Local Time

Monday, September 05, 2011

Politics behind UK hosting Israeli concert


A prominent political activist says the annual Proms concert in London has hosted the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra for clearly political reasons.


In an exclusive interview with Press TV, Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, a member of Beethovians for Boycotting Israel (BBI), says that Western governments and media listen to the Israel regime but ignore the Palestinian people.

Press TV: Please tell us about the event. 40 people, pro-Palestinian protesters, arrived at the Royal Albert Hall, what took place?

Wimborne-Idrissi: Organized with a lot of planning in advance by Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods, BRICUP - that's the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine - and people in the Boycott Israel Network (BIN), people arrived prepared for heightened security because, although the Prom's organizers said that the decision to invite the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra is purely musical, it was clearly a political decision.

They sent out letters to ticket holders telling them that bags will be searched, no flags will be allowed in. They were obviously quite aware of what they've done.

We expected it to be harder than it actually turned out to be. We all had tickets in different parts of the hall in a number of small groups. There was about nine or ten groups, altogether, one of them very large.

This large group made the first intervention. What we did was we had prepared in advance a song adapting the tune of Beethoven's very famous Ode to Joy. And what we sang was, “Israel and your occupation...” and we went on from there with some words which people can find online, on some of the reports.

And we sang this in a quiet moment on the first piece while unveiling a slogan reading “free Palestine”. So, on some of the reports you'll read there's a lot of confusion about this. But this is actually what happened.

And we kept on singing our four lines of text over and over again while the audience reacted, people snapped the letters of the slogan out of our hands, people started to push us. And, gradually, the Royal Albert Hall security staff made their way over to us. They did their job, they weren't aggressive. They said come on you've made your point, please go.

Gradually, because of the pushing and the shoving, and the angry response of the audience, we made our way out and we went out still singing. And we went out and joined the public protests outside and continued singing there as well. So that was the first intervention.

Then after that, that piece was finished and the next piece began. We started again on a rather beautiful violin concerto.

Press TV: What do you think you've succeeded in doing? What was this boycott intended to do?

Wimborne-Idrissi: What we've intended to do was give Palestinians a voice.

The reason that the Palestinian Boycott National Committee (BNC) and PACBI - the Palestinian Campaign for Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel - have called for a South African apartheid-style campaign of boycotts because nobody listens to the Palestinians, nobody listens to the victims in this struggle.

Israel has the ear of Western governments, newspaper editors, you name it...

Press TV: Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, thank you very much for that. And people can look up your protest on YouTube.

So, as with cricket, now with classical music. 

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