The Bard and the Boycotters


By jarkush
May 31, 2012
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The last 48 hours have shone light on an aspect of being Jewish in Britain in 2012. Habima Theatre Company of Tel Aviv performed The Merchant of Venice at The Globe as part of the World Shakespeare Festival. What should have been unremarkable instead drove the BDS brigade into a frenzy. There they were when we arrived, the familiar huddle of sad people trying to cheer themselves up by flying their black flags as high as possible and hurling threats and abuse at Israel through a megaphone. One of them broke into Beethoven’s Ode to Joy – an odd choice, since they seemed to have more bitterness and bigotry in their hearts than anything else.

The capacity audience, far larger in number, enjoyed the Shakespeare with an Israeli take. Habima put on a bravura performance which deserved the wide acclaim which it received from London’s experienced critics. You did not need to understand Hebrew to appreciate its tragedy, comedy, originality and joie de vivre. The handful of interruptions from the sad ones who got inside was rightly ignored by the cast and audience alike. Before the performance began, Dominic Dromgoole, the Globe’s Artistic Director, undermined any would-be demonstrators with wit. Don’t get angry with them, he asked, and we didn’t. Respect to the Globe for removing them calmly and firmly, while we got on with enjoying the play.

Exposing the hollowness of the boycotters isn’t difficult. I doubt that too many of them came to see the Ashtar Theatre of Ramallah play Richard II just a few weeks ago. They prefer to hate Israelis than love Palestinians. Their devotion to human rights is strangely confined to Israel which, whatever its faults, is a law-based democracy with Western values. Other groups performing at the Shakespeare Festival come from countries where they really know about abuses of human rights – Russia, Zimbabwe, Belarus, Pakistan, Turkey, Iraq and Afghanistan, not to mention China’s National Theatre (isn’t it China that illegally occupies Tibet, or have I misunderstood ?). Yet when they perform, our worthy boycotters are strangely silent and nowhere to be seen.

The real lesson of the last two days is that we can face down the boycott bullies and their fellow travellers and defeat their sterile claims with better arguments. The Globe showed admirable resolve in the face of pressure and was rewarded with two evenings of marvellous theatre playing to packed houses. Let other British homes of culture please take note.

And finally let us acknowledge the united effort of our community and friends in coming out in serious numbers to support Habima and enjoy an evening of culture, not to mention the Israeli music and dancing outside. I never knew that going to the theatre could be like coming to a simcha.

In the face of hostility we behaved with dignity and restraint. We won the argument and defeated the boycotters. We stood up to Israel’s detractors and took pride from the Habima. We even enjoyed ourselves in the process. That’s the community I am proud to be part of.

This is a cross-post from the website of the Board :
http://www.bod.org.uk/live/content.php?Item_ID=130&Blog_ID=393

COMMENTS

Mary in Brighton

Thu, 05/31/2012 - 14:38

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Jonathan I had been wondering when you were going to tell us you went both nights.


Chris Tucker (not verified)

Thu, 05/31/2012 - 15:13

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It would be a strange day without a shameless piece of self-promotion from Hoffman.


Jonathan Hoffman

Thu, 05/31/2012 - 15:18

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http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Letters/Article.aspx?id=272084

Sir, – With regard to “Protests fail to disrupt Habimah’s London performance” (May 29), it would be a mistake to assume that just because Emma Thompson, who spearheaded the letter demanding a ban on Israel’s national theater, is an outstanding actress she must also be a person of intelligence, knowledge or understanding about politics or history. Moreover, it would be a mistake to assume that she is a person free from any anti-Jewish prejudice.

She is a good actress. Full stop.

She may well be an uneducated, ignorant, prejudiced Jew-hating buffoon with an exaggerated sense of her own importance.

There are many such examples – Vanessa Redgrave and Mel Gibson, to name but two.

How misguided and deeply offensive she is in calling for this boycott, and how glad I am that she and the other signatories did not prevail.

BARBARA OBERMAN
Herzliya Pituah


Jonathan Hoffman

Thu, 05/31/2012 - 15:20

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I went both nights. Unforgettable. Of course the Forces of Darkness ignore that fact that an Israel Arab - Yousef Sweid - plays Bassanio.

Best comment on the failed protesters was Linda Grant's Tweet:

"Protestors at the Globe angry they've been denied freedom of expression to deny freedom of expression" ....


Mary in Brighton

Thu, 05/31/2012 - 15:21

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-1 points

Goodness me what strange behaviour yet again


Real Real Zionist

Thu, 05/31/2012 - 15:25

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Looks like he's REALLY lost it.


Advis3r

Thu, 05/31/2012 - 16:06

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The real real buffoon and the bottle green blonde anarchist - sad and pathetic really.


jarkush

Thu, 05/31/2012 - 17:01

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3 points

Thanks for all your comments. I'm Jonathan Arkush, not Hoffman, and I think they were meant for him rather than me !


Chris Tucker (not verified)

Thu, 05/31/2012 - 17:30

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Indeed, Jonathan (A). No one thought for a moment that YOU had a thing for Brazilian wiccans.


Mary in Brighton

Thu, 05/31/2012 - 17:37

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lol But just to be on the safe side, Jonathan, you'd best not go around wearing a woolly hat.


amber

Fri, 06/01/2012 - 17:26

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Mary the Communist apologist thinks supporting Israeli artists constitutes "strange behaviour".

Mary, go out and get a job or a boyfriend - just do something that gets you off your computer.


Mary in Brighton

Fri, 06/01/2012 - 17:42

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Jonathan, the strange behaviour I referred to was your playing around with your posts to rearrange the order of the thread. I have to say even stranger, is your coming back in in a skirt.


Chris Tucker (not verified)

Fri, 06/01/2012 - 17:46

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I think that is ok. Just so long as he isn't sharing the dress with "Leah".


Harvey

Wed, 06/06/2012 - 14:17

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A special thanks to everyone involved in making Habimah at the Globe such a success .
Police and security rendered the spoilers ineffectual and inconsequential to the evenings entertainment . Habimah received a rousing 5 minute standing ovation from the galleries ( the yard was already on its feet ) . A magical two nights for sure!


Advis3r

Wed, 06/06/2012 - 15:14

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-2 points

Harvey the TOD (troll on duty) must have dozed off otherwise I would have expected some meaningless comment from the bottle green blonde or one of her cohorts to a comment by you that must be to them like a red rag to a bull (or should that be a cow?).


suzanna

Thu, 06/07/2012 - 12:47

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Of course you could argue that the fact that the issue of Israel's occupation was once again discussed in the media and was once more highlighted was in fact a success for the BDS.
This, after all, is one of their aims surely? To keep the occupation, the detentions, the killings, the expropriation of land, the bulldozing in the public eye.


Harvey

Thu, 06/07/2012 - 14:20

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One could also argue that the so called media coverage referred to is a figment of imagination of an assorted bunch of narcissists whose actions do little to further the cause of Palestine . Finklestein ,for once removing his rose tinted glasses , recently labelled the bds a cult and rightly so .
Habimah was a spectacular success to the point that those few miscreants who sought to disrupt the event were simply ignored by both audience and players . The spectacle of those few disrupters , whose goal is the dismantlement of Israel and the irony of their protest played out against the backdrop of Shakespeare's antisemitic play was not lost on the audience .
Israelis and Palestinians will eventually reach a compromise and a just accord based on a two state solution . The bds movement ,whose priority is the dismantlement of Israel ,will not see their efforts come to fruition and neither will they be seen as having contributed to an eventual peaceful resolution of the conflict .
Meanwhile their hypocrisy is demonstrated by their failure to address the true humanitarian issues which are taking place in Syria and their recent decision to effectively support the Syrian regime by routing a ' humanitarian convoy ' through Syria .


Harvey

Thu, 06/07/2012 - 14:39

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In an interesting but unsurprising development , Germany's neo Nazis the NPD have expressed their solidarity for the campaign for a boycott of Israeli goods that is supported by the mayor of Jena, Social Democrat Albrecht Schroter and the left wing NGO Pax Christi .
Not unexpected as when far left meets far right ,it's inevitably accompanied by antisemitism .


suzanna

Thu, 06/07/2012 - 14:50

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I certainly hope that a just solution is achieved for both a secure Israel and a contiguous and free Palestine.

I don't speak for the BDS movement so I don't know if their agenda is to 'dismantle' Israel. I'm not sure you know that either.
Any protest against Israel's apartheid agenda in the West Bank is not diluted by the fact that equally reprehensible actions are committed in other countries. How can it be?
Crimes in Syria do not absolve the crimes committed by Israel.


JC Webmaster

Thu, 06/07/2012 - 14:51

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This comment by suzanna has been moderated


suzanna

Thu, 06/07/2012 - 14:54

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Advis3r

Thu, 06/07/2012 - 15:10

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There is no apartheid in Israel and suzanna you may repeat the lie till you are blue in the face it will not make it the truth.

What makes you so "special" suzanna is that you repeat lies as if they were fact.

If you just took the trouble once in a while to find out the truth and for example stop repeating the malicious and bigotted lie you keep repeating about Mr Hoffman and the EDL which as the coward you are you would never write under your real name and address, we might treat you as something approaching human.


suzanna

Thu, 06/07/2012 - 15:16

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Well the photos seem to suggest otherwise.

And is your name 'Advis3r' !!

Good grief, at least I have the courage to use my real first name.


joshua789

Thu, 06/07/2012 - 15:31

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Advis3r ' . . . .which as the coward you are you would never write under your real name and address, we might treat you as something approaching human'.

What is your real name? (and address whilst we are at it)


Real Real Zionist

Thu, 06/07/2012 - 15:46

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Joshua, his real name is Blacklisted Dictator...sorry, I mean Anthony Posner...sorry, I mean Jose...sorry I mean Mitnachel...

...and he lives in Milton Keynes


Advis3r

Thu, 06/07/2012 - 15:53

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As the real real nutjob knows my name is Norman Cohen and I live in Maale Adumim now Joshua tell us your name and where you live or are you another coward like suzanna?


Harvey

Thu, 06/07/2012 - 15:53

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Your efforts to libel Mr.Hoffman is integral to the political mindset you subscribe to . The use of every form of agit prop ,lies and slander was and still is one of the tools of the Marxist war on capitalism and democracy . Your need to resort to lies and ad Hominem attacks on Mr Hoffman and indeed the pro Israel campaigners is an indication of the desperation and failure of your cause .
The reality is the true close association of the far right and the bds movement as exemplified by Nazi support for it in Germany . That cannot be denied .
However , we did not need such a report to tell us what was already quite apparent .
Closer to home , the psc finds it necessary to conduct an EGM in order to divest itself from a known antisemite and Holocaust denier and in so doing discovers that 20% of voters are against his expulsion with many more voting tactically in order to avoid a similar fate .
It would be hard to imagine any other body or institution requiring to go through such hoops in order to demonstrate their moral and ethical soundness .
That the psc find themselves having to do so is indicative of an underlying and serious problem embeddeded within the movement of a racist and antisemitic character .
No amount of extra ordinary motions will whitewash this inherent stain from the movement .


Harvey

Thu, 06/07/2012 - 15:59

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As for my not knowing about the psc agenda , I know all there is to know from their" river to the sea " ditty . What else is necessary ?


Advis3r

Thu, 06/07/2012 - 15:59

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suzanna you mean photographs like the one that appears on this anti-Israel website?

http://desertpeace.wordpress.com/2011/10/21/gaddafi-americas-convenient-...


suzanna

Thu, 06/07/2012 - 16:00

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Have the PSC been photographed standing shoulder to shoulder with the EDL?


joshua789

Thu, 06/07/2012 - 16:02

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RRZ - Yes, I think you have it.


suzanna

Thu, 06/07/2012 - 16:04

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Advis3r

Thu, 06/07/2012 - 16:09

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You mean the "we are all (the homophobic anti-Semitic) Hezbollah now" PSC?


Advis3r

Thu, 06/07/2012 - 16:15

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Joshua still acting the coward - hoping no one will notice - well name? address? or even home town? you asked me I answered are you man enough to do the same or will you continue your bigotry behind a pseudonym?

real real nutjob, rich armbach or any of the aliases you use is just as much a coward. he knows i am not any ofthe other people he has mentioned but deflects his own inadequacies by doing a Millis - not even original- jackass.


Real Real Zionist

Thu, 06/07/2012 - 16:17

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Harvey do you think anyone really cares about your and Hoff's petty London parochial inter cult sandpit squabbles ?


Harvey

Thu, 06/07/2012 - 16:24

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Still adhering to Stalinist agit prop methods as laid out at bds politburo headquarters I see .
A case of the lie travelling half way round the world before the truth has got its socks on .
I don't intend to repeat previous rebuttals to this nonsense .


joshua789

Thu, 06/07/2012 - 16:27

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Advis3r - you are extraordinarily conceited.

You are also quite rude.


Advis3r

Thu, 06/07/2012 - 16:40

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joshua and your opinion is worth what precisely if you hide your identity?

You I suppose were not rude when you wrote: Advis3r ' . . . .which as the coward you are you would never write under your real name and address, we might treat you as something approaching human'. The inference clearly being ...


JC Webmaster

Thu, 06/07/2012 - 17:42

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This comment by Chris Tucker has been moderated


happygoldfish

Fri, 06/08/2012 - 09:46

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Chris Tucker: This is interesting.

[link]

chris tucker has once again posted a link to a website whose sole purpose is to defame jonathan hoffman

(i hope thejc.com will remove the link from the above post … chris tucker's only reason for making the post is to publicise this defamation … i myself have not reproduced the link)

one of its (only six) pages (a page chris tucker has also previously linked to) has already been exposed as a complete invention

their first response was a complete denial …

realzionist: You will take that back now!! It most certainly was not invented.

but eventually they were forced to admit it, with the excuse that it is a "spoof"

there is nothing (until that admission) to indicate that it is a spoof, and indeed most readers would not be aware of anything that it could be a spoof of

it was not written as a spoof, it was carefully written to look entirely realistic

the remaining five pages are a collection of lies and half-truths, again carefully written to look entirely realistic

for example, the page linked to above accuses jonathan of calling on pro-israelis to "disrupt meetings"

their own quotation (much lower down, if you bother to read that far) shows that jonathan (presumably realising that the ujs speaker and audience were slightly hostile) was very conciliatory, only calling on them to hand out fliers outside and before meetings, and to "make themselves available when the meetings are over, to talk"

he specifically did not call on them to heckle or disrupt (he did not use the word "disrupt" at all ), or even to go inside such meetings

(see http://cifwatch.com/2011/11/23/how-to-most-effectively-advocate-for-isra... for another copy of the same text)

(heckling is of course completely normal at meetings, and is often the only recourse, "in the knowledge that only people hostile to Israel will be called upon to ask a question"

heckling should not be disruptive, jonathan's isn't, and i'm sure jonathan would discourage disruptive heckling, on both moral and practical grounds)

jonathan's conciliatory approach was ignored by the ujs speaker

the website falsely and carefully presents jonathan as an advocate of disruption, and presents many other false allegations against jontathan, with the intention that its supporters will link to it from, and quote from it on, respectable websites


Mary in Brighton

Fri, 06/08/2012 - 10:26

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Thanks Chris. Very interesting indeed.


Chris Tucker (not verified)

Fri, 06/08/2012 - 10:49

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"We hand out leaflets, make a fuss..."

We could argue about the best way to advocate for Israel at these meetings. Should you stay silent and hope to be called on in the Q+A, or should you heckle and interrupt, in the knowledge that only people hostile to Israel will be called upon to ask a question? (My strong preference is to heckle and interrupt, because the chance of being called is very low).

He was advising them to heckle and interrupt from OUTSIDE the meeting?

The spoof, as anyone with half a brain cell would have spotted, is a spoof on Hoffman's dealing with the EDL issue. "Our stewards told him to xxxx off", and "we asked the police if Hoffman could have his own separate pen" should have given even you a clue.

The, what you call an initial denial, is obviously the author's being so incredulous that someone was dumb enough to take it all literally, that they decided to wind you up.

As an avid reader and fan of this site, I obviously would want to know about any lies that were being told. Perhaps you could give me some examples?


Mary in Brighton

Fri, 06/08/2012 - 10:55

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lol


Ben F

Fri, 06/08/2012 - 11:06

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Perhaps Happygoldfish would like to explain away Hoffman being thrown out of the Albert Hall for hooliganism?


zaheerayin

Fri, 06/08/2012 - 11:23

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With friends like Happygoldfish, Jonathan hardly needs enemies.


Mary in Brighton

Fri, 06/08/2012 - 11:31

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Happygoldfish, have you not your very self caught Jonathan out lying on several occasions?


Real Real Zionist

Fri, 06/08/2012 - 11:44

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Speaking of Highgate School alumni...

http://www.aol.com/video/boris-johnsons-awkward-moments-on-david-letterm...

By the way, the Royal Albert Hall incident was little more than a month before the head to head with Dan Sheldon.


happygoldfish

Fri, 06/08/2012 - 11:53

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Chris Tucker: He was advising them to heckle and interrupt from OUTSIDE the meeting?

he wasn't advising them to heckle or interrupt at all

he was only mentioning that it was his personal preference

what that webpage, and now you, are deliberately omitting is that he specifically does not call on others to copy him …

We could argue about the best way to advocate for Israel at these meetings. Should you stay silent …

but (instead of arguing that) jonathan calls on them to be active outside such meetings …

One thing I hope we can agree on is that defenders of Israel should be outside the meetings before the start and after the end, handing out fliers which tell the truth. And that they should make themselves available when the meetings are over, to talk: sometimes there is just one person who mistrusts the certainty of what he has heard in the meeting and wants to know more. Some of my biggest successes have been in such 1-on-1 discussions after meetings.
Yes we could argue about the best way to advocate for Israel at these meetings. But we surely all agree that it is folly for Israel advocates to stay away from these meetings completely. Because that leaves the door wide open for a new generation to be indoctrinated by the delegitimisers.
But in many cases that is what UJS is doing – staying away and standing aloof.

Chris Tucker: The spoof … is a spoof on …

almost nobody clicking on your link and arriving at that page would know anything about that …

the allegations are carefully written to look entirely convincing

(what else is the purpose of the website? )

Ben F: Perhaps Happygoldfish would like to explain away Hoffman being thrown out of the Albert Hall for hooliganism?

this allegation … regularly repeated on the bds website … is about the ipo performance on 1/9/2011, and appears to be deliberately based on the ejection of professor jonathan rosenhead of the lse (see eg abu dhabi's "the national" of 3/9/11, http://www.thenational.ae/news/world/middle-east/free-palestine-protest-... )

untruths such as this are repeated so often that they become believable


Real Real Zionist

Fri, 06/08/2012 - 12:16

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Happy let me tell you how spoofs work. The first impression should be that it is for real. But there are clues in them. At first the reader will be in two minds but then will spot the clues and the penny will drop. Obviously you should avoid spoofs, they clearly are not your strong point. But why are you so anxious that people should not read it and make up their own minds ? Would you much prefer that they took your word for it ?

And are you going to provide us with some examples of lies as requested by Chris ?

" untruths such as this are repeated so often that they become beleivable "

Not at all Jonny tells it in his own words. He was thrown out of the Royal Albert Hall for waving an Israeli flag in the faces of PSC demonstrators when he knew full well that the Hall had made it clear they would not allow flags and leaflet distribution.

http://www.israellycool.com/2011/09/02/bds-fail-of-the-day-16/#comments


JC Webmaster

Fri, 06/08/2012 - 12:30

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