UK: BBC to cut anti-Israel remark by famed violinist from broadcast

18th Aug 2013

The BBC said it would edit out an anti-Israel remark made by a prominent musician at a recent concert in London from the broadcast scheduled to air later this month.

British violinist Nigel Kennedy issued a mild criticism of Israel’s apartheid policies during an August 8 performance with the Palestine Strings ensemble that drew wild cheers and applause from the audience.

“It’s a bit facile to say it, but we all know from experiencing this night of music tonight that giving equality and getting rid of apartheid means there’s a chance for amazing things to happen,” Kennedy told the audience before introducing a 15-year-old Palestinian violinist.

But a spokesperson from the British Broadcasting Corporation was quoted as saying that Kennedy’s comment will not be included in the broadcast as it “does not fall within the editorial remit” of a classical music performance.

Listen to Kennedy’s remark

“Nigel’s comment to the audience at his Late Night Prom on 8 August will not be included in the deferred BBC Four Broadcast on 23 August because it does not fall within the editorial remit of the Proms as a classical music festival,” the unnamed spokesperson told the Huffington Post.

Ruth Deech, a former governor at the BBC, lashed out at Kennedy in remarks published by the UK-based Jewish Chronicle.

“The remark was offensive and untrue. There is no apartheid in Israel,” Deech, who was also a member of the pro-Israel Jewish Leadership Council, was quoted as saying.

The 56-year-old musician is a vocal supporter of Palestinian rights who reportedly refuses to perform at Israeli concert halls.


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