Thursday, September 01, 2011

Cultural terrorism at the Royal Albert Hall (updated with video)

From the BBC:
Protesters have disrupted Thursday night's BBC Proms concert by the Israel Philharmonic at the Royal Albert Hall.

The soloist, Gil Shaham, was about to play Bruch's violin concerto conducted by Zubin Mehta when some people in the audience began booing and shouting.

BBC Radio 3 interrupted its live broadcast before returning later.

Earlier, London's Evening Standard newspaper reported that the audience would have their bags searched to try to weed out political protesters.

The BBC Proms Team tweeted: "We're sorry that the concert was taken off air following hall disturbance. Glad both pieces were heard by the audience in the RAH."

It later added: "We regret that as a result of sustained audience disturbance tonight's concert was taken off BBC Radio 3."

The performance was interrupted at about 19:45 BST and coverage was cut off again an hour later after more protests.
From listening to the audio on the BBC page, it sounds like the protesters started chanting "Free Palestine" and were immediately drowned out by boos from the majority of the audience who wanted to listen to good music. Then the protesters started up again, and the radio broadcast ended.

The tweets after this incident are enlightening. Those who hate Israel are ecstatic; those who like music are angry.

The ecstasy is what is interesting.

They managed to knock a radio broadcast off the air. They are considering this a great victory.

What did they accomplish?

They managed to get publicity. They managed to force the BBC to switch away from a broadcast. And they managed to upset a lot of music fans. They certainly did not convert anyone to their cause; if anything, they pushed people away.

Palestinian Arab terrorists are at their most proud when they gain a reaction from Israel. That reaction can be fear, or a change in policies, or a new defense system, but what makes them happy is the idea that they elicited a reaction from their enemy.

More than anything else, they want to feel relevant, like they made a difference. They are proud that their actions were noticed. This is why even unsuccessful terror attacks are reported so widely in the terrorist websites - if they succeeded in getting a reaction, they consider it a win. Killing someone is of course their preferred method, but their many photos of Israelis running to bomb shelters or finding out that children in the Negev are having psychological problems also makes them proud. They think they made a difference.

And this puerile way of thinking is what drives the Israel haters. Like children throwing a temper tantrum, they just want attention; whether that attention is positive or not does not enter their thinking.

Just as in terrorism, attacking a cultural event is asymmetric: it takes much less effort, money and intelligence to disrupt many people's daily lives than it takes to enrich them.

Fundamentally, this is what BDS is all about. They use the same kind of thinking that drives terrorists, with the same goal: to feel relevant. Their sense of self-importance comes from knowing that they can successfully create noise. And somehow they are proud that they can accomplish the same thing that a screaming baby can. If they are very lucky they can dissuade people from wanting to hear good music because of the chance that it will be interrupted, and one's evening will be ruined. Just as Israelis must go through checkpoints to enter a mall, so will British classical music lovers need to go through checkpoints to listen to orchestras. And this thrills the BDSers to no end.

Which means that these sort of incidents are, in the end, just a mild form of terrorism.

(h/t jzaik for video)