Protest the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra

Press Release


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October 29, New York, NY – Outside Manhattan’s normally staid Lincoln Center cultural complex tonight, 50 New Yorkers delivered a clear message rejecting the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra’s (IPO) deliberate use of art to whitewash Israel’s systematic and brutal repression of the rights of the Palestinian people. The IPO, which was holding a fundraising concert, calls itself “Israel’s musical ambassador throughout the country and the world” and helps to project a positive image of Israel, diverting attention from Israel’s human rights abuses, as part of the Israeli government’s “Brand Israel” initiative.

Many of the well-dressed patrons, who had paid up to $5000 apiece for tickets to the IPO concert at the Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, looked disturbed to encounter a radical marching band, the Rude Mechanical Orchestra (RMO), and a crowd of protesters with chants that included, “Your orchestra is classy, your piano is so grand, we’d love to have you play for us when you stop stealing land;” and “Oboe, trumpet and bassoon, apartheid is out of tune.”

Other passers-by read the literature being distributed by protesters and, in some cases, took up signs and joined the demonstration. Eight dancers in a second floor Alice Tully Hall studio with floor to ceiling glass windows overlooking the protest, inspired by the RMO’s renditions of “Which Side Are You On?” and “We Shall Not Be Moved,” treated the crowd to an impromptu dance performance.

Press Coverage

New York Times


Like most seasoned conductors, Zubin Mehta has built his reputation on interpretations of a core repertory, in his case the music of Romantic-era giants like Bruckner, Tchaikovsky and Mahler. But on tour with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, an ensemble that named him music director for life in 1981, he is increasingly in demand for his exegesis of a long-winded drama fueled by high passions of a different kind: Middle East politics.

Join Adalah-NY as we protest "Israel's finest cultural emissary" and "Israel’s musical ambassador throughout the country and the world," the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, at 6pm on Tuesday, October 29.
More about the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO):
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 of enormous value to the State of Israel."
In 1948, when 750,000 Palestinian people were forced out of their homes, the orchestra "traveled in armored cars...raising the morale of civilians and soldiers alike." In 1967, as Israel was occupying the parts of Palestine they did not occupy in 1948, "Zubin Mehta arrived in a plane full of ammunition from Europe." In further support for the Israeli occupation beyond even the borders of historic Palestine, the IPO's website notes that during war, "the orchestra continued to perform before IDF soldiers from the Golan Heights to Sinai."
Endorsers: Brooklyn For Peace; International Socialist Organization (ISO); Jews Say No!; New Yorkers Against the Cornell-Technion Partnership (NYACT); Park Slope Food Coop Members for BDS; Students for Justice in Palestine chapters at Brooklyn College, College of Staten Island, Columbia University, CUNY Law, Drew University, John Jay College, New York University, and Rutgers University - Newark; WESPAC; Women in Black, Union Square.


Event Location: 

Alice Tully Hall
1941 Broadway (at W. 66th St)
New York , NY

Event Date: 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - 6:00pm to 7:30pm


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