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Pro-Palestinian Protesters Disrupt Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra’s Proms Concert

Posted on the 02 September 2011 by Periscope @periscopepost
Pro-Palestinian protesters disrupt Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra’s Proms concert

Royal Albert Hall. Photo credit: Toastbrot81

A BBC Proms performance by the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra has been interrupted by pro-Palestinian protesters. The protesters, whose intervention can be heard in an audio clip accompanying the BBC report here, started shouting and chanting as the orchestra prepared to play Bruch’s violin concerto. Other audience members in the Royal Albert Hall began booing and slow-clapping in an attempt to drown out the protesters.

BBC Radio 3 twice had to interrupt its live broadcast of the concert “as a result of sustained audience disturbance” and there were also protests outside the concert. The BBC reported that about 30 people were removed by security but there were no arrests.

  • Who’s behind the protest? Media sources have identified the Palestine Solidarity Campaign as the organisers of the protest. The PSC had published a statement on its website urging the BBC to cancel the IPO’s concert, describing the orchestra as “one of the flagship institutions of the Israeli state” and accusing it of “complicity in whitewashing Israel’s persistent violations of international law and human rights.” However, in an addition to the statement published after the disrupted concert, the PSC appeared to distance itself from the protesters who had interrupted the performance. Referring to “misleading reports in the media,” the PSC clarified that “the event below, organised by the PSC, was outside the Royal Albert Hall, calling on people to BOYCOTT the performance.” The statement did not offer any explanation for the protest inside the concert hall.
  • The campaign to stop the concert. The fact that the concert went ahead proves that the PSC’s calls for a boycott were ignored. The Jerusalem Post reported on the campaign to stop the concert, and quoted Proms director Richard Wright’s response. Wright rejected the demands for a boycott on humanitarian or political grounds and was quoted as saying that “The invitation to the Orchestra is a purely musical one.” The PSC’s campaign had attracted some support in the media, including in a letter to The Independent that was signed by 24 musicians and activists. The letter claimed that “The IPO has a deep involvement with the Israeli state – not least its self-proclaimed ‘partnership’ with the Israeli Defence Forces,” and alleged that the orchestra was Israel’s “prime asset” in a “propaganda” campaign in which “denials of human rights and violations of international law are hidden behind a cultural smokescreen.”

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