Boycott of Sydney Festival ignorant and counterproductive

Several comedians and other performances are among 27 events that have ignorantly boycotted the Sydney Festival due to the Israeli Embassy providing $20,000 in sponsorship for the dance performance Decadance – created by Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin.

Predictably, Hamas, the antisemitic terrorist organisation that has long engaged in military conflict against Israel and fervently wishes for its obliteration, recently came out in support of the boycott.

“We declare our solidarity with the participants who have withdrawn from the festival, and we call on all participants to raise their voices in the face of oppression and injustice,” said the organisation responsible for dozens of suicide bombings against the Israeli people and throwing opponents off high rise buildings.

When you have terrorists backing in your argument, you should know you have lost the argument and any moral authority.

One of the lead organisers absurdly said the sponsorship “…normalises human rights abuses and it allows Israel to gain publicity out of a cultural institution.” To believe that Israeli sponsorship of a dance performance “normalises human rights abuses” would be laughable if such a false and inflammatory opinion wasn’t taken so seriously by the boycotters.

The boycott adds nothing to the immensely complicated situation between Israel and Palestine. It displays ignorance of Israel and its people and what the Sydney Festival performance can achieve, including bringing people together from different nations and cultures.

Israel has a distinguished record of being a light in the idle east for democracy, the rule of law and human rights. The boycotters would be well served to honestly recognise these facts.

The boycott is a regrettable distraction from, and a profound ignorance of, the real efforts to bring peace and stability between Israel and Palestine. 

Senator Abetz is a Liberal Senator for Tasmania and Chair of The Parliamentary Friends of Israel

About Eric

Eric Abetz has been a Liberal Senator for Tasmania since 1994 and has served in a range of Leadership, Ministerial and Shadow Ministerial roles.

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