Please consider signing this letter below and sending your reply back to Michael or John by Sunday November 1st at the latest, and circulating of you can.
Further to my message yesterday, I am copying below a letter to all
members of Clare College Choir which has been drafted by the UK
Palestine Solidarity Campaign and which is currently being sent around
for supporting signatures. I would be very grateful if you were
prepared to sign it (and, if so, in what capacity you would like your
name to appear); I’d likewise be very grateful if you could pass it on
to other figures in the arts and in public life in Palestine who might
be prepared to lend their support to its sentiments.
I gather that the letter will be sent out this Monday (November 2nd)
to the members of the Choir, so if you could ensure that any signatory
names reach me by Sunday evening at the latest, I’d be very grateful.
Please reply to me michael[at]choiroflondon.org or John
Very best wishes,
CHOIR OF LONDON
Dear Director of Music, Timothy Brown and members of the choir,
We understand that you intend to tour Israel with the Choir of Clare
College to perform J.S. Bach’s ‘Christmas Oratorio’ between 25th and
30th December this year and we are asking you to reconsider this
Artists and musicians in Palestine, inspired by the example of the
campaign which brought an end to apartheid in South Africa, have asked
people of conscience around the world not to perform in Israel as an
act of solidarity with them. They do not do this lightly, but because
over forty years of talking have brought no meaningful results in the
implementation of international law and humanitarian law to help
Palestinians achieve an independent sovereign state.
December 27 will be the anniversary of the terrible day last year that
Israel unleashed a military onslaught on the trapped population of the
Gaza Strip. While the rest of the world will be remembering the
massacre of 1,400 Palestinian people, your choir will be performing in
the capital city of the government which perpetrated acts now regarded
as war crimes, according to the latest UN report from Judge Richard
Your invitation to perform in Israel is from the Israel Camerata, a
body partially funded by the Israeli government. To accept such an
invitation is to ignore the fact that Israel is currently engaged in
the longest ever occupation of a people, an occupation declared
illegal by the United Nations. You will see nothing of the reality of
life under occupation for the Palestinian people of the West Bank,
Gaza and East Jerusalem.
The Gaza tragedy was merely the latest episode in the catastrophe
which has befallen the people of Palestine since the destruction of
their villages and the creation of hundreds of thousands of refugees
at the foundation of the State of Israel in 1948. The town of Karmiel,
where you are due to perform on December 30th, is built on land
expropriated from the Palestinian villages of Deir al-Asad, Bi’ina and
The fact that you have been invited to participate in the traditional
Christmas Eve carol service in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem
only emphasises the publicity value to the Israeli government of this
trip. Many Palestinian Christians are denied the right to attend this
service by the Israeli government and army.
To go ahead with this tour could appear indifferent to Palestinian suffering.
Music brings a message of hope but in this instance it will be seen by
the Palestinian people as an endorsement of Israeli occupation. We
ask you again to reconsider your decision.