No 1786 Posted by fw, September 27, 2016
Oh, the irony of it. The shameless audacity. The galling irony. Israel, masters of repetitive lying so powerful that it has enabled Hasbara, the Israeli propaganda machine, to infiltrate and occupy the American mind with its pernicious memes. Who can forget Hillary’s own piece of theatre, mindlessly echoing “rockets raining down”? Or Netanyahu’s “What would you do?” to justify the vicious bombing attacks on Gaza.
Regarding the video, as Ali Abunimah points out yesterday in his Electronic Intifada piece:
“It is not immediately apparent that this isn’t the real thing. But in fact, the video and a written “apology” were published as a work of art on Friday, online and in the national newspaper Morgenbladet. The ambiguity was deliberate and those who didn’t pay attention to the small print might not have noticed that it was a performance. The woman in the video is Gjertrud Jynge, a nationally renowned actor in Norway.”
I was crushed to discover that the video was a piece of theatrical fiction. Nevertheless, it speaks the truth. The truth, which Israel, US and Canadian politicians and their toady corporate controlled media, would rather you not hear or read about. Israel is desperate to control their propagandized version of the Israel-Palestine narrative.
Enough talk. Watch the embedded 6:47-minute video here, which, if Israel has its bullying way, may not be accessible for very long. Which is why I have included my own transcript of the monologue below.
Be sure to read Abunimah’s complete article by clicking on the following linked title. Ali writes about the creators of the video, and skewers the National Theatre of Norway for collaborating with Habima, Israel’s National Theatre,
[On-screen text] In 2014 The National Theatre of Norway collaborated with Habima, The National Theatre of Israel, on the project TERRORISMs organized by the European Theatre Union, UTE. Habima breaks the law when they perform in illegal Jewish settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
Gjertrud Synge, Spokesperson. The National Theatre of Norway, speaks —
Ladies and gentlemen,
This is a great day for The National Theatre of Norway. It is the day when we publicly apologize for our shameful collaboration with Habima, The National Theatre of Israel.
When our theatre director agreed upon this collaboration two years ago we did not know what a powerful role Habima and other Israeli art institutions play in normalizing the Israeli occupation. We did not know that art and theatre are extremely important tools for the state of Israel to build up the image of itself as a humanistic nation, and not as the apartheid state that it actually is.
We did not know because we had not done one single piece of research. We did not know that the United Palestinian Civil Society are fighting for a full economic and cultural boycott of the state of Israel simply because they cannot find any other solution to end the occupation and the continuous warfare.
We did not know because, actually, we didn’t bother to find out.
So how, ladies and gentlemen, in the name of Ibsen and Sophocles, could we have been so blind?
Just as we were collaborating, Israel executed its horrific bombing on the Gaza strip. Five hundred Palestinian children lost their lives while Habima was busy entertaining Israeli soldiers. While 370,000 Palestinian children, according to UNICEF, suffering from explicit trauma caused by Israeli bombings, we were busy embracing the rhetoric of cultural dialog. Dialog! Cultural dialog!
As if it was a conflict between equal parties that only needed some dialogic therapy and then hatred will disappear.
This is a colonial conflict. It’s not some passionate feud between the Montagues and the Capulets, who only need to sit down and talk and then love will flourish forever.
It is a colonial conflict based on ethnic cleansing, racism, occupation and apartheid.
But of course we didn’t know and for this we are very, very sorry and awfully ashamed.
Ladies and gentlemen, you now think that these are just words, just empty words from yet anther communication officer. But from the bottom of our middle-class hearts, they are not.
The Habima case has forced us, at the National Theatre of Norway, to understand that we know longer can run a country’s theatre separate from the global reality. We cannot let ourselves be tools to build up the power and prestige of the oppressive elites. And this goes for all the theatres of Europe.
To avoid these nightmares of shame that we have just experienced, we have to expose ourselves to the outside world. We have to break down our hierarchical institutions, free ourselves from the slavery of commercialism and take on a gigantic load of personal risk. Only then can the art of theatre be important in the years to come.
We will lose money. We will make enemies. But in doing so we will actually have something in common with the majority of our European audience. And we, at The National Theatre of Norway, will lead the way starting with these three promises:
1/ The National Theatre of Norway will fully support the Palestinian cause for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions of Israel. With immediate effect we will also cancel our membership with the politically irresponsible European Theatre Union.
2/ For two years, starting on 2017, we will dedicate all our means of production to work with the situation in the Middle East. The Theatre has huge artistic resources and 30 million euros per year at our disposal, and we cannot wait to use them to explore this region that is so defining for our common future. In this period, our director, Hanne Tømta, will give 50 percent of her salary to Palestinian theatre in the West Bank and Gaza.
3/ The Theatre will use these years to reorganize The Theatre in an egalitarian structure more like the structure we imagine for our future society.
And lastly, the Habima case has made us remember something that we had forgotten for a very long time – theatre can be important. And for this reminder we are forever grateful.
Long live The National Theatre of Norway.
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