Regular readers of this blog will know that my feelings about boycotting Israeli artists are complex. When the Jerusalem Quartet, proudly announcing their affiliation to the IDF, appeared in Edinburgh, I was one of those calling for the cancellation of their concert. However, I didn't take part in the disruption of it, which seemed wrong-headed in many ways: as likely to lose sympathy for one's arguments as to win it, and requiring the purchase of tickets for the very concert you believe should not be taking place. Last year there was a similar protest during the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra's appearance at the BBC Proms. Again, I was opposed to the disruption, and to be honest could see no good reason to boycott the concert at all, for various reasons set out in this post (read the comments too).
Well, here we are again. The Batsheva Dance Company is performing at the Edinburgh Playhouse tonight as part of the Edinburgh International Festival, and there have been the inevitable calls for the show to be cancelled. As before, my feelings are that the dance company has no special linkage to the IDF or the Israeli government (though it receives funding from the latter). I don't know what its ethnic composition is, but from my knowledge of Israeli society I would be surprised if a majority of its members did not personally oppose the occupation of the Palestinian Territories, and most likely the treatment of Israel's domestic Arab minority as well. So not a particularly appropriate target. As for threats to disrupt the performance, as I have said before, I view those as counter-productive. I dare say that the protest outside, especially with a planned counter-protest by the Zionist Federation, will be entertaining enough, though I do wish people would show a little more imagination about these things. (If you want to disrupt the performance and don't mind being arrested, you could avoid paying for a ticket and simply disrupt the broadcast/recording by targetting the BBC's mobile truck outside, either by occupying it or by chainsawing through its cables. All the attantion, all the publicity, no tickets, no messy shouting. Not that I'm advocating such an act, of course....)
I shan't be going. No doubt if the protestors cause enough disruption it will make it onto the news and I can post again.
UPDATE: apparently the show had to be stopped three times. Ho hum.