South Africa – BDS attempt rebuffed

In early September, the organizers of the Witness Hilton Arts Festival flatly refused to consider calls to boycott Israeli shows. The Festival chairman Iain McMillan, with whom Israel Embassy officials and other local figures were in regular contact, wrote back to anti-Israeli organizations, the Church Land Program and SA Artists Against Apartheid (SAAAA), saying the organizers had “taken note of the objections raised” and that “art in a democracy should transcend political agendas and deal with human issues.” McMillan reiterated “the Hilton Festival’s commitment to freedom of expression,” and said that the plays from Israel would “enrich the Festival programme.” The Israeli performances were met with very large audiences and were qualified as a big success by the organizers.

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