Two of Israel’s top bands are due to perform at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival amid a climate of political hostility towards Israeli culture.
Yamma Ensemble, which mixes Western and Middle Eastern music, will line up with AnnaRF, which uses both ancient and modern instruments, to headline the International Shalom Festival Gala Concert in the Scottish capital on Wednesday.
The event, which will be compered by comedienne Hador Galron, could be the target of pro-Palestinian protesters, however, following pressure earlier this year from the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.
In a letter written in March, PACBI campaigners told organisers to “keep your Festivals apartheid free,” and urged them to “reject funding from, and cooperation with, the Israeli government and its complicit institutions”.
The Gala Concert is being run by the Confederation of Friends of Israel Scotland (COFIS) in association with StandWithUs UK, with the aim of “building further cultural bridges between Israel and the UK”. The groups hope to showcase examples of cultural diversity in Israel with a photo-led display “of cultural co-existence in practice”.
Boycotters have increased their efforts to boycott Israeli culture after an announcement in November 2015 that the last Palestinian theatre group faced closure. In 2008, Israeli forces stopped it holding a festival entitled: ‘Jerusalem: Arab Cultural Capital 2009.’r23 r2ew4