U.S. actors lend support to Israeli colleagues over West Bank theater boycott

10:10, September 07, 2010      

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by Gur Salomon

More than 150 American actors and playwrights recently signed a letter of support for a group of Israeli theater actors who last week announced their refusal to perform at a Jewish settlement in the West Bank.

The American signatories, among them leading actors, writers and directors, including Cynthia Nixon of "Sex and the City," Emmy Award-winning screenwriter Tony Kushner, British actress Vanessa Redgrave, and director Harold Prince.

Around 150 Israeli theater workers stirred up a storm on Aug. 27 when they published a petition stating they would not perform at a new cultural center built in Ariel, an Israeli settlement in the central West Bank with a population of 17,000 residents.

Their letter was strengthened a few days later by another petition signed by leading Israeli authors and academics who stated they would not lecture in West Bank settlements.

The Israeli artists claimed Ariel, like all other Jewish settlements in the West Bank, was built on land confiscated from Palestinians and that performing there would lend legitimacy to continuing the Israeli occupation. They cited their personal conscience as the reason behind their decision to boycott the city 's cultural venue.


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