“We will picket the Proms”:

BRICUP calls on ‘music-lovers of conscience’ to boycott the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra

J-BIG endorses this statement from the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine protesting the scheduled appearance of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra at the BBC Proms in London on September 1.

Add your voice by sending protest emails to Proms Director Roger Wright c/o his assistant: yvette.pusey@bbc.co.uk

Hard copy letters to:

Roger Wright,
Controller BBC Radio 3
Director BBC Proms,
Broadcasting House,
Portland Place
London W1B 1DJ

PRESS RELEASE 7th August 2011

BRICUP, the organisation promoting academic and cultural boycott of Israel within the UK, today called on promenaders to shun the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra when it plays at the Royal Albert Hall on 1st September.

BRICUP was responding to the open letter sent to the Proms organisers on July 18th by PACBI, its Palestinian counterpart.  PACBI referred to “the IPO’s complicity in whitewashing Israel’s persistent violations of international law and human rights”, mentioning specifically the IPO’s services to the Israeli army dating back to the ethnic cleansing of the Nakba in 1948 and the occupations of 1967, and continuing up to the present day: “the IPO proudly announces its partnership with the army under a scheme whereby special concerts for Israeli soldiers are organized at their army outposts”.  On behalf of the leading Palestinian musical and cultural organisations, PACBI called on the BBC to withdraw its invitation to the IPO.

BRICUP wrote its own letter to Roger Wright, Director of the Proms, on 31st July, attaching a copy of PACBI’s Open Letter for good measure. In it BRICUP’s chair, 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.  Cancel the concert!”

Like PACBI, BRICUP has received no reply from the BBC.

“This is no surprise to anyone who knows what the BBC is like regarding Palestine”, said Dr. Sue Blackwell, one of 19 people who pursued an appeal to the BBC Trust concerning bias in the Panorama programme about the Israeli assault on the Mavi Marmara.  “The BBC would not even screen the Disasters Emergency Committee appeal for civilians in Gaza who had had their homes and schools bombed in Operation Cast Lead, and they recently bleeped the word ‘Palestine’ out of a rap performance by Mic Righteous.”

“We can only assume they are ignoring us” said BRICUP’s Chris Burns-Cox.  “They are mistaken if they think we will just go away.  We are now calling on all music-lovers of conscience to boycott this Prom, and to call on the BBC to cancel it.  We will be picketing and leafleting outside the Royal Albert Hall on 1st September”.

Prof. Rosenhead said: “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. This Prom concert by the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra is part of the Brand Israel campaign.”

Notes for Editors

1.            Details of the Prom appear on the BBC website here:

2.            The PACBI (Palestinian BDS campaign) call for academic and cultural boycott of Israel:

3.            PACBI’s open letter: “Out of Tune with Human Rights”

   BBC Proms: Cancel Israel Philharmonic Orchestra Invitation

4.            BRICUP’s letter to Roger Wright:

July 31 2011

Roger Wright,

Controller BBC Radio 3
Director BBC Proms,
Broadcasting House,
Portland Place
London
W1B 1DJ

Dear Roger Wright

Israel Philharmonic at the Proms

You may already be aware of the call from the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel for the invitation to the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra to perform at this year’s Proms season to be cancelled. In case you have not, I attach a copy of their Open Letter.

I shall not repeat here the arguments in that letter, signed by an impressive array of Palestinian cultural organisations. They are supported also by British organizations concerned to see justice for Palestinians. Boycott is a non-violent way, requested by Palestinian civil society, to bring the pressure of world civil society to bear on the Israeli public and government. 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.

 Cancel the concert!

Yours sincerely

(Professor) Jonathan Rosenhead

Chair, BRICUP

Please reply to: [ home address supplied ]

www.bricup.org.uk

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