My dear friend, Deborah Fink, was one of the people who put this together Thursday in London. Their ad hoc group, Beethovians for Boycotting Israel, created new lyrics to Ludvig van Beethoven’s paean to the unity of mankind, Ode to Joy, and sang it several times during the performance of the Israel Philharmonic at the BBC Proms Concert:
Israel, end your occupation:
There’s no peace on stolen land.
We’ll sing out for liberation
’till you hear and understand.
Ethnic cleansing and apartheid
Should belong to history.
Human rights cannot be silenced:
Palestine will soon be free.
BBC went so far as to take their live concert broadcast off the air for a time.
I’m not quite sure what I think yet, except that it was an astounding happening, which brings to mind the May, 1913 premiere in Paris of Igor Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps. A major difference might be that after that opening’s scandal, people came to fully appreciate Stravinsky’s masterpiece. There were no further disruptions of consequence.
In the case of the Israel Philharmonic, they can look forward to a future of a rising crescendo of cancellations and a growing chorus of protests.
Here’s a cell phone video of the portion of the disruption during Max Bruch’s Concerto for Violin: