Portuguese theatre director cancels Israel show over Gaza massacre

Portuguese theatre director cancels Israel show over Gaza massacre
Tiago Rodriguez said he did not want his work to condone a government "that violates human rights" after Israel gunned down dozens of Palestinian protesters.
2 min read
International outrage has followed Israel's killing of dozens of Palestinians in Gaza [Getty]
A Portuguese theatre director has pulled out of a major cultural festival in Jerusalem this week over Israel's massacre of dozens of Palestinians.

Tiago Rodrigues said he was dropping out of the Israel Festival so that his work will not "condone and promote a government that deliberately violates human rights".

In a Facebook post, he said he was joining a global cultural boycott of Israel that has seen some artists and musicians refuse to perform in the Jewish state.

Rodrigues, who is also an actor and playwright, said he rejected the fact that the festival was not openly critical of Israel's treatment of the Palestinians while working in cooperation with Israeli government ministries.

He had been set to stage his work "By Heart" twice during the festival, which runs from May 24 until June 9.

A few politically active musicians have called off shows in Israel over the past years, including Lorde, Lauryn Hill and Elvis Costello.

Last month, Hollywood actress Natalie Portman said she was backing out of a Jerusalem ceremony to protest against the policies of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

The annual Israel Festival, which hosts Israeli and international performers, said it was disappointed by Rodrigues' decision.

"The Israel Festival has a deep belief in the power of art to express new points of reference, open up people to the recognition of the 'other,' and to promote understanding and tolerance," festival CEO Eyal Sher said in a statement.

Rodrigues' declaration came after Israeli forces shot and killed at least 60 Palestinians in one day during a protest along the border of the beseiged Gaza Strip. The May 14 killings coincided with the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem, attended by American dignitaries.

International outrage has followed last Monday's massacre, with the UN Human Rights Council poised to send war crimes investigators to Gaza.