Amid heckling, BBC pulls plug on ‘Jerusalem Quartet’

Interesting piece in the Forward this week: "Jerusalem Quartet Draws Discordant Note in Britain." It is your by-now-standard harassing of an Israeli cultural presentation in London by BDS types, but with some great twists.

1) The lunch time presentation was being broadcast live by the BBC nationwide when the organized heckling broke out, forcing the Beeb to pull the plug, mid-broadcast; a real victory for the hecklers in terms of drawing attention to their issue, which, after all, is what it’s all about (as it was for Rabbi Kahane’s disruptions of Soviet cultural presentations in the U.S. back in the 1970′s re the Soviet Jewry issue).

2) Irony angle: that the group’s name and its members’ past national service as musicians in the IDF notwithstanding, only one of the four lives in Israel today. And two are members and section leaders of the West-Eastern Divan — the Seville-based Middle East Jewish-Muslim youth orchestra co-founded by Edward Said and Daniel Barenboim, the Argentine-Jewish pianist and conductor.

This is the same West-Eastern Divan whose petition to be allowed to give a concert in Gaza was just rejected by the Government of Israel, which was apparently more fearful of the publicity the concert would bring to the Gaza blockade than of the publicity generated by its refusal.

3) The protesters’ defense of the validity of their action, notwithstanding the musicians’ extra-curricular commitment to the Divan. This generated an interesting back-and-forth on the distinction between the external and the personal in politics. I’d note that the quartet hurt their argument by issuing a formal statement denying they had any connection to or patronage from the Gov’t of Israel—an assertion easily shown as false by the acknowledgement of such support in their own publicity.

The group’s 2009 Australian tour was supported, in part, by an $8,000 Israeli Foreign Ministry grant, according to The Age, an Australian daily.

At the same time, protester spokesman Tony Greenstein dismissed the Divan’s political import as a Jewish-Muslim initiative with a false charge that this orchestra excluded West Bank Palestinians. (Fisking’s part of the job.)

Posted in BDS, Beyondoweiss, Israel/Palestine

{ 30 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Fascism in practice, pretending to be progressive.

    • This is the reason for the rationality of opposing the Berkeley proposal even though not oriented to cultural and academic exchange.

      A foot in the door.

      • Taxi says:

        When there’s Palestinian/pro-Palestinian violent activity, you complain: “fascism”.

        When there’s Palestinian/pro-Palestinian non-violent activity, you cry out: “fascim”.

        What the heck?!

        Don’t silence me, bro.

      • Citizen says:

        Take your foot out of your door, and that Israeli-AIPAC boot might just ease up a tad off the Palestinina neck.

    • Sumud says:

      “Fascism in practice, pretending to be progressive.”

      Oh please, calm yourself Senator McCarthy.

      You’ve pleaded for “understanding”, “dialogue”, “healing” and whatever other motherhood statements you can muster – but what do you actually propose to bring about the end of the occupation, when Israel is armed to the teeth by gifted US weapons, with little or no desire for change. I’m not asking for vague statements but an articulation of concrete actions proposed by the Witty Plan..

      • Avi says:


        Word to the wise, save your breath. He talks and talks about dialog and debate …blah blah blah, but he rarely if ever responds to a commenter with an Arabic sounding name, much in the same way it was beneath KKK members to speak to blacks unless they were ordering them around or calling them names.

        You know how a sponge can get soaked in so much water that it can’t absorb anymore of it? Well, that’s him. Every cell in his body is soaked with Zionism. At least eee is blunt about his.

        • Mooser says:

          “Well, that’s him. Every cell in his body is soaked with Zionism.”

          With time out for Yoga Tantrums, of course. Wow, I bet he never had any problems with the ladies, huh? A Jewish accountant, with Tantric Yoga, yet. He’s “all three”. The ideal husband. What a moment it must have been when she looked up from counting those cardamon seeds and saw Richard Witty’s face beaming in the light of the Yak-fat lamps!

        • You don’t know me in the slightest.

          Yet, you have the audacity to character assassination in every breath.

    • ahmed says:

      How is this fascism? Peaceful protest is fascism? I guess Rosa Parks was a fascist too.

      • Orchestrated disruption of others free speech.

        Cultural and academic BDS is a fascist approach, again oriented to attaining a monopoly on propaganda rather than being confident in one’s better argument as compelling.

    • Cliff says:

      Fascism HA. Says the freak and opportunist who applauds and accepts the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. Who characterizes International Law/International Humanitarian Law, the UN as ‘political correctness’.

      You will cry fascism when a Zionist Jew’s toes are stepped on accidentally at a ‘Running of the bull’ – but tacitly support the continued subjugation and fragmentation of Palestinian society. The dispossession. The blockade. The disproportionate force.

      You are a baboon.

    • zamaaz says:

      Definitely ‘progressive’ and liberal Britain is anti-Israel…
      this is a clear not speculative, that Britain is now a soft landing for Islamic character….Goodbye English Britain! Hello Islamic Britain! Goodbye the Queen! Hello Mohammed!

      • zamaaz says:

        see also link to

        Even the the ASA is already has adjudged that East Jerusalem is not Israel’s so this is now the time for the Israle government to remove all the Palestinians settlements in question from the city at AT ALL COST to FINALLY erase this controversy, and prove the world Jersualem is the city of King’s David! Israel you are losing options! No more time to play intellect, nor diplomatic accomodations. Decide! Act now or you will lost everything!

        • Shingo says:

          “Even the the ASA is already has adjudged that East Jerusalem is not Israel’s..”

          No country but Israel accepts that Jerusalem is Israel’s you moron.

          Zing David was a myth and never existed, which I’d why thereof no archeological or historical evidence of his existence.

        • Citizen says:

          Obama needs to dust off that unrevoked 1979 State Department ruling that Israeli settlements are “inconsistent with international law.” And hold it up on TV.

          Maybe Rahm and Axlerod put the key to the cupboard too high to reach?

        • Mooser says:

          Even if King David was not a myth, am I the only one who has noticed that the “choosen people” thing didn’t work out so good?

          As I remember, God said pretty much : ‘Hey, you won’t follow my commanments, so you Jews are on your own til I decide different”

          And gosh, events pretty much confirmed that. Or are all those people, from the Romans to the Nazis, just more powerful than the Jewish God?

          Zionists have the same relation to the Bible as Southerners who only read the ante-bellum parts of “Gone with the Wind”.

      • Shingo says:

        “Definitely ‘progressive’ and liberal Britain is anti-Israel…
        this is a clear not speculative, that Britain is now a soft landing for Islamic character….Goodbye English Britain! Hello Islamic Britain! Goodbye the Queen! Hello Mohammed!”

        What a vile and foul mouthed biggot you are! The British government is entirely controlled by the lobby, so much so that David Milliband tripped over himself legislating against a British court finding that Israeli leaders were war criminals.

        You obviously hate people with anything but white faces. Only right wing nationalists in Britain refer to it as England anymore.

    • UNIX says:

      I agree with Richard Witty, This is fascism in practice, pretending to be progressive, a monopolization of propaganda, and a great crime against Jews .

  2. Also, the anonimity of reports is getting to be the norm here.

    • Taxi says:

      As far as I’m concerned, here in cyberspace, you, Richard, are as anonymous as the author of this article. What’s the difference, huh?

      It’s so purile of you to keep complaining about the author’s signature over and over and over again. Who cares what name he/she uses?!

      It’s also surreal and annoying that you keep using the word ‘maximalist’ over and over and over again as a shield against any equitable justice for Palestinians.

      • Citizen says:

        Noun 1. minimalist – a conservative who advocates only minor reforms in government or politics
        conservative, conservativist – a person who is reluctant to accept changes and new ideas

        • Chaos4700 says:

          Bingo, Citizen. Bingo.

        • Citizen says:

          During the tax day rally last week, some guy spoke, introducing himself as a jew with a new entertainment network he was putting together with Kelsey Grammar, the first that will be devoted solely to conservative TV shows. He said it would not
          negatively depict US soldiers or US fathers; basically it will be the anti-Hollywood-style distributor/designer of shows. He was wearing a t-shirt with the new conservative network logo. He said he had been on the road with the [tea partier] caravan, and wanted to thank the audience (chock full of American flags and signs) because everywhere he went with the caravan, the audience held lots of signs supportive of Israel. (I didn’t see any.)
          Here’s his new conservative channel website:
          link to
          It’s a trend. Check out the acronym JASP
          They just put up their new web site too.
          (Jewish Americans For Sarah Palin)

    • Cliff says:

      Stop spamming the blog with your incessant whining, Dick.

    • Shingo says:

      “Also, the anonimity of reports is getting to be the norm here. ”

      What’s the problem Witty? Does t stop you from reporting them to the authorities?

    • potsherd says:

      Right, everyone is so eager to be treated like Richard Goldstone is by the vengeful fascist Zionists.

  3. eGuard says:

    Tony Greenstein is not the spokesperson, but was a protester and has a blog (not an anonymous witty). He “dismissed the Divan’s political import as a Jewish-Muslim initiative”? No, he did not say that. Nowhere it says ‘Muslim’, it’s Arab. Please.
    He did dismiss the WEDO-concert because of BDS-reasons: the WEDO is normalizing I/P situation, while it is an occupier/occupied-relation (or colonialist/, oppressor/, etc., choose & multiples allowed).
    And clearly, were the orchestra allowed into the Gaza strip, they might face a boycot.

    Funnier details of the heckling: the first disturbance was by a schooled opera soprano, Deborah Fink, singing to the melody of ‘Jerusalem of gold’:
    Jerusalem is occupied/Settlers destroy her peace. At this point our famous, glorious, world-renown BBC left, and did not return ever.

  4. UNIX says:

    Another time to say DON’T SILENCE ME! Radical leftists have the gall to silence classical musicians? That really is sickening. Anti-semites abound.