'Fundraising for genocide': Activists slam London dance event raising money for Israeli soldiers

'Fundraising for genocide': Activists slam London dance event raising money for Israeli soldiers
The ‘Dance for Nova’ event has been condemned for raising funds for Israeli soldiers amid the ongoing war on Gaza which has killed tens of thousands of people.
4 min read
20 May, 2024


Activists have slammed a London dance event that is raising money for Israeli soldiers, after tens of thousands of Palestinian civilians died in an ongoing war on Gaza.

The event, titled "Dance for Nova" is set to take place on 26 May with a promotional page describing it as a women’s only event with a suggested donation of £36 for juniors and £50 for adults with proceeds reportedly going to Israeli soldiers.

"We’re doing this for our chaylaim…they still need our support. Needless to say all proceeds are going to gear for our chayalim," the description of the event adds, using the modern Hebrew word for "soldier" .

The online portal promoting the event states the exact venue location will only be made public 24 hours before it takes place, for safety reasons.

Hadassa Goldberg, who is planning the fundraiser, said she had held a similar event in New York, writing that "we can’t wait to bring Israel to you and dance for our Nova Angels".

The event name refers to people killed at the Nova festival during the Hamas led attack on Israel on 7 October, which killed over 1,100 Israelis.

Pro-Palestine activists have slammed the event, saying it should not be allowed to go ahead, particularly as Israel continues to kill Palestinians in the Gaza Strip every day. At least 35,562 people have been killed since 7 October, with thousands more missing under rubble and presumed dead.

Nadine Alnajjab, a Palestinian student living in the UK told The New Arab she was appalled that an event supporting the Israeli army would be taking place in the country.

"Numerous genocide scholars have identified the horrors in Gaza as consistent with textbook definitions of genocide," she said.

"Fundraising for the IDF, especially under the guise of supporting women, is a blatant example of selective feminism. This support ignores the countless women who have been victims of rape and assault by members of the IDF, aligning such actions with the term femicide."

Another British-Palestinian, who asked not to be named, told The New Arab that the event was “distasteful and disrespectful".

"Using pop culture to promote war isn’t new in the western world and in this case, the organisers are essentially aiming to exchange the moral compass of the attendees for a hit of endorphins and belonging in a setting where crowd psychology can play out to their advantage," she said.

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The event has also been widely criticised online, with calls for it to be cancelled immediately.

"Legally problematic"

The fundraiser has raised concerns over the legality of supporting a foreign army engaged in war.

Mira Naseer, the legal officer at the International Centre of Justice for Palestinians (ICJP), an organisation of lawyers, academics and politicians that support legal work aimed at supporting Palestinian rights, sounded alarm over the event.

"Raising funds for the Israeli army, which has likely committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in Gaza, and there is a plausible risk of genocide, is not only morally problematic, but also legally problematic," she told The New Arab.

"The funds raised need to be investigated to see whether they are going to be used in a manner that could facilitate potential war crimes, for instance if the proceeds go towards combat or tactical gear.

"If so, organisers, the hosting venue and even ticketing companies associated with this event could face legal action for being an accessory to potential war crimes."

Pro-Israel content

Goldberg has continued to promote the event on her Instagram page despite criticism levelled at her, as well as messages of support for Israeli soldiers. She has also condemned the US pro-Gaza protests across campuses that are calling for divestment from Israel-linked companies.

"The Antisemitism coming out of Columbia University today is absolutely horrifying. Jewish students on college campuses everywhere, please stay safe and know that we are thinking of you," one post reads.

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"Just wanted to shout out to all the Jews and Israel supporters in the diaspora for backing Israel the way they have, since the 7th," another says.

In another video posted on her Instagram page it shows Israeli forces apparently serving shawarma in Gaza amidst the war.

"I can't believe we pulled this off. Welcome to Shawarma Khan Younis, our hot Kosher shawarma pop up in Gaza, sponsored by you," the caption reads.

The video pans around to show army personnel in uniform and holding guns serving shawarma to a backdrop of a wall riddled with bullets and the Star of David drawn on.

The New Arab reached out to Goldberg for comment but did not receive a response by the time of publication.