February 18, 2020

Dance group cancels over removal of Israel references

A Melbourne-based Israeli dance group refused to perform at a folk festival to protest the organizers’ decision to remove references to their being Israeli.

The Machol Israeli Dancing Club was scheduled to appear at the Multicultural Folk Dance Festival in Mansfield, northeast of Melbourne, on Sunday.

The festival included Aboriginal, Chinese, Irish, English, Lebanese, Armenian, Ukrainian and Hungarian folk dances.

But organizers removed the word “Israeli” and instead named the dancers as the Machol Group and described them as a Jewish dance group, a local Jewish website, J-Wire, reported.

The group, founded in 1993, refused to perform and has taken their complaint to the Victorian Equal Opportunities and Human Rights Commission.

In their submission, they claim they were told that the organizer would not be held responsible for consequences if the words “Israel” or “Israeli” was used to describe the group.

The dance group has more than 200 members and stages dances four times a week.