Banned from Bethlehem

Clare College Choir has been banned from singing in Bethlehem on Christmas Eve following pressure from Pro-Palestinian groups.

choir Clare tour

Clare College Choir has been banned from singing in Bethlehem on Christmas Eve following pressure from Pro-Palestinian groups, it emerged yesterday.

The 30-strong mixed choir, were planning to perform Bach’s Christmas Oratorio in the Church of Nativity as part of a controversial tour of Israel and Palestine.

But following a campaign by the Palestine Solidarity group, Palestinian authorities have banned the group from entering Bethlehem as part of a wider ‘cultural boycott’.

A letter from on the groups’ website states that “artists and musicians in Palestine, inspired by the example of the campaign which brought an end to apartheid in South Africa, have asked people of conscience around the world not to perform in Israel as an act of solidarity with them”

In a direct challenge to the tour’s organisers, the website  continues  ‘While the rest of the world will be remembering the massacre of 1400 Palestinian people,  your choir will be performing in the capital city of the government which perpetuated acts now regarded as war crimes’

Beccy Talmy, 21, a third year English student at Queens’ and member of the Cambridge Gaza solidarity, agreed that the choir’s decision to sing in Palestine and Israel was ‘political, particularly as the March on Gaza will be happening at the same time’.

Clare College director of music Tim Brown emphasised however that ‘(the choir) was not there under any agenda. This wasn’t a matter of my personal political views or those of the choir but a matter of honouring a professional choir.’

The choir is not appealing the decision and will continue the rest of the tour as planned to Haifa, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Karmiel