Palestinian artists and employees of several organizations will hold an “emergency meeting” on Saturday at the Al-Midan Theater in Haifa. The conference aims to form a united stand and announce a “popular committee for defending Palestinian culture,” organizers say in a statement.
The conference also aims to coordinate practical steps against a recent decision by the Culture Ministry, the Education Ministry and the Haifa Municipality to freeze funding for the theater over its production of “Parallel Time,” which tells the story of Palestinian prisoners and is based on the life of a Palestinian convicted for involvement in the kidnapping-murder of an Israeli soldier.
Among the speakers at the conference will be “Parallel Time” director Bashar Murkous, actor Yussef Abu Varda, MK Ahmad Tibi, MK Hanin Zoabi and others.
The organizers call on artists, media personalities, employees of cultural institutions and Palestinian civil society groups in Israel to join the Al-Midan Theater’s struggle “from an understanding that the Arab public right for expression and creation is in peril.”
Recent government steps, they say, are “a brutal attack by the authorities against the freedom of creation and expression. The culture minister is threatening to freeze funding for anyone who does not agree with her racist views and the education minister makes fascist decisions.”