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Academics backing boycott of West Bank center

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JERUSALEM (JTA) — Some 150 academics and authors have thrown their support behind a boycott of a new West Bank cultural center.

In a letter released late Monday, the academics said they would not lecture in settlements and expressed their support for the theater professionals’ refusal to perform in Ariel.

"We will not take part in any kind of cultural activity beyond the Green Line, take part in discussions and seminars, or lecture in any kind of academic setting in these settlements," the letter read.

"We support the theater artists refusing to play in Ariel, express our appreciation of their public courage and thank them for bringing the debate on settlements back into the headlines."

More than 50 Israeli theater professionals signed a petition over the weekend saying that they will not perform in the Ariel center when it opens in November. The center, which cost more than $10 million, was built with public funds.

The Habima, Khan, Beersheba and Cameri theaters, all supported with public funds, are scheduled to stage productions in Ariel.

Meanwhile, about 300 protesters gathered Monday night in Tel Aviv outside of Habima, Israel’s national theater, to protest its decision to mount a production in Ariel.
 

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