We reported a few days ago about a long list of mostly senseless B and C-list celebrities who signed a letter trying to get Israel’s Habima Theatre company disinvited from appearing at London’s Globe Theatre for
crimes against humanity, committing genocide, eating Palestinian babies, taking part in aggressive wars of conquest, coming from Israel and being Jewish.
Today the following letter has been published in the Guardian signed by Arnold Wesker, Ronald Harwood, Maureen Lipman, Simon Callow, Louise Mensch MP & Steven Berkoff. You may remember Louise Mensch when she famously asked the BBC why they barely mentioned the slaughter of Jewish children in Itamar.
We welcome Israel’s national theatre
We are delighted to see the Globe theatre welcoming Israel’s national theatre, Habima, to perform The Merchant of Venice in London (Letters, 4 April). Founded in the early 20th century in Moscow, Habima is one of the first Hebrew language theatres, and is a symbol not just of the cultural success of the state of Israel, but also of the resilience of a people who have united to overcome continued persecution throughout their history. Habima itself encountered persecution under the Soviet government as well after the Russian revolution. Now, as then, there are those who wish to oppose their work, seeking to delegitimise the state of Israel and its success, the Jewish people, and even the Hebrew language itself.
Habima’s productions have always explored the challenges faced by the Jewish people, and its presentation of The Merchant of Venice on the London stage continues that important mission. Those who wish to hijack the artistic and cultural work of Habima for their own narrow political aims simply remind us of the vital importance of such work. No artists should attempt to silence the expression of other artists simply because they are Israeli. By trying to suppress the cultural exchange of ideas they demonstrate the continued persecution of Jews and Israelis even occurring in 21st-century Britain. We condemn the acts of cultural terrorism that some may try to carry out during Habima’s performances. We welcome Israel’s national theatre to London as another fine example of the UK and Israel’s many shared values.
Arnold Wesker, Ronald Harwood, Maureen Lipman, Simon Callow, Louise Mensch MP, Steven Berkoff