22 Feb 2014

Protest groups at odds at Israeli show

9:52 pm on 22 February 2014

Two opposing protest groups faced off outside an Israeli dance performance in Wellington on Saturday night.

One group, led by veteran actvist John Minto, called for the liberation of Palestine and for the performance by the Israeli Batsheva Dance Company to be boycotted.

The other, organised by David Zwartz from the Wellington Jewish community, described as racist Mr Minto's accusations that Israel is an apartheid state.

Mr Minto, who campaigned against the Springbok's tour in 1981, says Israel's actions in Palestine are indefensible.

"They're trying to defend policies which mean every day there are Palestinian homes being bulldozed while there are illegal, Jewish only settlements being built on Palestinian land."

But Mr Minto says he was glad the Jewish group was there, because the debate needs to be had in public.

At least three ticketholders decided not to attend the show, part of the New Zealand Festival, after hearing the argument for a boycott.