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Anger over cancellation of Israeli dance group's Brighton performance
The Jewish community has described the decision to cancel one of two performances by an Israeli dance group as “disgraceful”.
Brighton Dome bosses canned the Batsheva Ensemble’s Saturday, November 10 night show so they could “beef up” security for the Friday performance.
The move came after the Don’t Dance With Israel Apartheid group called on members to “link up” and disrupt the Brighton performance.
However, Jewish dance fans have slammed organisers for “giving in too easily” to protesters and scheduling the only show on their Sabbath night.
The dance group are often targeted by pro-Palestinian groups, who claim they are part of the state’s “Brand Israel” initiative to promote the arts to hide human rights abuses.
Ivor Sorokin, from the Sussex Jewish Representative Council, said: “Whatever the rights and wrongs, politics should not interfere with art.
“This young troupe just want to dance and their nationality has nothing to do with it.”
Jewish dance fans wanting to see the group will now have to break with tradition and head out on Friday night – the Jewish faith’s Sabbath.
Orthodox Jews observe the Sabbath from a few minutes before sunset on Friday evening until the following day.
Disapproval In that time they are expected to stay at home with family and are prohibited from using electronics, driving and smoking among other activities.
Mr Sorokin added: “It’s not just Orthodox Jews. Friday night is traditionally the night for spending time with family and eating together.
“Families will tend to light the Sabbath candles and spend time in each other’s company rather than going out.”
The chair of the religious group has also written to Andrew Comben, the chair of Brighton Dome, to express their disapproval at the decision.
In a strongly worded comment piece in their latest newsletter they say: “The decision of the Brighton Dome to cancel the Saturday performance of the Batsheva Dance Company and to restrict it to the Friday night (our Shabbat) is disgraceful.”
A spokeswoman for the Dome said that they had chosen to cancel Saturday night and not Friday due to a large number of school groups with tickets.
She said that they hoped to stream an online performance on Saturday night.
Mr Comben added: “Freedom of expression is fundamental in the arts and Brighton Dome and Festival exists so that ideas of all varieties can be expressed and explored.
“We support the right to protest and encourage de-bate but we have a duty to ensure that our audiences have a safe and enjoyable experience and are disappointed that their enjoyment of this company’s work may be disturbed.”
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