Web Action

Harvey McCue, Board Chair, Ontario Heritage Trust
Maria Shclover, Board Chair, Cherry Orchard Festival, New York City
J. Kevin McMahon, President and CEO, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, Pittsburgh
Scott Shiller, Festival Producer and Vice President of Artistic Planning, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, Pittsburgh

Dear Mr. McCue, Ms. Shclover, Mr. McMahon, and Mr. Shiller,

We are supporters of the arts and social justice, writing to express serious concern about the fact that the Ontario Heritage Trust in Toronto (September 29, 30), the Cherry Orchard Festival in New York (October 3, 4, 6 and 7), and the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust (October 11-13), will be hosting performances by the Gesher Theatre of Israel, performances that the Gesher Theatre and your own websites say are sponsored by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. These performances support the Israeli government in implementing its systematic “Brand Israel” strategy of employing arts and culture to divert attention from the state’s decades of violent colonization, brutal military occupation, and denial of Palestinian refugees’ right of return.  In addition, Gesher Theatre itself has been complicit in Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights, as we describe in more detail below. Therefore we call on the Ontario Heritage Trust, the Cherry Orchard Festival and the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust not to host the Gesher Theatre, or partner with the Israeli government.

Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

New York, NY, October 2, 2018 – Palestinian arts and solidarity organizations, along with US Jewish and Israeli groups, have joined theater artists in signing a letter calling on Toronto, New York and Pittsburgh arts organizations not to host Israel’s Gesher Theatre or partner with the Israeli government, citing their involvement in violations of Palestinian rights. Award-winning actors Kathleen Chalfant and Miriam Margolyes, and playwrights Caryl Churchill, Betty Shamieh, Naomi Wallace, and Anne Washburn are among the artists who signed the letter.

Gesher Theatre says their Canadian and US performances were “made possible with the generous support of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs.” At their opening Toronto performance Saturday night hosted by the Ontario Heritage Trust, supporters of Palestinian rights handed out flyers calling for a boycott of Gesher Theatre, and held aloft a large sign saying “Your Event is Sponsored by the Israeli government. Its Military Killed 150 Unarmed Palestinian Protesters in Gaza This Summer.” In a statement, the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid in Toronto said, "We protested Gesher Theatre’s opening night in Toronto to show the event for what it really is – an effort by the Israeli government to distract attention away from its violations of Palestinians' rights.”

Press Release

Ex-Leviev staffer testifies company bribed NYPD to quash protests at diamond store

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 21, 2017, New York, NY - On Saturday New York human rights advocates celebrated the closure of the showcase Madison Avenue diamond store of Israeli billionaire and settlement-builder Lev Leviev by singing social justice-themed holiday carols for the eleventh consecutive year outside Leviev’s now former store. The closure of Leviev’s signature New York store followed 30 protests since its opening ten years ago, years of condemnations of Leviev’s businesses’ human right records, and a raft of conflicts and controversies involving the businesses in the Leviev Group of Companies.

Protesters outside the former Leviev store on Saturday sang Adalah-NY holiday boycott classics including We Wish Him a Loss of BusinessI Made a Little SettlementO Little Store on Madison, and Diamond Mines.

Press Release

New York, NY, July 24 – An Israeli government-supported theater initiative begins tonight at Lincoln Center, despite a protest letter signed by over 80 artists. The Lincoln Center performances are taking place against a backdrop of heightened Israeli government repression of Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation in the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, and revelations that 43 Senators hope to implement a law that could make it a felony for Americans to support similar boycott protests against Israel. Reported plans by Israel’s anti-Palestinian Minister of Culture Miri Regev to travel to New York for the performances underline the importance the hardline Israeli government places on its Lincoln Center partnership.

In the letter to Lincoln Center the artists called for the cancellation of Monday’s performance because it is part of the Israeli government’s Brand Israel public relations strategy and because the Israeli theater groups involved, Ha’Bima and Cameri, have played in and legitimized Israel’s illegal settlements. The signers of the letter to Lincoln Center include winners of numerous theater awards, including four Pulitzers, three Tonys, and nine Obies.