On Boycotting Israel

Gatestone Institute 13 November 2012
By Douglas Murray

There are a lot of Nazi caparisons being thrown around these days. Where might they be most accurately directed? Toward the State of Israel?

Or against the growing number of people who believe that it is permissible to boycott any herb, any product or indeed any tune if it comes from the hand or the heart of a Jew?

I am happy to say that Britain still has some exports. Sad to say, they include vicious anti-Israel boycotts and propaganda. Take developments from the past couple of weeks alone.

In recent years the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO), among other Israeli musicians, has found it increasingly difficult to perform in Britain without being subjected to interruption and protest. At last year's BBC Promenade concerts, the highlight of the musical year in London, protestors repeatedly interrupted the IPO's performance. The orchestra – under Zubin Mehta – carried on, but each piece on the program was at some point marred by shouting, protest songs and more.

A year earlier the Jerusalem String Quartet had its performance at the Wigmore Hall repeatedly halted by the forward reconnaissance unit of the UK's anti-Israel brigade. There, as at the Proms, the collection of anti-classical music bravehearts sang witless anti-Israel songs of their own invention to ensure that the quartet could not play its program of Ravel and Mozart. The Wigmore Hall protestors were entirely Jewish, the Albert Hall ones mainly so, thus causing a collective sigh of despair and a smacking of hands on foreheads by sane Jews everywhere.

As though to show how swiftly bad behavior can spread, last week it was the turn of protestors in New York to oppose the IPO. Among the chants of the protestors were "Oboe, trumpet or bassoon, apartheid is out of tune" and "IPO gets no ovation, ambassador for occupation."

If, like me, you ever labored under the misunderstanding that orchestras exist to play music and that music is an international language which brings peace and understanding between people – and all that jazz – then you are clearly unaware of the new low that Israel's opponents have sunk to. Music today may still be an international language, but it is best listened to only once you have ascertained that none of the woodwinds section is Zionist. Or the strings.

Or brass. A single self-hating Jew in the percussion section, playing the triangle for instance, might be permissible. But otherwise it should be boycott, boycott, boycott. Sing it loud: "No Israelis is our tune, is that a Jew on third bassoon?' 'We'd like a word with that bearded drummer, from where we stand he could be a frummer."

The dozens of New Yorkers from the New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel (or NYCftBoI for short) who disrupted the Carnegie concert claimed that the Israeli state is engaged in "apartheid policies against the Palestinian people" and that no amount of world-class musicianship can "cover up the injustice that Palestinians face." (continue reading...)