The BBC in concert

star-BBCLeopold_AuerWhat is it with the Proms?

The inclusion of a nasty caricature  of Hungarian violinist, academic, conductor and composer, Leopold Auer (1845 – 1930) in the BBC summer concert festival raised a short lived storm. The BBC apologised. “We’re sorry to anyone who was offended by the image choice – this was never our intention.” and promised not to use it again.

I was planning to write that antisemitism has been so defined out of existence that the programme designer might not even have been aware of the similarity to classic antisemitic imagery or even that Auer was Jewish. That was until I searched for the image on the Internet and read the description in the only place I found it. Unless someone can find another source for the picture claiming innocence is a hard argument to sustain.

What do you think?

Auer and antisemitic imagery

The offending caricature on left.
On of the most wide spread antisemitic images on right.

One must wonder where the person who designed the programme found the caricature.

Could it have been Lebrecht Photo Library: Music, Authors, History pictures, billing itself as The world’s largest resource for music pictures and all the creative arts? That was the only source I could find through reverse image search.

Could he or she have missed this?

The catalogue caption: Leopold Auer (1845 – 1930), Hungarian violinist and violin teacher. Tchaikovsky dedicated his Violin Concerto to Auer but changed it to Brodsky after Auer suggested revisions. Antitsemitic caricature by Nicolai / Nicolas Legat (1869-1937), ballet dancer and teacher and artist.

Unfortunately a FOI enquiry would be a complete waste of time falling under the purposes of journalism, art or literature exemption that the BBC so often relies on to avoid answering uncomfortable questions but we would have hoped had its provenance been somewhere else the BBC would have announced it. Who am I trying to kid?

A night at the Proms

The Proms, or more formally The Henry Wood Promenade Concerts presented by the BBC, are a British tradition known for classical favourites and audience sing-alongs. This isn’t the first time Jew Hatred has featured at the Proms.

In 2002, intervals in the live broadcast were filled by a recitation of poems that compared the acts of Israelis to those of the Nazis and asked Holocaust survivors why they had “not learnt their lesson.”

In 2011, a demonstration by about fifty anti Israel protesters disrupted a concert by the Israel Philharmonic to the extend BBC 3 stopped broadcasting. Not only was this political grandstanding unique in the history of the Proms but nobody was arrested and the BBC did not sue the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC). Chalk that up as a BDS win.

Once is accident – twice is coincidence – three times is a pattern.

Late news

Within the last 48 hours Lebrecht has removed the caricature from their online catalogue.


About David Guy

B.A./B.C.A. (Communication and Media Arts) University of Wollongong, AUSTRALIA M.A. in Government (Diplomacy and Conflict Studies) Inter Disciplinary Center, Herzliya, ISRAEL Twitter @5MFI
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