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India Criticized for Treatment of Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra

The Anti-Defamation League has expressed indignation at the treatment of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra by the government of India.

The Indian government informed the orchestra that unless the word “Jerusalem” was omitted from its official title, it would not sponsor the orchestra’s performances in Bombay and New Delhi.

The symphony has since decided to cancel the planned tour, which was to be the first by an Israeli orchestra in India.

India, a largely Hindu country with a sizable Muslim minority, only established formal diplomatic ties with Israel last year.

An ADL leader wrote to Indian Prime Minister Narasimha Rao, noting that India’s action was especially distressing in view of its formation of ties with Israel and its embarkation on various joint ventures between the two nations.

“Indeed,” said ADL National Chairman Melvin Salberg in his letter, “over the last 18 months, trade between the two countries has expanded while political contacts have become more frequent.

“Surely India can understand the importance of normalizing political friendships through open cultural exchanges,” wrote Salberg. He urged Rao to further consider the government’s decision.

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