The Sydney Festival’s “important stance”

January 6, 2022 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) has commented on the “very important stance of the Sydney Festival in its continued support of the dance performance Decadance and its public repudiation of demands by members of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) to divest funding received for it from the Israeli Embassy”.


President Mark Leibler and executive director Dr Colin Ruenstein issued a media release stressing “the obsessive singling out and demonisation of the only true democracy in the Middle East by boycotting performers is an affront to Australia’s successful and harmonious multiculturalism”.

AIJAC pointed out that the BDS movement is not calling for a Palestinian state alongside Israel but for one to replace the Jewish state making the movement “inherently antisemitic, not motivated by desires of peace or reconciliation, but by a collective yearning to see the erasure of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people”.

The media release goes on to say: ” To justify their demonisation of Israel, BDS proponents revise history, beginning with their denial of the indigeneity of Jews to their historic homeland Israel. They fail to acknowledge historic truths: that Arab armies from all sides, and Palestinians from within, attempted to destroy the state of Israel at its birth in 1948; that the Palestinians have rejected all Israeli efforts to negotiate a two-state peace, including three offers of statehood; and that terrorism from the West Bank and Gaza Strip is an ongoing threat to the lives of all Israelis.

BDS supporters have fabricated the accusation of apartheid against Israel despite the clear evidence that all Israelis, regardless of ethnic and religious background, enjoy equal rights and that indeed Arabs hold prominent positions in all areas of Israeli life, including within the government.

Such calls from the BDS movement, based on so many falsehoods and even slanderous claims, only serve to create division and intimidation in Australia’s cohesive, multicultural community. Moreover, they do nothing but impede efforts to advance peaceful coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians in these otherwise promising Abraham Accords times, when Israel is truly normalising its relationships with so many of its Arab neighbours.”

The president of the AJA Dr David Adler added “The recent Abraham Accords, normalisation agreements between Israel, UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan, clearly show that it is dialogue and engagement which brings progress towards peace.”

On Tuesday, the Festival’s board announced: “The Board is also conscious of the calls for artists and audiences to boycott the Festival in relation to the Israeli Embassy’s financial support of a performance by the Sydney Dance Company of a work, Decadance, by world-renowned Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin. The Sydney Festival Board wishes collectively to affirm its respect for the right of all groups to protest and raise concerns. We spent time with a number of groups who have concerns about this funding and welcomed the opportunity to engage with them. All funding agreements for the current Festival – including for Decadance – will be honoured, and the performances will proceed. At the same time, the Board has also determined it will review its practices in relation to funding from foreign governments or related parties.”


2 Responses to “The Sydney Festival’s “important stance””
  1. Paul Winter says:

    The statements quoted are apt and rational, in contrast to the irrationality of the BDSers. And their blind hate, recalling the insane hate if those who murdered Jews to avenge Jesus’ death or because of Jewish power seeking according to the Protocols of Zion forgery.
    What makes this current BDS stunt particularly odious is that it not only attempts to impose BDS on Australians at large, but it seeks to disadvantage an Australian dance group from performing because its choreographer is an Israeli Jew. That is pure Jew-hatred.

  2. Liat Kirby says:

    Reading between the lines, I would say that although the Festival board are sticking to their agreed agenda for this festival, they won’t accept monies in kind from next year on.

    The Palestinian groups protesting this performance funded by the Israeli Embassy and the hangers-on – various performers who have withdrawn in support, ignorant, privileged people, with no idea of history – obviously care nothing for the Arts as a way of transcending politics and hate, bringing together, even momentarily, human beings as one. Pathetic. There should be no place for their kind in cultural pursuits.

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