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.
Dr Les Levidow
Prof Moshé Machover
Dr Simon Pirani
Prof Jonathan Rosenhead
Chair, British Committee for the Universities of Palestine
Dr Joan Safran
Secretary, Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods