Pro-Palestinian activists aggressively disrupted an Israeli choir concert in
Berlin on Thursday to benefit the rehabilitation of the Mount Carmel forest
after the December 2010 fires.
The roughly 10 protesters stood up during
the Gevatron concert and stormed the audience members and singers with leaflets
One woman wearing a red “Viva Palestine” T-shirt shouted:
“From the river to the sea: Palestine will be free”; she was filmed in a video
later posted on YouTube.
The Gevatron troupe was formed in 1948 and has
its origins in Kibbutz Geva near Afula. The choir is known for such hits as
“Light of Jerusalem,” “My Valley” and “Bat 60.”
The activists, a number
of whom tossed flyers at the audience, waved a banner that read “Sponsoring
According to an article in the Sunday edition of
Yediot Aharonot, “The protesters included Palestinians residing in Germany,
Iranians, a Spanish activist and two Israelis.
They hurled JNF boxes and
Gevatron CDs and knocked over signs.”
Yoel Parnass, Gevatron’s manager,
told Yediot, “It is the first time in the band’s 65 years of existence that such
a thing has happened. We perform abroad quite frequently and our shows always go
A Jerusalem Post review of the 3.34-minute YouTube video
shows a Hebrew-speaking audience member apparently affiliated with the choir
asking a Hebrew-speaking protester to leave the event. “I am not interrupting
you. You are interrupting me,” the audience member said.
A little over
1,200 viewers had seen the video as of Monday evening.
According to a
notice on the German- language website of the Israeli Embassy, Gevatron waved
the entrance fees and said that any donations would be used to help plant trees
on Mount Carmel following the devastating fires in 2010. The choir event was
held in a Berlin church.
In an email to the Post on Saturday, Alex
Feuerherdt, a German journalist who writes extensively about anti-Israel
activity in the Federal Republic, wrote: “The anti- Semitic character of the
‘protest’ was made clear through two points.” First, he cited the slogan “From
the river to the sea: Palestine will be free,” which “can only mean ‘free from
Jews.’” Feuerherdt said the second sign the action contained “modern anti-
Semitism” involved the protesters’ defamation of the Jewish National Fund, the
sponsor of the choir group, as “one of the oldest and effective instruments of
Zionist Apartheid and repression in Palestine.”
He said the comparison
between Israel and the [former South African] Apartheid system aimed to
delegitimize and demonize Israel and was a method that characterized
contemporary anti- Semitism.
Feuerherdt added that the “very aggressive
action of the BDS [Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions] activists deals in no way
with peace or the well-being of the Palestinians; rather, the destruction of
Meanwhile, Prof. Gerald Steinberg, the head of the
Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor, told the Post on Monday, “The uncivil disruption of
an Israeli cultural event is another example of the penetration of anti- Israel
political warfare in Berlin, which was also reflected in sponsorship by the
Willy Brandt Haus of an NGO exhibit falsely accusing Israeli forces of ‘war
crimes.’ And instead of naming and shaming the promoters of this modern form of
anti- Semitism, Berlin’s (anti-)Jewish Museum joined the attack by hosting BDS
campaigner Judith Butler.
In this atmosphere, Berlin’s leaders have a
moral obligation to act clearly and strongly to condemn all manifestations of
such immoral behavior.”
Willy Brandt Haus is the headquarters of
Germany’s Social Democratic Party.
BDS activity has increased in 2012,
including when the Berlin Jewish Museum hosting an event last month with a US
academic, Judith Butler, who called for a sweeping boycott against
An article in the online Jewish magazine Tablet last week
addressed the Butler talk and quoted a German Jew who said, “The German people
love to hear someone hate Israel.”