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Israel theatre company defies protesters at Edinburgh

Incubator troupe performs at Fringe three years after show was cancelled amid pro-Palestinian demonstrations

    The scene three years ago when protests forced the cancellation of performances by Incubator
    The scene three years ago when protests forced the cancellation of performances by Incubator

    Around 20 pro-Palestinian activists protested at the opening of the International Shalom Festival  at the Edinburgh Fringe on Tuesday.

    The festival, celebrating Jewish and Israeli culture, began with a performance by the Jerusalem theatre company Incubator Theatre, who had returned to the Fringe after its run three years ago was cancelled  amid anti-Israel protests.

    Amit Ulman, Incubator’s director and head writer, said he had "mixed emotions" at coming back to Edinburgh.

    “The last time we were here we felt very unwanted. There was the vibe. It's hard to come back to a place where you were cancelled and not wanted,” the 31-year-old said.

    "It wasn't just BDS It was a general feeling. The Underbelly [the venue which cancelled the run] really didn't do enough to help us and the police surely didn't do enough. We were really shocked they cancelled us. 

    "The message of this [International Shalom] festival is good. It shows that Israel is a multicultural place. So it's good that I came to fight against this fight against Israel, even only for a little bit.

    "I came to stand against the ignorance that BDS represents and the festival is doing that and I am glad to be a part of it."

    Incubator’s staging of the first of eight performances of The City: A Detective Hip Hop Opera was watched by an audience of 30 people at the Drummond Community High School.

    Outside the venue, as police watched on, the protesters displayed a poster which read "Anti-Semitism is a crime, Anti-Zionism is a duty" and flew Palestinian flags.

    Mike Napier, chair of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, addressed the crowd, accusing Israel of being an apartheid state and describing Zionism as “dirty”.

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