European Jewish Congress
Israel fumes over boycott video falsely claiming to represent Norway's national theatre
Israel fumes over boycott video falsely claiming to represent Norway's national theatre

Israeli diplomats on Saturday fumed over a video posing as an official statement by the Norwegian National Theatre, that calls for a cultural boycott of Israel’s National Theatre, Habima.

The short clip, which was uploaded to YouTube on Thursday after being aired at the biennial International Ibsen Festival in Oslo, shows an actress posing as the national theatre’s spokeswoman. In it she calls for a boycott of Habima.

The actress in the film, Pia Maria Roll, says the theatre would like to “publicly apologise for our shameful collaboration with Habima, the national theatre of Israel,” adding that the cooperation served in “normalising the Israeli occupation.” She called Israel a state “based on ethnic cleansing, racism, occupation and apartheid,” and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict “colonial” — “it’s not some passionate feud between the Montagues and Capulets.”

The film said the theatre would join the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS), and concluded with “Free Palestine and long live the National Theatre of Norway.”

Norwegian news site Vartoland said Roll and fellow actor Marius von der Fehr were behind the film, which expressed their opinion. Roll said their intention was to trick people into thinking the statement was made by the theatre.

Norway’s National Theatre said in a statement on its website that the film didn’t represent the institution’s policies and that it believes in cooperation with various nations abroad. It stopped short of condemning the video, calling it an expression of free speech.

Habima’s director said the film was made “behind the back of the administration” and that the national theatre “guaranteed us that they would send a letter of clarification to me that [the message] broadcast in the film is not the stance of the theatre.”

Israel’s Foreign Ministry, however, said the video was reminiscent of “the sick brainchild of [Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph] Goebbels’ propaganda, the Nazi filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl, and the Norwegian collaborators [Vidkun] Quisling and [Knut] Hamson.”

The Norwegian Embassy in Israel also issued a statement in response to the film, saying Oslo “firmly opposes boycott.”

Click here to read the full article in Times of Israel

Monday, September 26, 2016
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