BDS news: An English collegiate choir has had an invitation to sing in the Occupied Territories rescinded by the Anglican bishop because it is singing in Israel:
According to one of those involved, the PA asked the Bishop of Jerusalem to withdraw the invitation for the choir to sing in East Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
The choir was informed that it would not be welcome in Bethlehem, should its members try to come in, en masse, as part of the bishop’s pilgrimage.
The choir’s director says his frustration is borne of what he describes as his own pro-Palestinian stance: he has taught and performed with Palestinian musicians. Mr Brown was very keen for his students to see the West Bank barrier and, as he put it, the "privations" caused by the Israeli occupation.
Betty Hunter, the general secretary of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, says that desire to travel to the West Bank does not excuse the choir’s tour of Israel. That tour, she says, is "surprising and shocking" – something which, in her words, "promotes Israel as a normal state rather than one which represses Palestinians".
The issue of whether Israel should be boycotted has gained publicity in recent months with campaigns led by British trades unions. Separately, some Israeli MPs reacted angrily to the British government issuing guidelines over the labelling of produce imported from Israeli settlements in the West Bank. British officials are keen to stress that their move has nothing to do with a boycott.
But Betty Hunter says that these are but the opening skirmishes of a whole new boycott campaign that she says will open up over the next few months.