Portuguese director and playwright Tiago Rodrigues announced his boycott of Israel Festival scheduled to be held in Jerusalem in June as he officially joined the Boycott, Sanctions, and Divestment (BDS) movement.
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The artistic director of Portugal's national theater was planning to perform in Israel beginning June with his theatrical performance entitled 'By Heart.'
Rodrigues wrote that he "decided to join the cultural boycott of Israel, convinced that global and collective pressure might produce similar results to the boycott of South Africa during apartheid," the Haaretz reported.
The Israel Festival released a statement saying that they were sorry the artist chose to take "a one-sided political stance regarding a complicated conflict."
Rodrigues pointed out that "after giving a series of interviews to Israeli media about my visit to the country, it was brought to my attention that the official communications by the Israel Festival announced that this year’s edition “marks the State of Israel’s 70th year of independence."
The 41-year-old Portuguese director known for his political commentary also condemned Israel's silence over the recent carnage at the Gaza border, which has left hundreds killed and thousands injured over the past few weeks.
"The mention of this celebration by the festival is not accompanied by a single word of criticism to the State of Israel for its conduct towards Palestinians during the last 70 years," Rodrigues added. "This is a statement of political significance of which I was not informed when I was invited to perform in the festival. I do not accept the use of my artistic work for political purposes without my agreement."
"I have also noticed that the festival organization... is silent about the unacceptable acts of violence ordered by this same government against Palestinians. Considering the rise of the number of victims in the last months, as well as the massacre of dozens of civilians by gunfire of the Israeli armed forces (that injured more than two thousand people and hundreds of Palestinian children among them) during the recent protests against the opening of the USA Embassy in Jerusalem, such omission is deeply troubling and I cannot stand by it," he said, according to Haaretz.
"I have been advised by trusted friends and colleagues and I have also read statements by many artists and intellectuals, several of them Israeli. I also witness the terrible violent actions the Israeli government is currently perpetrating. I understand now that a clear position is absolutely necessary."