A lunchtime recital by the Jerusalem Quartet, broadcast live on Radio 3, was disrupted by anti-Israeli protestors and taken off air. During the first half of the performance at London’s Wigmore Hall yesterday, a group of demonstrators in the audience stood up and began to shout and chant. They were removed from the venue, and the concert continued; the Radio 3 broadcast was replaced by a performance by the Salomon Quartet.
‘Today’s demonstration was evidently extremely well planned,’ says John Gilhooly, director of the Wigmore Hall, in Classical Music Magazine. ‘The protesters must have bought their tickets for the concert a long time ago, because they were all sitting in individual seats in different parts of the hall.’
One protester, Tony Greenstein, claimed on his blog that the Brighton and Hove Palestinian Solidarity Campaign (BHPSC) and the organisation Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods, were behind the disruptions. ‘The Quartet, who are cultural ambassadors for the State of Israel, are promoting the interests of Israel and all its policies against the Palestinians to the British public,’ says the BHPSC.
Anti-Israeli protests have taken place in previous performances by the Jerusalem Quartet, including their Edinburgh Festival debut in 2008. Their Wigmore Hall recital of Mozart’s String Quartet in D, K575 and Ravel’s String Quartet in F will be broadcast on Radio 3 this Saturday, at 2pm, after the Quartet re-recorded the disrupted sections of the programme.