by David Drimer
Saving Mr. Banks’ Star Emma Thompson and three dozen other British actors are seeking the boycotting of Israel’s celebrated Habima Theater troupe, which is to perform later this year in a six-week theatrical festival taking place at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London. Thompson and her colleagues cite spurious human rights concerns but hypocritically fail to call for a boycott of the National Theater of China, which is participating in the same festival.
In a letter to the British Guardian newspaper, Thompson and her colleagues accused Habima of having “a shameful record of involvement with illegal Israeli settlements in Occupied Palestinian Territory [sic] … By inviting Habima, Shakespeare’s Globe is undermining the conscientious Israeli actors and playwrights who have refused to break international law … by inviting Habima, the Globe is associating itself with policies of exclusion practised by the Israeli state and endorsed by its national theatre company … We ask the Globe to withdraw the invitation so that the festival is not complicit with human rights violations and the illegal colonisation of occupied land” (Nathan Burstein, ‘Oscar winner Emma Thompson calls for Israeli theater’s ban,’ Times of Israel, April 1, 2014).
Note the rank hypocrisy of Thompson and her ilk condemning Habima and seeking its boycott — but having no problem with the National Theater of China participating in the same festival, even though China’s observance of human rights is, to put it mildly, abysmal.
Emma Thompson and these other actors are clearly people who, because they are celebrities, enjoy unmerited influence and ability to publicize their political views. This places an even greater responsibility on them to think carefully before speaking on political matters, which they have clearly failed. They deserve to be condemned and shunned by the Jewish, pro-Israeli community and all other people of goodwill.