The Knesset was up in arms a day after a group of actors and artists published a letter in which they announced they will refuse to perform in the new culture auditorium in Ariel, located beyond the 1967 borders.MK Alex Miller (Yisrael Beiteinu) and MK Carmel Shama (Likud) announced that they have filed an urgent request to hold a discussion at the Knesset's Education, Culture and Sports Committee.
In their appeal the two wrote, "It is our duty to handle this incident as quickly as possible in order to examine possible ways to deal with this phenomenon, and consider placing sanctions such as withdrawal of funds from the artists who took part in this insane initiative."
According to MK Miller, who lives in Ariel, "You can't have innocent, law abiding, tax paying citizens suffer from ugly political discrimination that prevents them from having access to arts and culture. This is collective punishment and a dangerous precedent that calls for discrimination under the guise of ideology."
Meanwhile, MK Ahmad Tibi praised the artists who refused to perform in Ariel, which he called "the occupied territory taken from its rightful owners which were left without property."
According to MK Tibi, "Artists and thinkers were always at the forefront of the struggle against injustices caused by occupation, racism and suppression.
"The board of theaters' decision to perform in Ariel is disgraceful, but is in keeping with the fascism that has become almost a mainstream in Israeli society," he said.
Counter boycottOmer Council Chairman Pini Badash announced Saturday that Omer residents have launched a counter boycott against the artists that decided to boycott Ariel.
Badash said he appealed to other council chairmen across the country, and called them to join the boycott. "We were all shocked by the boycott of foreign artists on Israel – and now Israeli artists are doing the same thing," he said.
MK Danny Danon also said he intends to appeal to local authorities in a request to "boycott the performances of the boycotting artists."
Danon added that "culture and art icons are expected to connect and bridge, not boycott and incite. I call on all those 'cultural people' to tour Ariel and the towns of Judea and Samaria before making such statements."
MK Moshe Matalon (Yisrael Beiteinu) took an even harsher stance and demanded that the signatories take responsibility for their actions and resign.
Ilana Curiel contributed to this report
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