Batsheva Dance Gets Protested for Being…What? Israeli?

I snapped this photo on my way to Dance Theatre Workshop last night, drawn by the drums and chanting of somewhere between 20 and 40 pro-Palestinian protestors who showed up in front of the Joyce to express their displeasure with Batsheva Dance Company on account of their being part of the “Brand Israel” campaign, an Israeli government effort to shore up the nation’s reputation around the world. I debated whether to even mention this, because there’s always going to be small groups of misguided protestors who will take any chance to get a bit of limelight for their cause.

Seriously people, what kind of a standard is this to set? Would we support American artists who’ve received NEA or State Department money to tour being boycotted around the world because of what our government does? Have these protestors courageously turned down student loans and eschewed universities who receive federal funding to protest the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? What exactly is the point here? I know this a marginal group, but really. I’d honestly like to know what the point is. Surely it’s occurred to someone involved that the arts in Israel–like pretty much everywhere–are a source of dissent against many of the same policies pro-Palestinian activists hate.

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