When the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra was founded shortly before World War Two, its members included Jewish musicians fleeing persecution in Europe. Sadly, there are still many in Europe who would like to silence Jewish performers, and tonight the Israel-haters of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign did their best to disrupt a concert by the IPO at London’s Royal Albert Hall.
Members of the group infiltrated the audience, and began booing and singing at several points during the performance. Around 30 people were removed from the hall to jeers from the majority of the audience. The BBC had to suspend its radio broadcast of the concert.
Back in Israel the IPO’s educational project works with both Jewish and Arab schoolchildren and musicians, and in 1999 the orchestra played to a mixed audience of Israeli and Palestinian children; the Palestinian intifada in 2000 put an end to such bridge-building events. But those efforts aren’t enough to spare it the attentions of the PSC, which clearly sees the orchestra as a soft target against which to vent its hatred of all things Israeli and Jewish.