How dare critics challenge the “glorious heritage” of Zionism?

Zionist democracy exists only to serve groups and individuals who back the glorious Jewish state. A real democracy both allows and supports robust dissent; Israel is not that country:

A number of MKs are objecting to the ongoing artists’ boycott of the soon-to-open Ariel culture center, and on Saturday MK Yariv Levin (Likud) suggested the government withdraw funding from theaters supporting the protest.

“We must put an end to the fact that taxpayers’ money is going straight into the pockets of fringe groups, who use these funds in order to promote an anti-Zionist and anti-Jewish narrative and boycott the very public which supports them,” Levin said.

Dozens of theater figures backing the boycott sent a letter on Friday to Be’er Sheva Theater actors, urging them to join the fight. Of this, Levin said he would call an urgent hearing of the Knesset Education Committee and demand the government alter the criteria for the funding of theaters and cultural institutions “in order to prevent the transfer of state funds to those who boycott some of its citizens”. “The vast majority of the Israeli public is sick and tired of lunatic fringe groups taking control of Israeli theater and cinema. We must halt the fiscal support in the field of culture and set new guidelines that stress the encouragement of works of art that express the culture of our forefathers and our glorious heritage,” he said.

MK Otniel Schneller (Kadima) joined Levin and inveighed against “expressions of hatred under the guise of culture, which push away any chance at peace”.

“The artists’ apartheid letter, which boycotts Israeli citizens, not only does not promote national willingness to achieve peace, but also pushes it away. Ariel, as a settlement bloc, will be included in any peace agreement within the borders of the state. Every big party leader must stress to artists who receive the Israel Prize where the peaceful borders of the State of Israel are to pass,” he said.

MK Michael Ben Ari also voiced anger over the letter. “Whoever participates in the boycott of Ariel should take into consideration that we will clip his budget wings and withhold funds. We will not allow parasitic artists who milk the national budget to enjoy both worlds. Those who boycott can go to Salam Fayyad for money, not the Knesset,” he said.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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