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PA Bans British Choir for Singing with Israeli Orchestra

‘Tis the Season to be Jolly? The PA bans a British choir from singing in eastern Jerusalem because it will perform with an Israeli orchestra.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 12/23/2009, 1:51 PM / Last Update: 12/23/2009, 2:09 PM

Clare College

The Palestinian Authority has joined the chorus of a British boycott group and banned a British choir from appearing in eastern Jerusalem and Bethlehem. The reason: Clare College Choir’s six-day Christian holiday tour in Israel includes a performance with the Israeli Camerata Orchestra.

The dwindling number of Christians in Bethlehem were hoping to hear Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, but the London-based Palestine Solidarity Campaign spread a petition to protest the Cambridge choir’s planned appearance with the Israeli group and its "appearing indifferent to Palestinian suffering.”

The choir was told it would not be welcome even in eastern Jerusalem after the PA asked the Bishop of Jerusalem to withdraw the invitation, according to the BBC.

The choir director complained that although he is pro-Arab, he wants to see the separation barrier, but the Palestine Solidarity group, said it is “surprising and shocking" that the choir would tour in Israel, thereby promoting the country “as a normal state rather than one which represses Palestinians.”

The ban on the choir follows by less than a week the PA's announcement that it will stop the sale of all merchandise from Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. PA officials claimed that Arabs spend up to half a billion dollars a year on Jewish goods. They also said last week that authorities confiscated $50,000 worth of cosmetics produced by a Dead Sea company located in the Jordan Valley, approximately half a mile from the 1949-1967 Israeli border.