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Candlelight Vigils Outside the Israel Philharmonic Concerts in Los Angeles


a Women in Black vigil outside the Disney Hall on January 14th

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Local Peace and Human Rights Group to Hold Silent Candlelight Vigils Outside the Israel Philharmonic Concerts at Disney Hall Monday, Feb. 5th, and Tuesday, Feb. 6th in Downtown LA

Women in Black-LA Join Launch of International Campaign Calling for Sanctions and Cultural Boycott to End Israeli Apartheid in Palestine Inspired by Worldwide Movement That Helped End Apartheid in South Africa

WHAT: Silent Candlelight Vigil to Support a Boycott of the Israel Philharmonic and an End to Israeli Apartheid in Palestine

WHEN: Monday, February 5th – 6:30 to 8:00 PM
Tuesday, February 6th – 6:30 to 8:00 PM

WHERE: Outside the Disney Hall
1st Street & Grand, Downtown LA

WHY: International and Palestinian human rights leaders have asked supporters worldwide to begin cultural and economic boycotts, along with divestment and sanction campaigns to end Israel’s Occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem and to end Israeli Apartheid in Palestine.

This effort is modeled after the successful worldwide boycott and divestment campaign that helped end Apartheid in South Africa.

When they learned that the Israel Philharmonic would be stopping at Disney Hall while on their U.S. tour, Women in Black-LA joined the international campaign by launching their call for a Boycott of the orchestra, after first writing a letter to the Israel Philharmonic asking them to publicly oppose the occuptation.

Nearly 1,000 groups and prominent individuals, from former government officials to artists and activists, all over the world, signed the letter.

One of the signers, Silvia Tennebaum, step-daughter of Israel Philharmonic co-founder, William Steinberg, wrote: “My hope is that the orchestra will remember the suffering endured by the Jews in Germany and Eastern Europe and, in their memory, not implicitly support an occupation that seeks to strangle and displace a whole people.”

EXCERPT from letter to the Israel Philharmonic from WIB-LA:

“Imagine that the Israel Philharmonic’s denouncement of the Occupation and call for peace and justice will have a huge positive ripple effect on Israeli society. Imagine a future where Israelis and Palestinians share the resources of their land with respect and appreciation for each other’s humanity, cultures and needs. Maybe it’s the artists and musicians who will finally bring peace and justice to Israel, Palestine and the region.”

“When we didn’t hear from the Israel Philharmonic,” said Carol Smith, a member of WIB-LA and the National Lawyers’ Guild Los Angeles Chapter. “We wrote to the management of the L.A. Philharmonic asking them to cancel the performance or make an announcement before each performance, calling for an end to the occupation.”

“Now we are taking our protest to the audience at Disney Hall. Cultural and sports boycotts were a crucial part of the worldwide campaign that finally ended Apartheid in South Africa, and we call for a similar boycott to end Israeli Apartheid.”

“President Carter made it possible for us to go public with the comparison to Apartheid,” said WIB-LA member Greta Berlin. “Many of us worked in the anti-Apartheid movement and know how effective the cultural and sports boycotts were.”

“We felt that because Zubin Mehta, the conductor of the Israel Philharmonic, refers to it as ‘Israel’s flagship,’ the orchestra serves as a representative of Israel’s government and policies. On its website (www.ipo.co.il), the Orchestra talks about its role in playing for Israel’s soldiers in the field and in celebrating Israel’s military victories.”

President Carter writes in his new best-selling book, Palestine, Peace, Not Apartheid,

“Israel’s current policy in the territories is a system of Apartheid, with two peoples occupying the same land but completely separated from each other, with Israel totally dominant and suppressing violence by depriving Palestinians of their basic human rights. Israel’s continued
control and colonization of Palestinian land have been the primary obstacles to a comprehensive peace agreement in the Holy Land.”

WHO: Women in Black is an international movement against violence and for justice. It was founded in Israel in 1988 to oppose the Israeli Occupation.

Women in Black-Los Angeles, founded in 2001, is made up of women and men from diverse faiths and national origins including Palestinians, Israelis and Americans, Jews, Muslims and Christians.

A number of members have made multiple visits to the occupied Palestinian territories of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.

Please find a copy Women in Black-Los Angeles’ letters to the Israel Philharmonic and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestras below and on the website at http://www.wib-la.org .

Also find below Los Angeles Times 1/27/07 article:
The Music Center area becomes a protest site
Groups intend to voice concerns, timed to appearances there by Mexico’s
Vicente Fox and Israel Philharmonic.
http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/la-et-protest27jan27,1,7420749.story

The vigils are endorsed by the A.N.S.W.E.R Coalition, Campaign to End
Israeli Apartheid (CEIA), and Middle East Peace Fellowship of Southern
California.

Contact: Karin Pally
(310) 399-1921/ (310) 430-9607 (cell)
[email protected]

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The Music Center area becomes a protest site – groups intend to voice concerns, timed to appearances there by Mexico’s Vicente Fox and Israel Philharmonic.

by Scott Martelle, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer, January 27

Passions over international human rights issues have given rise to an unusual sight outside the Los Angeles Music Center: political protests.

While protests are a sporadic element of life in Los Angeles, these demonstrations stand out because of their location — in the heart of L.A.’s cultural center, where political dissent is usually channeled through works of art, not street protests.

Two Los Angeles-area groups are planning protests against a talk by former Mexican President Vicente Fox on Monday at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and two performances in early February by the Israel Philharmonic at Disney Hall.

A Los Angeles affiliate of the international Women in Black organization held one demonstration outside Disney Hall on Jan. 14 and plans a second one for 1 p.m. Sunday before the scheduled 2 p.m. L.A. Philharmonic performance of Schumann’s Second Symphony. Other protests will coincide with the Israel Philharmonic’s scheduled concerts Feb. 5 and 6.

Monday’s planned protest against the Fox visit is being coordinated by the Organization of the Binational Indigenous Front, which organizer Odilia Romero said represents Native Americans on both sides of the border. The group also demonstrated Jan. 14 across the street from the
center.

Romero said the group’s members were outraged by the center’s description of Fox, who left office in November after six years, as a promoter of Mexican democracy who helped stabilize an unruly economy.

“There were assassinations, political prisoners, migration for indigenous people” during Fox’s presidency, Romero said. “I don’t think he has stabilized the economy. The people are more in poverty than ever. We want our voices to be heard because we are the product of migration.”

Why protest at the Music Center in the first place? For pretty much the same reason Willie Sutton once said he robbed banks: That’s where the money is.

“It’s not about the program itself,” said Carol Smith, a leader of the Women in Black-L.A. group, whose demonstrations consist of more than a dozen black-clad women standing silent vigil while handing out informational pamphlets. “It’s about educating the people who attend the symphony.”

The group earlier had petitioned the L.A. Philharmonic to cancel the concert as part of its attempt to bring international pressure on Israel to change its policies toward Palestinians, including its occupation of Gaza. Israel has long maintained that its policies are driven by self-defense concerns.

WIB-LA is part of a broad campaign seeking to bring the same international mix of sanctions and cultural boycotts on the Israeli government as arose in the 1980s against the former apartheid
government of South Africa.

In a letter to WIB-LA, Deborah Borda, president of the L.A. Philharmonic Assn., rejected calls for a boycott of the Israeli orchestra.

“We will never support the silencing of artists from any culture as a means of political action,” Borda wrote. “Whenever this unfortunate course of action has been pursued by governments and political entities, it is always to the detriment of society at large, and certainly the artists.”

“The protests have been peaceful, and they are certainly welcome to express their opinions,” said Philharmonic spokesman Adam Crane.