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The Buzz, 7-14: Conscious
Jowitt Remembers; is it Time to Boycott Israeli Companies?

By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2006 The Dance Insider

PARIS -- In a country that sometimes seems to prefer to forget, today is a day for remembering. The obituary, such as that we've posted for Wallace Potts, is not just an outlet for mourning, but a vehicle for making sure we remember -- in an art that, too, often forgets. No one in my field practices the art of the obituary so grandly, in so little space, as does Deborah Jowitt in the Village Voice.

Check Jowitt's latest, a tribute to the late Sophie Maslow who, she begins, "opened my eyes to a number of important things when I was a young dancer, coming from a cloistered company to take classes at the New Dance Group." Here we already know what's going to be surveyed is not just a life, but how that life made a difference to the art and, in turn, certain values of the field itself. To read more, click here. (Also check Jowitt's preview of Streb, the lead story this week on the Voice's website.)

One of the things Maslow was known for was dances reflecting a social conscience and I'm wondering, with Israel's recent invasions of Palestine and Lebanon, whether there might be times where a social conscience demands not seeing dance. (The BBC reports today that Israel has withdrawn from the Central Gaza Strip in Palestine.)

Yes, Israel can claim, with some justification, that it was provoked by the capture of three of its own soldiers by Arab groups which infiltrated its territory, but the response has been so disproportionate -- specifically in civilian carnage -- that even if there is blame to go around, more of it falls on Israel. (The New York Times reported yesterday the Lebanese government claim that among those dead from Israeli bombing were one family of 10 and another of seven in the village of Dweir. Hezbollah, meanwhile, fired rockets into the Israeli town of Haifa, killing one woman, the Guardian of London reported. The European Union deplored the 'disproportionate' use of force and loss of civilian lives, the newspaper went on. Israel has said its primary goal is the release of three captured soldiers.)

A while back in these pages, Doug Fox excoriated Emma Manning, the editor of Dance Europe, for reportedly requiring Israeli artists desiring coverage in her magazine to publicly affirm their opposition to the Occupation.

Lincoln Center is currently presenting three Israeli companies in what amounts to a mini-festival of Israeli dance within the Lincoln Center Festival.

Should artists and others of conscience boycott the Israeli companies until Israel stops bombing Lebanon?

Or would a boycott simply be unjustly striking back at vulnerable targets -- artists -- who are not responsible for the actions of their government?

Should Lincoln Center ask the artists to make a statement about the bombing?

Should Lincoln Center have included Palestinian artists in the festival?

What do you think? Let me know at paul@danceinsider.com.


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