Maestro Zubin Mehta of Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (archives)
Photo: Shalom Bar-Tal

'Philharmonic has role in Israel's apartheid'

Pro-Palestinian advocacy group calls for boycott, protests of Israeli orchestra's tour, saying ensemble 'diverts attention from Israel's oppression of Palestinians'

Pro-Palestinian attempts to disrupt the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra's annual US tour have caused the ensemble to reinforce its security measures, Ynet has learned.


Blog posts and e-mail messages circulated the web over the past few weeks, calling American music lovers to boycott the orchestra's performances.  


Adalah-NY, an organization advocating for the rights of Palestinians, has announced that demonstrations are to be staged by its supporters in front of the orchestra's concert venues across the United States.


Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (Photo: Dan Porges)


As per the announcement, "Human rights advocates plan to protest the IPO’s role in whitewashing Israel’s apartheid policies against the Palestinian people.


"By serving as cultural ambassadors for Israel, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra is supporting the Israeli government's “Brand Israel” initiative, a campaign by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to divert public attention from Israel's oppression of the Palestinian people," the announcement read.


'No plan to respond to threats'

While calls for boycotts of Israeli performing artists, bands and orchestras have turned routine since the Second Lebanon War, this most recent one has taken it to the next level by exposing the names of the donors supporting the Philharmonic, and their political stances. This had lead to the Palestinian News Agency's recent report that Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev is a patron of the orchestra, and that he has held a fundraiser for the US tour in his New York jewelry store.


The news agency quotes the Adalah-NY press release, saying that the orchestra partners with Leviev despite his involvement in the construction of Israeli settlements and his part in human rights violations that ensue from the southern African diamond trade.


Adalah New York further notes that the orchestra avoids commenting on Israeli foreign policy, and that it is identified by the American Friends of the IPO as a prominent goodwill ambassador, which gains it a spot at the forefront of cultural diplomacy.


The orchestra, which kicked off the tour on Sunday in Miami, Florida, was to hold eight performances in various cities, including San Francisco, Los Angeles and Seattle.


"Despite the alerts, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra will not give up a single concert," a spokesperson for the group told Ynet. "The US tour has turned into a tradition, and we don't have any intentions of folding in the face of threats. All the concerts have been sold out for five months, and we will not disappoint the audience."


The Philharmonic will performed on Tuesday in New York's Carnegie hall, conducted by Maestro Zubin Mehta and lead by pianist Yefim Bronfman. Among the repertoire are Avner Dorman's Azerbaijani Dance, Franz Liszt's Second Piano Concerto and Gustav Mahler's Fifth Symphony.



פרסום ראשון: 02.22.11, 09:42
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