LONDON (Jan. 16)
A proposed four of South Africa by the London Jewish male voice choir is under fire from the British anti-apartheid movement, which campaigns against cultural sporting and economic links with South Africa.
Peter Hain, leader of the anti-apartheid movement, has claimed that the choir’s visit would give comfort to South Africa’s white rulers and even if their performances were not segregated, the hotels or homes they stayed in and restaurants they are in would be.
The choir’s conductor, Dr. Julian Schindler, has said that it the choir accepted it would be performing only within the Jewish community. Hayim Pinner, general secretary of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, to whom the anti-apartheid movement has protested, said the Board is strongly opposed to racism but that the question of segregated concerts did not arise as there are no Black Jews in South Africa.
This is believed to be the first time that the Jewish community has been attacked for its lines with South African Jewry, and it has caused some irritation among Anglo-Jewry, not least because Hain is known for his sympathies with the Palestine Liberation Organization and with the claim that Israel, like South Africa, is racist.
Had the attack on the London choir’s proposed four of South Africa come from inside the Jewish community, or from its friends, it may have been studied more sympathetically. Even so, since much of the chair’s repertoire is liturgical music, it could also be argued that since this would be a religious rather than a cultural event, it would be outside the scope of sanctions against South Africa. (By Maurice Samuelson)