Call for Italian ban on the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra

Call for Italian ban on the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra


norman lebrecht

September 11, 2011

A coalition of pro-Pal groups, including the Italian campaign for Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel and the Naqba Remembrance Committee, have called for this week’s Israel Philharmonic concerts in Milan and Turin to be banned. It quotes, by way of justification of the half-truths and equivocations, used by those who sought to ban and later to wreck the IPO concerts at the BBC Proms. The protestors promise to make ‘a garrison’ in Milan and Turin on the nights of the concerts.

I attach the appeal, followed by a Google translation (it’s not worthy of anything better).

The orchestra meanwhile, has continued its tour to Germany and Switzerland without disruption and evidently quite happily. Read its blog here.

photo: Mischa Maisky with IPO players

Comunicato stampa 9 settembre 2011
Oggetto: Settembre Musica ignora, come il Salone del Libro, il problema dei
diritti umani

Nell’ambito di Settembre Musica 2011 si terranno due concerti della Israel
Philarmonica Orchestra (IPO) diretta da Zubin Mehta, il primo a Milano, il 13
settembre 2011 alle ore 21.00, al Teatro degli Arcimboldi, il secondo a Torino,
il 14 settembre 2011 alle ore 21.00, all’Auditorium Giovanni Agnelli  –

La Israel Philarmonica Orchestra (IPO) continua a prestare i suoi servizi
all’esercito suonando per i soldati israeliani nei loro avamposti militari.
Sul sito dell’IPO si può leggere “The IPO plays in subscription series, … and
special concerts for IDF soldiers at their outposts”. (L’IPO suona in stagioni in
abbonamento … e in concerti speciali per i soldati israeliani nei loro

Il PACBI (Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel)
ha più volte sottolineato la complicità dell’IPO nel coprire le continue
violazioni israeliane del diritto internazionale e dei diritti umani e la sua
partecipazione alle campagne di propaganda del Brand israeliano, come quella che
si è svolta a giugno con l’occupazione israeliana di piazza del Duomo a Milano

Israele continua ad occupare militarmente la Cisgiordania, Gerusalemme e la
Striscia di Gaza. In totale sprezzo del diritto internazionale, ha usato e
continua a usare la forza militare per annettere nuovo territorio, confiscare la
terra dei palestinesi e costruire insediamenti illegali.

Le numerose risoluzioni dell’ONU approvate dal 1947 non hanno mutato la
situazione. I governi del mondo non hanno fatto nulla per porre fine
all’occupazione israeliana.
Il 9 luglio 2005 la società civile palestinese ha rivolto alla comunità
internazione un invito a fare quanto è stato fatto a suo tempo per rovesciare il
regime di apartheid in Sudafrica, una campagna di boicottaggio, anche culturale,
di disinvestimenti e sanzioni contro Israele.

Per queste ragioni chiediamo a MI-To Settembre Musica 2011 di cancellare i
concerti dell’orchestra dell’esercito israeliano.

In ogni caso, effettueremo un presidio il 13 a Milano e il 14 a Torino, a
partire dalle 19.30, per contestare la presenza dell’orchestra israeliana e per
condannare l’insensibilità morale delle istituzioni culturali milanesi e
torinesi, come è avvenuto a Londra in occasione del concerto alla Royal Albert
Hall l’1 settembre u.s.

Circolo Internazionalista di Torino
ICACBI, Italian Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel
ISM-Italia (International Solidarity Movement – Italia)
Comitato Ricordare la Nakba

Torino, 9 settembre 2011

Press Release September 9, 2011
Subject: Music skips in September, as the Book Fair, the problem of
Human Rights

As part of Music in September 2011 there will be two concerts of the Israel
Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO) conducted by Zubin Mehta, the first in Milan, 13
September 2011 at 21.00, at the Teatro degli Arcimboldi, the second in Turin,
September 14, 2011 at 21:00 in the Auditorium Giovanni Agnelli –

The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO) continues to provide its services
Army playing for the Israeli soldiers in their military outposts.
IPO on the site you can read “The IPO plays in the subscription series, and …
special concerts for IDF soldiers at Their outposts. ” (The IPO plays seasons
… subscription and special concerts for the Israeli soldiers in their
outposts “)

The PACBI (Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel)
has repeatedly stressed the complicity in covering the ongoing IPO
Israeli violations of international law and human rights and its
participation in the propaganda campaigns of the Brand Israel, like the one
took place in June with the Israeli occupation of the Piazza del Duomo in Milan

Israel continues to occupy militarily the West Bank, Jerusalem and the
Gaza Strip. In total disregard of international law, has used and
continues to use military force to annex new territory, confiscating
Palestinians’ land and build illegal settlements.

The numerous UN resolutions passed since 1947 have not changed
situation. The world’s governments have done nothing to end
Israeli occupation.
On July 9, 2005 Palestinian civil society has turned to the community
internally an invitation to do what has been done in the past to overthrow the
apartheid regime in South Africa, a campaign of boycott, also cultural,
divestment and sanctions against Israel.

For these reasons we ask to MI-To Music September 2011 to remove the
concerts of the orchestra of the Israeli army.

In any case, we will make a garrison in Milan on 13 and 14 in Turin,
Starting from 19.30 to challenge the Israeli presence and orchestra
condemn the moral insensitivity of cultural institutions in Milan and
Turin, as happened in London during the concert at the Royal Albert
Hall on September 1 u.s.

International circle of Turin
ICACBI, Italian Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel
Italy-ISM (International Solidarity Movement – Italy)
Remember the Nakba Committee

Turin, September 9, 2011


  • Alexander Radziewski says:

    Reading the text in Italian and English gives the impression to me, that this PACBI-group -they are not pro-palestinian because they damage the interests of the large majority of arab people to live in peace and dignity- closed their eyes and ears during the last years. They are so much from the old school and unprogressiv.

  • Tone row says:

    Please someone tell the IPO to take that damned ambiguously meaningless sentence of their website!

  • Anne S says:

    Violence breeds violence and hate breeds hate…
    An illustration of the vicious tornado that has taken hold of that region and its people, with nothing in sight now but a sink hole of tit for tat violence and intolerance.

  • mick says:

    Strictly speaking, because the partition was not adopted, the allotment of the entire land by the League of Nations per the San Remo agreement, is for the “homeland of the Jewish people”. This is actual international law, something that is apparently irrelevant in the discussion of “international law”, which means whatever Israel does is illegal regardless of what treaties and mandates say.

  • Julian Rowlands says:

    The key phrase is “Palestinian civil society” – this should actually read “people claiming to represent Palestinian civil society”‘. This is typical of the pretentious and deceitful language used to dress up this disastrous boycott campaign.

  • Geoff Pahoff says:

    This is perhaps the worst thing about the BDS campaign.

    They are campaigning for the tearing down of the Israeli state and all its institutions so of course they do not care at all about the human rights of Israelis, irrespective of whether they are Jews or Arabs. You can see the hate in their eyes. They justify this by a series of what can only be called antisemitic lies and blood libels.. “They stole the land”. “Apartheid”. “They deliberately kill children”. In my country they are even picketing “Zionist/Jewish” chocolate shops and shouting “You have blood in your hot chocolate” outside these businesses. This street filth have even had the gall to accuse Jews of “genocide”.

    It gets even worse. A big mouth, manifest ignorance of history, and a dysfunctional moral compass , together with a head self-inserted in a dark and scary place, are all bad enough. But think of the Palestinians. Do they really think they are helping them? I don’t believe it.

    They do these tragic people a grave disservice. I have come to believe they do this because they care about the human rights of the Palestinians even less than they care about the human rights of the Israelis. Certainly they have no interest in seeing any improvement for these people. It seems to suit them to keep them the way they are. It often suits others. That monster in Damascus used Palestinians as fodder at the Israeli border in his desperate war against his own people and likely will do it again or use them in some other way.

    No one can seriously believe that the Jewish state is simply going to dissolve like a pillar of salt as if it was the old apartheid regime in South Africa. It is not the old apartheid regime in South Africa and those who spit that racist lie must be confronted.

    If necessary in the Royal Albert Hall.

    BDS sounds new but it has always been with us. So have the elements behind it. There is nothing whatsoever in this for the Palestinians except more years of life stultifying misery and greivance without end as the plaything of every war-threatening tyrant in a part of the world full of war- threatening tyrants..This inludes Hamas of course. If they are not threatening wars they are actually waging wars or slaughtering their own populations and that includes Hamas too. Hamas is a regime that has thrown political opponents from top floor office windows and uses firing squads and the murder of opponents’ children as political tactics. Those who wish to ponder the state of the human rights of the Palestinians should think about that.

    They should also think about the treatment of homosexuals under Hamas and other Islamist regimes. Israel is a sanctuary for Palestinian gays. Also religious minorities.The Ba’ Hai have been saved by Israel from Iran where they were being butchered and are still persecuted. It is not just Jews that Israel has saved. Women,gays, religious minorities, political groups, Arabs, music,–,all these are free in Israel and only in Israel in that part of the world.. There is hope with the Arab Spring but as it stands Israel still has the only truly free Arab citizens in all the Middle East.

    The way of BDS is to take all this away.. This is what they say. Israel is an apartheid state. It must be dismantled. Palestine is to be free from the river to the sea.That has always been the way of BDS. The Islamist extremists and hard left behind BDS don’t care about freeing the Palestinians. They are for enslaving the Palestinians along with all Arabs. They always have been. All the rest are just gormless dupes. Pests.

    It is sad to see Jews jumping to be used as cover for this horrible thing but that has always happened. Sometimes they lead it. It is in the nature of Jewishness that this is their prerogative and probably why it happens as well. . Why they do it is another subject and thankfully not my line. It is a matter for a psychologist or rabbi or expert on extremism and bigotry or all three. It should not impress anyone. It is after all a very easy thing to do.

    However musicians tearing down a performance by visiting musicians before their audience? Trying to sing over them or whatever they did? This is not just bad manners. No dope fuelled back yard garage metal band would do that. There’s something eery and stark about it. Something severe and new. I cannot think of a single precedent. Not in any form of music or even pop culture. There’s the glorious and famous national anthems scene in “Casablanca” but it would be a blasphemy too far to claim that..

    I think the jerks have got it. No true musician has ever done this before.

    Please do what you can to persuade your Italian colleagues to have nohing to do with this terrible and dangerous thing. No one needs it. Arabs or Jews. It leads to bloodshed. The Israelis can certainly do without it and the Palestinians need it least of all..What they need are two states. A Jewish state and an Arab state. Simple. Problem solved. Why will they not allow it? Those looking for the testing of moral certainties will find it in the answer to that question.

    It is terrible to see musicians have been swept into the forming whirlwind and in the very heart of Europe again. Those waging this war of symbols and base propaganda against the Jews know exactly what they are doing.

    Thank you Mr Lebrecht for allowing space for my views on your fine site.

    If I could make one suggestion as the best way for London music culture to respond to this nasty incident and kill any possibility of enduring harm it would be this.

    A concert.

    In honour of the Jewish people and the State of Israel and in tribute to the enormity of the achievement last century of their national liberation movement , Zionism.

    I don’t have to name the venue.

    That will kill off any chance of you seeing an incident like this ever again in a London music hall.

  • Julian Rowlands says:

    I think that as performing artists who value our freedom to do our job without intimidation this disgraceful campaign necessitates one response: we are all Israelis now.