Israel/Palestine,  Music

Charges dropped against anti-Israel concert disrupters

Leila Khaled, Tony Greenstein and others won’t get their chance to testify on behalf of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign activists arrested in 2008 for disrupting a concert by the Jerusalem Quartet in Edinburgh.

Socialist Unity reports that charges of “racially aggravated conduct” against the disrupters have been dropped. This is being treated in some quarters as a tremendous victory.

As I wrote last year, when the charge against the disrupters was issued:

For mysterious reasons, the prosecutors in the case dropped the perfectly appropriate charge of breaching the peace and substituted the current charge. This, of course, gives the SPSC the opportunity to turn the case into a political cause célèbre and themselves into martyrs for Palestine.

At least they didn’t get that chance, as SPSC chair Mick Napier regretfully acknowledged.

A Jerusalem Quartet performance was also disrupted in London last month.

The March 29 lunchtime concert, which was being broadcast live on BBC Radio, was taken off the air in the middle due to the disruption, the Jewish Chronicle reported. The quartet completed its program.

About five protesters took turns disrupting the concert with anti-Israel epithets at 10-minute intervals throughout the performance at Wigmore Hall, according to reports. They were removed from the audience.

Protesters in other countries also have disrupted the quartet’s performances.

In a statement, the quartet noted that all four musicians served in the Israeli army as musicians and not in combat, and also perform as regular members of Daniel Barenboim’s West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, which brings Israeli and Arab musicians together.