Jewish anti-Israel activists back Nigel Kennedy's 'apartheid' comments

Violinist Nigel Kennedy

Violinist Nigel Kennedy

Dozens of Jewish anti-Israel activists have written an open letter in support of Nigel Kennedy's apartheid comments made at the Proms.

They attacked the BBC's decision to censor a broadcast of the violinist's Royal Albert Hall performance of Vivaldi's Four Seasons in which he launched a thinly-veiled attack on Israel.

Among the signatories of the letter published in today's Telegraph, were veteran activists Deborah Fink, Tony Greenstein, Abe Hayeem, Moshe Machover, Miriam Margolyes, Jonathan Rosenhead, Alexei Sayle and Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi.

They represent groups including Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods and the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine.

A number of the signatories attended the concert, which they describe in the letter as "exhilarating".

They wrote: "As Jewish campaigners for equality, justice and freedom for all in Israel/Palestine, we urge the BBC to acknowledge his comments as an integral part of a performance which was warmly received by an enthusiastic Proms crowd.

"The BBC owes television viewers the right to see the event uncensored, in its entirety."

The letter also referred to last week's JC story which broke the news of the censorship, and they claimed that the BBC had been "subjected to pressure from pro-Israel advocates".

At the performance earlier this month, Mr Kennedy had told the audience: “It’s a bit facile to say it, but we all know from the experience of this night of music that giving equality and getting rid of apartheid gives a beautiful chance for things to happen.”

The remarks were broadcast live on BBC Radio 3. The censored concert will be broadcast on television on BBC Four on Friday.

Among those who complained to the Corporation about Mr Kennedy’s comments was former BBC governor Baroness Deech, who called for an apology.

Last updated: 10:08am, September 1 2013