Dance group boosts fundraiser for ‘Palestinian anarchist fighters’ during weekend shows
During at least two performances, Ballet Folklórico displayed a QR code linking to an Instagram post with a Venmo handle, since deactivated, to support self-described “Palestinian anarchist fighters.” On Monday, the co-presidents said they were solely responsible for displaying the QR code, apologized to members and called it a “grave error” in an email to the group.
Yale Daily News
During at least two of Ballet Folklórico Mexicano de Yale’s three fall showcase performances this past weekend, the dance group included a QR code labeled “Support Palestine” on its on-stage projection screen, alongside a separate QR code for the show’s program. The “Support Palestine” QR code directed audience members to a three-slide Instagram post by the account @desolasol.colectiva, with a title slide that reads “Collection of resources to aid Palestine.” The second slide listed donation information for four groups — the Middle East Children’s Alliance, Palestine Children’s Relief Fund, Medical Aid for Palestinians and Gaza Mutual Aid Collective. The third and final slide is a graphic with the heading “Support Palestinian anarchist fighters.”
The last slide listed a Venmo handle — which, as of Monday night, appears to no longer exist — and also tags another Instagram account called @abolishtheusa. That account features a handful of posts from this month showing support for Fauda, a self-described “anarchist movement in Palestine” that the account says associates itself with Hamas, which the United States recognizes as a terrorist group. According to the account, a Fauda member in an interview described the organization as one of “15 anti-Zionist resistance groups in Palestine” — specifically including Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Kitab al-Aqsa — that are “all together” and “follow the same goal.”
In an email sent to Ballet Folklórico members yesterday at 4:14 p.m., the co-presidents wrote that they made the decision to include the QR code hours before the first show “without consulting the board or membership,” which they called a “substantial oversight.” They apologized to members who were “unwillingly and unknowingly aligned” with the statements.
“We realize this post brought considerable damage to the Jewish community,” Ballet Folklórico’s four co-presidents wrote in the email. “We should have been more prudent with our choice of platform and should have looked beyond the resources provided on the second slide and noted the damaging material on the third. We would also like to emphasize that we condemn antisemitism as well as any form of violence committed against any community. Our rash decision did not appropriately reflect the values we wish to represent. Although we stand behind efforts to aid and bring attention to this crisis, linking this post was a grave error.”
In the Monday email, the presidents cautioned members to make their personal social media accounts private and untag Yale Folklórico in any posts, as part of “preventive measures” aimed at supporting members’ safety.
The “Floreciendo” fall showcase took place in the Morse/Stiles Crescent Theatre and aimed to celebrate Mexican culture through the art of dance, according to the event’s YaleConnect page. One show took place on Friday, Nov. 10 and the other two on Saturday, Nov. 11, with 210 people registered to attend across all three shows.
The dance group is a Yale student organization that strives to preserve traditional Mexican dances, according to its listing on the Yale College Arts website.
The News reached out to five Ballet Folklorico members and 16 registered attendees on Monday night. One individual declined to comment and 18 did not immediately respond.
The co-presidents held an emergency meeting on Monday night with all Ballet Folklórico members. The News, seeking to attend the meeting, reached out to the co-presidents; the presidents stressed that the meeting was not open to the public and meant for Ballet Folklórico members only.
This comes as the ongoing Israel-Hamas war has led to increasing tensions and student fears of personal safety on college campuses.
On Oct. 7, Hamas launched a surprise attack against Israel, killing at least 1,200 people in Israel and taking more than 230 hostages, according to Israel’s Foreign Ministry as reported by the Washington Post. Israel responded with a formal declaration of war, airstrikes and a ground invasion of Gaza, killing more than 11,180 people in Gaza from Oct. 7 to Nov. 10 and displacing more than two-thirds of the population, the Post reported according to figures from the Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza and from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. United Nations officials have called Israel’s attacks “horrific crimes” and “collective punishment” in violation of international law.
Gavin Guerrette ’25, an attendee at the Saturday 6 p.m. show and co-editor-in-chief of the Yale Daily News Magazine, said that an individual came out before the show to promote “direct relief to Palestinian families” and describe the post linked in the QR code.
Guerrette said that he thought a “key part” of this presentation was a call to audiences to be informed about the Israel-Hamas war, “independently of their request for funding.”
Guerette believed these actions to be “an earnest attempt” to support Palestinian families and civilians.
“All I’d be willing to say here is that it was an attempt to provide information to people and an attempt to provide a means of supporting people who they view to be in a humanitarian crisis,” said Guerrette. “If incidentally, they linked to something which is, quote unquote, ‘loosely affiliated’ with Hamas, I don’t think it’s by any direct malicious effort.”
In their Monday email, the Ballet Folklórico co-presidents said they had removed the portion of the YouTube livestream that included the QR code and are in conversation with La Casa Cultural administration to navigate through the situation. They also said that they will seek input from the board and membership before making public statements in the future.
Morse College is located at 304 York St.