Boycotters threaten Israel prom

By Jessica Elgot, August 11, 2011

The Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra is to be targeted by pro-Palestinian pickets when it performs at the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall on September 1.

BRICUP, which promotes academic and cultural boycotts of Israel, called for a boycott of the sold-out concert and sent an open letter to Proms director Roger Wright.

The organisation's chair, emeritus professor Jonathan Rosenhead, wrote: "By inviting the IPO, a pillar of the Israeli state system and of its cultural propaganda campaign, you provide the Israeli government, perpetrator of the Cast Lead invasion of Gaza and of so many other violations of international law and of human rights, with the support that they crave."

Professor Rosenhead added: "For years now the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been promoting 'Brand Israel', a deliberate PR campaign to divert people's gaze from what they are doing to Palestinians. The idea is to craft a new image by focusing on Israel's cultural and scientific achievements."

But the BBC's Roger Wright said: "The invitation to the orchestra is a purely musical one, giving the audience the opportunity to hear this fine orchestra during this year's Proms, not least in the 75th birthday year of its conductor Zubin Mehta."

No-one from the IPO was prepared to comment.

Last updated: 1:03pm, August 11 2011