The Stage backs Israel boycott

The Stage backs Israel boycott


norman lebrecht

September 05, 2014

Two articles have now appeared in The Stage, journal of British theatre, calling for a UK ban on Israeli artists.

The magazine claims they do not represent its views.

Unless they balance the content, we shall have to assume that The Stage is now a BDS publication.




  • Simon S. says:

    If you make artists responsible for their governments’ actions, you should ban artists from the US, Russia, China, Germany, France, the UK, Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Egypt and a lot of other countries, too. There’s only one possible explanation why these campaigns aim at Israel only.

  • Jeffrey E. Salzberg says:

    Even more on-point, Simon, would be to say that “If you make artists responsible for what you’re certain MUST be their government’s actions….”

  • Shalom Rackovsky says:

    Anyone who thinks that these campaigns against Israel are carried out for high-minded reasons of principle, because of the uniquely outrageous behavior of the State of Israel and its citizens, is an idiot.

  • Will Duffay says:

    I guess it’s a comfort for supporters of Israel to believe that any actions against the state are because of anti-semitism, rather than extreme distaste for that state’s perpetual and very long-standing actions against another, subjugated people. But the question of why Israel seems uniquely attacked is an interesting one. Perhaps because the West feels, rightly or wrongly, a closeness to Israel. Israelis are connected to us by history, both good and bad, and the formation of the state was the result partly of our actions. They are like us. So when the state acts badly and continues to act badly, we feel some responsibility or shame, in a way which we don’t when China, for example, acts badly. Plus, Israel is or seems defined by its expansion and by its occupation. You can’t say the same about other countries. There is also the possibility that Israel can change and reform, whereas China is a lost cause.

    • Jeffrey E. Salzberg says:

      Not all criticism of Israel is antisemitic (although much certainly is), but when the criticism is of things that Israel is not, in this universe, doing, then it’s either antisemitism or the critic’s being too politically correct — or too lazy — to do other than blindly accept and repeat what “everybody knows”.

      For some reason, when the topic is Israel, many American liberals (and I think British ones as well), behave exactly the way conservatives do when the topic is anything else.

    • M2N2K says:

      To will duffay: you have made some good points, but I have a few comments. Why do you think that it might bring anyone “comfort” to see antisemitism as the cause of this or that, considering that it has been around for millennia and shows no sign of disappearing, instead of simple “distaste” toward actions of a state that is less than 70 years old and would be more than happy to become much more peaceful thus eliminating the apparent reason for such “distaste”? It is true that in certain relatively rare cases (mostly among Jews and very few of their supporters), singling out of Israel may occur because of its being more like us (more civilized) than other “offending” countries. However, this psychological “explanation” does not make such singling out any more rational, moral, fair or just. As for how Israel is “defined”, the word “seems ” is the key here: for me, for example, it is defined by being faced with more existential threats, while being held to the highest standard of perfection, than any other country.

  • Joel Cohen says:

    I am a severe critic of Israeli policies and actions regarding Palestine and the Palestinians. Nonetheless, the call to boycott individual artists because of their nationality is the height of intolerant idiocy. Where does it go from here? Should we boycott Russian pianists or Chinese violinists? Or English choral groups, on the grounds that Tony Blair supported the war in Iraq?

  • Roberto says:

    The more the Israelis perceive the European antisemitism and isolation, the more they will pressed against the wall and the more they will appeal to the nationalists that will make the life of the Palestinians even worse. Life of those that the boycott people care or I should say pretend to care.

  • Olaugh Turchev says:

    What goes around comes around…

  • SVM says:

    It is terribly nice to be able to have the luxury of rejecting government funding, but many/most of us do not have the private means/fundraising prowess (or time) to make up the shortfall. The marvellous success-stories involving crowdsourcing are very much the exceptions, not the rule. Surely, accepting funding from an oppressive régime (and the UK and USA governments easily fit that category) is no worse than paying taxes to it. Therefore, I find the recommendations of the article ‘Don’t take money from oppressors in the name of free expression’ unworkable.

  • M2N2K says:

    See which is a statement signed by over three hundred people in entertainment industry that includes links to various sources confirming the claims made in the text. That same website also contains an anti-boycott petition letter – see .