The country with an offensive name 17

A Melbourne Israeli Dancing group was dropped from participating in a Victorian dance festival [ie a festival held in Victoria, Australia] after refusing organisers’ moves to drop all references to Israel.

Find the full report here.

The Machol Israeli Dancing Club was scheduled to appear at Multicultural Folk Dance Festival of High Country in the Victorian country town of Mansfield earlier this month.

The festival was organised under the auspices of the Victorian Multicultural Commission and a grant had been awarded to Marta Balan who according to a submission to the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission approved the performance of the Machol Group.

When the participants’ names were released, Esther Blumenthal-Skop of Machol was surprised to learn that the name of the Machol Israeli Dancing Club had been truncated to Machol Group and all references to Israel had been removed with the club being described as a Jewish dance group.

But that wouldn’t be an accurate description since not all the members of the Machol dance group are Jewish. (How many are not, and what they are is not reported.)

No change had been made to [the names of] other groups including Chinese, Hungarian, Armenian and Ukrainian Traditional Folk Dances and the Irish Reel and Jigs.

In her submission to VEOHRC, Blumenthal-Skop said she asked for an explanation and was told that the organiser would not be held responsible for consequences if the words “Israel” or “Israeli” were used to describe the group. 

Consequences? What might they be? Whose reaction to the name was to be dreaded? The Chinese? The Hungarians? The Armenians? The Ukrainians? The Irish? The Australian hosts? All of them?

Or was there an invisible presence, a ghostly threat hovering over the Multicultural Event? If so, what could it be? What –  invited or uninvited – “culture”? What is its name? What might it do? And was the organiser quite sure that it wouldn’t find the name “Jewish” just as offensive as the name “Israeli”?

Would Israelis be saved from this unnamed terror, we wonder, if their country were to change its name to – say – Judea?

The politically correct organisers of multicultural events could try putting it out there; dub any old Israeli troupe or team of any art or sport “Judean”, and see how it floats.

Multiculturalists simply have to become more resourceful in dealing with these anonymous forces of evil.