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Video: Stunning performance by young Palestinian violinist at Royal Albert Hall

on 37 Comments

Here is a short clip of Nigel Kennedy on stage at the Royal Albert Hall with members of the Palestine Strings, and his Orchestra of Life. Check out the young Palestinian violinist featured in this segment of the performance and the moving interplay between him and Kennedy.

For a brief period the BBC radio is offering the soundtrack for this full 1:40:00 performance from its Proms festival series. Kennedy makes his Apartheid statement at 1:20:00 here.

(Hat tip Mondoweiss commenter bintbiba)

About Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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37 Responses

  1. Citizen
    August 12, 2013, 3:46 pm

    I couldn’t access the video here or on YouTube.

    • annie
      August 12, 2013, 4:43 pm

      try refreshing, shutting down some other pages, or turning your computer off and turning it back on. it’s working fine for me. good luck.

  2. justicewillprevail
    August 12, 2013, 3:59 pm

    Wonderful stuff. No doubt Bibi and his cohorts would describe such eloquent and moving performances as ‘incitement’, lol. Kudos to Kennedy, who I heard in a radio interview describing how his first visit to Israel shocked and disgusted him so much that he has boycotted it ever since – long before BDS. I can’t help feeling that the appalling injustice that Palestinians have suffered only deepens the poignancy and power of their artistry and culture. It is a powerful testimony to them and their resilience, which audiences clearly respond to, most of them aware that it is a small miracle that they are even here, allowed out of their Israeli prison.

  3. Carllarc
    August 12, 2013, 5:49 pm

    This is a really wonderful performance — Nigel Kennedy and his friends all make beautiful music, the whole 1+ hrs, merging classical, new jazz, and Arab. This music the existential threat to apartheid Israel.

  4. ivri
    August 12, 2013, 6:22 pm

    2 comments: 1. Didn`t you notice that by generals standards the Israeli Arabs and now also Palestinians (from the West-Bank mainly) are probably in the most advanced position (in terms of objective achievement criteria and on average) in the Arab world. If you did not guess why then here is a hint: All 7 West-Bank high-learning (academic) institutions were established after the Israeli takeover.
    2. An Israeli musician would not have a chance there. He/she would be interrupted. For instance, the Israeli Philharmonic orchestra could not finish its concert in the Edinburgh festival.

    • just
      August 12, 2013, 7:31 pm

      What are you saying, exactly?

      “2 comments: 1. Didn`t you notice that by generals standards the Israeli Arabs and now also Palestinians (from the West-Bank mainly) are probably in the most advanced position (in terms of objective achievement criteria and on average) in the Arab world. If you did not guess why then here is a hint: All 7 West-Bank high-learning (academic) institutions were established after the Israeli takeover.
      2. An Israeli musician would not have a chance there. He/she would be interrupted. For instance, the Israeli Philharmonic orchestra could not finish its concert in the Edinburgh festival.”

      you have got to be kidding…………

      • Dagon
        August 12, 2013, 8:31 pm

        Can I say ,to ivri, what a racist and moronic comment.But then again there is the theory that jews are doind much better living among the goyeem.

      • Xpat
        August 12, 2013, 11:06 pm

        “2. An Israeli musician would not have a chance there. He/she would be interrupted. For instance, the Israeli Philharmonic orchestra could not finish its concert in the Edinburgh festival.”

        Like you, I am sad that this is the case. You and I both know what needs to happen on the West Bank for Israel to be accepted around the world. We both know that that is no going to happen any time soon.
        Given the above, as a Jew and as an Israeli, I am pleased that there are consequences for Israel, at least in the arts at international events. I’d hate for the world to be indifferent to the suffering of the Palestinians at Israel’s hands.

      • Hostage
        August 13, 2013, 1:08 am

        All 7 West-Bank high-learning (academic) institutions were established after the Israeli takeover

        None of them were established by, or with, the assistance of Israel. In fact, Israel has refused to even implement Article 13 and 14 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in the occupied territories. It makes provision for transitional measures in the case of any State “which at the time of becoming a Party, has not been able to secure in its metropolitan territory or other territories under its jurisdiction compulsory primary education, free of charge”.

        The International Court of Justice noted that Israel had violated the fundamental rights of the Palestinian people, including the right to an education. The Court observed:

        lt is not without relevance to recall in this regard the position taken by Israel in its reports to the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. In its initial report to the Committee of 4 December 1998, Israel provided “statistics indicating the enjoyment of the rights enshrined in the Covenant by Israeli settlers in the occupied Territories”. The Committee noted that, according to Israel, “the Palestinian population within the same jurisdictional areas were excluded from both the report and the protection of the Covenant” (E/C.12/1/Add.27, para. 8).

        So like a jerk, you are trying to take credit on behalf of Israel for the achievements of the Palestinians or the UNRWA.

    • Inanna
      August 12, 2013, 8:24 pm

      If we’re talking about educational attainment – literacy, years of education etc, Lebanon is at the top in the whole MENA region. If you don’t believe me, you can look it up on World Bank Edstats and see for yourself. West Bank and Gaza is not far behind and would probably be level or even higher than Lebanon but for the impact of the occupation and the repression of Palestinians insidand outside the Green Line. Palestinians in Israel have far lower levels of educational attainment than their peers in Israel – much of this is explained by the lower levels of funding of Arab schools. Much of the reason why we saw little progress in the situation of the Palestinian communities in the Middle East in the 50s and 60s is that the Nakba was an incredible shock to the entire region and to a people recovering from horrific events such as death of loved ones, displacement from homes and loss of all their assets and their country. The fact is that it took all their resources both emotional and financial to just keep existing. How the hell do people who’ve just had everything stolen from them find the resources to immediately build a university, you fool?

      Yes, you wouldn’t dare to judge Palestinians against Israelis because then the results would reveal that resources are purposely directed to Jews and away from non-Jews to create an apartheid state. Just like the Jews in Israel enjoyed the advantages of stealing someone else’s country as well as the individual property, lands and homes, of millions of people. Enjoy your apartheid while you can.

    • annie
      August 13, 2013, 12:52 am

      Didn`t you notice that by generals standards the Israeli Jews are probably the most racist, oppressive people in the middle east?
      If you did not guess why then here is a hint: they ethically cleansed the land, steal the resources and keep millions of people oppressed and make snuff films of those they imprison and murder to amuse themselves and laugh over . then they come on forums like this and brag about how those they oppress are so much better off.
      i wish you could hear your self the way others hear you. disgusting.

      An Israeli musician would not have a chance there. He/she would be interrupted.

      if they’re funded by the apartheid state, let’s hope so.

      • ivri
        August 13, 2013, 9:56 am

        It is amazing how things can be turned upside down with the “right language”. Cold facts will tell you that OBJECTIVELY (based on technical criteria) minorities in Israel are doing better than elsewhere in the Arab world. Associating with that, pejoratives (as an underlying “racists” attitude) and hidden agendas, which does not require proof, cannot undo outcomes. The point is though, that in the end facts win – not just in the eyes of outsiders but also those of locals. You see that in two ways: the overwhelming support for Israel in mainstream America and in the relative calm “on the ground” in Israel and the Palestinian territories, as compared to just about anywhere in the region – you can`t fight with facts and hope to win.

      • Hostage
        August 13, 2013, 7:22 pm

        It is amazing how things can be turned upside down with the “right language”. Cold facts will tell you that OBJECTIVELY (based on technical criteria) minorities in Israel are doing better than elsewhere in the Arab world.

        Objectively Israel permanently exiled three-quarters of the Palestinian minority population and adopted laws that systematically discriminate against them and the remainder of the Palestinian people regardless of where they happen to live. Your propaganda talking points don’t alter that fact. Suggesting that the standard of living elsewhere could justify persecution and apartheid in Israel insults anyone with an ounce of common sense.

      • talknic
        August 14, 2013, 1:12 am

        ivri” The point is though, that in the end facts win – not just in the eyes of outsiders but also those of locals ….. you can`t fight with facts and hope to win.”

        Fact 1) Israel asked to be and was recognized “as an independent republic within frontiers approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations in its Resolution of November 29, 1947”

        Fact 2) Fact 1 was confirmed by the Israeli Government May 22nd 1948

        Fact 3) Facts 1 & 2 are the basis for UNSC resolutions against the State of Israel for illegal activities in territories “outside the State of Israel”

        Fact 4) With the internet one can check the validity of Israel’s so called facts!

        Fact 5) The Palestinians have no legal obligation to forgo any of their legal rights in negotiations.

        Fact 6) The Law, the United Nations Charter and relevant conventions are not in Israel’s favour

        Fact 7) Israel is obliged to adhere to the law, negotiations or not

        Fact 8) Were Israel to be held accountable under the Laws it agreed to uphold, it would swiftly become a failed state in every sense of the word, morally and financially

        Fact 9) The US veto vote in the UNSC only allows the frog to stay in the pot, it is still in breach of the Law

        Fact 10) Israel’s only legal way out of the illegal facts on the ground it has purposefully created, is to plea bargain with the Palestinians in order to circumvent the consequences of 65 years of creating illegal facts on the ground “outside the State of Israel”

        ” in the end facts win …. you can`t fight with facts and hope to win” It’s a pity you and ‘mainstream America’ haven’t yet developed the ability to check Israel’s so called facts, NONE of which pass the slightest scrutiny

      • Danaa
        August 14, 2013, 2:14 am

        ivri, that “overwhelming” support by Americans is an interesting myth. Something propagated by the ‘established east Coast+ some West Coast” American jews who usually know just how to frame questions.

        Where I live now, the mention of the word “Israel” elicits a – silence. Partly out of politeness, no doubt. People know it’s a controversial subject and prefer not to speak up. OTOH, mention of the word “jewish” sometimes results in “you must be good in business” (am not!), or “good with money” (am definitely not so, or I’d be busy managing it rather than posting here).

        I said before – you should not be so welcoming of that silence. there’s more behind it than meets the eye…

        In any case, in several other states, california included, it’s been a very very long time since I heard anything particularly positive mentioned when the topic of “Israel” comes up.

        But I’m sure that in NYC and Boston, things may look a bit different.

      • Citizen
        August 14, 2013, 7:59 am

        @ Danna
        Nobody I know personally has anything good to say about Israel. Nobody I know personally has been exposed via mainstream media to the facts of daily life for the Palestinian people, or their history; most certainly most never even think about Israel at all unless I bring that subject up. I agree with you about the very careful selection and framing of poll questions regarding Israel.

        There’s been some mainstream media exposure about cutting foreign aid due to sequestration; and specifically now regarding aid to Egypt due to the coup. Otherwise the call for cutting foreign aid is always met with the response that US foreign aid amounts to only 1% of Federal expenses. To my knowledge, the mainstream media has never spelled out to John Q Public the heavily disproportionate portion of the total foreign aid that goes to Israel each year.

      • miriam6
        August 14, 2013, 9:22 am


        Your comment is most satirical coming at a time when the Egyptian military have massacred over a 300 protesters and have just killed some more…

        Also Coptic Christians are being targeted and murdered by extremist Muslims in the wake of the coup in Egypt

        I have no doubt that if there was a real Jewish community left in Egypt they would be targeted too.

        BTW, you know perfectly well that Ali Abunimah stated on the wretched of the earth site that more info is needed about the so- called snuff film you link to..

      • annie
        August 14, 2013, 9:47 am

        miriam, i just posted that reuters link (see time stamp, prior to your comment) here

        my comment is not satirical in the least. what is going on in egypt does not lesson the impact of the horrific video being referenced or the laughing hebrew speakers cheering on the execution.

        ” wretched of the earth” is not a site and he our source for that article/video which was why we linked to his twitter feed in the article. and of course i know what ali wrote because the same tweet informing of the video was sent to me and ali. and i completely agree with ali that more info is needed. i would appreciate more info on the execution. none the less, with or without more information we felt it was newsworthy. and it was titled a ‘Purported’ IOF video’, so there was no pretense we had more information other than what one could gleen from the video.

        people are laughing in the background which means they are using the film for entertainment value (snuff films). if you have any evidence the video was staged, bring it forth. israeli occupation forces are frequently assassinating people near and in the ‘buffer-zone’ of gaza, regardless of the ‘ceasefire’ and regardless of the fact it is gazan territory. this happens all the time, so there would be no need for gazans or anyone else to fabricate this information. there were also documented incidences of the iof killing people holding white flags during that almost month long massacre.

        mentioning egypt in the context of these horrific murders by israeli forces, which happens frequently, is merely a diversion tactic on your part. you do not fool anyone here.

    • tree
      August 13, 2013, 1:12 am

      If you did not guess why then here is a hint: All 7 West-Bank high-learning (academic) institutions were established after the Israeli takeover.

      Folks, this is a classic example of the dishonesty of much of Israel’s hasbara. There were no 4 year universities in the West Bank until the 1970s, but both Birzeit and An-Najah have a long history as educational institutions going back to the early 1900s. Both became 2 year colleges in the early 1960s. Ivri’s “hint” would suggest to an uninformed reader that Israel was responsible for both institutions becoming 4 year Universities in the 1970s. Technically that is true, but not in a way that is flattering to Israel, and not in the way that Ivri implies, i.e. that Israel created the 4 year institutions as a generous gesture of enlightening the backward Palestinians.

      The real reason that Israel can claim some indirect responsibility for the 4 year Universities that sprang up in the West Bank and Gaza is that Israeli restrictions on Palestinian travel outside the occupied territories made it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for Palestinians to transfer to 4 year universities in Jordan and elsewhere. Prior to the Israeli occupation, most Palestinian students could easily attend nearby Jordanian Universities (no travelling across an Israeli controlled border was required), or other Arab Universities. Israel’s belligerent occupation changed all that, and the Palestinians responded by expanding the two colleges to become full-time 4 year universities, and eventually to add post-graduate degrees as well. All this was done by the Palestinians themselves, with assistance from other Arab countries and citizens, no thanks to the Israeli government.

      Israel has never funded any Palestinian University in the West Bank or Gaza. It has never established a curriculum for any Palestinian University there. Prior to 1994, Jordan’s curriculum was used in the West Bank, and Egypt’s in Gaza. In 1994, when the Palestinian Ministry of Education was founded, all Palestinian curriculum was determined by the Ministry, not by Israel.

      So to give Israel any positive credit for the Palestinian system of higher education is to engage in dishonest hasbara, similar to the “made the desert bloom” canard.
      Its actually even worse than that because Israel has consistently placed daunting restrictions on Palestinian education in the Occupied Territories, including effectively shutting down all Palestinian educational institutions from 1988-1992. Palestinians were forced to study in clandestine in the homes of professors and students rather than being allowed to attend classes at school and University. Similar educational closures have been enacted by Israel on a random bases from 2000 onward, students have been imprisoned simply for being members of political groups on campus. and students have been targets of violence from both the IDF and Jewish settlers. And Israel’s current system of checkpoints have made education in Palestine a physical challenge that many students can not meet.

      More on all of this here:

      • just
        August 13, 2013, 5:38 am

        Israel takes all of the credit and none of the well- deserved blame.

        Now Netanyahu feels “uncomfortable” with Mohammed Assaf and his gorgeous success & honest lyrics & longing………

      • bintbiba
        August 13, 2013, 6:43 am

        Thank you Hostage, Elliot,Inanna,annie,Dagon… in a million years I couldn’t have said it better!

      • Danaa
        August 14, 2013, 2:41 am

        tree, thanks for the edifying comments. As always. I’ll be sure to mark down so I can use next time I encounter this hasbara point. Next time, please do elaborate on that famous “made the deserts bloom” canard. I tried the other day to make a case and am afraid it got a bit garbled (my fault for falling into the tangents trap…).

      • tree
        August 14, 2013, 9:34 am

        Thanks, Danaa (and Donald). If its any help I’ve elaborated a bit on the “made the deserts bloom” bs here:

        and here:

        I’ve thought about compiling a lot of this stuff for ready reference but I never seem to have the time or energy to do so. Maybe some day.

      • Danaa
        August 14, 2013, 9:25 pm

        tree, thanks again. very valuable. I agree with you – it would be good to compile some of this into a file. I know i can just search on your name – or hostage or Shingo (don’t mean to neglect the many other valuable refutations that have been offered on some key much aged hasbara points), but don’t have quite enough time to go searching all over.

        I hereby volunteer to help on getting started. If you have handy just a few selections of your own commentaries, the above two you offered are great – I’ll try and start a collation, perhaps with a few choice quotes. I think something like this would be a great addition to the MW reference archives. I once started something along these lines with Hostage’s comments but ran out of time before i could get to a good stopping point. I think i tried to bite too much and then got mad about threads closing down pre-maturely – which is really a great excuse to do less with more (is that why they are doing it?).

        Anyways, if you have a few more references handy (of your own comments), I can help start the collection. may be through a thread of its own?

        Anyways, it’s just a suggestion – and an offer of encouragement….

      • Donald
        August 14, 2013, 7:01 am

        Thanks, tree. It’ll be interesting to see what our fact-based hasbarist will say in response.

        Actually, it won’t. Just tiresome and depressing to see the depths to which people will sink to justify their stupid ideologies.

  5. just
    August 12, 2013, 6:26 pm

    All of them are stunning!

    That young man– a truly gifted genius with incredible soul and talent– and Nigel are complete magic, full of passion and hope for the near future. I felt the same stirrings when I first heard Itzhak Perlman.

    This new association and simply celestial interpretation gives me goosebumps!

    Thank you Bintbiba and Annie and MW.

    • bintbiba
      August 12, 2013, 7:32 pm

      You’re welcome, just.
      I hope you all get to watch and hear the main event,the whole event after its broadcast on TV on the 23rd. I had the privilege of attending most of their final rehearsal on the day. I have listened to the Radio 3 stream 3 times already. The boys’ names are Mustafa, Ghandi and Omar Saad.

      • annie
        August 13, 2013, 9:32 am

        you attended the rehearsal. how wonderful. and ghandi! that makes more sense. i thought I heard ‘andy’ when i was listening closely.

        thank you so very much.

      • bintbiba
        August 13, 2013, 10:09 am

        annie, you listened to the Radio 3 stream with earphones, I hope. They make a world of difference to the resonance and richness of sound.
        The way Nigel hops around and conducts by thumping his feet on the stage while playing was so infectious, I could barely restrain myself from jumping up and down and dancing. Not a very nice spectacle this old woman would have made!
        Those kids must truly idolise him!

  6. just
    August 12, 2013, 7:41 pm

    Blessings to you.

    All very noble and talented humans– exactly like you are, bintbiba.

  7. Inanna
    August 12, 2013, 8:26 pm

    That young Palestinian violinist can certainly give Kennedy a run for his money.

    Kennedy is right – Palestinians can fly even higher if there was no apartheid. Thanks Annie and bintbiba. Keep the Palestinian success stories coming!

    • bintbiba
      August 13, 2013, 6:37 am

      We must never stop giving our thanks,appreciation, respect to Nigel Kennedy for his great Courage and Generosity , Humanity in his Lifegiving endeavour. I can only imagine the abuse he must receive for all his effort! He is a true hero !! People mock the way he dresses, his accent , his *language* ,yet he remains a lovable, authentic supremely talented artist and human being.

      • just
        August 13, 2013, 7:36 pm

        You’ve got that right. Nigel is both a humanitarian and musical genius.

        What an inspiration he and these young artists are. It’s the way the world should “work”.

        I certainly did not “overestimate” you, bintbiba.

      • bintbiba
        August 14, 2013, 8:02 am

        just,……You’re scaring me! Ha Ha !!Do we know each other? Have we met in some other sphere? With love, N.

  8. Castellio
    August 13, 2013, 7:43 pm

    I really appreciate this post. Thank you.

  9. miriam6
    August 14, 2013, 7:20 pm

    Whilst it is pleasant to see classical music and the undoubted talents of classical musicians complemented and promoted above the pop music muzak so prevalent in public life today , I still wonder why M.W has never , to my knowledge anyway , posted ANY article about the West – Eastern Divan Orchestra which was founded by the late Edward Said and Daniel Barenboim .

    To answer my own question, I believe it is because M.W is a site dedicated to the promotion of a narrow Palestinian/Arab nationalism at the expense of exploring the common /shared ground Palestinians and Israelis share , the idea of co-existence.

    The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra is a youth orchestra based in Seville, Spain, consisting of musicians from countries in the Middle East, of Egyptian, Iranian, Israeli, Jordanian, Lebanese, Palestinian, Syrian and Spanish background. The Argentine-Israeli conductor Daniel Barenboim and the late Palestinian-American academic Edward Said founded the orchestra in 1999, and named the ensemble after an anthology of poems by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

    The first orchestra workshop was in Weimar, Germany, in 1999,[1] after the organisation had received over 200 applications from Arab music students.[2] Daniel Barenboim has also expressed interest in musicians from Iran (a non-Arab country but in conflict[clarification needed] with Israel) and three Iranian musicians are[citation needed] to play in the orchestra each year

    The aim of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra is to promote understanding between Israelis and Palestinians and pave the way for a peaceful and fair solution of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

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