David Lloyd, of the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel’s Organizing Committee, authored the following...
Jerusalem String Quartet met by protests across North America
USACBI initiated a call for North America-wide protests against a tour of the Jerusalem String Quartet. The Quartet, a project of the Jerusalem Music Centre, and a longtime part of “Brand Israel” efforts to associate Israel with art and culture rather than apartheid and occupation, was met by protests in Costa Mesa, California; Vancouver, BC; Toronto, Ontario; and Louisville, Kentucky. Graphic designer Nigel Parry produced a parody program for the concerts, distributed to nearly all attendees with great success – and great information about the reality of Israeli apartheid inside the programs.
USACBI initiated the call for protest, following in the footsteps of multiple international protests of the Quartet throughout Australia, the UK and Europe.
In Vancouver, at the protest organized by the Boycott Israeli Apartheid Campaign, protesters carried signs and created a sign and banner display throughout the walkway into the Chan Centre at the University of British Columbia, where the concert was held. Two protesters, dressed as ushers, handed out the mock program successfully to nearly all participants.
In Costa Mesa, near Los Angeles, a protest was organized by a local coalition including Al-Awda, LA; ANSWER,LA; ARA-LA/People Against Racist Terror; BDS–LA Justice for Palestinians; CEIA-SC (Campaign to End Israeli Apartheid); US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation; Friends of Sabeel–OC, LA; IDC (Israel Divestment Campaign); Jewish Voice for Peace – LA; Orange County Peace & Freedom Party; Progressive Iranians of Southern California; US Academic and Cultural Boycott Campaign; WIB-LA (Women in Black-Los Angeles). This protest also differentiated between demonstrators and ‘ushers’, who successfully, once again, presented almost every concert-goer with a mock program.
The Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid in Toronto protested the Quartet’s appearance in their city. While some CAIA members handed out informational flyers to patrons and passersby, others staged a mock string duet playing cacophonic music (by design) under placards that read “No Harmony In Apartheid”. In addition, CAIA members handed out the mock programs to concert-goers.
In Louisville, Kentucky, the Louisville Committee for Peace in the Middle East was joined by members of Occupy Louisville to picket the Quartet and distribute mock programs.
The mock program is available for download: http://usacbi.org/flyer/JQ-TRIFOLDv2.pdf