Sydney Festival apologizes to artists over Israeli boycott

The chairman of the Sydney Festival in Australia on Thursday apologized to the artists who took part in the event, which was lifted by a boycott of the Israeli government’s funding.

“We’re very saddened by the fact that we put artists in a situation where they felt compromised,” said festival president David Kirk.

1 See the gallery

Cast manipulates large sheets of fabric for their show 'Air Play' during a preview of the Sydney Festival in Sydney, Australia, 21 January 2020Cast manipulates large sheets of fabric for their show 'Air Play' during a preview of the Sydney Festival in Sydney, Australia, 21 January 2020

Cast manipulates large sheets of fabric for their show ‘Air Play’ during a preview of the Sydney Festival in Sydney, Australia, 21 January 2020

(Photo: AP)

Many artists found themselves “in a position where they felt the need to withdraw their work or continue their work,” he added.

Kirk reiterated that the festival board would launch an independent inquiry and consider whether the festival would allow the government to sponsor such events in the future.

Sydney Festival – a major art festival in Australia’s largest city – was boycotted in protest of Israeli government funding of a Sydney Dance Company production created by Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin.

About $ 15,000 was granted by the Israeli embassy in the capital Canberra.

The demands for the boycott included either canceling the performance or returning the grant to the Israeli government.

In response to the protest, more than 30 people and groups affiliated with the festival either withdrew or performed without the festival’s support.

Kirk told The Guardian that he was unaware of any Israeli funding until he saw the government logo on the festival program.

The Israeli embassy in Australia challenged such a narrative.

“They told us about it … and we were happy and honored to support it,” said Deputy Ambassador Ron Gerstenfeld.

“It’s a bit hypocritical to say that we do some kind of laundering to hide some kind of Israeli activity in any other sphere.”

Reprinted with permission from i24NEW.

.

Give a Comment