Activists disrupt Israeli play in London

Pro-Palestinian activists disrupted an Israeli theater company’s production of “The Merchant of Venice” at the Globe Theater in London.

Protests against the Habima company’s production

May 28 began outside the theater, where dozens stood waving Palestinian flags and calling for a boycott of Israeli products, according to news reports. Pro-Israel activists mounted a counterdemonstration.

Inside the theater, during the performance, Palestinian protesters began waving Palestinian flags and displaying signs against Israel. They were removed from the theater. The actors continued with the show.

The Habima production of “The Merchant of Venice” is part of the Globe to Globe festival, a six-week event at the theater featuring Shakespeare’s 37 plays performed in 37 languages. A Palestinian theater company is scheduled to perform “Richard II” in Arabic.

In an open letter published March 29 in the Guardian, three dozen British directors, writers and actors expressed “dismay and regret” about the Israeli production.

Habima “has a shameful record of involvement with illegal Israeli settlements in Occupied Palestinian Territory,” the letter said.

In September, anti-Israel protesters disrupted a live BBC broadcast of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in London’s Albert Hall as part of the BBC Proms summer classical music festival. — jta