Breaking: Jerusalem Quartet disrupted in London

Breaking: Jerusalem Quartet disrupted in London


norman lebrecht

April 25, 2015

A concert by the Jerusalem Quartet at the Queen Elizabeth Hall was disrupted last night by the usual suspects – a group of fanatical anti-Israel activists.

Shouting erupted during the quartet’s performance of the first item on the programme, Mozart K387. The disrupters were silenced and the concert continued.

The disrupters posted a video of their action.
anti-israel south bank

Since their identities are now known, concert halls across the UK will be advised to refuse them admission.

UPDATE: Eyewitness report here.



  • Yaniv Dinur says:

    “This quarter is complicit in Israeli war crimes!” – it’s hard to imagine that these people actually believe in the nonsense they are saying. Not to mention their aspirations of music criticism (“shambles of a concert,” “I don’t like their playing”).
    The Jerusalem Quartet’s aim was to bring people together through music regardless of race, religion and background, whereas the protesters’ was exactly the opposite: to spread hate. And they are actually proud of that.

  • J. says:

    “Anti-Israel activists”. New name for anti-semites?

    • Martin Locher says:

      This comment is about as stupid as the action of above mentioned activists.

    • jaypee says:

      One can oppose Israel’s politics and not be an antisemite.
      Why do you pretend not to understand the difference?

      • William Stribling says:

        Why the assumption at this music blog that everyone is pro right wing Israel? Remember the press coverage of their most recent war crimes. Remember the right wing Prime Minister of Israel in Washington doing his best to humiliate our president? Politcal savy, this blog is not, right wing crap mostly.

      • Jeffrey E. Salzberg says:

        Because in so many cases, people oppose what they’re certain must be Israel’s policies, leaving others of us to wonder why they don’t bother to read the history. The most obvious reason is that they want to hate Israel, but there are other possibilities: laziness and compulsive political correctness.

        I really don’t understand why liberals, when the topic is Israel, behave the way conservatives act when the topic is anything else.

      • Adam says:

        Do you really think they are simply opposing “policies” by shutting up a String Quartet?

        Experience has shown me that when scratching at the surface of these haters, the antisemitism usually makes itself apparent. Not always. But usually.

    • Brian b says:

      Right on J. The Israelization of anti-semitism is a tragic and frightening fact of modern Europe and America. Most of the disrupters and haters don’t give a rap about Palestinians.

  • James says:

    The man is called ‘Dennis’, not sure of his second name.

    The are ignorant pigs

  • Bill Parsons says:

    There is a difference. One can oppose the politics without despising adherents of the religion. Although choosing this quartets concert is a sad and pointless form of protest. Sympathies to the musicians. It cuts both ways, Sir Thomas Allen had a concert interrupted by protest when singing a Britten folk song regarded as anti Semitic.

  • Raymond Clarke says:

    Well said, Yaniv Dinur.

    I remember when in 1981 concerts in the UK by the Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra were disrupted by massive heckling. I heard one of the concerts on Radio 3, broadcast ‘live’ from Bristol’s Colston Hall (Prokofiev’s Classical Symphony, with three movements interrupted). I taped the announcer’s comments afterwards. He summed up the situation during the applause with: “whatever one’s feelings for the cause of the protesters – which is quite another matter – it has to be said that if you want to win the sympathy of a musical audience, this is more likely to be achieved by protesting between pieces, or at least between the movements”.

    The demonstrators’ cause back in 1981 was an important humanitarian one: they had been protesting about Soviet imprisonment of Natan Sharansky, but even allowing for the scandal of the purge of Jewish musicians in the orchestra around that time (it is said that the conductor of that concert had been a willing participant) it was not legitimate to heckle the musicians, who as individuals could do nothing to help Sharansky. I doubt whether anyone in that 1981 audience was made more sympathetic to the genuine injustice that this rowdy behaviour was trying to highlight.

    The crude chanting at the end of the video doesn’t give any indication that they have any perceptive political insight!

  • Dave T says:

    When Lang Lang’s concerts are disrupted (a practice I would NOT support), for instance, I might start to believe you. Until then, the singling out of Israel, in concert halls and otherwise, is indeed anti-Semitic.

  • basia jaworski says:

    So: it has nothing to do with the antisemitism, hugh?

    So: why not protesting against murdering of _thousands_ of Palestinians, mostly woman and children in Yarmouk? Because Israel is not around?

    Just a few days ago some 800 people died at the Mediterranean: is it also fault of Israel?
    Beheading of thousand s of Christians:is Israel behind it?
    Destroying old culture: Israel did it?

    As long as the protesters protest selectively against only _one_ country, who just happen to be Jewish: yes., it is antisemitism.

    I hugely agree with Yaniv Dinur.
    And: disturbing a performance is just barbaric.

    • Hilary says:

      “Disturbing a concert is barbaric” in the scheme of things, no it’s not. And neither is it anti-Semetic, not least because some of the most fervent critics of Israel are Jewish.

      However, I don’t support the tactic of protest.
      More effective, and less disruptive for concertgoers is the method used by the protestors who objected to the Shell Sponsorship of concerts at the Southbank centre. They voiced their dissent (singing) at the start of the concert, and then quietly left. Very English somehow, but they made a strong impression.

      • Tommo says:

        If I had been sitting near them they would have been singing a few semitones higher.

      • James says:

        Antisemitism is antisemitism regardless of the religion of the perpetrator. Of course Jews can be antisemites. Just because a Jew says it does not make it non-antisemitic.

  • basia jaworski says:

    Being Jewish doesn’t mean you can’t be anti-Semitic

    • Anonne says:

      Being opposed to some of the policies of Israel doesn’t mean you have to be. what makes its government infallible?

      • Mark Morrison says:

        No, being against Israeli policies does not necessarily make one anti-semitic … though it makes the case for anti-semitism far stronger.
        By the way, how many times have you protested (or strongly sympathized with protests) against any other country than Israel?

    • Hilary says:

      Strictly speaking ‘Semetic’ includes groups beyond Jews so it’s a good time for clarification.

    • Mike Schachter says:

      Quite, it has become conventional to call them self-hating Jews. They are of course nothing of the sort, they have an extremely high opinion of themselves it is just other Jews they hate.

  • YR says:

    I’m not sure it’s about racism or antisemitism, it is more a sort of “human rights trend” that is now common in many parts of the world (especially the UK). Many protest movements in history were popular just because they became a socially “cool thing to do”, mainly due to successful PR. Those folks actually don’t care the single bit about bringing peace to the middle-east (hence, no point in arguing with them about that subject), they just want to hang out and feel good about themselves. Look at these morons in the video, they are so happy, thinking “we are moral, we are so awesome”.

  • Mike Schachter says:

    I long ago stopped believing there was a difference. Palestine is just an excuse for anti-semites. We have had 2000 years of this garbage, the excuses change.

    • Anonne says:

      What are you saying: no Israeli (or for that matter, no-one Jewish) is ever to be criticised? That Israelis (and Jewish) people are beyond criticism? Infallible, as I posited above? Must be nice to waft about in protected perfection, assured in the illusion that any comment that is not praise is anti-semitic.

      Governments are governments the world over. I have yet to see one I would hold up as perfect, or beyond criticism.

      None of which has anything to do with the Jerusalem Quartet.

      • Mike Schachter says:

        Not at all, it is just an interesting coincidence that so many people who criticise Israel seem to be so tolerant of other regimes that don’t happen to be Jewish and behave appallingly. Of course most of them have no culture to boycott.

  • Bill Ecker says:

    The fact of the matter is, interrupting a concert clearly indicates a lack of common sense and maturity. You want to protest outside, have at it, if that’s what you feel you have to do.

  • Olaugh Turchev says:

    Oh so now such people are “fanatical activists”… And their identity being known, they should be bared from buying a ticket anywhere in the UK…
    What’s next? Civil right suspension for insult to Israel? LOL

  • James says:

    As I understand it, there is ample EU legislation for anyone who disrupts a concert in this manner to be arrested. This should be enforced, or at the very least offenders should be barred from concerts. I have no issue with anyone protesting anything if done in a harmless way outside of an event. That’s called free speech. Disrupting a concert is not freedom – in fact it impinges on the freedom of those who have chosen to be there and spent money to hear the performance. You might even call it theft in a way, as it is stealing the experience for which they have paid. It also, for those who have been to such a performance, feels rather like bullying.

  • James says:

    Did you attend this concert or know someone who did?

    Do you want to help stop similar disruptions in the future?

    Then please contact (UK Lawyers for Israel).

  • Paul Hurt says:

    My Website has a very extensive page where amongst other things I defend Israel and criticize aspects of Palestinian society: The final section, ‘Heckling the boycotters,’ is about the disruption of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra’s Proms concert in 2011, with profiles of some of the deluded disrupters. This is a recording of Deborah Fink, one of the disrupters, singing ‘Happy birthday to you, I’m ashamed I’m a Jew:’

    An extract from the page:

    ‘Hamas is a radical Islamist organization but a large section of Palestinian society has radical Islamist views. Percentages below are from the Pew Research Center’s extensive surveys of attitudes in Islamic countries.

    ‘66% of people in the Palestinian territories believe in execution for those who leave Islam.
    Stoning to death for adultery may not be practised in the Palestinian territories but 84% of Palestinians support the punishment.

    ‘Homosexuality is legal in Israel but illegal in Gaza and punishable by imprisonment for up to ten years. 89% of people in the Palestinian territories believe that ‘homosexuality is morally wrong.’

    ‘The conviction that a woman must always obey her husband is widely held, with 87% support in the Palestinian territories.

    ‘Support in Gaza for suicide bombings has declined but 62% of people in Gaza still believe that suicide bombings are often justified or sometimes justified to protect Islam. This is the highest level of support in the Islamic world.’