Culture Minister Livnat slams artists for Ariel boycott

Education, Culture and Sports Committee meets to discuss refusal of actors to "perform in a settlement."

Limor Livnat (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Limor Livnat
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
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."
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"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 cabinet meeting.
“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.