Cadogan Hall ‘sorry’ over nakba advert

By Leon Symons, September 12, 2008

A top London concert venue has apologised for any upset it caused by including a political statement in an advert for a Palestinian concert next month.

The advert appeared in a brochure for the autumn season at Cadogan Hall in Chelsea, south west London.

Below details which outlined "a cultural celebration through music and words in support of Palestine" was a paragraph that read: "2008 is the 60th anniversary of the nakba (catastrophe) when thousands of Palestinians were forced to flee their homes in the wake of the establishment of the state of Israel, and this concert is dedicated to them."

At the foot of the advert, below the ticket prices, another line stated that the concert was "an evening in support of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign", giving the PSC's web address.

Concert-goer Frank Skinner emailed the hall's general manager, Adam McGinlay, and senior executives at its owner Cadogan Estates, saying: "I was somewhat disturbed to read the details of the concert you are holding on October 22 as you say ‘in support of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign'.

"This is a highly contentious and difficult issue, with very complex social and political standpoints on both sides.

"I have looked through the entire programme and cannot find one other concert in aid of any other political cause, or for that matter in aid of any UK or international charity. As a major venue in London for concerts, for you and Cadogan Estates to take such a one-sided view on an emotive political subject like this has got to be wrong.

"What about the civilian population of Sderot in Israel, who live under a daily barrage of indiscriminate Palestinian rockets - any opinion or concert for them?"

Mr McGinlay said he was "personally unhappy" to receive such a complaint. He said: "I sincerely apologise if we have, albeit unwittingly, angered or upset you. This was never our intention, as we aim to present cultural concerts celebrating music the world over."

He said he had taken up the matter with the PSC, which had told him: "Our concert is a cultural event - there will be no political speeches. Our aim in this event is to promote Palestinian culture, particularly as in the West most people only know about Palestine through the conflict and politics."

Cadogan Hall's marketing manager, Lisa McFaul, said: "It certainly was not our intention to upset anyone with the wording of the brochure." She said the hall had previously hosted the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and an event run by the Jewish Music Institute.

"The advert may appear one-sided but Cadogan Hall has always been impartial, non-political and non-religious. We will not repeat that comment," she added.


Last updated: 4:09pm, September 11 2008