Sydney Festival Director: Artists Were Intimidated Into Withdrawing

This will come as no surprise to those of us who keep a close eye on the Israel-haters, and see their tactics as well as the types of people they are. But it is good to see others are noticing it.

Sydney Festival director Olivia Ansell has accused activists of “intimidating” artists into boycotting the festival over funding that the event accepted from the Israeli embassy.

“Some artists felt pressured to the extent they had no option but to withdraw, or else they would be publicly shamed online, whilst other artists had a very strong opinion, and one respects those strong opinions. That’s why we live in a democracy,” Ansell said.

“In relation to the intimidation and pressure online: everyone has the right to feel safe, whether that’s physically, mentally or culturally. And I couldn’t say that everybody felt safe out there online during the height of the boycott.”

Of course, the haters deny it:

One of the boycott organisers, Fahad Ali, rejected the notion that artists had been pressured to withdraw.

“It’s a matter of public record that our communications with artists and the Festival board have been consistently respectful,” he said. “We are campaigning against the festival’s complicity with apartheid and ethnic cleansing, and the military and economic intimidation that entails for the Palestinian people.”

I somehow don’t believe him. Bullying and intimidation is what they do.


David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media

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