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Nigel Kennedy lashes out at BBC Palestine ‘censorship’

The British violinist is upset that remarks he made about ‘Israeli apartheid’ have been excised from the BBC television broadcast of his Vivaldi concert with the Palestine Strings.

His spokesperson has issued a statement to an activist site, amplifying Nigel’s one-sided take on the Middle East conflict. She and he are well aware that the BBC has strict rules against using its air space for political propaganda. They are trying to play a small incident for all it is worth.

Speaking personally, having known him for quarter of a century, I have never imagined Nigel Kennedy to be a political expert – or an activist, for that matter. I have no idea where he stands on Zionism, Egypt, the Syrian civil war or Tibet – all we have ever talked about is  music, football and life.

Nigel is a musician and a people person, an elusive personality deeply rooted in his personal relationships. I regret, as a friend, that he has chosen to go on this one-sided Middle East crusade.  Some day, he may regret it, too.

UPDATE: A clarification from Kennedy’s personal manager. Click here.

Statement follows.

nigel kennedy bbc proms

photo: Chris Christodoulou/Lebrecht Music&Arts

“Nigel Kennedy finds it incredible and quite frightening that in the 21st century it is still such an insurmountable problem to call things the way they are. He thinks that once we can all face issues for what they really are we can finally have a chance of finding solutions to problems such as human rights, equal rights and even, perhaps, free speech. His first reaction to the BBC’s censorship & imperial lack of impartiality was to refuse to play for an employer who is influenced by such dubious outside forces.

Mr Kennedy has, however, reminded himself that his main purpose is to provide the audience with the best music he can deliver. To withdraw his services would be akin to a taxi driver refusing to drive their customer due to their political incorrectness. He, therefore, is not withdrawing his services that he owes to his audience, but is half expecting to be replaced by someone deemed more suitable than him due to their surplus of opportunism and career aspirations.

Mr Kennedy is glad, however, that by censoring him the BBC has created such a huge platform for the discussion of its own impartiality, its respect (or lack of it) for free speech and for the discussion of the miserable apartheid forced on the Palestinian people by the Israeli government supported by so many governments from the outside world.

Mr Kennedy believes his very small statement during his concert was purely descriptive and not political whatsoever.”

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  1. That’s why I was against Giergev and Netrebko getting involved with politics when we had all that about gay rights and making statements through music and performances. They should all get on with what they do best – making first class music and being sociable. It may be that there is apartheid, and that is what it’s called, but to start using the Proms is not the right platform no more than the Met to go on about gay rights in Eugene Onegin. And the idea of him withdrawing his services from the Proms is an insult to those who have paid to go and hear him play, who have supported him down the years, with only himself being the worse off in the end, cutting his own throat, rather than the BBC. We are all dispensable as singers and players, but Kennedy has done some very fine work, opening up classical music and taking the stuffiness out of it for those who would otherwise not go, and with all the fame, not forgetting where he came from – South London. But he and the BBC should call a truce and not use music to make political statements, no more than Barenboim would do – and see how he has succeeded in doing something positive, getting the two sides to play with each other in the first place rather than making comments on stage at a performance!

    • Barenboim said in a recent BBC film that he refuses to play in Israel “because of what is going on there”. I was under the impression he was supposed to be engendering racial harmony between the two nations with his East West Divan orchestra but it seems even he, a Jew from Argentina, sides with Palestinian aggression and terrorism.

      • As far as I’m aware Barenboim plays in Israel all the time. He has joint citizenship and plays on both sides of the border(s). I’m pretty sure last time I was there, not long ago, he was doing a big Beethoven cycle in Israel.

      • Actually, Barenboim moved from Argentina to Israel at around age 10 and grew up there. He remains an Israeli citizen to this day.

        For whatever one may think that’s worth.

        Agree or disagree with his political positions and his statements about the Israel-Palestinian situation, at least Barenboim is not holding forth about someone else’s country. He has as much right to opine publicly about the Israeli government’s policies as any other Israeli (or at least any other Israeli, and there are many, who chooses to live and work abroad).

  2. Ann McCoy says:

    How sad that Nigel has not been allowed to speak his mind. An Irishman certainly understands colonial takeovers of land by outside forces.

    • The parallel with Ireland is a very reasonable one.

      • …Except for the fact that Irish terrorist attacks on the Brits didn’t start until *after* the occupation began.

        …And at least *some* of the IRA’s targets were actual military installations and personnel.

        • Neil van der Linden says:

          What are you exactly suggesting, Jeffrey? Yes there have been Palestinian attacks on Israeli citizens, but so there have been many attacks of the IRA on citizens. As there have been Protestant attacks too. And at some point the British government got involved in attacking citizens too.
          Meanwhile the Israeli attacks on Palestinians regularly take the shape of orchestrated and officially legitimised attacks.
          And what about this? This happened today.

          A 19-year-old Palestinian boy has been shot dead by Israeli forces at a refugee camp in the Occupied West Bank, Palestinian medical officials have said.

          Two others were injured in the incident, which happened in the Jenin Refugee Camp earlier on Tuesday.

          The condition of one of the two injured is serious.

          Doctors at a Jenin hospital said Majed Lahlouh was killed with a bullet to his heart. The wounded men also suffered gunshot wounds, they said.

          An Israeli military spokesperson had no initial comment.

          Eyewitnesses said the Israeli troops entered the narrow streets of the Jenin camp at dawn, apparently seeking to arrest a local resident.

          Palestinian youths threw stones at the soldiers, who responded with live gunfire.

          Violence in the West Bank has worsened since the beginning of 2013. Israeli forces have killed 11 Palestinians there this year, most of them in clashes, compared with three killed in the same period in 2012, according to United Nations figures.

          Last week Israel and the Palestinians resumed US-brokered peace talks after a three-year breakdown although neither side has expressed much optimism for a major breakthrough.

          • I must have missed the news stories about the 10,000 rockets launched by the IRA from Belfast, targeting Liverpool.

            …Just as you, judging by the stories you chose to cite, missed the stories about the thousands and thousands of terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians, and the accounts of the terrorists’ basing themselves amidst their own civilians specifically so as to force the Israelis to choose between incurring Palestinian civilian deaths or allowing attacks on their own people to continue unabated. A terrible choice, but also an obvious one.

            When civilians die, on either side, it’s tragic. The sad truth, though, is that if the Israelis stopped striking the terrorists, attacks on Israeli civilians would continue, whereas if the terrorists stopped murdering Israelis, the Israelis would have no reason to attack. We know this, by the way, by the fact that the whole thing started when Arab armies invaded Israel on the very day it became independent, with the announced intention of destroying it.

          • Neil, Just another story about Palestinian children being injured or killed by Israeli soldiers. Every time we investigate these alleged incidents we find them to be a product of the Palestinian propaganda machine which feeds their activists around the world. No pictures in this case? Pallywood are slipping up.

          • Neil van der Linden says:

            Usually these reports sadly enough are true. They happen quite freely. Here is today’s The Other Israel’s messae bulletin

            Begin forwarded message:

            From: The Other Israel
            Subject: [TOI-Billboard]
            Date: 20 augustus 2013 16:34:17 GMT+02:00
            To: Beate

            If you have difficulty reading it click here

            Bloodshed and basketball
            The blog of Adam Keller

            Occupation Magazine August, 20, 2013, and a selection of articles posted on earlier days

            Israeli soldiers shoot, kill man in Jenin camp
            Ma`an – Israeli forces raided the Jenin camp at 3 a.m. and broke into the home of Islamic Jihad leader Bassam al-Saedi. Clashes broke out with camp residents, who threw empty bottles and stones at Israeli soldiers, who responded with live fire, tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets. Majd Mohammad Anis Lahlouh, 22, was shot directly in the heart. Karim Sbeih and Alah Abu Khalifa, both in their twenties, were also critically wounded. bz

            Livni taps Gavison to square the circle of Israel`s identity crisis
            Edna Adato and Gideon Allon – IsraelHayom – Gavison`s appointment comes just weeks after MKs Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi) and Yariv Levin (Likud-Beytenu) introduced their new bill called “Basic Law: Israel — the nation state of the Jewish people.” The new piece of legislation has divided the Knesset, with some worried it would disenfranchise Israel`s Arab population. Livni has been one of the most vociferous opponents of the bill, saying it puts too much emphasis on Israel`s Jewish character and does little to safeguard its democratic institutions and processes. bz

            Shelah defies Yesh Atid platform: Jerusalem will be Palestinian capital
            Lahav Harkov – Jerusalem Post – “I don`t see a possible agreement with the Palestinians in which they will not be able to call east Jerusalem their capital, just like I don`t see a possible agreement that isn`t based on `67 borders.” (…) “We cannot just build a wall and say `this is ours and this is yours.`” Shelah, a former television and print journalist, never hid his opinions, which put him at the far left in the spectrum of opinions within Yesh Atid. bz

            UN`s humanitarian coordinator calls on Palestinians, Israelis to end cycle of violence
            James W. Rawley – Ynet – Providing open access for Palestinian farmers in the West Bank and Gaza to all their lands, lifting the fishing limits imposed on fishermen in Gaza, removing the restrictions on the import of building material into Gaza, permitting Gazans to freely transfer their produce through Israeli crossing points – to name a few recommendations – would have an enormous impact on reducing humanitarian needs and concerns. Likewise, allowing Palestinians to plan and develop their lands in Area C will spur sustainable development, thereby reducing the need for humanitarian assistance. [Article written by the United Nations` humanitarian coordinator on the occasion of World Humanitarian Day] bz

            Noam Chomsky: Israel`s West Bank plans will leave Palestinians very little
            Noam Chomsky – CNN – Also misleading is the question whether the hawkish Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would accept a “Palestinian state.” In fact, his administration was the first to countenance this possibility when it came into office in 1996, following Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres, who rejected this outcome. Netanyahu`s associate David bar-Illan explained that some areas would be left to Palestinians, and if they wanted to call them “a state,” Israel would not object — or they could call them “fried chicken.” His response reflects the operative attitude of the U.S.-Israel coalition to Palestinian rights. bz

            The Connected Walls Project: Israel/West Bank, Morocco/Spain US/Mexico,
            Connected Walls – This webdocumentary project explores the lives of communities separated by walls in three conflict zones: USA/Mexico border, Israeli wall occupying the West Bank, Morocco/Spain border. 3 film crews, each composed of 2 directors (one from each side of the wall), will have 2 months to accomplish 1 mission: produce a 5-minute- documentary every 10 days, together.

          • You’re an Israeli commander. You have two seconds in which to decide whether that fellow over there is holding a stone, a bottle, or a grenade.

            Sorry. You took too long. You and your soldiers are dead.

            As I said earlier, the solution is for Palestinians to stop killing Israelis. Until that happens, it’s absurd to demand that Israel stop defending itself.

          • Neil van der Linden says:

            More people in the world are starting to wonder what the Israeli soldier was doing there anyway.

          • “More people in the world are starting to wonder what the Israeli soldier was doing there anyway.”

            If they’d read the history, they’d know that from 1948-1967, the West Bank was used as a base from which to mount horrific terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians. When Jordan decided to join the ’67 war, their shelling, from the West bank, reached the outskirts of Tel Aviv. From the westernmost point of the West bank to the Israeli seacoast is only 9 miles; it would take an invading army only 15 minutes to cut Israel in two.

            If they’d read the news, they’d know that since Israel pulled out of Gaza, terrorists have launched over 10,000 rockets and mortars from there into southern Israel — not at military targets, and at targets nowhere near the settlements they claim to be protesting.

            If “more people” bothered to read history and the news, they wouldn’t have to wonder.

          • Neil van der Linden says:

            Meanwhile while we are repeating every aspect of the debate about the Israeli-Palestinian-Middleeast issue, and probably after this we are qualified, maybe even more than many current foreign and local politicians, to go there and help finding solutions. Before that we will repeat many previous discussions and also for sure will come up with some new light on the matter.
            But the more simple question, though with numerous interdependencies, was whether the BBC should have included the video with Nigel Kennedy’s statement. From the point of view of Kennedy it may feel like censorship. But from the point of view of the BBC I can see some awkward sides to whatever choice they would have made. Yes, they cut out something that was meant as a heart-felt statement by the artist, and perhaps his orchestra members too (the latter we dont know). Personally, being involved frequently in the Middle-East culture and thus being able to look around meanwhile at the political situation, I consider for instance the BBC world a very useful source of getting information and seeing new views on the situation. During my recent stay in Egypt, when the current standoff was developeling, I regularly switched from BBC World to Al Jazeera Enlish, and in combination there were no better sources of information on what was going on. In combination the websites of BBC World and Al Jazeera English are of a value that no other source for a quick scan can offer. The BBC tries deliberately to be more fair and unbiased, while Al Jazeera Enlish is more explicitly in an agenda. But the thoroughness and richness of information of Al Jazeera are unmatched as their people are able and/or dare to go deeper into battle areas. And they include explicitly views that do not necessarily match the views and culture of their sponsors. One just has to look at the website for a while and see the topics.
            Anyway I find the idea that the BBC has an anti-Palestinian agenda or something nonsense.
            I am sure Nigel Kennedy is sincere, even if he speaks politically from the comfortable position of a well-paid Western star, who does not live there. Whether he is the best spokesman for the cause he is highlighting is another issue. Personally I dont like easy statements, but I have not heard or read what he has said. Not every musicians is qualified to formulate a deep insight in such matters. On the other hand I dont believe that we will have a better world if we leave the political matters only to the utter eloquent.
            I noticed by the way that the whole project was not mentioned before in any way on these pages, while many events in the Proms have been highlighted. So maybe anyway we should be grateful for a late welcome for the project here in these columns.

  3. ” I have no idea where he stands on Zionism”

    You might not have had an idea before, but it’s certainly clear now.

    Claims of Israeli “apartheid” crash and burn, logically, when they come up against the fact that there are over 1 million Israeli Arabs with full voting rights and participation at high levels in every aspect of Israeli society — including the police, the military, and the government.

    The people who are kept separate are the ones whose leaders have spent over 60 years threatening — and trying — to destroy Israel. Only in the case of Israel is it demanded that a government *not* protect its citizens.

    I realize that this runs counter to what “everybody knows”. As with many of the things that “everybody knows” about Israel, “everybody” needs to actually read the history.

    • Michael Schaffer says:

      You do seem to know a lot about Israel though, so let me ask you a question more related to the main subject of this website and recent discussions we had here: how many Palestinian Israeli or Arab Israeli (which one is the more correct way to say it?) musicians are in the Israel Philharmonic?

      • @Michael,

        If you have listened to the principal conductor’s views , Zubin Mehta, he has expressed the view that he envisages Arabs in future playing in the IPO and that the IPO is quite happy with the idea of playing with Arabs and vice versa. However until now, auditioned Arab musicians he says, are not yet at the highest level of musicianship and standards not be lowered, which in itself will be discrimination. That is the answer.
        But also the pool of musicians from the Arab community that play western music is much smaller than would find in the non-Arab sector. There are a few concert pianists who are Arab,but there are a few. Being Arab has t nothing to do with it. Music is a great leveller: If you are good it does not matter what you are,


  4. Basia Jaworski says:

    Good spoken, Norman.
    Yes, Jeffrey, I am very afraid people talking about apartheid in Israel never visited the land and know nothing about human rights there.
    Did Mr. Kennedy say anything about Christians in Egypt NOW?

    • Exactly, at least churches these days are not being burned in Israel.

      • With all due respect, that’s not a good argument. Israel, despite what “everybody knows”, has the moral high ground here; whether or not someone else, somewhere else, is doing something bad is irrelevant.

        • Yes, Israel has the moral high ground… because Israel has killed about ten times more Palestinians, than Palestinians have killed Israelis in many years of armed conflict. That is the factual math of your “moral high ground”.

          • Yes. The very policies and tactics that are decried here are designed to minimize the terrorists’ ability to kill Israelis. the fact that they’ve been successful is hardly a logical argument in favor of changing them.

            If the Palestinians don’t like the rigors of the occupation, they should stop allowing terrorists to murder Israelis in their name.

          • So you call murdering Palestinians: “Successfully minimizing the terrorists’ ability to kill Israelis”
            And you call murdering Israelis: “murdering Israelis”.
            And the first has produced ten times the fatalities than the second has.
            What are we supposed to think about you?

          • You have gone way off topic. Leave it there.

          • Mr. L: Since you’ve asked us to stay on-topic, please delete my response to David (about Israel’s attempts to minimize Palestinian deaths) as well as this.

            Thank you.

    • No, he didn’t say anything because he knows nothing about that either, no more than I do. Just get on and play the violin :)

      • Neil van der Linden says:

        Niel Kennedy was performing with Palestinian kids, so perhaps he could have taken an hour to speak about all the injustices in the world, but as he was not playing with a Rohinya orchestra there was less need to talk about the fate of the Rohynia, nor was he playin with Israeli musicians. An artist view on politics is what it is, no more and no less.
        I do not consider the policy of the BBC as pure censorship, but they have put themselves in trouble now. Perhaps otherwise they would have put themselves in trouble too.

  5. What a load of twt! We’ve had Edward Said & Daniel Barenboim in conversation (while the former was live), plus DB’s East-West Divan. All of which was broadcast by the BBC.
    Get over yourself, Nige – & if your main purpose really to provide the audience with the best music you can deliver, then just play, & cut the politics: I’m not interested in your personal views.

  6. As someone who teaches and performs in Occupied Palestine, and who has spent many years studying the history of the region and the so-called ‘conflict’, I congratulate Mr. Kennedy on his courage.

    Claims that Israel (domestically) is not an apartheid state are pure denial. Yes, all citizens can pull the lever in the voting booth, but the two-tiered citizenship is both institutionalized and extra-legal. (Answer the question, Are all Israeli citizens equal under the law, and if you answer ‘yes’, you know nothing about Israeli law, much less Israeli reality.)

    But of course the subject of Mr. Kennedy’s remark was Palestine, where Israel (not the make-believe government in Ramallah) exerts Orwellian control over four million people who cannot vote in its elections.

    Mr. Kennedy will never regret his stand. Rather, Israel (i.e., its successive governments) will more and more be seen for what it is: an expansionist, race-based regime that empowers itself by cynically co-opting a religion and the historic persecution of its people. For that reason, in the end it will be remembered as an even more egregious abuse of humanity than old South Africa. Those who opposed it will be the heros.

    • If the Palestinians had not allied themselves with the people who at the moment of israel’s creation tried to destroy it, they would have had their second homeland in 1948.

      If the Palestinians had not allowed their lands to be used as bases for horrendous terrorist attacks over the following 19 years, they would not have been occupied by Israel.

      If the Palestinians were not, even now, allowing terrorists to kill Israelis in their name, they would have peace and independence.

      For over 6 decades now, there has not been a moment in which the Palestinians’ odds of getting their second homeland would not have been better if they had accepted Israel’s right to exist, and there has not been a moment in which their odds were not worse than they’d been the moment before.

      Only Israel, among the nations of the world, is told that it has no right to defend itself.

      • Jeffrey

        You give a certain opinion about yourself more than Palestine, and taking sides as a result.

        I’m sorry but unless you have lived there or been there to see what goes on first-hand, and not from the comfort of an hotel, this has really nothing to do with Nigel Kennedy playing Vivaldi but quite stereotyped from newspapers and television reporters, and on the side of the Jews. It is a complex country, with ac complex Biblical history, and you need to know your history – as I do too – but not just churn out what you’ve read or heard, and go on the bandwagon. Opinion is fine, but this appears to be more than opinion. We Were talking about Nigel Kennedy, not the whole thing going on in the Middle East – or indeed Ireland. It is not that simple, and I don’t mean to be insulting. I don’t know all the situation either but I wouldn’t write this, and proclaim a culture of blame, and actually show myself up. I have an opinion, but I won’t offer it as I really don’t know enough to do so.

        • That should read – ‘As I need to do too’, not implying I know my history because I don’t – sorry!

    • It was no act of courage on Kennedy’s part to make that remark. No one in the Royal Albert Hall would have got a gun out and shot him, like in other countries, or would he have ended up in prison. It’s not how we do things in this country. It was just a remark, but it was out of place to do so and discourteous to his audience, and there is no need of it to be repeated on the television when, in any case, due to scheduling time, all manner of things get cut out so it fits into the allocated slot on BBC4. The BBC I am sure would be very happy for him to do a documentary in a more appropriate situation. If not, Channel 4 would, but I don’t think he’d actually have the courage to do so or even be articulate enough to do so, no more than I would on Ireland. Anyhow, I’ll be watching him on the television on Friday when we get that programme broadcast on the BBC, and I will also see him live at the Last Night of the Proms on 7 September, where I’m sure he will now behave and not chance his mouth again, whatever about his bowing arm! Looking forward to hearing him play enormously. That’s what he does best.

      • jean vercors says:

        t was no act of courage on Kennedy’s part to make that remark. No one in the Royal Albert Hall would have got a gun out and shot him, like in islamic ountries, or would he have ended up in a Grave

        • Neil van der Linden says:

          Does it matter? Are political opinions and statements only valuable at gunpoint?

          • No one has commented on the performance and so I will.

            I listened to it on BBC iPlayer yesterday having missed it when it was broadcast live.I have to say I found the playing at times so very aggressive that I started to develop a headache after 20 minutes. I am not against improvisation and experiment within a context, but it distorted the music so much and some of the piano arrangement and harmonies were banal and so uninventive, that I despaired and wondered what was going on. I am surprised none of the music critics picked up on this, Giving a young musician an opportunity to play a movement in the Vivaldi’s Double Concerto had more musical value, but it was a student performance that needed a lot more work .Overall the rest of the concert was disappointing.

            Comments about hearing the piece with new ears and being a rebel and so on, seem to have taken over what this piece is all about. Kennedy, having regularly distorted the piece whenever he performs it , could have had us hearing it afresh by just playing it without too many antics for once. The rebel will have come round full circle as he would be challenging his acolytes to hear the music for what it is. Deep down, Nigel Kennedy is a very sensitive person musically. It’s a pity that he has fallen in love with an idea about music making than with the music making on this occasion.

            Doing a mix with jazz and ethnic- musical improvisations as an encore to show his flexible style would have been far better.

  7. Thomasina Watson says:

    What a hideously poorly- and patronisingly-written statement. Stick to playing the violin, Mr Kennedy. That is not merely your “main purpose”, but your only purpose. And, remember, what you are paid for…

  8. PK Miller says:

    I’m with Norman, Uma, et al: Nigel, play the violin, “speak” through that & otherwise shut the heck up! Please shut up!!! It IS as inappropriate as the examples cited in the comments. In these mid-East situations who’s right, who’s wrong, who’s on first, what’s on 2nd???? Figuring out the Abbott & Costello routine is easier & more fun! Let it go at that. We ALL have opinions. Some people feel very strongly about things & even take vehement umbrage at things other people say here on Slipped Disc & Upstate NY’s Nippertown! I could write a book about a local food truck calling himself The Wandering Dago! OY!!!!!!) But sometimes, if you’re a public figure, it’s best to keep said opinions to yourself & play/sing your music.

  9. I AM IRISH with a name like mine – hence not Uma, as someone has just accidentally Christained me!

    Anyone who wants to know about Irish history, watch Fergal Keane’s DVD on Ireland, and you might think differently. It’s not as straightforward as you think, no more than is the Israeli and Palestinian situation, so please don’t go on about the Irish situation unless you have first hand knowledge and information and experience bigotry of any sort, when as a family we are involved! It really isn’t that simple and you can’t possibily think you know what’s going on when perhaps you’ve not even been there. I have been and worked in Israel too as a singer. I wouldn’t dream of telling either the Irish or the others what to do. Yes, have an opinion but an opinion is not the same as getting up making political statements about a situation. Bad news sells newspapers and keeps them in business!

  10. David Boxwell says:

    Hypothetical question (with a follow-up): If “Nige” had spoken out _in favor_ of current Israeli government policies, defending the expansion of settlements, or lauding Israeli military operations, would he have attracted any attention from this site, or any other Western cultural commentator? Would he be denounced for being “political’?

  11. So the inclusion of musicians from Palestine in his band was, as I originally thought, a political stunt and nothing to do with music. It’s time this charlatan gave Vivaldi a rest. He’s been dining out on his ‘Vivaldi punk extravaganza’ for too long.

    • Neil van der Linden says:

      Why Mr or Mrs Tommo is it a stunt when one works with Palestinians, and not when for instance works with Bulgarian musicians? It sounds very suspicious, Mr or Mrs Tommo!
      By the way, but this probably has eluded many, these musicians are students and graduates of the Edward Said Academy a by now very respected conservatory that was started in the nineties in Ramallah by Suhail Khoury and that got the support from Edward Said and Daniel Barenboim, but maybe that is a stunt too, isnt it? It was here that Said and Barenboim conceived the idea of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, and for years this conservatory has provided musicians for that orchestra. Kennedy takes a different path from that of Said and Barenboim, but that is his choice, for what it’s worth.

  12. As everyone here is amply demonstrating, this issue is incredibly divisive and it’s rare, for those of us that are neutrals, to get a clear understanding of what could remotely be called the truth.

    That’s why Nigel should be allowed, thanks to the freedoms we enjoy here, to express an opinion within the context of his performance and performers. No-one expects anything less from him. This is precisely why the BBC should broadcast it all; because then people can agree or disagree, rage or sympathise, think he’s brilliant or an idiot. That’s our privilege.

    By purposefully cutting the speech, the BBC has made its position clear and is therefore asking for it.

    I would have liked the opportunity, as a grown adult, to listen to his speech and consider it for myself; perhaps even to think he’s misguided (or not). I certainly don’t appreciate anyone on here – or the BBC – deciding that I’m not capable of such a thing.

    • Thanks to Nigel Kennedy’s comments, the reports about them, the not-official/official PR statements and the resulting brouhaha as well as the BBC’s leaving the concert in full available on the BBC Radio iPlayer surely you and anyone else interested have had the fullest opportunity to consider both what Nigel Kennedy said and the not-official and official PR explanations of his views.

      I think the BBC are fully justified in presenting the music played at the concert in full: why should people switching on for a concert be forced to hear the political views of performers (especially those told beforehand that they should not be expressed on the platform) – however neo-cryptically voiced? Mr Kennedy used his opportunity opportunistically during the live radio broadcast – isn’t that and all that has followed enough?

      I have self-censored a comment about the polarised views expressed here as surely the only issues here are simply (a) was Kennedy right to use the concert platform to express his political views on live radio? and (b) does the BBC have a duty to re-broadcast them on television?

    • Neil van der Linden says:

      I just took the time to watch the Yourube video of the concert

      The concert was quite impressive, with in the TV registration a bit too much focus on the solo star, but that is what many people paid tickets for to the concert.
      No it is not an authentic performance, a tremendous amount of liberties are taken, using the original piece for a multi-stylistic experience. Not everything goes perfect musically, but the atmosphere is vibrant and cheerful. We can always go home later and play our I Musici or Fabio Biondi, or Kennedy’s first recording. The concert was an adaptation into something new, that succeeded in making the music cheerful and enjoyable to seasoned and new audiences alike.
      I must say that the sheer inclusion of the young musicians from Palestine and the way the documentary gives them ample space in the scenes from the rehearsals are clear messages by themselves. So I did not get to see Kennedy’s statement, but in the documentary as I see it now almost any statement would have been superfluous, a pleonasm. The proof of this is that even in the Youtube comments people are complaining why no Israeli musicians were invited if Palestinian kids participated. Hasbara at its most ludicrous. I never heard about the rule that a Palestinian or other Arab artist should be invited when an Israeli artist comes over.
      But no, I did not miss a personal statement from Kennedy in this TV registration. The message about aspirations of peace and young people wanting to express themselves in their own way, under circumstances that promoted freedom, equality and justice, was clear enough.

    • The BBC, as I understand it, made its policy clear, to all, well before the event; therefore, their editing out the comments made “clear” no position other than that it meant the rules to be adhered to.

      All opinions are not equal; an opinion, no matter how sincerely held, based upon a falsehood is not worth the same as one based upon fact.

      …And the fact that Kennedy and various people here are sure it *must* be so, does not make their opinion “fact”.

  13. “We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children. We cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill their children. We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us.”
    ― Golda Meir

  14. As far as I am concerned, Nigel’s comment was perfectly appropriate in the context in which he made it. He and the other musicians, which included The Palestine Strings, had just given a marvellous concert and there was every reason to note that when there is openness and freedom, wonderful occasions like that can happen. The thunderous applause which greeted his comment is proof indeed that the audience agreed with him. Moreover, to imply that his being a great musician somehow invalidates his opinions on other matters is ludicrous.

    • ” wonderful occasions like that can happen”

      They can indeed and Kennedy could have made this comment and added something along the lines of “let’s hope that peace can be achieved after all these years of conflict”. It’s the ‘apartheid’ reference that’s the problem.

  15. [redacted: abuse]
    The management of the RAH should apologise to those in the audience who were offended by Kennedy’s display of anti-Semitism which was clearly planned beforehand and should have been quashed by RAH management.

    • Not necessarily antisemitism.

      While there certainly bigots who use opposition to Israel as a convenient beard for antisemitism, there are also many people of good will who oppose Israel based on what they’re sure *must* be happening there. These people are wrong, but not evil.

      • What is wrong about being against Israel building settlements in Palestinian territories, a clear act of aggression?

        @Tommo: Palestinians are Semites. By the laws of logic, Pro-Palestinian statements can not be anti-semitic, they are in fact pro-semitic.

        • “What is wrong about being against Israel building settlements in Palestinian territories, a clear act of aggression?”

          Nothing. I’ve opposed the settlements since (probably) long before you even knew they existed.

          …But to ignore the fact that Israel has been under constant attack for over 6 decades (starting long before the occupation) and that it has very real security concerns…that’s what’s wrong.

          …And relying on the technical definition and ignoring the fact that “antisemitism”, in common usage, means “hatred of Jews” is disingenuous and, frankly, silly.

          • It is silly to use a word in the opposite of it’s meaning. However common that may seem.

          • Michael Schaffer says:

            Well, in this context, Jeffrey is right though. Whatever the etymology of the term is, it’s a fact that it has historically acquired the meaning he says it has. Just like the term “American” without further qualification is generally understood to refer the the US, even though there are many more countries in the Americas. When you hear the term “anti-American”, you take it to mean “anti-US”. You don’t think “oh, they must be referring to criticism of Guatemala because that is a country in the Americas”.

            On the other hand, doesn’t it make sense to assume that someone who dislikes Jews based on racist ideas should dislike other people with a related ethnic background as well? It seems to me that such a racist wouldn’t have more sympathies for Arabic people either. So maybe pulling out the “anti-semitism” card every time someone says anything critical about anything Jewish or anything Israel really doesn’t make sense. In fact, it devaluates the term to a point at which it becomes meaningless. The contributions made by our friend Tommo here are good examples for that.

          • Mr. Schaffer, I disagree. “American” is blurry, generalizing, without being specific. But the US is part of America at least.
            But anti-semitic is wrong. Since many if not most Jews are not even semitic today, unlike 3000 years ago.
            It’s like saying “Anti-American” while referring against an entity in Africa. It’s just nonsense.
            Also as you already pointed out, “semitic” refers to race.
            Criticism of Israel, of political fractions in Israel, or of aspects of Judaism, are in most cases not directed at a race. They are directed at a state or a government or a political or religious entity etc.
            Race or ethnicity is not the issue and the term anti-semitism is thus wrong. No matter how widely it is used.
            The racist Aryan supremacists/Nazis and the racist Zionists, both, deflected the issue of “Jew hatred” into a racial and ethnical one. Both on antagonistic ends of the political spectrum of course.

          • This is running way off topic. Please, everyone,stick to the original issue.

          • Dear Mr Lebrecht,
            As you can see, Nigel Kennedy opened a can of worms in a brief moment of crass stupidity. What we see developing here is more than just simply a discussion about whether he should or shouldn’t have uttered these comments or whether the BBC should or should not have excised the comments. Israel is not Apartheid unless it means that it is a country that has racist or discriminatory issues, but so does every other part of the world, but they are not being called apartheid. No, this is a loaded terms designed to demonise a country. It is not about fair criticism at all.

          • Neil van der Linden says:

            Dear all, I thought Norman kindly asked to stop the discussion. Norman, perhaps you can close the thread.
            Mr Joshua wants to start all over again with HIS preposterous and insulting assumptions.

          • Well, David, the only rational solution, then, is that you should personally contact the editors of every major English-language dictionary and inform them that they’re wrong.

          • Neil van der Linden says:

            Just to remind everybody what it was all about:

            Here is the registration of the concert.
            And yes the Palestinian kids wear Keffiehs, Arabic scarfs.

            And then it is all about a one sentence statement by Kennedy in which he expresses his hope to see and end to discrimination, apartheid and inequality and his hope for peace in the world. Nothing more, nothing less. But that brings out the whole hasbara army, because yes his statement included a suggestion of criticism on Israel. Yes. Regardless of the fact that there are many Jewish people in the world including Israeli who would share his views.

          • …and the one word that loads the comment- Apartheid – that changes the whole thing.

        • The term “semite” does refers to Jews and Arabs as descendants of Noah’s son Shem. The word “anti-semite” refers solely to Jews and is a word first used in Germany in the 19th century to denote Jew hatred.
          It’s a fallacious argument to imply that the word covers Arab hatred as well. it does not.
          It’s therefore not such a meaningless term as you wish to imply Michael Schaffer.

          • Michael Schaffer says:

            Except that I neither wished nor actually did imply that it was “meaningless”. In fact, I supported Jeffrey’s definition of it and pointed out that he is right in the way he uses it, no matter what the literal definition of the word may be. What part of my statement “Well, in this context, Jeffrey is right though. Whatever the etymology of the term is, it’s a fact that it has historically acquired the meaning he says it has.” do you not understand.
            However the term may be used though, I do stand by my other statement that if people throw this “-ism” around indiscriminately, they basically make it useless at some point. That’s not my “wish”, that’s what those do who use the term any chance they get without thinking twice. Even Seinfeld commented on how the term had been yadayadaed to meaninglessness by such indiscriminate usage.

          • “The word “anti-semite” refers solely to Jews and is a word first used in Germany in the 19th century to denote Jew hatred.
            It’s a fallacious argument to imply that the word covers Arab hatred as well. it does not.”

            Isn’t it actually fallacious, to use the terminology invented by a Jew hater, and a word that fallaciously defines a cultural and religious entity like Judaism and Jewish culture as a race or ethnicity.
            Isn’t that a major fallacy?

            I tell you why this truth is not appreciated. Because Zionism itself is based on these fallacious definitions of Judaism as a “race”. Because race/ethnicity/nation is the prerequisite to justify the founding of a nation state…

  16. Vivienne Leijonhufvud says:

    First of all Kennedy is Irish, not British, he is so Irish calling him British is probably tactless in his view. Secondly I haven’t bothered to read half these comments because so many of the commentators have their facts wrong.

    Daniel Barenboim is/was a member of West London Synagogue 26 years ago, his wife Jacqueline Dupre died around this time. Mr. Barenboim performed pieces by Wagner at the Proms London 2012, with an orchestra augmented by himself comprising of Musicians from both Israel and so called Palestine. The correct terms are Samaria and Judea, not sure if there are any members from the Gaza Strip? Mr. Daniel plays all over the world and certainly plays both in Israel, and assuming there is a concert hall in Ramallah, Judea there too. He made his debut with his deceased wife around 1964, a performance of Bach together, he a solo by Beethoven. Many of us know him for Beethoven’s work as well as much else. He was one of the first Jewish Conductors to perform with Orchestra’s many of Wagner’s pieces. I believe he also enjoys conducting Ricard Strauss. To a music lover like myself Beethoven Wagner and Strauss are among the most passionate composers with big emotional euphonic pieces.

    For those who are completely ignorant of the situation in Israel, Judea, Samaria and Gaza, allow me to give you a couple of simple facts, rarely aired in the media. Gaza alone has 60,000 rockets trained on Israel, is run by Hamas and Egypt has done as much as possible to control radical Islam.Hamas in Gaza are not too happy.? Therefore Gunmen in Gaza opened fire on the IDF Monday night in protest against Egypt.. Abbas is allied to Fatah and a couple of other outfits, his side kick Erekat taking a leading role in the current ‘Peace talks’ wishes to remove all Jews from Israel as well as Christians. Christians are being massacred all over the middle east. For the first time in 1600 years the Coptic Churches of Egypt have been forced to no longer, carry out mass. As for Kennedy and his half baked ideas on Apartheid and liking the situation in Israel to that of the IRA in Belfast is? Words simply fail me. Mr. Kennedy stick to Vivaldi something you understand and stop pointing the finger at Israel.

    • Nigel Kennedy is third generation English. No idea what came before.

      • Michael Schaffer says:

        Would calling someone Irish “British” be considered tactless? After all, the Irish are among the original British people (and the name Britain itself is a Celtic word).

    • Neil van der Linden says:

      This reaction is as confused and half-baked, to use the authors own words, as the fact that she thinks the proper names for the West Bank area are Judea and Samaria. As one can see on the historical map the West Bank only covers a part of these provinces, the rest of those provinces being located in current Israel. And I think that already since perhaps the destruction of the second temple, when Jews officially went in exile, the names becamse obsolete. The only names international organisations and authorities use for the West Bank are West Bank or (part of) Palestine or Palestinian territories or occupied territories. Only a few retrograde revisionists have started to name the area Judea and Samaria.
      Furthermore I dont see what Nigel Kennedy, performing with musicians from Ramallah, should have said about Egypt.
      By the way the Edward Said academy where the musicians come from, named after Edward Said, where Daniel Barenboim is a regular guest, and which has provided many musicians to Barenboim’s West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, was founded and is still being run by Suhail Khoury, a (one can see from his family name) Palestinian Christian, from Jerusalem. His wife, Rania Khoury, runs the Yabous festival in Eastern-Jerusalem, Yabous being the name of the city before King David renamed it as Jerusalem. Maybe this sheds some more light on Christianity in the Middle-East, if it is necessary to bring up this topic in relation to Nigel Kennedy’s statement.

    • Well, he was born and brought up in South London, and has a British passport, whatever about having an Irish one as well :)

  17. Lost in all this there is somewhere a wonderful performance given by the children of the Palestine Strings, received by the audience with thunderous applause. The BBC, quite rightly, works on the assumption that people who turn on their televisions Friday evening will be doing that so that they can listen to the music. Everything else is irrelevant. Even I, who would agree whole-heartedly with what Nigel said, do not think the inclusion of his remarks appropriate. All this babble about censorship is just that……….babble ! Get over it. Enjoy the music provided by those talented young people and go to bed happy !

    • Michael Schaffer says:

      Elsie Stockdale says:
      August 20, 2013 at 10:37 pm

      “As far as I am concerned, Nigel’s comment was perfectly appropriate in the context in which he made it.”

      Elsie Stockdale says:
      August 23, 2013 at 5:58 am

      “Even I, who would agree whole-heartedly with what Nigel said, do not think the inclusion of his remarks appropriate.”

      So…uh…is it appropriate or not?

  18. Dean Williams says:

    Wow!!! Look at all of the brouhaha. Please allow me, if I may to point out one little fact. Nigel Kennedy is, in fact, a violinist. He is not a political commentator, a journalist, a talk show host, or a politician. He is a musician.

    I am an English teacher. I also play the bassoon. Does playing the bassoon make me a far more erudite and influential political commentator than any of the above professions, other than violinist? I don’t remember taking any political awareness courses during my time in music school. I guess I went to the wrong school.

    For some reason, we live in a world where people pay more attention to the opinions of celebrities, not because they know more, but because they are celebrities. I agree with some of Bono’s opinions, but I don’t pay any attention to them. Why? Because he’s a guitarist, not an environmentalist. Mr. Kennedy is a violinist, not a political activist. When celebrities talk about subjects outside their area of expertise, we should all simply give a little smile, and say, “that’s nice”. Kennedy sounds like my son, who is currently in high school and learning about the political world. When he starts to speak, I listen and explain the reality of the sitaution in question. However, as Mr. Kennedy is not my son, I will not waste any time discussing his political activism. I may go to one of his concerts, but in the end discussing his political views is absolutely pointless.

    • Neil van der Linden says:

      Bono is a singer, not a guitarist. And I dont mind public figures expressing political views. Many do, many don’t. Indeed recently many here suggested Netrebko and Gergiev should take a clear opposing stance on their friend Putin’s policies in Russia.
      And why should musicians and other political ‘amateurs’ not speak out? What makes a political ‘professional’ have a better opinion. Maybe it is mostly the professionals who make a mess of international world politics.
      By the way recently I read that while 0,7% of the British are millionaires, over 70% of the parliamentary members are. What guarantee for any worthwhile political skill does being a millionaire bring. Then I would rather listen to musicians (of whom Bono and Kennedy are more than millionaire).

      Artists also have produced good politicians, like Havel, and horrendous ones, like Karadzic. But I would be inclined to trust a politician who also has a sense for art.

      • Dean Williams says:

        Professionals may indeed botch the job, but remember that they are elected by us. In the end, we elect all of our politicians to defend certain narrow interests, which they do, even if your interests are in direct conflict with someone else’s narrow interests.

        We have to live with the politicians we elect, and we usually end up deserving those same politicians. Remember, you Brits voted for all of those millionaires. That being said, most of them have had some economic or legal training for the job that they are doing. I would also tend to trust a politician that had some grounding in the arts. However, I if either of them were to run for public office, I would would never vote for Bono… or Nigel Kennedy. That is why I also ignore their political and environmental rants.

        Just enjoy the music.

        • Michael Schaffer says:

          Kennedy doesn’t seem to think that he was elected into office. Nor did he “rant”. He said *one sentence*:

          “Ladies and gentlemen, it’s a bit facile to say it, but…we all know from experience in this night of music tonight, that…given equality and getting rid of apartheid, gives a beautiful chance for amazing things to happen.”

          That was it – as far as I can tell from the radio broadcast.

          • Neil van der Linden says:

            Not even the name of Israel in it.

          • “Not even the name of Israel in it.”

            Oh, please. Are you seriously claiming that he was not talking about Israel?

            In the bad days of segregation, here in the US, establishments often posted signs saying, “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.” Anyone with a brain knew they meant, “We’re not going to serve black people,” even though the signs did not say that explicitly.

          • Michael Schaffer says:

            Jeffrey E. Salzberg says:
            August 28, 2013 at 11:26 am

            ““Not even the name of Israel in it.”
            Oh, please. Are you seriously claiming that he was not talking about Israel?
            In the bad days of segregation, here in the US, establishments often posted signs saying, “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.” Anyone with a brain knew they meant, “We’re not going to serve black people,” even though the signs did not say that explicitly.”

            True – and also a fitting comment to make on this day, the 50th anniversary of “I have a dream”. As they say, “ïf the shoe fits”…it doesn’t have to be explicit for everyone to understand what is going on.

            But that also applies in this case. “Apartheid” may be a provocative and controversial word to use, but rather than getting hung up on semantics and definitions, we should look at the issues. We just discussed the word “anti-semitic” and how it doesn’t make sense to insist on a literal definition of the word rather than focus on what is usually *meant* by it. What counts is that in the given context, it is understood what is meant.
            Similarly, it doesn’t make sense to get too hung up about the word “apartheid” and what exactly it means historically in every detail. Maybe it is on its own way to attain a larger, context-dependent meaning, just like “anti-semitic”, indicating inequality based on ethnic background, no matter what the exact mechanisms behind that state of inequality may be. And its usually not the mechanisms, but the outcome that concerns us. And shouldn’t we all be concerned if people suffer inequality in our world todau, no matter in what context, and no matter through what mechanisms?

          • Just as “antisemitism” is commonly understood to mean”hatred of Jews”, “apartheid” is commonly understood to mean “ethnic separation”. Given that — despite what “everybody knows” — the one million+ Israeli Arabs participate at all levels of society — membership in the Knesset, high rank in the police and military, etc. — there’s no way the word is appropriate.

            …Even if “everybody knows” it is.

          • Michael Schaffer, the term “Apartheid” is race – specific and is an abused term but has very clear meaning. State laws, religion retaining a separation of community on racial grounds right down to sexual relations and prohibitions of marriage between people of different racial backgrounds , separate transport and so on – that simply has anything to do with Israel. Security barriers and walls are not built to divide communities on racial or ethnic lines. They emerged because of conflict and not because of notions of racial superiority .When Kennedy calls Israel an Apartheid state , he is adopting the language of hatred. There is no other meaning to what he means.
            Desmond Tutu called Israel a country that was “worse than Apartheid”! It is a shameful act by a Nobel winner and demonstrates a deep-seated hatred towards Jews and their right to have a country. If anyone knows the meaning of Apartheid, he certainly does, yet his despicable conduct remains unchallenged. Why? Because Jews are easy targets. At Yad Vashem, of all places he told the Jews to forgive the Nazis! He criticised israel of being “unChristian”!! And so on …

            And yes we should get “hung up” about words. They define things.

          • Michael Schaffer says:

            Joshua says:
            August 28, 2013 at 11:04 pm

            “Desmond Tutu called Israel a country that was “worse than Apartheid”! It is a shameful act by a Nobel winner and demonstrates a deep-seated hatred towards Jews and their right to have a country. If anyone knows the meaning of Apartheid, he certainly does, yet his despicable conduct remains unchallenged. Why? Because Jews are easy targets.”

            Or maybe because he really knows much better than you or me or a lot of other people what apartheid really is, what it’s essence really is, beyond any time and place specific association or definition? Did you stop for just a moment to think about what he said about that, and if he might have a point? No.
            You immediately kneejerk to denounce him as a racist who has a “deep-seated hatred towards Jews and their right to have a country”. Maybe he has a point. Maybe he doesn’t. Maybe the truth is somewhere in the middle, as it often is. But for you, that doesn’t counter. You immediately unholster the racism accusation.
            And that is *exactly* what I meant when I said earlier that indiscriminate use of such accusations essential makes them meaningless.

          • Michael: If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck Tutu’s an anti-semite. I don’t need to know about “essence ” etc. Now pass me the sick bag.

          • Neil van der Linden says:

            It is what you want to make an antisemite when you dont like somebody criticising Israel. It is an abuse of the word antisemite, it creates an inflation of the impact of the word, which to me appears like an offense to those who were the victims of antisemitism.

            I can however somewhat understand a senior South-African leader having bitter feelings towards Israel because if Israel’s support in the past for the South-African Apartheid-regime.

          • Neil van der Linden says:

            Why if Tutu considers Israel an apartheid state is that hatred against Jews?
            And many Jews don’t support Israels policies and behaviour.

          • Because it is a bald faced lie. While sadly Racism exists in Israeli society, it is not Apartheid nor do members of that country wish to have it and have declared many times that they do not. Conditions have improved over time and it is so obvious to any visitor, whether he or she goes to Haifa or Jaffa or east Jerusalem or the Galilee or even in the disputed territories – it just isn’t Apartheid. Road set-ups are everywhere. You are searched ad nauseum when you go into shopping malls and restaurants, but this is to reduce risk of deaths, not intent on persecuting people. While there are abuses of power, it doesn’t follow that these abuses add up to Apartheid.
            There are separate roads in some areas:there is a wall in other parts, but not all parts: but these were not always there and none of these add up to Apartheid.

            Apartheid was a way of life and was something enshrined in the constitution of South Africa. There are no such declarations in Israeli constitutional documents. And as Jeffrey keeps telling you, things would be a lot better once hostilities really cease and the PLO and Hamas CHANGE their Charters , which if anything, is genocidal in its organisational aims and which the saintly Desmond Tutu did not even consider when wagging his finger at Israel.

            The other major figure that wags its finger at Israel all the time is the former President Carter;another person who has uttered veiled comments about Jews.

            For completeness read the Working Definition produced in 2005 by the European Union Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) and you will see why I raise the issue. It’s a perfectly acceptable definition to protect Jewish people from abuse.

        • It’s one thing going to concert to hear someone who holds different political views to you and going to a hear a political view that is so hostile to the existence of a country being expressed that it incites hatred. Since when has promoting the Palestinian cause become synonymous with attacking Jews? Calling Israel an Apartheid country is demonisation of Israel and a Jewish project. Racism in Israel is conflated with some of the worst type of racism that is immeasurably worse than anything like what happens in day to day life in that country. It’s a falsehood and if anything silences legitimate criticism.

          For many , who do not share Kennedy’s world view, it is extremely offensive to hear him speak in this way. He’s not just voicing an opinion, but advancing a divisive cause that has a potential harm to others. That’s the worry.

  19. Martin Bookspan says:

    I first heard Nigel Kennedy play when he was a student at New York’s Juilliard School. His playing then struck me as unconscionably mannered—an opinion his later performances only served to emphasize. And the dropping of his first name may be an indication of moronically inflated self-esteem.

    • Neil van der Linden says:

      However it rather sounds like if someone dares to for instance perform with young Palestinians and makes a statement about Israel and Palestine one suddenly gets all the dirt thrown at him that one has not heard before during all those years and that other artists don’t get. This contribution sounds more like that than anything else.

      • I can’t speak for anyone else, but for me, it has nothing to do with his choice of colleagues; it has everything to do with hi public utterances being based on untruths.

        Should people give credence to the political opinions of celebrities? Irrelevant. People *do* give credence to the political opinions of celebrities, so those celebrities have an ethical obligation to base those opinions on fact and not on what “everybody knows”.

        • Neil van der Linden says:

          But I was referring to somebody criticising his artistry. Not that he necessary is my favourite violinist. But this wasnt the topic either.

    • He’s always struck me as a bit pretentious, but that hardly makes him unique amongst musicians, or artists in general.

      If he married Adele, between the two of them, they’d have a whole name.

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