PRESS RELEASE BY NORWEGIAN ARTISTS
In the newspaper Morgenbladet and in our video on Youtube, The National Theatre of Norway seems to deliver an official apology for their cooperation with Habima, the National Theatre of Israel. We do apologize for the moment of disappointment that many people all over the world shared when realizing that this good news was not true. But even as the National Theater of Norway does not apologize, we, as artists, deliver with this piece our apologies, as we think it should have been delivered, on behalf of our National Theatre for their collaboration with the Israeli National Theatre.
We made this artwork, because we believe that art can be a means for possible political change, even through comedy.
We are now deeply disappointed that The National Theatre of Norway continues their disinformation about the boycott movement (BDS). BDS is not endorsing a boycott of individual artists, but rather boycotts institutions and state representatives who take upon themselves the role of “cultural ambassadors” for the Israeli government. And we are saddened to see that The National Theatre accuses a united Palestinian civil society and the BDS movement of calling for silence, while the theatre itself has not talked to Palestinians about the case and now reject the invitation to debate on the democratic arena of state television.
The reactions from the State of Israel are shocking, all though not completely unexpected. The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs shows its true face when wanting to silence and sensor all critique, including works of art. Their defamation strategy, comparing the artwork to Nazi propaganda, seems desperate. It is slanderous and inappropriate.
Also we regret to see, that the Norwegian Embassy wavers when facing the diplomatic bullying of Israel. Norway should take a clear stand against this attack on the freedom of speech and of expression.
BDS is not anti-semitic. It is directed against the policies of an occupying power – not against a people. It is in fact a non-violent means to fight racism. The Palestinian civil society’s call for BDS, including a cultural boycott, is joined by people all over the world, including The Jewish Voice For Peace, the Israeli Boycott From Within and 327 Holocaust survivors and their descendents that signed a letter of support during the bombings of Gaza in 2014 stating: “Never again” must mean NEVER AGAIN FOR ANYONE!.
Finally, as Norwegian citizens and non-violent activists; we apologize for The Norwegian governments opposition to the non-violent BDS movement, while turning a blind eye to the fact that Norwegian produced weapons was sold to Israel and used against the children of Gaza in 2014.
Now is the time to act!
Pia Maria Roll and Marius von der Fehr (NationalApology)
Why won’t Norway theater apologize for embracing Israel’s war crimes?, Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 25 September 2016