“Methinks you do protest too much”

On Feb. 19 the Israeli Ballet came to the Flynn Theater.That evening a handful of protestors disrupted the event, holding anti-Israel posters in front of the stage. The Cynic has covered the disruption, and if you search around the internet activist landscape a bit, you can find a video.Do you ever get frustrated and discouraged? Ever want to let out a loud, guttural sigh?Yeah, me too.The sigh’s really hard to translate into text, but I figure it would go something like this: urrgghh.Anyway, the most prominent poster ever-so-tactfully reminded the audience that “No Tutu is Big Enough to Cover Up War Crimes.”Uurrrrggghhh.And yes, there’s actually more wrong with that than the blatant rudeness. To start, critics of Israel insist that they shouldn’t be branded anti-Semites. Their views are purely political and should be treated as such. That’s a thoroughly fair request I think.But it’s very hard to sustain that position if you take an event like, say, the ballet, and turn it into your own anti-Israel forum.But, of course, the activists have a rationale — the ballet accepts money from the Israeli state! And it does. In fact, it accepts $1 million annually.So, many online activists take this as evidence that the ballet is part of a concerted effort by the Israeli state to blind the world with its culture.We’re meant to believe that an art form that’s enjoyed by roughly 1 percent of the population is mass propaganda.There’s an episode of “Seinfeld” where a local Mom and Pop store goes under, taking Jerry’s shoes with them.Kramer suspects foul play, to which Elaine responds, “So, Mom and Pop’s plan was to move into the neighborhood … establish trust … for 48 years. And then run off with Jerry’s sneakers.”This is kind of like that. Sometimes things just are what they are. Nations are usually proud of their culture. There doesn’t need to be an ulterior motive.Sadly, I think this is a part of a broader protest culture. Many activists feel morally obligated to make their views felt whenever there’s a remotely decent opportunity to. Had no one protested at the ballet then, well, who knows what would have happened? I would assume that a lot of people would have enjoyed the performance undisturbed. It seems though, that we can’t let such a disaster happen.   Uurrrrggggghh.