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Brighton Dome cuts short Israeli dance visit for security reasons
Security at the Brighton Dome is to be beefed up for the arrival of a controversial Israeli dance group.
Bosses contacted ticket holders yesterday to inform them that one of the two Batsheva Ensembles performances in November is to be cancelled in an attempt to concentrate security resources.
The move comes after the Don’t Dance With Israel Apartheid group called on members to “link up” and disrupt the Brighton performance.
In a statement on its website, the group claims the ensemble is part of the Israeli government’s “Brand Israel” initiative which it says sees cultural groups promoted to help whitewash the country’s human rights abuses.
It adds: “Batsheva’s explicit ties with the state of Israel make it impossible to describe the group as apolitical. This is why we will be protesting against Batsheva.”
The group, which is made up of a number of pro-Palestine organisations, is also calling on supporters to write letters to venues urging them to cancel performances as well as producing leaflets, banners and posters.
The dance company, set up in Tel Aviv in 1964, often attracts trouble when it tours.
In August this year, protestors burnt tickets and chanted outside a performance at the Edinburgh Festival.
However Dome bosses have defended their decision to book the group. Chief executive Andrew Comben said: “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 debate but we welcome artists from all over the world and will continue to do so.
“However, 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.”
Following extensive talks with Sussex Police and the ensemble, the Dome decided a “higher level of security” would be appropriate .
A spokeswoman added that everybody who had bought tickets for the cancelled Saturday November 10 show would have a seat for the November 9 performance.
In May members of Brighton and Hove Palestine Solidarity Campaign snuck into the Dome’s Corn Exchange to disrupt a performance by Israeli group The Jerusalem Quartet.
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