A celebration of Israeli and Jewish culture in Britain has turned around and became a tool for boycotting Israel. As odd as it may sound, the Jewish Music Institute (JMI) at the London University, has turned down a grant from the British Israeli Arts Training Scheme following intense pressure by pro-Palestinian groups calling to boycott Israel.
Pro Palestinians Israel boycotters have declared a “victory” after organisers of the Israeli music conference assured them that the event would have no Israeli government funding. JMI director Geraldine Auerbach said no money had been received from the Israeli government, and a £1,500 grant from BI-ARTS had been turned down.
JMI caved in after campaigners against Israel threatened to demonstrate outside the Israeli music conference and sabotage the event.
Instead of caving in to such cheap blackmail JMI should have been proud to be in the same group as the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra that performed in Carnegie Hall last month while an anti Israel boycott protest was held outside. Mrs. Auerbach and JMI should have known that the pro Palestinian boycott campaigners will be targeting the event no matter what.
Caving to blackmail is not the answer. JMI refusal to take the funds diminish the whole purpose of the event which is to celebrate Israeli music. Boycott is not constructive to peace. Music can bring people together and Israeli Music should be celebrated with pride.
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