The Knesset's Education, Culture, and Sports Committee convened in an emergency meeting on Thursday to discuss the refusal of a long list of Israeli artists to perform at a cultural center in the West Bank town of Ariel.
Numerous actors signed a letter that was sent Friday to theater
managers, which said "We, actors and people of the theater, wish to
show our disgust that management of certain theaters plan to appear in
the new hall in Ariel."
Tel Aviv: Hundreds gather to support actors' Ariel boycott
"The actors that have signed this letter
declare that they will refuse to appear in Ariel and any other
settlement," the letter continued.
Culture Minister Limor Livnat warned the artists involved that their actions may have consequences on Thursday, saying:
"The fact that you are bringing bringing politics into this arena, may lead us to do the same in return and intervene in the content."
She added that there had been an unprecedented public outcry on the issue, prompting a high number of reactions in opposition to the boycott.
"You are shooting yourselves in the foot," Livnat said.
"Boycotts of any kind are not allowed. You are not boycotting Ariel; you are boycotting the city's residents. You perform in front of an audience, not before a city."
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu also condemned the artists' decision on Sunday.
“The State of Israel is under an attack of delegitimization by elements
in the international community. This attack includes attempts to enact
economic, academic and cultural boycotts. The last thing we need at this
time is to be under such an attack – I mean this attempt at a boycott –
from within,” complained Netanyahu at the beginning of the weekly
“I do not want to deny the right of any person, of any artist, to hold
to a political opinion. He or she can express this opinion, but we, as a
government, do not need to fund boycotts. We do not have to support
boycotts directed at Israeli citizens in any manner whatsoever," he
continued.Rebecca Anna Stoil contributed to this report.