Cape Town Opera Spreads False Information and Promotes Polishing the Chains of Apartheid Israel

8 November 2010

In a recent report in the Mail and Guardian[1], a South African daily news source, the managing director of the Cape Town Opera reiterated his rejection of Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s appeal to the group to cancel their ill-conceived tour of Israel. Archbishop Tutu had urged the CTO to cancel their tour, saying that “to perform Porgy and Bess, with its universal message of non-discrimination, in the present state of Israel, is unconscionable” [2]. Tutu added:

Only the thickest-skinned South Africans would be comfortable performing before an audience that excluded residents living, for example, in an occupied West Bank village 30 minutes from Tel Aviv, who would not be allowed to travel to Tel Aviv, while including his Jewish neighbours from an illegal settlement on occupied Palestinian territory.

Feeling the heat, the CTO managing director added a new spin to the planned tour, in order to turn it, in his words, into “something constructive.”  He claimed to be working with “Palestinian organizations” as though that would exonerate theCTO of charges of whitewashing Israeli apartheid and war crimes.  But even if one were to ignore this attempt at “balance” or “parity between justice and injustice,” which Nelson Mandela cautioned against, one cannot ignore the fact that the claim of working with "Palestinian" groups to cover up this boycott-busting tour turned out to be an unfounded fabrication.

Two of the three groups mentioned, the West Eastern Divan and the Barenboim Said Foundation confirmed to PACBI that they have not agreed to work with or provide any assistance to the CTO on this tour. The third, the Palestinian Circus School, has condemned the CTO’s claim as a blatant lie in a letter to PACBI, affirming that it has nothing to do with the CTO tour.

PACBI calls on the CTO to retract its statements, apologize for making these false claims and to immediately cancel their tour of Israel which is clearly designed to polish the chains of Israeli apartheid, to use Archbishop Tutu’s eloquent metaphor, instead of helping the Palestinians in breaking those chains altogether.

Notes:

[1] http://www.mg.co.za/article/2010-11-04-israel-opera-tour-goes-ahead-with-a-difference
[2] http://www.iol.co.za/news/world/cancel-israel-trip-tutu-tells-performers-1.689025