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In Win for BDS, Brian Eno Pulls Music From Israel’s Batsheva Dance Troupe

In Italy, the former Roxy Music star demanded that a song of his be pulled, even though Batsheva had danced to it in the past.

British musician and composer Brian Eno pulled his music from a performance by the Tel Aviv-based Batsheva Dance Company on Tuesday, citing the Israeli Embassy’s cosponsoring of the event.

Batsheva, directed and choreographed by Ohad Naharin, performed its signature show “Three” at Turin’s Teatro Regio on the opening night of MiTo, an annual dance and music festival. The ensemble had planned to dance to a piece from Eno’s 1993 album “Neroli.”

But Eno, a supporter of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel, demanded that the music be pulled, even though Batsheva had danced to it in the past. Eno sent a letter to Naharin that was published by the Italian newspaper La Repubblica.

Eno said the use of his music in the show was “an unacceptable prospect” because of the embassy’s participation. At international events such as MiTo, governments sometimes help fund and promote their country’s artists.

While conceding that Naharin himself had “shown some sympathy to the Palestinian cause,” Eno warned him that the Israeli “government exploits artists like you, playing on your natural desire to keep working – even if it does mean becoming part of a propaganda strategy.”

Naharin, who has been the artistic brains behind Batsheva for 25 years, is one of the most famous Israeli artists in the world. He has also taken a political stance; he has supported left-leaning activists such as the soldiers and ex-soldiers in the group Breaking the Silence. Still, he has spoken out about BDS demonstrations against both Batsheva and Israel, such as catcalls during performances.

Naharin responded to Eno at a festival event Monday; he called the musician’s decision a “lazy” and “useless” act.

“If boycotting my company would help the Palestinian people, then I would boycott my own show,” Naharin said. “If the boycott of my work could bring a peace treaty, I would be the happiest person in the world. But I know it would be useless,” he said at the event, where he presented Tomer Heymann’s documentary “Mr. Gaga” on Naharin’s choreography.

BDS activists protested before the screening. Meanwhile, Naharin substituted Eno’s piece with music by the Israeli Ohad Fishof. When Batsheva performs “Three” in Israel at the end of this month, it won’t be using Eno’s music either.

Back when Batsheva’s performance was announced, a pro-Palestinian group in Italy plastered Turin's center with posters urging the people to boycott the show under the slogan “Don’t dance with Israel!”

On its website, the group said its efforts had convinced Eno to pull his music, but Naharin was quoted in Italian newspapers as saying he had received the letter from Eno “a month ago.”

No disruption was reported after Tuesday’s performance. “Italians see politics and culture as two separate things,” Eldad Golan, the Israeli Embassy’s cultural attaché, told Haaretz in a phone conversation.

Schermata 2016 09 07 alle 22.16.53Writing in La Repubblica, which is considered moderately pro-Palestinian, critic Anna Bandettini sided with Batsheva against Eno. “The company has been using his music since 2005, yet until recently he didn’t seem to mind it at all,” she wrote.

Anna Momigliano reported from Milan, Gili Izikovich from Tel Aviv.

Anna Momigliano

Haaretz Contributor

read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.740798Schermata 2016 09 07 alle 22.17.04

Video of the Week New Clashes Erupt Between Israeli Security Forces, Muslim Worshippers

Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police

The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.802141

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