The planned performance by Israel’s national theatre company Habima at The Globe in London is being funded by the country’s Foreign Ministry to the tune of £10,000, it emerged today.
As divulged by The Jewish Chronicle, the appearance of Habima at The Globe - already a target of a public boycott call in the context of the Palestinian BDS campaign - is being subsidised by the Israeli government following a funding shortfall. The paper reports:
Habima has been reticent about making any comments over the call for a boycott, or any public appeal regarding the funding shortfall, fearing further negative publicity.
But after initial reluctance, the Israeli Foreign Ministry, informed by the JC about the shortfall in Habima’s funding, has promised to make sure that any financial difficulties are covered to make sure the company is able to perform in London.
A spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in London said that the Foreign Ministry was the “biggest exporter of Israeli culture to the world” and would ensure that the performance went ahead.
As I wrote on the New Statesman website, dozens of British actors, playwrights and directors have already urged The Globe to cancel Habima’s performance, due to the company’s complicity with “human rights violations and the illegal colonisation of occupied land”.
Those - like Ken Loach - who view the presence of Habima at The Globe’s festival as unacceptable, do so for clear reasons. The company performs in illegal West Bank settlements, and, in the context of its direct link with the state, sees the invitation by The Globe as an “honourable accomplishment for the State of Israel in general”.
Now we know that the specific performance at The Globe is only being made possible through the financial support of Israel’s Foreign Ministry. It is unlikely to be the last development in this story.