BUS DEPARTS AUCKLAND 6am SAT 22 FEB – details below.

A protest against the Israeli Batsheva Dance Company has been organised by Palestinian rights groups in Wellington on Saturday 22 February outside the St James Theatre in Courtenay Place from 6.30pm.

Promoted by Israel to present a ‘pretty face’ to their crimes – Batsheva is due to perform in the New Zealand Festival of the Arts in Wellington from 21 to 24 February.

A media release which gives more details about the Batsheva visit is copied below. The combined NZ Palestine solidarity groups have written to NZ Festival requesting a meeting and to cancel the performances. The government has been asked to withhold their visas.

For more information & updates visit or go to Facebook Events page: ‘Action: Don’t dance with Israeli Apartheid – boycott Batsheva dance company’

A bus is leaving from Auckland at 6am on Sat 22 February to join the protest. Cost is $40 return. Leaving from Unite Union office, 6A Western Springs Road, Morningside at 6am Saturday and returning Sunday morning 23 Feb – accommodation organised for the night. Please email Sian at: sianrobertson to reserve a place.

Media Release:

Palestinian solidarity groups calls on government to withhold visas for Israeli Dance troupe

A wide range of Palestinian solidarity groups active in New Zealand (see end of media release for groups) have called on the government to withhold New Zealand visas from the Israel’s Batsheva Dance Company which is scheduled to perform in the New Zealand Festival of the Arts in Wellington next month.

We wrote to Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse last November making this request and received a non-committal response. We followed up with a letter to Foreign Minister Murray McCully on 15 January this year but have yet to receive a reply. (the letter to Mr McCully is attached at the end of this media release.

We pointed out the Batsheva Dance Company is part of the Israeli propaganda effort to deflect criticism of its appalling policies towards Palestinians.

The Batsheva troupe is largely funded by the Israeli Ministry of Culture & Sport, the City of Tel Aviv and the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs who praise the troupe as “ambassadors of Israeli culture”. The troupe’s participation in the NZ Arts Festival is also partially sponsored by the Israeli Embassy in Wellington.

Israel is subject to an international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign because of its unashamedly racist treatment of its Arab-Israeli citizens; the construction of illegal Jewish-only settlements on Palestinian land; its brutal military occupation of the West Bank Palestinian territory and its inhuman blockade of the Gaza Strip.

The BDS campaign was called for launched in 2005 by some 260 Palestinian civil society organisations as the best way for the international community to support the Palestinian struggle for justice and human rights and the organisations writing to you here are working in support of this campaign.

For the same reasons New Zealanders called for the end to rugby links with apartheid South Africa we are calling for the cutting of ties with apartheid Israel.

We hope the government will respond because last year, by overwhelming popular vote, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed “2014 the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People”. If the government wants to gain the respect of other countries in its bid for a seat on the UN Security Council then cancelling visas for this troupe as a way of providing practical solidarity to the Palestinian struggle would be a big help.

The National government of the 1980s was on the wrong side of history in the struggle against apartheid South Africa. This issue is an opportunity get on the right side of history with the Palestinian struggle.

We have also written to the festival organisers called for Batsheva’s participation in the New Zealand Festival of the Arts to be cancelled and have requested a meeting to discuss the issue.

John Minto

On behalf of
New Zealand Palestine Solidarity Network
Palestine Human Rights Campaign
Global Peace and Justice Auckland
Kia Ora Gaza
BDS Wellington
Canterbury for Justice in Palestine
Auckland University Students for Justice in Palestine


  1. Tuma Hazou says:

    Thank you both Mike and John. Excellent boycot advocasy and press release. Much appreciated. Tuma Hazou

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