Palestine Solidarity Campaign has joined Pink Floyd star Roger Waters in condemning the BBC’s decision to edit a message of support for the Palestinian people made during the Proms by violinist, Nigel Kennedy.
Kennedy made the statement towards the end of a Proms performance on 8 August, in which he was playing with the Palestine Strings – a group of young Palestinian musicians from the West Bank and Gaza.
He told a cheering audience at the Royal Albert Hall, London: “It’s a bit facile to say it, but we all know from the experience of this night of music that giving equality and getting rid of apartheid gives a beautiful chance for things to happen.”
Press reports have indicated that these comments are to be edited out of a recording of the Prom to be broadcast on BBC Four this Friday (23 August, 7pm).
Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) Director, Sarah Colborne, said: “The BBC’s censorship is a very unwise political decision for a media organisation that, according to its charter, is meant to be impartial. Nigel Kennedy was letting people know that the young Palestinian musicians on stage with him suffer under a system of inequality and apartheid under Israeli occupation.
“On what grounds can the BBC justify this censorship – every word Nigel Kennedy said was accurate and well-evidenced. While we understand why the Israeli government is trying to keep the truth from the world, we don’t understand why the BBC thinks it can get away with colluding in this.”
Ms Colborne added: “Suppressing free speech and political dissent is the norm for state broadcasters under dictatorships. What is worrying is when we start to see this kind of suppression being practiced by our own state broadcaster, the BBC. PSC calls on the BBC to see sense and not censor Nigel Kennedy when it broadcasts this Prom on Friday.”
In a note posted on his Facebook page yesterday, Pink Floyd star Roger Waters accused the BBC of going “all 1984 on us”, with regard to the Kennedy censorship, and praised Kennedy’s stance. He also called on his fellow musicians to join the cultural boycott of Israel because it is practising apartheid and ethnic cleansing against the Palestinian people.