2 September 2011


Thanks to Lee Whittaker for 8 of the photos

Proud to Disrupt the IPO

18 months ago I was proud to take part in the disruption of a concert by the Israeli Occupation Forces ‘Distinguished Musicians’ – the Jerusalem Quartet at London’s Wigmore Hall. But this was even better.

The Wigmore Hall has a capacity of around 300. The Royal Albert Hall holds around 4,000 and is a truly massive venue so it was always going to be much more difficult. It is therefore doubly gratifying to learn that we got the concert pulled from BBC Radio 3 with all the massive publicity that entailed.

We were promised enhanced security, bag searches etc. but this was all bluff. My bag search was cursory, there were no spotter cards of disruptors and I had no difficulty whatsoever getting to my seat! But I didn’t take any chances and with another Jewish comrade, Bruce of Ahava fame [yes we’re both Zionists according to Gilad Atzmon] we made our entrance via Hyde Park which was opposite, thus not giving the Zionist demonstrators any opportunity to pick us out. And the gods were with us because I made straight for an entrance away from the Zionists and it was the right one first time!! Clearly god isn’t always on the Zionists’ side!

I must confess that when I was approached earlier this week about taking part I was first hesitant, as I am still suffering from whiplash and the effects of a nasty car crash less than a month ago. So I didn’t particularly want to get into a bundle with security if it could be helped. I also didn’t like our seats, high up in the circle, as heights and me don’t mix, but it was the only way to display the flag!

And the organisation of the protest was impressive for its security and attention to detail. I think I can now reveal that choir practice was held on Lincoln's Inn Field, amidst all the barristers' chambers at 5.00 p.m.!

The turn-out for the demonstration from London and the lack of any mobilisation by Palestine Solidarity Campaign nationally was extremely disappointing. However a good 30 of us were in the hall and it seemed like half the Brighton branch of PSC were there. I counted 9 people.

There are of course those who say that this is cultural and musical and not political. This argument which the BBC puts out was, of course, the same argument that the BBC used to use to defend its coverage of cricket from White South Africa and why it refused to boycott Apartheid ‘culture’. And no doubt during the Nazi era, when the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and Wilhelm Furtwangler toured abroad as cultural ambassadors for Hitler the BBC would have used the same argument.

We though say, loud and clear, culture is an inextricable part of the tools of an oppressive state. It legitimises the oppression. it pretends that a state which loves the revolutionary Beeethoven couldn’t possibly be repressive. Those who listened to the IPO last night are of the same ilk who would have justified not disrupting Furtwangler. No doubt enjoying the BPO, Hitler's musical ambassadors, was more important than protesting about the Nuremburg Laws and the stripping of Jews political and civil rights in Germany (prior to their later deportation).

I just hope that if I’d lived through the 1930’s that I would have been part of those who gave the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra a warm welcome. Because the BPO, just like its Israeli counterparts, was subsidised by the State to portray a softer, kinder, gentler face of repression. All repressive states are Janus like. With one face turned towards international approval whilst the other face is armed and snarling.

And being Jewish it was doubly important for us to send the message that Israeli culture is the other side of the expulsions and massacres. What is more important? The child blinded by plastic bullets and beaten up in a military jail or the right of British toffs and Zionist racists to enjoy their 'culture'? And when Israel raids and detains workers at the Freedom Theatre in Jenin and attacks Palestinian Cultural Festivals only the worst hypocrite can protest about boycotts.

For further information see the BBC’s own report of what happened , coverage in the Electronic Intifada, the Guardian and a Zionist site bemoaning our triumph.

And the Zionists, being hypocrites, will moan and wail about the terrible disruption of their cultural enjoyment as they held a counterdemonstration alongside the fascist EDL of course. Strange that they forget that in the 1970's and 1980's during the Soviet Jewry campaign (a campaign aimed at getting settlers from Russia to come to Israel - primarily by stopping them emigrate to the USA where over 90% of them went - the Zionists campaigned for the US to impose immigration barriers and Begin went over to lobby Reagan!) the Zionists regularly disrupted the Bolshoi and Russian performers and artistic performances.

Strange that sauce for the Zionist goose isn't sauce for the Palestinian gander!

But the last word to Aharon Shabtai, Israel’s greatest living poet, who wrote refused to take part in the Paris book fair, who wrote:

Aharon Shabtai

‘Dear Edna,
Thank you for your letter.
I do not believe that a State that maintains an occupation, committing on a daily basis crimes against civilians, deserves to be invited to any kind of cultural week. That is, it is anti-cultural; it is a barbarian act masked as culture in the most cynical way. It manifests support for Israel, and even to France that sustains the occupation. And I do not want to participate.”
Kind regards,
Aharon Shabtai
7 December, 2007’

Tony Greenstein


  1. Well done Tony, and all the other comrades. It gave me great pleasure to see reports on the success of this action on News 24. Even with the somewhat negative reporting you at least got a mention for the Palestinians - which is quite something for the propaganda machine which is the BBC.

  2. Thanks it was well worth doing and without going into details, the planning that went into it would put Mossad to shame!

    And given the pro-Zionist record of the BBC it was even more important they did not get away with this.

  3. BBC to broadcast full London concert in response to anti-Israeli protest; anti-Israel activists had tried to persuade organizers to cancel concert.
    The protesters were wrestled to the ground and removed by security staff, cheered by the audience.

    Minister for Culture Ed Vaizey, who was in the audience tweeted, “Demonstrators seem to have turned the entire audience pro-Israel.”

    The BBC announced that they would broadcast the full IPO concert on Wednesday.

    “We will broadcast part of the concert next Wednesday 7 September at 2.30pm.

    MMM where exactly did u achieve anything.

  4. Josh sounds like one of those die-hard Apartheid (South African) supporters trying to make the best out of another disaster.

    No one imagined the BBC would cancel the concert but despite all the bluff and bravado of enhanced security we managed to continually disrupt the concert, forcing it to halt a number of times, and making it clear that Israeli artists and groups will not play abroad without being subject to the same. Especially when, as with the IPO and its Director, it gives support to the present state of affairs in Palestine.

    World-wide publicity was achieved for the cultural boycott of Israel. Who cares if the BBC rebroadcast it. You can obtain a CD anytime but we ensured that they wouldn't play undisturbed and the fact that Radio 3 had to take it off-air is proof of our victory!

  5. victory ???
    I would say stupidity, you just make people aware how low you are, just keep on doing it and make all the audiences Pro Israel as that what you want.
    All you got is Boo and that the concert will be played again and promotion for the next concert.
    You are just stupid to understand that if you want to sell something, make a scandal and it will sell better.

    I bet there will be more and more concerts now.

  6. "World-wide publicity was achieved for the cultural boycott of Israel."

    What boycott are u talking about, the number of international performances in Israel, gets bigger and stronger every year (look at the list of this year performances ignorant) ann NO concert of any Israeli cultural event was canceled.
    SO WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT, we are not fools, we don't live in La la land as you do.

    So where are your achievments exactly ????

  7. Good photo of the Zionist Feds demonstrating with the EDL. Amazing that they would still do that after what happened in Norway.
    Anyone who thinks the Israeli musicians are untainted by occupation would do well to read the following which I read on another blog.

    Gideon Gitai says:

    September 2, 2011 at 8:01 am

    Your readers may be interested to know, from my own experience, about a case of an action by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra that is incompatible with that of a democratic institute.

    In 1987 I produced a documentary film called “Nablus – a Rebellious Town”.

    In the film the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra was shot playing Dvorak’s “NEW WORLD SYMPHONY” in a special concert dedicated “IN LOVE TO THE I.D.F” . The sequence was shot in the Occupied West Bank to a crowd of Israeli soldiers gathered in a natural amphitheater in the Jordan Valley.

    At the time Maj. Gen. Amram Mitzna led the IDF Central Command. He gave me an interview saying that “The IDF has won the fight against the Palestinians, by “a combination of force and wisdom”.

    Gideon Gitai, film maker

  8. MMM where exactly did u achieve anything.
    - Josh.

    The BBC having to relocate their broadcast of the IPO concert reminds me of Jonathan Hoffman's claims that Palestine solidarity activists closing down the Ahava shop in Convent Garden, London, merely represented a strategic withdrawal to a better defensive position, rather than a defeat for zionism in Britian. See comments thread here -
    A Sweet Victory – Ahava Driven Out of Covent Garden
    02 Apr 2011

    Running Ahava out of town, closing down a nationwide BBC radio broadcast and Hitler's utterly disastrous 1941 anti-Soviet campaign, are all considered victories by our resident zio-brits.

    Remember and keep us Palestine solidarity supporters informed of any more such right-wing zionist success stories, so we can cheer and clap along too.

  9. It seems Josh still doesn't get it. We forced the BBC to cut its live coverage and of course people then ask why and what is the reason for the protests. Just like the Soviet Jewry campaign in fact.

    As for the audience,well they had made their views known when they ignored the requests of the picket to turn back and didn't. They were a bunch of self-satisfied, smug upper middle class twits or Zionists or both.

    In fact the kind of person who would have salivated when the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra toured Britain. And no doubt an idiot like Josh would have commented at the time 'what did you achieve' at the same time as the Zionists - who to be fair have never supported boycotts against anti-Semites (only Palestinians) - had destroyed the anti-Nazi boycott worldwide through their trade agreement (Ha'avarah) with Nazi Germany.

    Oh yes Josh, did you know that 60% of capital investment in the Yishuv (pre-state Zionist community in Palestine) came from Nazi Germany. The rise of the Nazis was considered by Ben Gurion, according to his hagiographer, Shabtai Teveth, a 'beneficial opportunity'.

    As for concerts in Israel, what is good is that so many artists now steer clear of the place - Santana, Elvis Costello etc. But like South Africa the Boycott is still only at the beginning stages but it has now taken off and we have given a powerful message that Israel's cultural ambassadors are not welcome in Britain.

  10. Among die-hard Israel supporters there are quite a few like ‘Josh’: near illiterates. Then of course you have real luvvies like Geert Wilders, Pamela Geller, Glenn Beck, Mad Mel, Alan Jerkovitch, David Horriblewitz, Daniel Pipes, the EDL (et al) and countless others.

    A small victory but well deserved by you guys, Tony. You really have to wonder what kind of people go and listen to the IPO: political ignoramuses or Zionists, surely? The IPO is clearly the ‘cultural face’ of Israel’s murder, colonisation and transfer machine, part of ‘Brand Israel’. And I bet these tools get paid well for their toil too…

  11. "As for concerts in Israel, what is good is that so many artists now steer clear of the place - Santana, Elvis Costello etc."

    You are a joke and a Liar, bring evidence for the "so many" that cancelled this year.
    the number of international concerts this year in Israel increased, with No cancelations.
    More and more are coming and more will come next year.
    (seen you pathetic cry to Bob Dylan to cancel with all your useless demo's.........)

    No Israeli concert out side of Israel was cancelled.

    So where is your great victory .

    L liked the quote "Modern-day Israel-bashers bring to mind those loopy people who claim to suffer from Chemical Sensitivity Disorder"

  12. One also notices the language of class hatred employed by detractors of the Palestine solidarity activists, depressingly familiar to anyone who has grown up in England: activists are dismissed as worthless 'thugs', 'hooligans', 'yobs'. Of course, they are also charged with being anti-Semites and Nazi blackshirts....

    Wow what victory ???

  13. Josh is right. There are still artists who go to Israel. Such as Joan Armatrading who played in the 'Soldiers of Fortune' shot in South Africa. Of course there are artists who put their own interests before anything else and that includes Dylan, who today is a washed up ex-Christian fundamentalist and Zionist, with his 'neighbourhood bully'.

    But then again there are artists with integrity such as the late Gill Scott-Heron, Snoopy Dogg, Roger Waters & Pink Floyd etc. Cultural Boycott is an ongoing process, as it is with South Africa.

    As Israel increases its human rights violations and its apartheid nature is clearer to all then little liar Josh will still be pounding the beat for Apartheid on the internet

  14. shame you survived the car crash - maybe next time ...

  15. I am right as you mentioned and you are the Liar.
    Roger Waters performed in Israel...... after he got paid, he opened his mouth...... Typical hypocrite.
    & Pink Floyd never intended to perform in Israel, so stop your Lies.
    No one canceled his concert this year.
    No one.
    The list of International first class performers increases every year and they ALL love to come to Israel.
    So call yourself a "little liar" .
    I bet you will cancel this comment as you don't have any basic integrity to accept criticism, mister "pure angel".

  16. Hi Tony,
    Thank you for this wonderful piece of writing. You have inspired me greatly to check where my produce is from and increase my awareness further. I appreciate your hard work and resilience.
    In solidarity from Ireland

  17. I thought I'd post the nice little post about surviving a car crash. And these Zionists say that they oppose anti-Semitism. Scratch a Zionist and u find an anti-Semite without fail.

    Roger Waters has now signed up fully to Boycotting Israel. Another victory methinks. No Pink Floyd didn't schedule to play, because they support a Boycott!! You are such a fool, albeit a tiresome one, Josh.

    Go back to your apartheid playground and pretend all is sunny!

  18. Congratulations! well done! That is called hitting the right note.

  19. London Phil Orchestra suspends anti-Israel musicians
    mmmmm "such expression has to be independent of the LPO itself and must not be done in any way that associates them with the LPO,” the statement stated." (they are nothing independent, so.... there is a price for everything)

    Why want you go an establish with them a philharmonic in Syria, or Lybia your favorite human countries.


    No, no victory as the Israeli Philharmonic is taken off air. A real victory would be when the Gaza Philharmonic is on air (in London), but of course that will never happen since

    1) the 'Palestinians' have a different area of interest/specialism and a slightly different understanding of 'culture', and
    2) the first signs of talibanisation of a Muslim society are the prohibition of music and the destruction of non-Islamic heritage. That being said, the Gazans especially are far beyond talibanisation.

    Wow, and I am particularly affected that Snoop Doggie Dog is refusing to perform in Israel. Such an exceptional musician, right au par with Zubin Mehta, but what am I saying here, with Yehudi Menuhin!!! I am so in pain, all I can say is Good riddance/Baruch Sheptaranu. After this great loss I'm going to seek comfort in some Ahava hand cream, it's their best-selling product and really works :-)


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