British actor/director Simon Callow has come out strongly against BDS.
The renowned actor and director was moved to speak out because he believes BDS prevents theatre reaching as wide a cross-section of society as possible.
The Four Weddings and A Funeral star said: “I think it is an abomination that, because you dislike the status of a particular country, you stop artists from coming to communicate.”
Mr Callow, who is currently directing a new version of Christopher Hampton’s play The Philanthropist, said the repeated calls in 2012 to boycott performances of The Merchant of Venice by Israel’s Habima Theatre Company in the UK illustrated how BDS damaged the performing arts.
“There was a huge protest about the Habima at the Globe Theatre — when it actually played, it was to an incredibly mixed audience,” he said. “There was an amazing amount of outreach — the actors are doing a good thing.
“Don’t for God’s sake start to crush them because, if they aren’t accepted abroad, it means they will become sealed off, and whatever else happens, that must not be allowed to occur.”
And the thing is, he is not even pro-Israel.
Mr Callow, who has directed over 30 shows, including the multi-award-winning musical Carmen Jones, the West End and Broadway productions of Shirley Valentine and the award-winning Single Spies at the National Theatre, said his opposition to the boycott Israel campaign was not a sign that he was a strong supporter of the Jewish state.
“I make no opinion about Israel because I am not sufficiently well-versed,” he said. “I have not visited Israel, although I haven’t ever been asked to go. It would be stupid of me to speak from ignorance on these matters — so I don’t. I keep shtum.
Wow, what a concept – keeping your mouth shut when you are ignorant on Israel. What a concept! Something Roger Waters and his merry band of BDS-holes should take note of.
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