Batsheva performance picketed by anti-Israel demonstrators
About 25 anti-Israel demonstrators turned out last week to protest the Batsheva Dance Company’s performance at the Benedum Center.
The protest was preceded by a letter to Batsheva, one of Israel’s leading cultural ambassadors, threatening to “call upon our community to boycott and protest your presence, should you remain silent and complacent of your government’s policies, and continue to whitewash and provide cover for your government’s crimes by serving as cultural ambassadors.”
The letter specifically referenced the recent Israeli incursion into Gaza, and was signed by The Pittsburgh Palestine Solidarity Committee and Students for Justice in Palestine-University of Pittsburgh.
Neither the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, nor the Pittsburgh Dance Council, considered canceling the performance in response to the protestors’ threats, said Veronica Corpuz, director of public relations at the Cultural Trust. Attendance at the performance was likewise unaffected.
Protestors included those from the Thomas Merton Center, CodePink and the Coalition for Peace in the Middle East of Youngstown.
“Some people have political opinions, and they have the right to express their feelings,” said Yaniv Nagar, company manager for Batsheva.
(Toby Tabachnick can be reached at email@example.com.)