Israeli-Arab event in UK cancelled

A London networking evening for Arab and Jewish business leaders has been cancelled after its Palestinian hostess was pressured into pulling out by her friends and relatives.

Plans for the private home reception, due to be held on November 5, had been at an advanced stage.

The Arab-Jewish Ensemble, also known as Sheshbesh, is part of the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra’s educational department. It had been booked to perform at the event.

But the unidentified woman contacted organisers last week to say she had to cancel after being told by Palestinian friends and family that she should not host Israelis and Jews in her home.

Yossi Arnheim, IPO’s lead flautist, said he was “very disappointed” that the event had been called off.

“In Israel if you want to do something with Palestinians you can do it, but if you are in the Palestinian community, even in London, pressure is put on you not to do it. I want to believe there are people on the Palestinian side who want to have normal relations with Jews and Israelis. There are, but they are pressured not to. We want to support the message that it is possible to do things together.”

Mr Arnheim’s group, which promotes co-existence, is visiting Britain to perform three concerts, including one for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.

    Last updated: 5:45pm, October 29 2009