An allegedly antisemitic comment apparently made by Matthew Scott, the former Head of Music at the National Theatre, is being investigated by police after a complaint was made, according to The Daily Telegraph.
Mr Scott was Head of Music at the National Theatre from 2006 until 2016 and remained there as a music consultant until the end of last month. He is currently Emeritus Professor of Composition in Music at the University of Southampton.
The Daily Telegraph reported that Mr Scott is believed to have made the comment under a BBC News article about yesterday’s Israeli elections which said: “The time for the erasure of Israel and the completion of the cleansing process is rapidly approaching. Can Netanyahu now see that his actions are feeding the furnace?”
It is hard to imagine how “the completion of the cleansing process” could be understood as anything other than a call for the genocide of Jews in Israel. Additionally, under the International Definition of Antisemitism adopted by the British Government, “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination (e.g. by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour)” is antisemitic.
The comment, posted over the weekend, was subsequently deleted. Neither Mr Scott nor his agent responded to requests for comment by the Telegraph.
Essex Police confirmed to The Daily Telegraph that it had received a complaint about the post which it was expected to transfer to another force. A spokeswoman said that “enquiries are ongoing.”
The complainant, who did not want to be identified, told The Daily Telegraph that he was “appalled” by the comments which he said would be career-ending for many.
Furthermore, Campaign Against Antisemitism has discovered that someone posting as Mr Scott shared a Nazi analogy on Facebook, which featured an image captioned: “The thought of Jewish children being at the complete mercy of of Nazis is just as repulsive as Palestinian children being at the completely mercy of Zionist Israelis.”
Under the International Definition of Antisemitism, “Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis” is also antisemitic.
Campaign Against Antisemitism welcomes the investigation by Essex Police and keenly awaits the outcome. If proven, it would be particularly disturbing for someone in a position of such seniority in the artistic community to hold such brazenly antisemitic views.