Tag Archives: Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra

Honking bus driver reprimanded for anti-Israel protest.

I was reading through my copy of this week’s Jewish Chronicle when I saw a piece by Jennifer Lipman.

It was about the driver of Bus No 38 who had repeatedly honked his horn as he drove passed Palestine Solidarity Campaign protesters outside Batsheva’s performance of Decca Dance on its first night at Sadler’s Wells. The protesters cheered in response.

I caught the honking on film, but thought nothing more of it.

I was more interested in hoping that the anti-Israel protesters who disrupted each of Batsheva’s three performances might be prosecuted for aggravated trespass.

Obviously that didn’t happen. Neither did it happen when the protesters disrupted Habima at The Globe nor when they disrupted the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall.

But someone did complain about the honking bus driver.

Jennifer reports that a spokesman for Arriva, responding to the complaint, said:

“That sort of behaviour is totally inappropriate whilst on duty and I can confirm that the driver has been identified and interviewed by his manager. He was advised on all aspects of your complaint and his performance will be closely monitored to make sure that there are no further incidents of this nature. I am sorry that a member of our staff should have acted in this manner.”

And a Transport For London spokesman said:

“We expect drivers to promote a positive image of London Buses and to act professionally at all times. Clearly, a London bus driver should not be participating in a protest while performing their duties.”

Here is the honking bus driver in action on the night:

And here is anti-Israel activist Deborah Fink just after she had been ejected for disrupting Batsheva’s first night performance:

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(Ben) White Wash at Amnesty.

Ben White showing off his well-trolled quotes at Amnesty last night.

Ben White showing off his well-trolled quotes at Amnesty last night.

Ben White was last night handed the opportunity by Amnesty’s UK branch to call for the destruction of Israel. Not necessarily in the way Hamas would wish to achieve it, but White wants Israel changed from a Jewish state into another Muslim Arab state. This is what White thinks is “justice”.

Lest we forget, White once wrote “I do not consider myself an anti-Semite, yet I can also understand why some are.”

For that and other statements of his there was a small protest outside Amnesty last night. Once sign read “Amnesty is great, except on Israel”, which is probably about right. Amnesty will stand up against other human rights’ abuses except when they are against Israel. They raised their voice in anger when Gaddafi was cruelly tortured before being executed, but when Israeli soldiers are kidnapped or Israeli children are bombarded by Hamas rockets from Gaza Amnesty falls silent.

Amnesty’s opposition to Israel’s existence is now, sadly, almost policy. Virtually no month passes without there being an anti-Israel event and never will there be a pro-Israel voice on the platform. One of Amnesty’s roles is to try to bury Israel.

White was promoting his new book Palestinians in Israel: Segregation, Discrimination and Democracy and it will be instructive to jump straight to the end of last night’s talk.

After calling for “A future based on a genuine co-existence of equals, rather than ethno-religious supremacy and segregation”, with its obvious anti-Semitic connotation of Jewish supremacy, White said (see clip):

“Instead of asking ‘can we return?’ or ‘when will we return?’ Palestinian refugees can ask ‘what kind of return do we want to create for ourselves?’ I think that’s a kind of beautiful phrasing actually that speaks to the liberation of the imagination that has to take place as we move towards securing a peace with justice”:

I can’t see Israelis ever voting for their state being changed into a Muslim Arab state, so what White is basically promoting is more war and bloodshed.

White’s talk, probably like his book, was a long list of out-of-context and out-of-date quotes.

He started with an apparent quote by Balfour in 1919 – “in Palestine we do not propose to go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the country” – and ended with one by Moshe Dayan’s father, MK Shmuel Dayan, from 1950 – “Maybe (not allowing the refugees back) is not right and not moral, but if we become just and moral, I do not know where we will end up”.

White must spend many nights trolling through the internet and old books looking for quotes that support his pursuit of Israel, but it is obviously a money-making exercise judging by the queue of people waiting for him to sign their copy of his 90-page book.

In between quotes he criticised Israel for what he calls the “Judaisation” of the Galilee and the Negev and for Israel not allowing “Palestinian citizens of Israel”, as he calls them, to live in Israel with their spouses who come from the West Bank and Gaza. The serious security implications for Israel if it allowed the latter are obvious, but Israel’s security isn’t high up on the list of White’s priorities.

During the Q&A he praised the protests during the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra’s concert at the Royal Albert Hall saying that the protests:

“Were targetting a body, the IPO, that receives funding from the Israeli state and also does concerts and stuff for Israeli soldiers.”

He raised the accusation of anti-Semitism aimed at him and said:

“The irony of the accusation of anti-Semitism against me in this context is that it is precisely opposition to all racism that informs my personal opposition to Israeli apartheid”.

And when someone asked him about Hamas and its policies White simply said that the evening wasn’t about Hamas but he hoped that the questioner would “support efforts to end the discriminatory practices against the Palestinians”.

It seems that Hamas is not much of an issue for White or Amnesty, whereas the Jewish state’s existence is.

More clips and photos from last night:

Ben White on “Jewish and Democratic?”

Ben White on “Judaisation” –

I bought this last night as no one else was buying.

I bought this last night as no one else was buying.

Why won’t the Royal Albert Hall complain to the police about the 1st September protests?

The only flag not welcome at the Royal Albert Hall.

The only flag not welcome at the Royal Albert Hall.

Why is the Royal Albert Hall being so reticent in reporting to the police the crime of aggravated trespass allegedly committed by the anti-Israel protesters who disrupted a performance by the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra on 1st September?

Without this there is no possibility of a prosecution.

Yet, Section 68 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 states:

A person commits the offence of aggravated trespass if he trespasses on land [F1…in the open air]… and, in relation to any lawful activity which persons are engaging in or are about to engage in on that or adjoining land [F2…in the open air]… , does there anything which is intended by him to have the effect—.
(a)of intimidating those persons or any of them so as to deter them or any of them from engaging in that activity,.
(b)of obstructing that activity, or.
(c)of disrupting that activity.

Note: “in the open air” has since been removed.

The police are claiming that the anti-Israel protesters were not trespassing or treated as trespassers, because they bought tickets and were not told by RAH security that they were trespassing at the time they forced out.

But, surely they became trespassers as soon as they were asked to leave and refused to do so and had to be forcibly removed. It is all there in the footage.

Additionally, the case law seems to support the notion that a person who is permitted to enter property for one purpose is a trespasser if he enters it for a different purpose.

And judging by the blogs of the anti-Israel protesters they knew they would not be allowed in if the staff on the door knew their true intentions:

“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!” states one of the protesters on his blog.

“Unknown to the Proms organisers, the protesters had bought over 40 tickets in a variety of locations in the Royal Albert Hall, including boxes,” states the general press release of the protesters.

Most of the anti-Israel protesters have been identified and the support of the Royal Albert Hall is essential so the police can put the evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service who would then decide whether to take the matter to trial or not.

Four anti-Israel activists were recently convicted of aggravated trespass in similar circumstances when they entered the Ahava shop in Covent Garden, lay down on the floor and refused to move. The sole difference being that it was impossible for Ahava’s two female staff to move them out of the shop, whereas at the Royal Albert Hall the protesters were eventually forced out by security.

Surely, the Royal Albert Hall has a duty to report an alleged crime where one might have been committed, otherwise what is the point of this legislation?

Then there are the many people who paid exorbitant amounts for tickets only to have their enjoyment of the event ruined by the interruptions, the blame for which lies with the Royal Albert Hall who laid on scant security checks.

Will the RAH be giving refunds?

It was lucky that something worse did not occur on the night. Someone with more hostile intentions could easily have brought in a knife and run amok with it. There were no scanners and only my bag was searched.

Meanwhile, the police and Community Security Trust were stationed outside the RAH!

In fact apart from removing the anti-Israel activists the only other time RAH security was engaged was to remove someone holding up an Israeli flag on the night, while at the Last Night of the Proms last night hundreds of other flags were waved and Lang Lang, the Chinese pianist, played undisturbed despite China’s appalling human rights record.

The latter is proof, if any were needed, that many anti-Israel activists are motivated more by their own anti-Semitism than the defence of human rights.

Feel free to write to the The Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AP or use the form http://www.royalalberthall.com/contact/default.aspx

You can ask for a refund if you were at the concert and also ask that the RAH consider taking action against the anti-Israel protesters.

Alternatively, you can email Chris Cotton, the Chief Executive of the RAH, and ask him why the RAH is turning a blind eye to alleged criminality: chrisc@royalalberthall.com

In the meantime, enjoy the flag waving throughout last night’s rendition of Jerusalem.

Why did the BBC pull last night’s live transmission of the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra at the Proms?

Zubin Mehta and the IPO waiting for more protesters to be removed last night.

Zubin Mehta and the IPO waiting for more protesters to be removed last night.

The band played on, the audience inside the Royal Albert Hall loved it and screamed “More!”, so then why did the BBC pull last night’s live Radio 3 broadcast of the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra at the Proms near to the beginning?

People around the world had tuned in to listen, but instead the BBC quickly switched to a recording of a past IPO performance.

The six or so anti-Israel disruptions (see clips below) didn’t really detract from the evening’s overall enjoyment.

The BBC would’t pull the live transmission of a big football match because 30 hooligans invaded the pitch, but this is the equivalent of what they did last night to the detriment of those who were not lucky enough to be there in person.

The BBC is broadcasting recorded exerpts of the concert next Wednesday at 2.30pm (BST), but the main beauty of an event is that it is live.

Then the BBC’s report of what happened handed a complete propaganda coup to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, an organisation that recently invited Sheikh Raed Salah to speak, a man who has called homosexuality “a crime” that starts “the collapse of every society”.

First, despite the BBC seeming so offended by last night’s disruptions they still found it passable to upload audio of it for their report.

Second, they referred to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign as a “pro-Palestinian group”, but what has the PSC ever done for the Palestinians? They are nothing more than a bunch of anti-Israel activists.

Third, the BBC report speaks of “increased security measures for the concert”, but my bag was given a cursory glance and some of the protesters went in disguise; one woman dressed as a man with grey hair and a beard. They were later seen coming out of a nice South Kensington restaurant as no arrests were made.

The disruptions were totally predictable, judging by past events, and yet when each interruption occurred security took ages to get to the scene of the protest.

And it didn’t need a Sherlock Holmes to tell you that the absence of the hardcore activists at the anti-Israel rally outside the event indicated that they would all be inside the Royal Albert Hall.

It is the same small group of activists that disrupt these events time and time again and cause distress to people watching who have paid good money during hard times.

Meanwhile, young people have been going to prison for stealing a packet of chewing gum or having a lick of some stolen ice-cream during the London riots.

From what I could tell someone who was led away, I believe, is still on a conditional discharge for previous anti-Israel activity. Another conviction could mean imprisonment. And when it came to paying the costs of the court case that person pleaded poverty, yet there they were in a good seat at the Royal Albert Hall and going out for dinner in South Kensington.

The final insult was when someone was taken out by security for holding up an Israeli flag during each disturbance, yet on the last night of the Proms everyone is waving a Union Jack flag.

Mind you it only cost me £5 to get in to stand and it was probably the best value entertainment I have ever had.

And Zubin Mehta and his Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra were heroic.

Clips and photos (use windows explorer if Firefox doesn’t work):

Zubin Mehta acknowledging the audience at the end last night.

Zubin Mehta acknowledging the audience at the end last night.

Pro-Israel rally outside Royal Albert Hall last night.

Pro-Israel rally outside Royal Albert Hall last night.

Last night's pro-Israel rally outside Royal Albert Hall.

Last night's pro-Israel rally outside Royal Albert Hall.

Outside RAH last night, but Mer Khamis was killed by a Palestinian.

Outside RAH last night, but Mer Khamis was killed by a Palestinian.

Last night outside RAH.

Last night outside RAH.

Last night outside the RAH.

Last night outside the RAH.