Anti-Israel protest disrupts Philharmonic show in UK
Anti-Israel protesters disrupted a live BBC broadcast of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra playing in London’s Royal Albert Hall.
The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra was participating in the BBC Proms summer classical music festival. BBC Radio 3, which carried a live broadcast of Thursday’s concert, was forced to suspend the broadcast several times, over the protesters shouting and heckling.
About a dozen people in the hall shouted as Zubin Mehta stood to conduct Bruch’s violin concerto. Many other audience members booed in response. The pro-Palestinian demonstrators were eventually removed by security, to the audience’s cheers.
A BBC Radio statement said: “We regret that as a result of sustained audience disruption within the concert hall which affected the ability to hear the music, tonight’s Israel Philharmonic Orchestra Prom was taken off air.”
The disruption was the brainchild of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, which had previously called to boycott the concert.
The PSC posted a statement on its website ahead of the Proms, claiming that the Israel Philharmonic showed “complicity in whitewashing Israel’s persistent violations of international law and human rights”.
According to the UK’s Jewish Chronicle, the BBC refused to cancel the performance, saying the invitation extended to the Israeli orchestra was “purely musical.”
According to the JTA, Ed Vaizey, Britain’s minister for culture, communications and creative industries, who attended the concert, tweeted: “Demonstrators seem to have turned entire audience pro Israel.”
On Friday the UK’s Ambassador to Israel Mathew Gould published a statement saying that “By disrupting the performance of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, the protesters have done nothing to help advance dialogue or understanding of the issues.
“We share the disapproval of the overwhelming majority of the audience. The British Government condemns boycotts of Israel, and we will continue to promote cultural exchanges between Britain and Israel.
This was not the first time that Anti-Israel protesters have targeted classical music performances: In August 2008, five members of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign disrupted a concert by the Jerusalem String Quartet at Edinburgh’s Queen’s Hall.
(Tags: Anti-Israelism, BBC, United Kingdom)