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PACBI-Protesting Against the Occupation: Theatre Director Peter Brook Cancels his Arrival

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Ayala Blupolski | 4 September 2012

Protesting Against the Occupation: Theatre Director Peter Brook Cancels his Arrival

The renowned theatre director Peter Brook, whose Bouffes du Nord theatre troop was supposed to appear this coming December at the International Festival for Plays of the Cameri Theatre with the play The Suit, today suddenly announced the cancellation of his arrival. The decision came following pressure by pro-Palestinian groups to cancel his participation as a protest against the occupation.

One of the people who sent a letter to Brook, asking that he cancel his participation in the festival is Dr. Anat Matar, a senior lecturer in the department of philosophy at Tel Aviv university. In her letter Matar [writes... "I believe that decisions about cultural and academic boycott need to be taken after due discretion and not blindly...The issue with the Cameri is its support the oppression of the Palestinians by performing on their occupied land".

In a letter sent by representatives of the BDS organization [sic], which acts for boycott as a sanction against the Israeli occupation in the territories, activists noted the fact that the Cameri gives performances in the settlements, including in Ariel. “From our perspective this is a most important achievement,” says Ofer Neiman, an activist in the Yesh Gvul organization, and amongst those who had contact with Brook and his team and encouraged application of the pressure.

“The Cameri, Habima and Beit Lessin are institutions which appear in settlements in the occupied territories, which are direct partners in violating international law, in Israeli apartheid,” adds Neiman. “It is intolerable that such institutions will receive all sorts of bonuses in the form of collaborations with great directors such as Peter Brook. It is important to note that this isn’t automatic opposition to every visit of Brook to Israel. He can come and show this play in another framework, not in cooperation with a law-breaking theatre. Peace-seeking Israelis are invited to come demonstrate solidarity with the Palestinians living under occupation and to see Peter Brook in Hakawati in East Jerusalem or in a theatre in Ramallah.”

Officials in the Cameri expressed anger at the cancellation, which came after the troop had already confirmed its arrival. Everything was arranged and sale of tickets had already begun. In these very moments an emergency meeting is being held by the board of directors, during which the possibility of submitting a legal petition against Brook will be discussed.

Peter Brook is a well-respected British director. Alongside a long list of theatre works, including numerous productions of Shakespeare, Brook directed a number of films, including an adaption of the classic book by William Golding, Lord of the Flies. In 2005 Brook was awarded the Dan David Prize, in cooperation with Tel Aviv University. In 2008 the National Norwegian Theatre gave Brook the Ibsen Award. 

[Translated from Hebrew. Source:,1592,209,69920,.aspx]

Posted on 10-09-2012

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