Israel/Palestine: Palestinian youth orchestra disbanded



Palestinian youth orchestra disbanded

Palestinian authorities has disbanded a youth orchestra and barred its Arab conductor, Wafa Younes, from a West Bank refugee camp after it played for a group of Holocaust survivors in Israel as part of the annual Good Deeds Day organised by Israeli billionaire Shari Arison.

According to various sources neither the orchestra nor the audience initially knew where the other was from and the performers had no idea the audience were survivors of the Nazi genocide — or even what the Holocaust was.

When parents and leaders back in West Bank’s Jenin refugee camp realised where the group had been, they shut down the program, saying Younes had dragged the children into a political issue.

Accused of exploiting the children
According to Jerusalem Post leaflets distributed in the Jenin area over the weekend attacked the event and accused the organisers of exploiting the children. The leaflets also warned the Palestinians against participating in similar events in the future.

The youths according to Jerusalem Post said their conductor, Wafa Younis, tried to explain to them who the elderly people at the event were, but chaos on the bus prevented them from listening

Younes, who had been training the modest orchestra for about three years, was quoted to say that camp officials wished to take over the funds of the ensemble and regretted that officials destroyed the group.

Campaign for cultural boycott
In April 2004 a Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel was launched in Ramallah by a group of Palestinian academics and intellectuals. The campaign has been widely discussed amongst artists and intellectuals.

Freemuse has at several conferences facilitated discussions on the pro and cons of cultural boycotts.

Read more
Cultural boycott – of any use?


The Jerusalem Post – 29 March 2009:

‘PA dismantles W. Bank youth orchestra’

ABC News – 29 March 2009:

‘Palestinian Orchestra Shut After Holocaust Concert’

Pacbi – 30 March 2009:

‘The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott’

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