Culture is a bridge to coexistence & should be left out of the political arena." Ron Gerstenfeld, Deputy Ambassador of Israel in response to Boycott at Sydney Festival (Hebrew)
Artists boycotted Sydney Festival in response to $20,000 sponsorship deal with Australia's Israeli embassy.
The festival became embroiled in controversy after it accepted a $20,000 sponsorship deal with the Israeli embassy to support Sydney Dance Company's production, Decadence, created by Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin.
The withdrawals include comedians Tom Ballard and Nazeem Hussain, Indigenous intercultural dance theatre company Marrugeku, the Bankstown Poetry Slam, and broadcaster Yumi Stynes among others. Theatre production, Seven Methods Of Killing Kylie Jenner, also pulled their show, saying on Instagram they "stand in solidarity with the Palestinian cause".
Palestine Justice Movement Sydney organiser Fahad Ali said "art-washing human rights violations" was "not acceptable"
."We told the artists, he said, “that by accepting this sponsorship, they created an unsafe environment for Palestinian artists taking part in the festival and for audiences more broadly."
Pro-Israel advocates claim the boycott is unhelpful and "doesn't belong" in the arts space.
Ron Gerstenfeld, Deputy Ambassador of Israel in Canberra told SBS: "Israel has always and will continue to promote cultural exchange and engage in cultural dialogue in numerous countries including Australia," "Culture is a bridge to coexistence, cooperation and rapprochement and should be left out of the political arena."