Israel boycotters have Cirque du Soleil in their sights

By Jennifer Lipman, July 27, 2012

Anti-Israel activists are calling for Cirque du Soleil to be prevented from performing in Tel Aviv next month.

The world-famous circus, which is based in Canada, is due to entertain audiences with its "Alegria" show between August 8 and 18 as part of an international tour.

But supporters of a cultural boycott of Israel have enlisted circus groups in a campaign to stop the shows from going ahead.

Montreal's Tadamon collective, which claims to work "in solidarity" with the Palestinians, wrote an open letter to the circus group.

"By performing in Israel, well-known artists provide credibility to, and indirectly endorse, the actions and policies of the Israeli government," said a spokesman for the collective. "We would like to encourage you to join other prominent artists such as Elvis Costello, Cat Power, and Gil Scott-Heron in refusing to serve as a cover for Israel's racist policies against Palestinians by cancelling your performance in Israel."

"If the show will take place in August in Israel will be forced to give up any kind of collaboration with Cirque du Soleil," added Giovanni Savino of the Social Circus of Naples.

A Facebook group called "Boycott Cirque du Soleil show in Israel" has attracted nearly 1,500 members, but so far, the show remains set to go ahead.

Last updated: 3:17pm, July 27 2012