Daily Israel Report

The Fine Line Between Culture and Politics at Olympic Festival

Israeli and ‘Palestinian’ poets will be participating in an upcoming international Cultural Olympiad poetry festival.
By Rachel Hirshfeld
First Publish: 4/19/2012, 3:57 PM

The sun sets at London's Olympic Park
The sun sets at London's Olympic Park
Reuters

Israeli and ‘Palestinian’ poets will be participating in an upcoming international poetry festival as part of the Cultural Olympiad, scheduled to take place at the Southbank Centre in London from June 26 to July 1, the Jewish Chronicle (JC) reported.

The week-long celebrations, which aim at showcasing the talent of poets and artists from Olympic nations, will include Anat Zecharya, a Tel Aviv-born writer and photographer, and Rafeef Ziadah, a ‘Palestinian’ spoken word artist and ardent anti-Israel activist.

Zecharya, two-time winner of Tel Aviv's Poetry in the Streets, published her first poetry collection in 2008 and writes primarily about the influence of Israeli politics on inter-personal relationships.

Her counterpart, however, is a member of the international ‘Israeli Apartheid Week’ coordinating committee, the Palestinian Boycotts, Divestments and Sanctions (BDS) National Committee, the Toronto-based Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid, and the Palestinian Academic and Cultural Boycott Initiative.

Ziadah also chaired a recent ‘Israel Apartheid Week’ event held at the University College of London in February.

Despite the protests of anti-Israel actors and directors, Israeli artists are also scheduled to take part in the upcoming Shakespearean festival and the Globe Theatre in London, where Habimah, Israel’s national theatre, will be performing The Merchant of Venice.

The anti-Israel backlash, which took the form of a letter published in the Guardian, was countered by Israel’s supporters, who wrote an additional letter, welcoming the Jewish state’s inclusion in the Shakespearean festival.