Picket Israel”s JERUSALEM QUARTET recital
Tuesday 17 November 2009, 7.00pm
Melbourne Recital Centre,
corner Southbank Boulevard and Sturt Street, Southbank

Please help us distribute flyers half an hour before the recital begins.
After Perth, Sydney and Adelaide, Melbourne is the Jerusalem Quartet”s
next stop. This is your chance to join the worldwide boycott, divestment
and sanctions (BDS) campaign that is taking hold everywhere, including




It is a disgrace that here in Australia we help to promote Israel”s
“prestigious cultural ambassadors” when native-born Palestinian artists of
Jerusalem with a heritage going back generations in that city are denied the
right to celebrate their City of Arab Culture with performances in
Jerusalem. Israel has banned any activity sponsored by the Palestinian
Authority (PA) and has already prevented several Arab cultural events from
taking place in the city this year. Most of the events have had to take
place outside the city in West Bank Palestinian towns. Palestinians have
responded to Israel”s suppression of Arab cultural events with a Jerusalem
Underground Festival. Performances have been held in secret private homes
and businesses for specially invited guests as a way to fight Israel”s
suppression of Palestinian identity, Aside from cultural performances, one
house has been turned into a lending library because Palestinians do not
have a municipal library of their own in Jerusalem. Only in July this year,
a literary festival involving some 20-odd writers from all around the world
at Jerusalem”s Palestine Theatre was shut down by Israeli soldiers toting
machine guns. The festival continued with the help of the French and
British embassies. You can read about it and see photos by clicking on the
link http://australiansforpalestine.com/messud-walking-miles-in-palestinian-feet

Who would have thought that a literary festival of well-known international
writers and supported by UNESCO and the British Council would pose a
“security threat” to a powerful military state like Israel? Israel”s reason:
it was organised and funded by the Palestinian Authority. Now, if Israel
thought it was organised and funded by Hamas, it would have made more sense,
but the PA? The PA is the governing body of the Palestinian state that US
President Obama and other world leaders are so committed to seeing emerge.
This is the PA which earlier this year was offered $10 million in aid by our
deputy prime Minister Julia Gillard.

While Israel is ready to come down heavily on any positive Palestinian
cultural events in Israel, we find that in Australia, Israel tries to
showcase its own cultural events and artists. These efforts to normalise
Israeli society need to be boycotted. Once Australians learn about the
contradictions of Israel”s policies and practices towards its citizens and
the people under its military occupation, they will understand why protests
need to be raised against cultural partnerships with Israel. Not only has
the State of Israel contributed $8000 towards the Jerusalem Quartet”s tour,
but the World Zionist Press Service says that it is Israel”s only
professional string quartet. It was founded in the Jerusalem Music Centre
and comes under its patronage. And, although the Centre claims to be
independent, it cooperates readily with practically all leading
organisations of music and music education in Israel and is funded by
philanthropic contributions with Lord Rothschild as co-chair of the advisory
board. The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs has stated in an article
that the Jerusalem Quartet receives professional patronage from the Unit for
Young Musicians at the Music Centre and the Israeli ambassador to the UK
said last year when protesters disrupted the Edinburgh Festival “we must not
give in to attempts to sabotage the marketing of Israeli art and culture in

Since the quartet has made no public statement dissociating itself from
Israel”s apartheid policies, we can only assume that it is happy to play
under the patronage of the State of Israel and/or its institutions while the
charges of war crimes against Israel hang thick in the air worldwide.

The world needs to tell Israel that its war crimes, occupation of
Palestinian land, human rights abuses and siege of Gaza can no longer be
tolerated regardless of Israel”s cultural, academic, sporting and business
contributions and successes. As long as the Palestinians are prevented from
making their own contributions and enjoying their successes, as long as they
are not free in their own land and suffer apartheid and oppression under
Israel”s military occupation, we cannot engage in normal relations with
Israel. BDS is a proven non-violent way of putting pressure on a government
to change its policies. It worked in Apartheid South Africa and it will
work again. Please join us.

The quartet has already played in Perth, Adelaide and Sydney. Friends of
Palestine protesters in Perth gave out leaflets and held up placards that
said “A Peace Orchestra doesn”t make for a War Quartet” referring to the
fact that two of the quartet”s members play in the East-West Divan Orchestra
of Israeli and Arab musicians. Apparently only 500 people showed up for the
recital in the 1700-capacity concert hall. Sydney had a similar experience
with a lot of concert goers attending on free tickets donated to Lifeline.
One woman after reading the leaflet handed her ticket to the CJPP protester
and went home. AFOPA protesters in Adelaide also had a woman handing over
three $45 tickets saying that she had no idea that the quartet represented
Israel and that she no longer felt she could attend the concert knowing that
Israel commits terrible crimes against the Palestinians. She intended to
contact her friends during interval to encourage them to leave. Placards
and Palestinian flags attracted many supportive beeps and calls from passing
cars and cyclists.

– SK

For more information, please go to our website

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