Bin Veolia campaign in North London

On 22 September, Dump Veolia campaigners demonstrated outside Camden Town Hall in London where the North London Waste Authority (NLWA) Board was meeting regarding the new £4.7 billion waste contract in which Veolia was shortlisted.

This demonstration, organised by the North London No to Veolia Action Group (No2VAG) attracted over fifty people, many carrying banners and signs that lined the entire front of the building. There were contingents from throughout London, as well as from surrounding areas. Groups represented included Amnesty International, United Nations Association, Jews for Justice for Palestinians (JfJfP) and Neturei Karta.

Three wise monkeys (in monkey suits – see photo below) protested outside and later sat in on the meeting as a protest against the Board’s refusal to engage with reasoned argument, to agree that complicity in war crimes amounts to grave misconduct and for refusing to allow a delegation to present the case for excluding Veolia from the contract.

The Three Wise Monkeys outside Camden Town Hall.

A nasty incident allegedly occurred when one of the NLWA Board members – who’s also an elected official – started verbally abusing a campaigner.

Cllr Brian Coleman: “Scum”

Brian Coleman, a North London Waste Authority Board member, a Barnet Borough Councilor, as well as a member of the London Assembly for Barnet and Camden, shouted “scum” and other slurs directed at a Muslim woman who was handing out No2VAG leaflets to people entering the building.

Coleman, a former chair of Finchley Friends of Israel and presently a member of the Conservative Friends of Israel, later apologised when he was identified to police by outraged onlookers.

This is par for the course for Coleman who reportedly responds to emails that make a painstaking case for excluding Veolia with one-line replies reading “Don’t contact me again about this.”

Scum” is a new departure for this elected official.

It’s of grave concern that on the board of the NLWA there’s a Councilor who’s not only abusive and a disgrace to public office, but with a clear bias in favour of Veolia, which is one of the two shortlisted bidders for the NLWA massive £4.7 billion, 30-year contract.

A final farewell to Monmouth Street

Report by Bruce, Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods (J-BIG)

Photos by Bruce/Tapash, London BDS

24 September 2011

On a sunny and mild Saturday afternoon, about ten campaigners, including two from Brighton, gathered one last time in front of the former Ahava shop on a day that would have been a fortnightly picket.  

Thanks to the regular protests, part of a campaign that started in 2009, Ahava’s landlord refused to renew its lease and on the 20th of September 2011, Ahava closed its only UK shop located on Monmouth Street, near to London’s Covent Garden.

Whilst campaigners were present, workmen were clearing out the last shop fittings and placing them in a nearby lorry. As seen from the photographs, the Ahava lettering was removed from the front of the shop and the inside was almost totally empty.

Outside was a skip whose contents included a few large plasterboard advertising panels and next to the skip were placed metal barriers stacked on top of each other, to be used for a demonstration that never materialised.

Ahava’s Managing Director of its UK arm, who also once served in the Israeli Occupation Force’s intelligence unit, spotted us and was last seen scurrying down Monmouth Street.

The only police presence was when a police car pulled up and its driver briefly exchanged greetings before speeding off. We were told on several occasions that there are many in authority who privately wanted Ahava out, though they had to be seen, quite understandably, to remain impartial.

After reminiscing over coffee, campaigners headed off to the Eid Festival in nearby Trafalgar Square to celebrate – which was a fitting end to this campaign.

Well done to all who made it a success.

A video report from infolive.tv, an Israeli news & information service:

And some images as well…

One last photocall.

Ahava: Rubbish inside, rubbish outside.

As no Zionist Federation riff-raff turned up, there were no need for these.

An empty shop brings this campaign to a close.

With love from London.

A Monmouth Street retrospective

With the welcome departure on September 20th of the Ahava shop from Monmouth Street, here’s a historical timeline of the London campaign, complete with links:

10 January 2009 Activists stage the first occupation of the Ahava shop on Monmouth Street in London. Three activists arrested. Charges later dropped.

14 February 2009 - Valentines Day picket outside Ahava shop organised by Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods (J-BIG). Monthly pickets held several times thereafter.

7 March 2009 - Ahava shop pickets continue attended by J-BIG and other activists.

18 September 2009 - Second Ahava occupation. Shop closed for several hours after two activists lock themselves to an oil drum filled with concrete inside the Ahava shop and are arrested for aggravated trespass.

19 September 2009 Ahava International Day of Action. Campaigners stage protests outside stores in London, Amsterdam, Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles.

12 December 2009 - Third occupation inside the Ahava shop. Two activists arrested for aggravated trespass.

19 December 2009 - Ahava bathrobe demonstration.

1 January 2010 - Business & Human Rights Resource Centre (London) disseminates The Case Against AHAVA by CODEPINK’s Stolen Beauty Campaign Manager, Nancy Kricorian.

27 January 2010 – MP Phyllis Starkey denounces Ahava’s fraudulent labelling practices during debate in Parliament on Israeli “settlement products”.

Early March 2010 – A grassroots coalition of activists propose holding regular fortnightly demonstrations outside the UK’s only Ahava shop in response to an appeal from the West Bank village of Bil’in.

13 March 2010 The first fortnightly demo outside Ahava attracts about thirty protesters and causes the shop to close early. Fortnightly demonstrations continue until 10 September 2011.

9/10 August 2010 - Trial of four activists, all charged with aggravated trespass, who locked themselves to concrete-filled oil drums inside the Ahava shop in Covent Garden in Sept and Dec 2009. All four are acquitted after the manager refuses to testify.

14 August 2010 – The Islamophobic English Defence League’s first appearance alongside the Zionist Federation at the Saturday fortnightly demo.

26 August 2010 Unknown person(s) target the Ahava shop with paint.

2 October 2010 - Fourth occupation inside Ahava forces shop to close. Two activists arrested.

20/21 November 2010 Unknown person(s) glue Ahava’s door locks, thus delaying the shop’s opening on the day of the Zionist Federation-sponsored BUYcott. The BUYcott doesn’t materialise when the right-wing English Defence League’s ‘Jewish Division’ announce they will also attend.

20-22 November 2010 - Ahava in the dock at the Russell Tribunal on Palestine London Session. CODEPINK’s Nancy Kricorian and Rae Abileah testify against the company. Ahava is found to be complicit in Israel’s violations of international law.

22 November 2010 - Fifth Ahava occupation during the last day of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine. American CODEPINK activists Nancy Kricorian and Rae Abileah present. Ahava shop forced to close and two activists arrested.

9-24 December 2010 Boycott campaigners are present outside Ahava almost daily throughout December and influence shoppers in the run up to the festive season.

17 December 2010Ahava employee calls a Jewish boycott campaigner a Christ killer. Zionists defend anti-Semitic comment

14 January 2011 – Major UK retailer John Lewis confirms that it no longer sells Ahava products.

12 February 2011 – A Valentine for Ahava dedicated to the memory of Jawaher Abu Rahmah who was killed by tear gas while a bystander at an anti-wall demonstration in Bil’in.

21 – 23 March 2011 – Four activists on trial for aggravated trespass. During the three-day hearing, the defence demonstrated that Ahava cosmetics are manufactured on stolen Palestinian land. Neither the District Judge, Ian Baker nor the prosecution challenged the assertion that the settlements are illegal in international law. Though all four activists are found guilty, District Judge Baker in his summing up states: I reach this conclusion with considerable hesitancy.”

31 March 2011 - VICTORY! JCrap (the Zionist Jewish Chronicle newspaper) reports that Ahava’s landlord will not renew its lease due to the ongoing protests. A neighbouring shopkeeper tells a reporter: I’m pleased Ahava is leaving. It’s brought the street down. Everyone would like them to leave. I wish they had left two years ago.”

20 September 2011Ahava leaves Monmouth Street as a direct result of the campaign that began in 2009.

24 September 2011Several activists gather for one last time in front of the almost empty Ahava shop, bringing the two-year campaign to an end.

Ahava’s last day

September 20th: Lights out for Ahava! Boxes packed and ready to go.

These empty shelves aren't the result of any Zionist BUYcott, but of the success of a campaign against this notorious company.

NO SALE!

This time the shop really IS closed!

September 21st: All the boxes have gone.

September 22nd: Looking more like a construction site.

September 24th: An empty shop brings this campaign to a close.

The above images are the end result of a successful campaign to cleanse London’s Monmouth Street of Ahava, a notorious retailer of Dead Sea beauty products made from natural resources plundered from the Palestinian people and manufactured on an illegal West Bank settlement.

Throughout this time, campaigners have engaged and distributed flyers to thousands of UK residents and international visitors informing them about Ahava’s unethical and illegal practices. 

This, the UK component of CODEPINK’s international ‘Stolen Beauty’ campaign has used many tactics including fortnightly public demonstrations, legal challenges, occupations and other forms of direct action. 

The Ahava Boycott Campaign proved successful due to the efforts, hard work and dedication of all the activists, truthtellers and human rights campaigners, some who made many sacrifices and all who gave so generously of their time.

Should Ahava relocate to other premises, activists vowed to continue the campaign.

Protest at the American Embassy

Campaigners call for US Government to end aid to Israel 

By Americans AGAINST Apartheid

This past week throughout the world, Palestine solidarity campaigners called for America to end its aid to Israel. In London, a protest took place outside the US Embassy in answer to an appeal by the Popular Committee of Bil’in:

Dear Friends

The popular committees-Palestine asks all those who support peace and justice in Palestine to organise demonstrations in September outside the US embassies of their countries calling for the end of US aid to Israel. Demonstrations are already planned in front of the White House on September 15th and in front of the United Nations building in New York on September 15th, but to be successful we need to globalize the resistance.

American tax dollars go toward supporting an illegal and humiliating occupation of Palestinian land; the construction of illegal settlements; the annexation of Palestinian farmland; the purchase of weapons and arms used in night raids and military strikes. Right now American money finds its way to this part of the world where children and innocent civilians are killed, injured, and made to suffer. It also empowers the Israeli government to further ignore international law and perpetuate its intransigence.

These demonstrations in September will tell the US government to stop supporting this occupation and stand up for justice and freedom in Palestine, lets spread them far and wide across the planet.

Salaam

Iyad Burnat
Head of Bil’in popular committee

America is seen around the world as facilitating the Israeli occupation and complicit in the suppression of Palestinian human rights. This is thanks to the US$30 billion in aid America promised to Israel from 2009 to 2018. This aid fuels the occupation of Palestinian land and buys weapons that Israel uses against Palestinian civilians.

On Saturday, September 17th, Palestine Solidarity campaigners staged a protest in front of the massive US Embassy building near Grosvenor Square carrying banners and placards that read ‘Stop funding US aid to Israel’, ‘Stop stealing Palestinian land’ and ‘Stop funding the Israeli war machine.’ One protester displayed a large sign of Uncle Sam that read ‘I’m Israel’s bitch and so are you.’

The protest attracted attention and support from many passersby, several who joined with campaigners to call for an end of US aid to Israel.   

Opponents claim Israel – which is the only recipient of American aid that doesn’t have to account for how it is spent – has a right to self-defence. However with the right of self-defence comes responsibility which Israel has squandered in its abysmal human rights record and its flouting of international laws.

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For further information about US military aid to Israel, please visit Be on our side.

Musicians suspended over Israel Proms row

LPO: Out of tune.

New Statesman 15 September 2011

By Ben White

The London Philharmonic Orchestra management has some serious questions to answer. 

The London Philharmonic Orchestra has suspended four of its musicians for up to nine months for putting their names to a letter, published in the Independent, that called for the BBC to cancel a concert by the Israel Philharmonic.

For expressing support for the Palestinian boycott call, these individuals have received what has been called “the most severe penalty inflicted on London orchestral musicians in memory”.

Plenty of people have been disturbed by the LPO management’s response, including those who disagree with the views expressed by the four musicians. Classical music journalist Gavin Dixon, for example, has written that “the efforts by the LPO management to distance themselves from the views of these players has clearly been an over-reaction”.

Norman Geras, someone who thinks that boycotting Israel is “contemptible”, has written of his concern about “whether a nine-month suspension from one’s job for writing a letter to a newspaper isn’t rather excessive”. Geras also raises the legitimate questions about LPO internal disciplinary policy, and asks:

“Why should members of an orchestra not be free to signal their professional affiliation when publicly expressing their views? Academics do it as a matter of course, and no one assumes that the University of Edinburgh, or Oxford, or Birmingham, or wherever, is implicated in the views that their members have publicly espoused.”

There are many unanswered questions here.

First: the letter appeared in the Independent on 30 August. On 2 September, in what seems like the first official public response to enquiries, LPO chief executive Timothy Walker told the Jerusalem Post:

“The views expressed by four members of the LPO concerning the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and the Proms are the views of the individuals and not the company.”

A reasonable (and rather obvious) clarification statement – but no indication that the musicians were liable to face internal disciplinary action, let alone the severity of a 9-month suspension. What happened between 2 September and the decision to mete out the punishment?

Second: On 8 September, the Jewish Chronicle reported that an LPO violinist had been suspended for launching “an anti-Israel tirade at a question and answer session”. The article said that “LPO chief executive Timothy Walker confirmed she had been suspended indefinitely” and that “the LPO board will decide on what disciplinary action to take”. But the recent confirmation of four suspensions by LPO is reported as because of signing the letter — not for “an anti-Israel tirade”. Which is it?

Third: On announcing the suspension, the official LPO management statement said “the board’s decision in this matter will send a strong and clear message”. This indicates that the severity of the punishment is motivated by deterrence, rather than being an appropriate response guided by established practice or policy.

Finally, it was Gavin Dixon who pointedly noted that the LPO is “obviously trying to appease somebody. It would be indiscreet to speculate as to who and why”.

www.newstatesman.com – Musicians suspended over Israel Proms row

What you can do:

  • Write a politely-worded post on the LPO Facebook page expressing your opposition to the LPO’s decision to suspend four musicians for signing a letter supporting justice, human rights and the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions.

A taste of apartheid

Protesters expose ‘Taste of Israel’ sham

The curtain rings down on Israeli propaganda exercise

12 September 2011

Report by Elly

The Israel Government Tourist Office invited Londoners to visit the InterContinental hotel’s Cookbook Cafe and ‘discover one of Israel’s finest Hidden Gems': its settler-colonial conquest of Palestine, overseasoned with cultural appropriation. At the Taste of Israel week, diners could sample Arab cuisine and goods produced on stolen Palestinian land. Most of the tables remained empty and the £20 a head buffet untouched for the first day of this poorly attended event; blinds were hastily lowered by staff to obscure placards held up against the Cafe windows by boycott activists, reading “Food and wine of apartheid Israel” and “The bitter taste of Israeli occupation”.

In a letter to the General Manager of the InterContinental, London, BDS activists explained in advance that the ‘assortment of fine Israeli wines’ on offer was likely to include wines produced in illegal Jewish settlements, which are in grave violation of International Humanitarian Law. The recent report by the Israeli research project, Who Profits, demonstrates that all of the major Israeli wineries use grapes from occupied territory in their wines. They also warned the hotel that the Israel Government Tourism Office (IGTO) had already fallen foul of advertising standards in the UK twice in the last two years; in both cases the IGTO was found to have breached CAP Code clause 7.1: ‘Truthfulness’.

At the main entrance to the hotel, the four protesters handed out leaflets on the Palestinian call to boycott Israel until it complies with international law, and several guests gave them the ‘thumbs up’. A Syrian family stopped to chat about the boycott action and shared their disgust at the normalisation aspect of the Israeli cultural event: “They want it to look as if they are giving out food, instead of dropping bombs“, no less offended by Israel’s appropriation of Arab/Middle Eastern cuisine, such as hummous, falafel, tabbouleh and pita bread. They added that in their view, the Syrian regime was the best friend of Israel: “Not one bullet in 40 years and instead of fighting for the return of the Golan Heights, they are now shooting their own people.”

The fact that diners will have to eat Israeli and illegal settlement produce out of sight of peaceful protesters – behind lowered blinds and flanked by a heavy security presence – only underlines how shameful and undesirable this celebration of Israeli apartheid and military occupation is at this historical juncture.

What you can do:

Contact the Cookbook Cafe to express your disgust of their complicity in this Zionist propaganda exercise.

It’s now just a matter of time…

By Bruce, Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods (J-BIG)

Saturday, September 10th

Looks like Monmouth Street will soon have an empty shop, as six months ago, news broke that Ahava’s landlord refused to renew their lease when it expires at the end of this month.

During Saturday’s Ahava protest, many human rights activists who once again far outnumbered the Zios were curious how many of them would turn up after the action at the BBC Proms on September 1st at the Royal Albert Hall where the decision was taken by BBC Radio 3 to pull the concert off the air.

Despite all the hysteria coming from the Zionist camp and a few sectors of the right wing media claiming that this was cultural vandalism, protesters neither disrupted the music nor did our action cancel the Prom. Concert-goers continued to enjoy their music, as well as witness a demonstration. This carefully planned and thought out action was highly successful, as it made headlines around the world, while at the same time sending out a strong statement about the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra’s support of the Zionist regime.

AHAVA

Later this month we will be celebrating along with other peacemakers and truthtellers around the world Ahava’s departure from Monmouth Street, which is the result of two years of protests, direct actions and legal challenges.

I spent the time standing on the corner of Seven Dials and Monmouth Street and attracted attention wearing my BOYCOTT ISRAELI GOODS t-shirt and J-BIG Kippa.

One woman said to me: “I wish there were more Jewish people like you.” To which I replied: “there are – and many more too!”

After a lengthy explanation of the reasons behind the boycott campaign, another woman said: “I will never go into THAT shop or buy any more Dead Sea products again.” 

"There's nothing more Jewish than standing up for human rights."

The few Zios that turned up were unusually subdued, the exception being Jonathan Hoffman, Co-Vice Chair of the UK Zionist Federation, who shouted out several times “Cultural Terrorists!” Hoffman, who has a history of disrupting events, was unceremoniously thrown out of the Royal Albert Hall for going berserk with an Israeli flag during the IPO’s performance on September 1st. 

THE ZIONIST FEDERATION’S NEW FRIEND – THE GRAND PRIX PRIEST

Neil Horan

Earlier that evening outside the Royal Albert Hall, Hoffman probably saw a man wearing a kilt adorned with a Star of David, dancing a jig who was entertaining the Zionists and their right-wing EDL allies.

Few were aware that this darling of the Zionist Federation-organised counter-demonstration was a former Britain’s Got Talent contestant named Neil Horan, a defrocked Catholic priest nicknamed ‘The Grand Prix Priest’ or ‘The Dancing Priest.’ Horan earned his nickname by disrupting the 2003 British Grand Prix by running onto the track at Silverstone directly into the path of oncoming race cars carrying a religious banner. 

Horan at the 2003 British Grand Prix.

During the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Horan pushed a Brazilian runner who was in the lead into the crowd watching the race, costing the runner the gold medal.

Later that year, Horan was acquitted of child abuse allegations and celebrated by performing a traditional Irish jig outside the Old Bailey (the Central Criminal Court in England) wearing his costume.

I’m certain that Horan didn’t tell the Zionists about the two months he spent in a German prison for writing to Chancellor Angela Merkel informing her that he intended to dance a peace jig in Berlin during the 2006 World Cup carrying a poster saying “Adolf Hitler was a good leader who was following the word of Christ.” Horan also planned to give the Hitler salute and light a candle for him at the site of Gestapo Headquarters. 

As they say, like attracts like.

CHECK THE LABEL

Outside the nearby TESCO supermarket, human rights campaigners leafleted and encouraged consumers not to purchase either Israeli or West Bank settlement produce.   

One unkempt Zionist specimen who was wearing sunglasses and a hat to hide his identity, was struggling to give away what appeared to be fly infested Israeli dates, but there weren’t any takers.

Alongside, holding a bunch of what seemed to be half-eaten dates in his hand was Ian Sternberg, a member of the Zionist Federation’s National Council who laughingly describes himself as a ‘socialist‘ and ‘trade unionist.’ In 2010, Sternberg unashamedly counter-demonstrated alongside the ultra-right Islamophobic EDL  outside Ahava on several occasions. That same year, he was also photographed alongside Roberta Moore, at that time head of the EDL’s Jewish Division.   

Joining Sternberg was Sharon Klaff, a middle-aged, dark-haired Zio who frequently contributes to internet hate sites. South-African born Klaff once openly called a human rights campaigner a “dirty little Jew-boy” outside Ahava in front of witnesses and was promptly reported to the police (see photo, below).

Rounding off this strange group of hasbara experts was a woman who continuously yelled “F*ck you” in an American accent whilst gesturing at me with her middle finger. The commotion attracted the attention of the police who had a word with her about her anti-social behaviour. I was keen to find out why she acted the way she did, but sadly I never got the opportunity.

An incredulous 'Sharon Klaff' being given a warning on Monmouth Street by the police while the Zionist Federation's Ian Sternberg, behind in blue shirt, watches.

Her language and gestures reminded me of some of the American Zionists whose actions I witnessed outside the AIPAC conference in Washington DC four months ago. These US Zionists not only used similar obscene language and gestures, but they also seemed to enjoy spitting on demonstrators and even used violence on several occasions.

If you think that American Zionists have cornered the market in uncouth and disgusting behaviour, guess again. You don’t have to look much further than the Co-Vice Chair of the UK Zionist Federation – and several of the Zionist Ahava counter-demonstrators could give their counterparts from across the pond a run for their money.

Afterwards, as we were walking to a nearby café, I heard rapping coming from the inside of a shop window. Turning sideways, I saw a man inside pointing to my BOYCOTT ISRAELI GOODS t-shirt giving me the thumbs up.  

That man I’m sure, represents most people in Britain today.

Proud to disrupt the IPO

Victory as Israel Philharmonic Orchestra taken off air

By Tony Greenstein

Friday, 2 September 2011

18 months ago I was proud to take part in the disruption of a concert by the Israeli Occupation Forces ‘Distinguished Musicians’ – the Jerusalem Quartet at London’s Wigmore Hall. But this was even better.

Royal Albert Hall

The Wigmore Hall has a capacity of around 300. The Royal Albert Hall holds around 4,000 and is a truly massive venue so it was always going to be much more difficult. It is therefore doubly gratifying to learn that we got the concert pulled from BBC Radio 3 with all the massive publicity that entailed.

We were promised enhanced security, bag searches etc. but this was all bluff. My bag search was cursory, there were no spotter cards of disruptors and I had no difficulty whatsoever getting to my seat! But I didn’t take any chances and with another Jewish comrade, Bruce of Ahava (and London BDS – Ed.) fame, we made our entrance via Hyde Park which was opposite, thus not giving the Zionist demonstrators any opportunity to pick us out. And the gods were with us because I made straight for an entrance away from the Zionists and it was the right one first time!! Clearly god isn’t always on the Zionists’ side!

This article was published in the London Evening Standard on Sept 1st. (click to enlarge)

And the organisation of the protest was impressive for its security and attention to detail. I think I can now reveal that choir practice was held on Lincoln’s Inn Fields, amidst all the barristers’ chambers at 5:00 pm!

There are of course those who say that this is cultural and musical and not political. This argument which the BBC puts out was, of course, the same argument that the BBC used to use to defend its coverage of cricket from White South Africa and why it refused to boycott Apartheid ‘culture’. And no doubt during the Nazi era, when the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and Wilhelm Furtwangler toured abroad as cultural ambassadors for Hitler the BBC would have used the same argument.

We though say, loud and clear, culture is an inextricable part of the tools of an oppressive state. It legitimises the oppression. It pretends that a state which loves the revolutionary Beethoven couldn’t possibly be repressive. Those who listened to the IPO last night are of the same ilk who would have justified not disrupting Furtwangler. No doubt enjoying the BPO, Hitler’s musical ambassadors, was more important than protesting about the Nuremberg Laws and the stripping of Jews political and civil rights in Germany (prior to their later deportation).

I just hope that if I’d lived through the 1930’s that I would have been part of those who gave the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra a warm welcome. Because the BPO, just like its Israeli counterparts, was subsidised by the State to portray a softer, kinder, gentler face of repression. All repressive states are Janus-like. With one face turned towards international approval whilst the other face is armed and snarling.

The choir 'Beethovians for Boycotting Israel' holding letters that spell out FREE PALESTINE

 

And being Jewish it was doubly important for us to send the message that Israeli culture is the other side of the expulsions and massacres. What is more important? The child blinded by plastic bullets and beaten up in a military jail or the right of British toffs and Zionist racists to enjoy their ‘culture’? And when Israel raids and detains workers at the Freedom Theatre in Jenin and attacks Palestinian Cultural Festivals only the worst hypocrite can protest about boycotts.

For further information, see the BBC’s own report of what happened, coverage in the Electronic Intifada, the Guardian and a Zionist site bemoaning our triumph.

And the Zionists, being hypocrites, will moan and wail about the terrible disruption of their cultural enjoyment as they held a counter-demonstration alongside the fascist EDL of course. Strange that they forget that in the 1970’s and 1980’s during the Soviet Jewry campaign (a campaign aimed at getting settlers from Russia to come to Israel – primarily by stopping them emigrate to the USA where over 90% of them went – the Zionists campaigned for the US to impose immigration barriers and Begin went over to lobby Reagan!) the Zionists regularly disrupted the Bolshoi and Russian performers and artistic performances.

Strange that sauce for the Zionist goose isn’t sauce for the Palestinian gander!

But the last word to Aharon Shabtai, Israel’s greatest living poet, who refused to take part in the Paris book fair, who wrote:

Dear Edna

Thank you for your letter.

I do not believe that a State that maintains an occupation, committing on a daily basis crimes against civilians, deserves to be invited to any kind of cultural week. That is, it is anti-cultural; it is a barbarian act masked as culture in the most cynical way. It manifests support for Israel, and even to France that sustains the occupation. And I do not want to participate.”

Kind regards,

Aharon Shabtai
7 December, 2007’
 

Tony Greenstein

Editor’s note: The above is an abridged version of a recent blog from Tony Greenstein. Visit Tony Greenstein’s Blog to view Tony’s entire blogsite.   

NEW! Video: Protesters disrupt BBC Prom performance of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra

UPDATED 6 September

The protest inside the hall started during the orchestra’s first piece, when a choir, seated behind the stage, stood up and displayed letters that spelt out “Free Palestine”. They then sang a version of “Ode to Joy” that started with the words “Israel, end your Occupation”. At other points in the evening protesters waved Palestinian flags and shouted slogans. This is the first time that a political protest has halted the live broadcast of a BBC Prom. The IPO proudly celebrates its long-standing relationship with the Israeli military and the fact that it has played for the army in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. It describes itself as Israel’s “cultural ambassador”.

The successful protest that disrupted the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra’s concert at London’s Royal Albert Hall and took the live Radio 3 broadcast off the air on September 1st made headlines around the world.

Here’s a roundup of media coverage:

Reuters: Palestinian protest disrupts Israeli concert in UK

The Associated Press (via Bismarck Tribune-North Dakota, USA): Anti-Israel protest disrupts UK concert series

The Guardian:

The Mirror: Proms: Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra taken off air after repeated protest interruptions

The Independent: Protesters target Israeli orchestra

Daily Mail: Demo forces BBC to take Proms off air as protesters chant ‘Free Palestine’ during concert

Metro: Protest disrupts Israel Philharmonic Orchestra’s BBC Proms appearance

Morning Star: ‘Beethoven would approve,’ say Proms Palestine activists

Independent Television News (ITN): Israeli orchestra disrupted by protesters

RTE (Ireland): Anti-Israeli protest disrupts Proms concert

France 24 (Agence France-Presse – AFP): Protest disrupts Israel Philharmonic’s Proms show

Radio Netherlands Worldwide: Protest disrupts Israel Philharmonic’s Proms show

Haaretz: Pro-Palestinian activists disrupt Israel Philharmonic Orchestra concert in London

Jerusalem Post: Palestinian protest disrupts IPO concert in UK

The New York Times: London Protesters Disrupt Israeli Orchestra’s Concert

The Washington Post: Anti-Israel protest disrupts BBC Proms concert in London

The Los Angeles Times: Anti-Israel protests disrupt London concert, punches thrown

The Hollywood Reporter: British Proms Disrupted By Pro-Palestine Protest

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC): Anti-Israel protest disrupts UK concert series

Mondoweiss:

The Electronic Intifada: Israel Philharmonic Orchestra disrupted by BDS activists

Palestine Telegraph: London Boycott Divestment and Sanctions Movement forces end to live BBC broadcast

Demotix:

…and of course, the BBC:

Last – and certainly least – here’s everyone’s favourite UK Zionist propaganda rag; The JCrap: Anti-Israel protesters disrupt BBC Proms