|UK / Israel:
Cancellation of show causes censorship row
A London-performance of a group of 19-year-old Israeli soldiers turned singers was cancelled because the owners of the theatre hall claimed it was ‘political’.
The organisers, the Zionist Federation, denied the claim and accused the theatre hall’s owners of censorship.
The five soldiers from the Israeli Defence Force had been due to perform a medley of national songs at the Bloomsbury Theatre as part of a celebration for their country’s 61st anniversary. But the venue, owned by University College London, claimed the content was “against the spirit of the agreement”..
The Zionist Federation, who organised the event, claimed the songs did not have any military content and accused University College London of censorship. They said the soldiers — Loren Benjamin Peled, Shaylee Atary, Noga Erez, Reut Raz and Menachem Liav Ben David — have never seen active service and actually work for the defence force’s education unit.
According to the Daily Telegraph, a Zionist Federation spokesman said: “The Bloomsbury Theatre has decided they should impose censorship on what people should be allowed to see. We agreed to remove the soldiers’ act from the bill but even then the theatre was against the whole thing.”
The event, the Israel 61 Family Show, which also featured school choirs, dancing, and appearances by a famous radio presenter and a stand-up comedian was then moved to a secret location, a bar in Camden Lock in North London, where it was watched by hundreds of theatre-goers.
Peter Cadley, director of the Bloomsbury Theatre, said: “We took the booking on the understanding it was going to be an entertainment event. We received assurances to that effect and then we spotted on the website about the Israeli Defence Force. This was against the spirit of the agreement so we decided to cancel.”
The Daily Telegraph – 29 April 2009:
‘Israeli army singers embroiled in censorship row’
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