli funding
* This article introduction is reproduced from the Times of Israel
Quoting Aussie rocker Nick Cave, open letter states that ‘cultural boycott of Israel is cowardly and shameful’; 30 acts withdraw over Israel sponsoring one of the shows
Over 120 entertainment industry figures signed an open letter against the boycott of a major cultural festival in Sydney, Australia, that began Thursday, after 30 acts and individuals withdrew over a sponsorship deal with the Israeli embassy.
In the letter published Thursday by the Creative Community for Peace, the signatories said they “believe the cultural boycott movement of the Sydney Festival is an affront to both Palestinians and Israelis who are working to advance peace through compromise, exchange, and mutual recognition.
“While we all may have differing opinions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the best path to peace, we all agree that a cultural boycott is not the answer,” the letter continued.
It quoted comments made by Aussie rocker Nick Cave in 2018, in which he said: “The cultural boycott of Israel is cowardly and shameful.”
“Israel is a real, vibrant, functioning democracy — yes, with Arab members of parliament — and so engaging with Israelis, who vote, may be more helpful than scaring off artists or shutting down means of engagement.”
Earlier this week, 30 bands, individual artists, companies, and panel members canceled their gigs or went ahead without sponsorships at the Sydney Festival 2022, in response to the Israeli funding for a show tied to an Israeli choreographer.
The embassy provided $20,000 for “Decadance,” a show based on a work by Ohad Naharin and Tel Aviv’s Batsheva Dance Company, as part of the Sydney Festival 2022.