The Israel Ballet, which receives around $1 million annually from the Israeli government, is being advertised as a cultural ambassador of the state by the Israeli Consulate in New York. The dance group also boasts holding “special performances” for Israeli soldiers.
and say that the ballet never condemns the occupation, and also make this argument, which is especially compelling:
[Ballet founder Berta] Yampolsky continued, “We don’t care what religion or nationality you are, as long as you are a good person.” Yet none of the dancers, board members, or staff listed on the Israel Ballet website are Palestinian, though Palestinians comprise 20% of Israel’s citizenry. Furthermore, the Israeli government systematically discriminates against Israel’s Palestinian citizens, including providing less funding for Palestinian citizens’ cultural and educational activities. Palestinian artists in occupied Gaza and the West Bank fare even worse. The Ramallah-based Palestinian dance troupe, El-Funoun, must continuously contend with Israel’s ongoing occupation, and its members have faced military roadblocks, military curfews, random arrests, injury, performance closures and travel bans.
That’s not fair. That’s redolent of Jim Crow days. And certainly doesn’t seem very democratic.