A letter from Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods, headlined Nigel Kennedy silenced, appears on page 27 of today’s Daily Telegraph (22 August). It has been published virtually unedited. It appears online among a number of other letters on different subjects. The full text is reproduced below.

There is also a write-up by John Bingham, the paper’s religious affairs editor.

Nigel Kennedy silenced

SIR – Some of us were present at the exhilarating celebration of musical artistry of Nigel Kennedy’s Four Seasons Prom, with the Palestine Strings (Ivan Hewett, telegraph.co.uk). We congratulate the BBC for giving young players from the Edward Said Conservatory an all-too-rare opportunity to demonstrate the vitality of Palestinian cultural life, despite all the obstacles they face.

It now appears that the BBC intends to censor tomorrow’s broadcast of the concert, redacting a statement by Kennedy in which he hinted at the harsh conditions under which Palestinian musicians live. He said the Prom performance showed that “given equality and getting rid of apartheid gives a beautiful chance for amazing things to happen”.

The BBC said these words do not “fall within the editorial remit of the Proms as a classical music festival”. Kennedy responded with a statement condemning an “imperial lack of impartiality”. We note the Jewish Chronicle’s report indicating that the BBC has been subjected to pressure from pro-Israel advocates.

As Jewish campaigners for equality, justice and freedom for all in Israel/Palestine, we urge the BBC to acknowledge his comments as an integral part of a performance which was warmly received by an enthusiastic Proms crowd. The BBC owes television viewers the right to see the event uncensored, in its entirety.

George Abendstern 
Seymour Alexander 
Craig Berman 
Linda Clair 
Mike Cushman 
Nancy Elan 
Pia Feig 
Deborah Fink 
Tony Greenstein 
Abe Hayeem 
Rosamine Hayeem 
Riva Joffe 
Leah Levane 
Rachel Lever 
Dr Les Levidow 
Prof Moshé Machover 
Beryl Maizels 
Miriam Margolyes
Dr Simon Pirani 
Renate Prince 
Roland Rance 
Prof Jonathan Rosenhead
Chair, British Committee for the Universities of Palestine
Leon Rosselson
Dr Joan Safran 
Sabby Sagall 
Alexei Sayle
Miriam Scharf 
Stanley Walinets 
Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi 
Secretary, Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods 
Devra Wiseman 
Naomi Woodspring 
Terry Yason

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