The LPO-4: it's going to end up in court

The LPO-4: it's going to end up in court


norman lebrecht

January 15, 2012

One of the four string players suspended by the London Philharmonic Orchestra for demanding a ban on the Israel Philharmonic is launching a case for discrimination against her orchestra. Sarah Streatfield claims she has suffered prejudice as a consequence of her beliefs. She is represented by Bindman’s Solicitors, a firm associated with pro-Palestinian causes*.

Meanwhile, a pro-Israel group of lawyers,  led by Jonathan Turner, has written to the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, asking him to prosecute those who disrupted the Israel Philharmonic concert at the Proms.

Both actions are unnecessary. The LPO management has been slack in not reinstating the players by now and has damaged its reputation for competence. On the pro-Israel side, there is no point other than counter-propaganda to purse the offenders of last summer’s melee. The whole issue should have been long buried and forgotten by now.

LPO in the Royal Festival Hall

*The Guardian graciously refers to me as ‘a pro-Israel writer and broadcaster’. I’m not sure what they are trying to imply. I am pro-Israel as I am pro-France. I love and have links with both countries. What I think of their governments and policies is altogether another matter.  The Guardian’s shorthand is efficient but potentially misleading.


  • Alex Needham says:

    Hello Norman,

    Thanks very much for linking to my piece. What I was attempting to convey, rather than imply, is that despite having strong views on the LPO4’s protest you believed that it was time to forgive them and, as you say, put the issue in the past.

    Best, Alex

    • I appreciate that, Alex. It’s just that ‘pro-Israel’ is all too easily misapplied as a pseudonym for pro-government, pro-settler, which I’m certainly not. On due reflection, I have moderated my own comment. best, N

    • Pacer1 says:

      And, in the months leading up to America entering World War One, the music of Mozart and Beethoven was banned and performances by musicians such as (Austrian) Fritz Kreisler and Karl Muck were boycotted. Muck was eventually arrested and interned in a prison camp until the end of the War. There is a fine line of trust between musician and audience in the performing arts which is called ‘respect for the Stage’, and both the four musicians and the mob that disrupted the IPO concert broke that trust. The question is not when the four should be reinstated, but if they should.

  • Warren Maxwell says:

    As Ms. Streatfield was a signatory to a letter to boycott her fellow professionals, she probably was unconcerned with the possibility that turnabout is fair game. As she signed a letter aiming at restraint of trade, I see no problem with her being a victim of employment. She wanted to harm the careers of others based upon nationality. As I see it, she (and the other signatories to that letter) are the true racists, while they pose as great progressives. So called progressives.