This week’s performances by Israeli dance group Batsheva Ensemble in Bradford and Salford were interrupted by pro-boycott demonstrators, with protests outside venues of up to 80 people.
Ticket holders attending the shows at the Lowry in Salford and the Alhambra in Bradford were greeted by cries of: “Your tickets are covered in Palestinian blood!”
Videos posted on YouTube show chants of “Shame on you!” and protesters who had disrupted a performance reporting back by megaphone, to clapping and cheering.
While one audience member guessed there were 70 to 80 protesters at Bradford, the 30 protesters on Friday in Salford had dwindled to 20 by the following night. The demonstrators were contained by barriers and there was a large police presence at both venues.
One protester managed to enter the Lowry on Saturday night despite not having a ticket.
I bought a ticket, but lost it. It took me a bit of explaining to security staff , but they let me in without a ticket.
She said: “People inside were angered by the disturbance. But it was for a very good reason because we are protesting against the atrocities and human rights abuses carried out by Israel.
"I bought a ticket, but lost it. It took me a bit of explaining to security staff , but they let me in without a ticket.”
Gilad Amit, community shaliach for Leeds, attended Tuesday’s performance at Bradford Alhambra, along with around 50 people from the Leeds community.
He said: “There were three interruptions in the first half, people standing up to shout 'Free Palestine', and at one point someone dropped leaflets over the balcony. But each time there was an interruption, everybody started to clap really loudly so they couldn’t be heard.
“Batsheva were wonderful,” he said. “It was clear from the Q&A afterwards that many people there were not Jewish. The group brought Israeli and Jewish culture to the audience.”