British actors are speaking out against the attempt to organize a boycott of an Israeli production of "The Merchant of Venice":
Playwright Sir Arnold Wesker, and actors Steven Berkoff and Maureen Lipman, have suggested that the attempt to block Israeli actors from performing The Merchant of Venice for the Cultural Olympiad is tantamount to Nazi-era book-burning.
Actor Simon Callow said: "I am strongly opposed to any attempt to ban the work of any artist, especially artists with the distinguished record for challenging and fearlessly exploratory work of the Habima company, whose work we have not seen for far too long. If there is to be confrontation, it must be done through the agreed channels of discussion and debate. Let us see what Habima has to tell us about human life, before we try to silence them."
The call for a boycott of Habima, which was founded by Jews in Moscow in 1905, was condemned by Sir Arnold, who said that "depriving an audience of an artistic experience is like the Nazis burning the books of the finest minds and talents of Europe".
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