Live: Israel Prom disrupted by protesters – BBC broadcast cut off (update)

Live: Israel Prom disrupted by protesters – BBC broadcast cut off (update)


norman lebrecht

September 01, 2011

Tonight’s BBC Prom concert by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra was disturbed by a handful of protesters shouting pro-Palestinian slogans.

Some of the disrupters were removed and the concert was allowed to proceed, but the BBC stopped the live performance ‘because of disruption in the Royal Albert Hall’.

An attempt was made to resume the broadcast after the interval, but other protesters popped up and once again records were played instead.

The audience in the hall, I hear, reacted strongly against the disruption.

The Culture Minister Ed Vaizey, who was at the concert, tweeted: Demonstrators seem to have turned entire audience pro Israel

Columnist Deborah Orr tweeted: I’m pro-Palestinian myself. But interrupting a concert? It’s just a good night out for people who like making self-righteous trouble.

Louise Mensch MP added: How pathetic.  Totally wrong of BBC to cut broadcast. Disgraceful.

The BBC has refrained from making any comment on air, or reporting the incident so far on its website. One imagines there was some policy in place to deal with anticipated trouble, but I can’t see any coherence in the response.

The incident is almost identical to the organised attack on a recital by the Jerusalem Quartet at the Wigmore Hall by a tiny group of hardcore agitators. it may well be that some of the same individuals are involved tonight.

The BBC has said it will broadcast a recording of part of the concert next Wednesday.

LATEST: The attack has been reported on BBC News. Here’s the first press report in the Telegraph.


More here.


  • Alice says:

    They aren’t going to gain any sympathy doing this. Concerts are a place to ESCAPE politics, not to act rude in the name of politics.

  • Lauren says:

    viva Israel!

    btw, did you know that the BDS (doycott israel movement) founder is Tel- Aviv University student?

    he calls on the world to boycott the university in which he studies.

    what’s so ironic about is that in South Africa he could have never attend the “whitesjews for that matter” university and learn whatever he wants…

  • Janey says:

    These same folks inundated Renee Fleming with tweets, petitions and letters before she performed in Jerusalem.

    I really don’t understand how they think attacking an orchestra will achieve anything.

  • Sam Hathaway says:

    Was listening to the concert on Radio 3 since seats were sold out long in advance to the many who wanted to see and hear Zubin Mehta conduct. Political activists closing down a concert has no place in the cultural life of this country. Music, like sport, transcends politics and overcomes barriers. It brings people together and should not be abused in this way.

  • Michael Sackin says:

    It’s important not to lose sight of the plight of the Palestinians. That’s what the protests were about.

  • Michael Smith says:

    Let’s be clear about this. This is not a political protest or anything close to real debate. This is the action of Jew-hating crypto-fascists. I’m glad I couldn’t get there tonight, because if someone next to me had tried to disrupt, they’d be in hospital eating out of a straw.

    Meanwhile, let’s be alert to the ‘anti-zionists’ around us. We know what their real agenda is. Make sure other people do.

    • Mark Kerpin says:

      Zionism has no place, but Palestinian nationalism does? Ruins your argument that it’s not about ethnicity, doesn’t it?

      • eda smyth says:

        Palestinians are people who want to live freely in the region they are connected to whether they are Muslims, Jews or Christians. They are opposed to the contrived notion that a people can usurp a land on religious grounds. That is the unnatural situation Zionism has worked to create but it is unstable simply because it is unjust and the world knows. The Palestinian cause goes to the heart of people across the globe because there is a principle of equality at issue and it is just childish to accuse all these people of anti-semitism. In any case these arguments have been made to no seeming avail for decades now but it does feel that the circle is turning and the Arab spring has its own momentum and perhaps borders will be crossed and old regimes will fall.

    • Michael Smith says:

      ‘I’m not an anti-semite, I’m an anti-Zionist’. The old fascist lie.

  • Roberto says:

    Nobody commits more atrocities against Palestinian than Palestinians themselves. For many years Israel is out of Gaza. Your comment is hateful.

  • Gerhard says:

    ‘You are not an anti-Zionist, you are just anti-semitic!’ This is an equally old and widespread lie, and I daresay that the ones who use it at any given opportunity have done more to convince others that there is something sadly wrong with Israel as it is now, than all pro-Palestinian activists together.

    This been said I don’t think that musicians should demand a boycott of fellow musicians, unless it is because of actions of their own (the name Minczuk comes to mind). So I do not share the views of the colleagues on Mr. Lebrecht’s ‘list of shame’, and disrupting a concert I regard per se as a vile and disgraceful act. But I’m shocked to read in which way people who have done no more than to voice their opinion, are treated in this blog which I have read and enjoyed very frequently for quite some time. It seems to me that the shame is found elsewhere than on this ominous list.