United Kingdom: Controversy over calls for cultural boycott of Israel

In September 2011, four musicians — Tom Eisner, Nancy Elan, Sarah Streatfeild and Sue Sutherley — in the world-renowned London Philharmonic Orchestra were summarily suspended without pay for six months for being among 24 musicians who signed a letter, published in The Independent newspaper, objecting to a London Proms concert by the Israel Philharmonic at the invitation of the BBC.

Alledgedly the reason for the suspention was that “some Jewish supporters had threatened to … withdraw financial support from the LPO.”

When eventually the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra performed at London’s Royal Albert Hall on 1 September 2011, their performance was interrupted by protests by the pro-Palestinian group BDS London.


Call for theatre boycott 

In March 2012, a group of actors, playwrights and directors similarly published a letter in The Guardian where they asked Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London to withdraw its invitation to Israel’s National Theatre, Habima, to perform in its ‘Globe to Globe’ festival in May – so that the festival would not “complicit with human rights violations and the illegal colonisation of occupied land.”


Mondoweiss.net – 23 April 2012:
London Philharmonic Orchestra’s shameful treatment of the LPO 4
By Chris Somes-Charlton


The Guardian – 29 March 2012:
Dismay at Globe invitation to Israeli theatre
“We notice with dismay and regret that Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London has invited Israel’s National Theatre, Habima, to perform The Merchant of Venice in its Globe to Globe festival this coming May.” By a group of actors, playwrights and directors


Freemuse – 5 October 2011:
United Kingdom: Four musicians suspended over Israel-Palestine row
In September 2011, four members of the London Philarmonic Orchestra were suspended for nine months after calling to cancel a concert with the Israel Philarmonic Orchestra.

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