In a commentary in today’s JC, I argue that the London Philharmonic had no choice. Four of its players had used its name in a political statement, calling for the Israel Philharmonic to be banned from the Proms. They had no authority to make a corporate statement of this kind and the company was put in a position where, by doing nothing, it appeared to endorse their action.
The musicians who own and operate the orchestra decided otherwise and took the exceptionally harsh step of suspending four of their colleagues for up to nine months. The JC, in its leader, applauds that action.
My view is that the punishment is too harsh. The suspensions need to be set aside after a brief period and the matter laid to rest.
There has already been a minor outbreak of para-antisemitic tittle-tattle, suggesting – without saying so explicitly – that a Jewish cabal forced the musicians’ suspension. The LPO, like all London orchestras, has a certain number of Jewish supporters, some of them wealthy and influential. They will have made their views known. However, the suspension could not have been imposed without the endorsement of a significant majority of players,executives and donors. Those, like the New Statesman, who point a finger at the Elders of Zion, merely expose their innate racism,