Protests expected at Habimah London performances

Threat reported by London blogger who recorded anti-Israel activist meeting.

By JONNY PAUL, JERUSALEM POST CORRESPONDENT
January 25, 2012 06:46
2 minute read.
The Globe Theater in London

Globe theater 311. (photo credit: Shakespearesglobe.com)

 
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LONDON – One of the activists who disrupted a concert given by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra at London’s Albert Hall in September has said that protesters are likely to strike again at a concert given by the Habimah National Theater in London in May.

The threat was reported by a London blogger who recorded an anti-Israel activist meeting last week.

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Habimah is to perform a Hebrew version of William Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice at the world famous Globe Theater in London on May 28 and 29.

Speaking at a student event at King’s College London on Friday evening that he helped to organize and which examined the academic and cultural boycott of Israel, Jonathan Rosenhead, emeritus professor of operational research at the London School of Economics, said the Globe has made itself a target.

“They [the Globe] have made themselves a target, and they will be one. Various things are afoot to try and make sure, to pressure the Globe in the first instance, because if the Globe withdraws the invitation then that’s no problem,” he said at the meeting.

The meeting was recorded by London-based blogger Richard Millett. He said that Rosenhead told the audience that protesters had bought 45 tickets to the IPO concert and that he “boasted” that they had managed to force the BBC to take the concert off the air. BBC Radio pulled its coverage following the disturbances; it later played a recording of the concert in full with the disruptions edited out.

“From the juxtaposition of what he said about the Habimah performances following right after what he said about the IPO – that he was one of the protesters, that he knew they had bought 45 tickets and boasting about the IPO concert being taken off the air – totally implied that there will be disruptions at the Globe by anti-Israel protestors,” Millet told The Jerusalem Post. “It was a veiled threat, but of course he will deny it; there couldn’t be any stronger implication though.”

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Speaking to the Post on Monday, Rosenhead denied he was planning a disruption.

“Nor did I say that I was at the meeting on Friday,” he said. “I believe it is entirely possible [given the issue] that demonstrations of some kind will take place, but I am in no way involved, or even in the know. You shouldn’t believe everything in Richard Millett’s blog.”

If anyone is planning any disruption, “they seem to have left me out of the loop,” Rosenhead said.

“There has been much e-mail traffic on lists of which I am a member. While none of these messages have referred even to pickets outside the event or disruption, I thought it relevant to inform the audience that it was likely that there would be some protest activity. It doesn’t need a Sherlock Holmes to deduce that,” he added.

Speaking to the Post on Tuesday, a spokesman for the Globe Theater said it was “taking all sensible precautions to prepare for the festival.”

Habimah’s performance will be part of the Globe to Globe Festival as part of the Cultural Olympiad preceding the 2012 Olympic Games, which will be held in the British capital from July 27 to August 12. The festival begins on April 23, Shakespeare’s birthday, and will include 37 international companies performing all 37 of the bard’s plays in 37 languages over a six-week period.

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