Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 16.19.27In our open letter, we protested the participation of European theatres in a Brand Israel exercise led by Israel’s national theatre, Habima. The ‘Terror Special conference’ is part of ‘TERRORisms’, a two-year European Union-funded project by the Union of Theatres of Europe (U.T.E.), under the leadership of its current president, Habima’s Artistic Director Ilan Ronen. We now have more information about the U.T.E. conference seminars:

On Friday 14 November, Habima Theatre will jointly host with the International Institute for Counter-terrorism (ICT) a seminar on ‘The Democratic dilemma with Counter-Terrorism’, located at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC), Herzliya, Israel. The IDC is a private, right-wing university highly complicit in Israel’s military industrial complex.

The conference flyer (below) lists the participants as including: Shabtai Shavit, former director of Mossad; Tzachi Strumza, former head of the [VIP] security section of Shin Bet; Nitzan Nuriel, Brig. Gen. (Ret.) and former Director of the Counter Terrorism Bureau of the Israeli PM’s office; Aharon Ze’evi-Farkash, Israeli general and former head of the Israeli Military Intelligence Directorate; Orit AdatoLt.-Gen. (Ret.) and former Commissioner of the Israel Prison Service; and Asa Kasher, a professor of philosophy and “practical ethics” at Tel Aviv University and the author of the Israeli army’s Code of Conduct. Kasher is, according to ICAHD’s Jeff Halper, leading an ‘ongoing assault on international humanitarian law (IHL)’ of which Operation Protective Edge was a part, and is quoted as saying: 

We in Israel are in a key position in the development of law in this field because we are on the front lines in the fight against terrorism. This is gradually being recognized both in the Israeli legal system and abroad…. What we are doing is becoming the law… The Geneva Conventions are based on hundreds of years of tradition of the fair rules of combat. They were appropriate for classic warfare, where one army fought another. But in our time the whole business of rules of fair combat has been pushed aside. There are international efforts underway to revise the rules to accommodate the war against terrorism. (U.T.E. conference panellist, Asa Kasher)

10173607_836554619718986_3214065742200910716_nA round-table will take place on Sunday 16 November: Artists boycotting Artists?: Is an artistic boycott against artists and cultural institutions legitimate? Shouldn’t artists and cultural institutions make every effort to become a ‘bridge’ in conflict zones?, which, as we wrote in the open letter, sounds as though it’s already made up its mind. It will feature, among others: Ilan Ronen, A.D. of Habima; U.T.E. member, George Banu; Professor Gerald Steinberg (head of the McCarthyite NGO Monitor that claims BDS is ‘political warfare’ based on ‘false accusations’ of war crimes); Thomas Engel, Secretary of the Action Committee for Artist Rights at the International Theatre Institute in Germany; and Manick Govinda, co-ordinator for the Manifesto Club’s Visiting Artists campaign (and Head of Artists Advisory Services & Artists Producer at Artsadmin), who has expressed stridently anti-boycott views:

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