Culture minister refuses to take cultural boycott of Ariel off the agenda: "No one will shut my, or the residents of Ariel's mouths," Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat told the Knesset's Culture Committee on Monday during a discussion that focused on the artists' boycott of Ariel's cultural center.
She continued her hardline approach towards boycotting artists – in spite of agreeing to a truce.
The deliberation at the Knesset's Culture Committee which was set to focus on criteria for governmental funding of cultural institutions based on their artists' willingness to perform in venues throughout the country was held due to the recent artist boycott on the Ariel cultural center.
Cameri Director General Noam Semel and Khan Theater Executive Director Danny Weiss told the committee that it should leaving dealing with the artists who aren't interested in performing to the directors of the theaters and that the committee mustn't hurt their funding. "We are committed to performing everywhere," said Semel.
Yiddish Spiel CEO Shmuel Atzmon said, "It is very difficult for me to listen to things like this. At the age of six I was ostracized by the Poles who wouldn't play with me because I was Jewish. At the age of nine, not only did they wish to ostracize me, they wanted to kill me as well. In Uzbekistan I was ostracized and I felt the same way when I made aliyah at 17."
Atzmon said that he would require artists to sign a contract that states that they will perform in the settlements: "The late Shmuel Rodenski and I performed in every city and settlement that was established. We have been performing from the time when Ariel was founded – in schools and in gyms. From today I will ask every actor – do you agree with my values, to perform everywhere? If they don't agree, I won't sign him on.
Knesset Member Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) connected the construction freeze renewal with the response to the artists boycott: "I understand the political needs of the right wing. When the prime minister freezes construction in Ariel it can cause hardship which leads people to seek an easy target – artists making declarations. I expect every person to be able to express their opinions."
Committee Chairman MK Alex Miller (Yisrael Beiteinu) summarized the meeting, saying he takes a dim view of anyone who uses culture and art as a political weapon and added that he praised the theater directors for stating that they would perform anywhere.
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