Lana Melman

BDS plays a Nazi tune at Carnegie Hall

There was a lot to boo about this past Sunday.  I am not referring to the lackluster Super Bowl game in Atlanta, but rather the shameful boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) protest against the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO) in front of Carnegie Hall.

The IPO annual gala took place on February 3 to raise money for the legendary orchestra with a brunch and concert performance. As attendees entered the concert hall, they were jeered by BDS proponents calling for a cultural boycott of the Jewish state.

IPO was partly created as a refuge for Jewish musicians facing boycotts and imminent death during the rise of Nazi Germany. It’s founder, Bronislav Huberman — a Polish violin virtuoso and child prodigy who had performed countless concerts all over the world — found work scarce on the continent as the cloud of Jew hatred spread over Europe.

He fled to the then British Mandate where he envisaged an orchestra as a rescue operation for musicians persecuted by the Nazis, as well as a contribution to Jewish cultural life in the young city of Tel Aviv.

Huberman raised money to bring other musicians who had been fired from European orchestras to the Jewish homeland ultimately saving 1000 lives from what would have been certain death in the concentration camps of Austria, Germany, Poland and Hungary.

How telling it is that Jewish musicians are attacked today with hateful slander and appeals for a boycott as in they were in the 1930s. Protest chants of “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!” are thinly veiled calls for Israel’s destruction.  And lest anyone misinterpret their intentions, BDS supporters put a fine point on it a few years back when they sang “Shoot the Jew!” during a performance by an Israeli jazz musician in South Africa.

Gala attendees were not spared this past Sunday either. The protest organizers galvanized attendance by describing the fundraiser as both “lavish” and “outrageously expensive,” relying on standard antisemitic tropes about Jews and money.

The recent IPO boycott rally was organized by Abdalah-NY, but similar ones against other Jewish national treasures such as the Batsheva dance company and the Jerusalem Quartet are a constant in the international music scene.

A different time, and some different places, but the rallying cry remains the same.  The world looks away at its peril.

About the Author
LANA MELMAN is an attorney, a 20-year entertainment industry veteran, and the CEO of Liberate Art Inc. She has been a leading expert fighting the cultural boycott campaign against Israel since 2011. Her new book, ARTISTS UNDER FIRE: The BDS War Against Celebrities, Jews, and Israel puts BDS on trial and tells the stories of artists and entertainers caught in its crossfire. Melman is a columnist and a Nellie Bly Prize Blue Ribbon Winner for Nonfiction Journalism. She served as the premier director of Creative Community for Peace (CCFP), an entertainment based non-profit. She has worked with the representatives of almost 1000 artists targeted by BDS. Lana Melman’s previous career included serving in both business and creative capacities at CBS, Columbia Pictures TV, Warner Bros., and Paramount. Contact and learn more at
Related Topics
Related Posts