Protest the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra’s Performance at Carnegie Hall, 2012

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On October 25th, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra gave a sold out concert at Carnegie  Hall, performing under the baton of Maestro Zubin Mehta, a program of  some of Judaism’s most spiritual works, demonstrating their undyingly  righteous, cultural eminence.

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The conductor was clearly displeased, and not only by his shabby temporary headquarters. He was unhappy about, but not surprised by news that Adalah-NY was staging yet another protest of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra’s concert on Thursday night.

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One performance will be inside, by the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO), and the other will take place outside the entrances to Disney Hall.

The IPO performs internationally as a cultural ambassador for Israel.  Local protesters want to use the orchestra’s visit to Los Angeles to bring attention to what they call Israel’s oppression of Palestinians.

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When I received a press release from Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel gleefully informing me that “New Yorkers will protest at Carnegie Hall with music, songs, chants and street theater against the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO) and its complicity in Israel’s apartheid policies against the Palestinian people,” I actually laughed.

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A performance last month by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra was met with protests from Adalah-NY, who urged Carnegie Hall to cancel the orchestra’s appearance in response to the Palestinians’ call for a cultural boycott of the Israeli “apartheid state” that – in their perspective – is occupying Arab land, building settlements, and repressing Palestinians. Zubin Mehta, the Philharmonic’s musical director, summed up the boycott by saying, “As long as they keep building settlements the world will be anti-Israeli.”

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We are conscientious artists who support justice, human rights, equality, and democracy in the Middle East and around the world. Consequently, we are dismayed by Carnegie Hall’s upcoming October 2012 hosting of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. The IPO is an organization that whitewashes Israel’s ethnic cleansing of indigenous Palestinians. We call on Carnegie Hall to cancel the IPO’s upcoming October performance for reasons set forth in greater detail below.

How the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra Whitewashes Israel’s Oppression of Palestinians

The IPO is not an apolitical cultural institution; it is actively complicit in whitewashing Israeli human rights abuses, apartheid, and occupation of Palestinian land.

In 2006, the Israeli government launched a public relations initiative called “Brand Israel,” which seeks to use art and music to distract from Israel’s human rights violations. According to Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, by sending Israeli artists and musicians abroad, “you show Israel’s prettier face, so we are not thought of purely in the context of war.” The IPO website aptly notes that the Orchestra serves as “Israel’s musical ambassador throughout the country and the world.” American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra calls the IPO “Israel’s finest cultural emissary” and notes that “[t]he goodwill created by these tours … is of enormous value to the State of Israel.” This cynical use of art and music serves to obscure Israel’s military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, home demolitions in Jerusalem, kidnappings, bombings, multiple forms of collective punishment, and countless other grave abuses.

DON’T HARMONIZE WITH APARTHEID

Join us to protest the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra’s performance at Carnegie Hall.

The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO) brags of its partnership with the Israeli army. It is held up as Israel’s premier cultural ambassador. The IPO is an important component of the “Brand Israel” campaign, which seeks to distract from Israel’s illegal occupation and the suppression of Palestinian rights.

Responding to the call from Palestinian civil society to isolate Israel’s apartheid regime, we will protest against the Israel Philharmonic during its 2012 tour.

NO whitewashing,
NO impunity, and
NO business as usual for the apartheid state!

There will be theater, visuals, music, fun and passion for justice!
(Signs will be provided)

Sponsored by: Adalah-NY: The NY Campaign for the Boycott of Israel

Endorsed by: Brooklyn For Peace; International Socialist Organization; Jews Say No!; New Yorkers Against the Cornell-Technion Project; Queers Against Israeli Apartheid; Students for Justice in Palestine at Columbia, Brooklyn College, Hunter, and John Jay; WESPAC Foundation; Women in Black, Union Square

Protest the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra’s Performance at Carnegie Hall, 2012

Event Location: 

Carnegie Hall
57th Street & Seventh Avenue
New York, NY

Event Date: 

Thursday, October 25, 2012 - 6:00pm to 7:15pm

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