Protesters disrupt Jerusalem Quartet broadcast

A lunchtime performance by the Jerusalem Quartet at London’s Wigmore Hall, being broadcast live on BBC Radio Three, was taken off air partway through the concert on Monday afternoon after protesters disrupted the event. But the musicians played on and completed the Mozart and Ravel concert programme.

The clash came after four or five pro-Palestinian protesters bought tickets for the concert, and, about five to ten minutes into the music, began shouting and heckling the Israeli musicians. They shouted: “The Quartet, who are cultural ambassadors for the state of Israel, are promoting the interests of Israel and all its policies against the Palestinians, to the British public.”

The demonstrators were taken away by Wigmore Hall security officers and a decision was taken by the concert hall management to take the broadcast off-air "in order to deny these people publicity."

A clearly shaken John Gilhooly, director of the Wigmore Hall, told the JC: "It is such a pity that music has become politicised." He said that the concert had continued
until the end and that an edited version, leaving out the interruptions and the shouting, would be re-transmitted by BBC Radio Three on Saturday, April 3.

In September 2008 members of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Camnpaign broke up a performance by the Jerusalem Quartet in Edinburgh, and are currently still facing legal proceedings over that demonstration.

On Tuesday international protests were planned as pro-Palestinian supporters held its Second Global Day of Action on Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Against Israel.

Last updated: 11:39am, April 1 2010