A call by some three dozen British actors for the boycott of a forthcoming Habima Theatre production in London has been sharply criticized by the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA.)
Among the actors who called for the boycott in a letter to the Guardian daily newspaper is Oscar winner Emma Thompson, one of the stars of the British stage.
Habima is scheduled to participate in a six-week theatre festival taking place at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London later this week.
In response to Thompson's participation in the boycott call, the ZOA urged people to boycott her recently-released movie "Saving Mr. Banks."
“We condemn Emma Thompson and her colleagues for their advocacy of boycotting Israel’s famed Habima Theater. Their call is in no way justified, or in any way less serious or worthy of condemnation, because Habima has refused to boycott a cultural center that opened in Ariel," said ZOA National President Morton A. Klein.
“These people claim to be concerned about justice and peace. But one never hears them criticize the Palestinian rejection of Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, or their rejection of the 2000 Clinton peace plan, or their resort to a wave of terror," Klein said.
"They never issue statements demanding that the PA end terror and incitement to hatred and murder against Israel – the demonization of Jews does not disturb these haters of the Jewish state and expose their own vicious bias, dressed up as concern for human rights."
Klein also noted what he said was the “rank hypocrisy" of the actors in seeking to boycott Habima 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."
Thompson and her colleagues accused Habima of having “a shameful record of involvement with illegal Israeli settlements in Occupied Palestinian Territory … 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 practiced 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 colonization of occupied land.”