A quiet protest was held on Monday evening at Shakespeare's Globe to protest about a performance by the Israeli theatre company Habima, who regularly perform for audiences in the illegal settlements. About a hundred protesters stood outside carrying banners and placards. Some were dressed in Shakespearean costumes. Six campaigners inside the Globe displayed a Palestinian flag, a large banner and several smaller ones carrying the slogan 'Israeli apartheid leave the stage'.
Some members of the audience walked out of the performance because they said they were shocked at the way the peaceful demonstrators were removed.
Anglican protester Kathy Newsom said: "The Holy Land is such a special place and the Palestinians are just as much a Semitic race as the Israelis. They are all children of Abraham. It is so sad to see them treating people like this. I pray every day that they will have a change of heart."
Zoe Mars said: "We have tried today non-violently to convey the message that culture may not be used to give a civilised gloss to a state that perpetrates human rights abuses."
"This campaign is not an attack on individual artists, we are not censoring the content of their work nor are we concerned about their ethnicity or the language they speak. As with South African sport in the apartheid era, this is about refusing to allow culture to be used to whitewash oppression."
Israeli, Palestinian and British human rights campaigners, backed by respected figures in theatre and the arts, have urged the Globe over recent months to withdraw its invitation to Habima which is complicit in the state's human rights violations and illegal colonisation of occupied land.
Campaign supporters such as film maker Ken Loach and actors David Calder and Miriam Margolyes say Habima uses its art to normalise an unacceptable situation. Their complicity "makes a mockery of their claim to freedom in their work," says Loach.
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