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Departing for Germany, Israel’s leading theatrical actor-director endorses BDS

Itay Tiran, an Israeli stage and screen actor [Simcha Barbiro/Facebook]
Itay Tiran, an Israeli stage and screen actor [Simcha Barbiro/Facebook]

Itay Tiran, “widely considered Israel’s leading theatrical actor-director”, has declared his support for the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, in an interview with Haaretz.

Excerpts of the interview with Tiran, conducted shortly before he departs for Germany, were published late yesterday.

BDS is a perfectly legitimate form of resistance. And if we want to preach for a certain kind of political discussion that isn’t violent, we must strengthen these voices, even if it’s difficult

Tiran told the paper, adding: “I think a normal political left should support BDS”

“After all, it doesn’t matter what the Palestinian will do. When he commits an act of terror he is called a violent, bloodthirsty terrorist. And when he supports BDS he’s a political terrorist.”

Tiran added that “if what finally leads to a solution here will be non-violent pressure, conducted as political discourse, then why not support it? It’s a humanist approach, and it’s also practical, and I think it will prevent the next wars.”

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According to Haaretz, Tiran, 38, who previously backed efforts to boycott the cultural centre in Ariel settlement in the occupied West Bank, is moving to work in Germany and Austria.

Tiran also addressed the political situation in Israel more generally.

“You get up in the morning, drink your coffee and read the paper. You look at a story and say, so is this the moment in which we’ve become fascist or isn’t it?”

Discussing the recently-passed “Jewish nation state” law, Tiran claimed that “it forces out a kind of collective subconscious that has always existed here”.

“The Declaration of Independence and talk about equality and values, all those were the self-preening of a colonialist boasting of enlightened liberalism. There are people who still call themselves centre-left, and still think that if they put the word equality into the law everything will be all right. I don’t think so. And really, the right’s justified counter argument was, hang-on, but there’s the Law of Return. Why is it that only the nation-state law drives you crazy?”

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Pressed by Haaretz if he was saying that “Zionism equals racism, no matter what”, Tiran answered in the affirmative. Asked again if “Zionism equals colonialism”, Tiran replied: “Yes, exactly. So we all have to look at the truth, and then take a side.”

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