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.
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.”