BRICUP press release: 5 protesters ejected from Birmingham Hippodrome


British Committee for the Universities of Palestine

PRESS RELEASE 13th November 2012
for immediate release

Five protesters ejected from Birmingham Hippodrome at protest against Israeli dance company

Five local protesters were removed from the Birmingham Hippodrome when they disrupted a performance by an Israeli dance company this evening. One of them complained of being “manhandled” and grabbed around the neck by another member of the audience.

The Batsheva Dance Ensemble has attracted demonstrations throughout its current UK tour, which began on 30th October. Performances in Edinburgh, Salford, Bradford and Brighton have all been disrupted by shouts of “Free Palestine!” and “End the Occupation!” from within the auditorium. Birmingham proved to be no different.

A lively picket was held outside the Hippodrome and was attended by about 60 supporters of Palestinian human rights, from organisations including West Midlands Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods and BRICUP.

A small number of counter-protesters supporting Israel also turned up.

A letter by a Palestinian Christian organisation to the Bishop of Birmingham, asking him to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign to end the Israeli occupation, was read out at the protest. Right Rev. David Urquhart is one of the Directors of the Hippodrome. The letter ended “We urge you, your Grace, to discourage the hosting of the Israeli Batsheva Dance Company at the Birmingham Hippodrome.” Martha Tonsern of Kairos Palestine, who sent the letter to the Bishop’s chaplain, said, “Unfortunately we didn’t receive a response from Right Rev. David Urquhart”.

One protester outside the Hippodrome, Idris Yearney, was arrested for allegedly using racist language to one of the pro-Israel counter-protesters. Witnesses who heard what was actually said deny that any racist language was used. Fellow protestors went to the police station afterwards to demand his release. It is not yet known whether he has been charged with any offence.

There will be another protest outside the Hippodrome tomorrow night, Wednesday 14th November.


Notes for Editors:

1. Clips of the ejected protesters can be seen here on YouTube:

2. The campaign website, “Don’t’ dance with Israeli apartheid”, is here:

3. Every performance has met with lively demonstrations outside the theatres as well as short but effective interruptions inside. This is despite the best efforts of venue managers to weed out Palestine sympathizers, covertly aided by zealots of the “StandWithUs” pro-Israel propaganda organisation. (

4. Sources of Batsheva’s funding are documented here:

5. The conditions attached to funding from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs are documented here:

6. The letter from Kairos Palestine to the Bishop of Birmingham is attached.
Details of the Palestinian call for cultural boycott of Israel can be found here:

7. The letter from BRICUP to the Chief Executive of the Hippodrome is attached. BRICUP has also issued a powerful open letter to Batsheva’s Artistic Director, Naharin:

8. For further information contact:

Sue Blackwell (BRICUP) +44 (0)792 995 3893
Naeem Malik (PSC) +44 (0) 772 142 7690
Martha Tonsern (Kairos Palestine):

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