Israel Philharmonic hands free pass to pro-Pal agitators

Israel Philharmonic hands free pass to pro-Pal agitators


norman lebrecht

January 03, 2012

In the Times (off-line) today,  the long-serving secretary general of the Israel Philharmonic, Avi Shoshani, announces that the orchestra may never return to Britain after last summer’s Proms disruption.

‘I don’t think I really want to return to the UK,’ he tells Neil Fisher. ‘Why should I put my musicians in such an unpleasant situation? We want to make people happy – that’s what music is all about – and if people behave in such an uncivilised way why should we be part of it?’

The stupidity of his statement, in contrast to so many other reasoned arguments,  beggars belief. In two sloppy sentences, Shoshani delivers a slap in the face to the BBC, the Times and the British public who supported the orchestra’s right to be heard at the Proms – and an unearned victory to the Boycott Israel campaign which cannot surely believe its luck that Israel’s musical flagship has slunk off, defeated.

His remarks contradict Zubin Mehta’s determination to present the orchestra on every major stage and to make the orchestra more reprsesentative of its multi-cultured country. The IPO has yet to admit its first Arab Israeli player and is losing audiences among the younger generation and the religious sector.

Shoshani is employed by the orchestra as secretary general, a position less authoritative than chief executive. He has taken recently to speaking out in its name.

He has been in the job since 1973 and in that time the world has changed and Shoshani hasn’t. If Israel and its orchestra want to join the 21st century, they may need to nudge Avi Shoshani, 63, towards a well-earned retirement.


  • Anyway, art is in a strong hands of politic. At last 10 years more and more. Simply because of finances. Politicians like to give the money for their interests-everywhere. But MUSIC will survive, for sure, and they will not….history describes it so good….political accidents in art are happening. Art is good article to use, but in the same time it is to dangerous. Musicians has to play, to love, to create, to live for every nice sound, all this kind of misunderstandes are no important for a FUTURE of musical ART!

  • Jonathan Hoffman says:

    could not agree more

  • Jonathan Hoffman says:

    Why have the Police and Crown Prosecution Service taken no action against the cultural hooligans who disrupted the concert?

    It was a clear case of Aggravated Trespass and the identity of at least some of the culprits is known from video evidence and from witnesses including myself.

    Will those who ruined the concert both for those in the Hall and for millions of radio listeners really go scot-free?

    What kind of a precedent would this set for other high profile events – including at the Olympics?

    • Dave Campbell says:

      Jonathan, I don’t think that trespass laws apply when the particpants bought tickets.

      • Mathieu says:

        I think David is right. But I guess there would be plenty of other possible grounds for a suit.

      • Jonathan Hoffman says:

        Buying a ticket allows the purchaser to do what the ticket signifies, in this case listen to a concert

        It does not entitle the purchaser to do more things – in this case, to interrupt the protest for a political demonstration

        In other words a ticket-holder can indeed be convicted of Aggravated Trespass.

    • Bob Dickinson says:

      Nonsense – I suggest Jonathan wises up on the laws re. Trespass.

  • Moshe says:

    UK is a hostile state full of Muslims, Things with them are on the way down and out. the Muslim population is growing & we can see how political wind is blowing against Israel, and it will not get better in the future. we should not share knowledge culture or technology with them. I am very disappointed with the Jewish people in the UK. in most cases they are part of the problems for Israel.