Dissing Barenboim: Taking the Measure of Palestinian “moderation”

Few prominent Jews have been more pro-Palestinian than Argentine-born, German-resident, PA honorary citizen, Daniel Barenboim. Some might call him an alter-juif. But apparently that’s not enough for Palestinian “activists” who want to boycott his appearance in Ramallah.

Pro-PA Conductor Barenboim: Persona Non-Grata in Ramallah

by Hillel Fendel

(IsraelNN.com) A wall-to-wall Palestinian Authority coalition announced its opposition and boycott of the Israeli orchestra conductor, despite his strong pro-Palestinian positions.

The acceptance of Palestinian Authority citizenship, strong support for the PA side in its dispute with Israel, continuing biting criticism of Israel, and Israeli nationalist opposition to him – all this is not enough to enable world-renowned musician Daniel Barenboim to perform in Ramallah without incident.

Barenboim appeared in Ramallah on Wednesday night in a Ramallah hall, conducting the Jewish-Arab orchestra – but a large coalition of PA elements loudly objected and called for a boycott of the event. Among those opposing Barenboim were the PA’s Union of Authors and Poets, the Union of Artists, and those involved in the official PA-wide campaign for a cultural boycott of Israel.

Barenboim, a Jew who once lived in Israel, received Palestinian Authority citizenship in January 2008 in a ceremony in Ramallah, explaining, “I believe that the fate of the Palestinian people is interwoven with that of the Jewish people… We are either blessed or cursed to live with each other, and I prefer the first option.”

Nice example of positive-sum thinking that goes back to God’s promise to Abraham: “those who bless you I will bless; those who curse you, I will curse.”

The noted pianist and conductor caused outrage in Israel even prior to that, refusing to be interviewed by an Army Radio soldier in uniform and insisting on performing compositions of the notorious Nazi icon Richard Wagner despite widespread protests.

Barenboim has also accused the Israeli government of “moral abomination” in its current ongoing defensive war.

Has he called suicide bombing “moral abomination”? Days after a vicious suicide bombing that killed twenty Israeli civilians, he remarked

    Israel has to reinvent itself, the Palestinian people has to reinvent itself, each in its own way.”

Granted, his comment was without any direct reference to the bombing, but maybe that’s even worse.

Despite the above, the PA groups declared that their opposition to him is based on his diplomatic stance and their opposition to normalization with Israel. The joint Israeli-Arab orchestra that he established together with the late Arab-American anti-Israeli Edward Said, the statement said, “does not truly seek to struggle against the occupation and various forms of oppression of the Palestinian nation.”

In the world of Palestian doublespeak, does this mean: “this is wimpy stuff and it doesn’t seek to destroy the oppression of the Palestinian nation caused by the existence of Israel”?

The groups said that the orchestra seeks to overcome the hostility via music and dialogue, “without even mentioning the occupation and racism against the Palestinian nation.”

Again, translating: “dialogue and making music together would diffuse the hostility that the Palestinians legitimately feel, and our desire for justice/vengeance that we legitimately seek because of the unspeakable and unforgiveable things the Israelis have done to us.”

The opposition to Barenboim also cites his support for Israel’s right to defend itself, as well as his close relationship with Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, who died in 1973.

Now the comment about Israel’s “right to defend itself,” is interesting. Mohit Joshi at TopNews elaborates:

    Barenboim – otherwise known as a staunch critic of Israel’s policies
    - had sparked their anger by stating in reference to last winter’s three-week offensive in Gaza that Israel had a right to defend itself.

That’s a rather interesting interpretation of Barenboim’s clear denunciation of Israel’s actions in Gaza, published in, surprise, the Guardian. In other words, anything short of complete agreement with the most radical Palestinian agenda will not do. (and these are “intellectuals,” cultural figures, professionals, not rabid Islamists).

To top it off, the same group told Leonard Cohen that if he plays in Tel Aviv, he can’t come to Ramallah:

    Cohen is not welcome in Ramallah as long as he insists on performing in Tel Aviv… We considered his performance in Israel a form of complicity in its grave violations of international law,” the boycott groups said.(dpa)

In other words, as far as the Palestinians are concerned, Israel proper is so toxic a presence that merely going there makes you their enemy. (For a longer article on the Leonard Cohen affair, written before the decision cited above, see here.)

This is not the kind of atmosphere for peace that Obama’s reaching out was intended to create. Has his outreach not affected it at all, or has it fostered an even harder line?

8 Responses to Dissing Barenboim: Taking the Measure of Palestinian “moderation”

  1. oao says:

    This is not the kind of atmosphere for peace that Obama’s reaching out was intended to create. Has his outreach not affected it at all, or has it fostered an even harder line?

    the arab culture has always been one best described by a romanian saysing: “give them a finger and they’ll want the whole hand”. probably has something to do with the fact that islam was devised to solve the problem of them inability to produce anything and had to subjugate others and rob them to survive.

    the pals are typical: they live on jiziyah and the only industry they have is the “security” one which is used for terror against israel and to control and exploit their own population.

    it was therefore, trivial and obvious that alibama’s policies would induce the opposite of what he supposedly intended. except i am not sure that peace is what he intended.

  2. oao says:

    i posted about this in an earlier thread. here was my reaction:

    1. serves him right. but i betcha he’ll find some way to rationalize what they are doing to him, not learn the truth about the pals.

    2. note who is pushing for the boycott — it’s not the politicians, but supposedly the intellectuals (well, whetever the pals have as such). should stifle those who claim that it’s just the people really want peace and co-existence, but why do i not expect that to happen?

  3. [...] to reach really vicious levels before anyone claims it’s anti-Zionist, whereas Palestinians find anything short of complete adulation intolerable (to use Obama’s [...]

  4. Eliyahu says:

    it was therefore, trivial and obvious that alibama’s policies would induce the opposite of what he supposedly intended. except i am not sure that peace is what he intended.

    oao, do you see how magnanimous I am? I fully agree with your words that I quote above. We could substitute the word “ostensibly” for “supposedly.” That might make the statement a little stronger.

  5. Eliyahu says:

    We don’t have a sincerometer to measure Obama’s sincerity. But somebody who keeps on making very general promises –usually without specifics– makes me suspicious. Obama was in his broad and general promises mode the other day when he met with a group of his Jewish toadies. He said something like: I am fully committed to Israel’s security.

    And he said it himself. With his wewy own wittle mouf and his squeaky wittle voice. Who could doubt his sincerity?? He also said that America needs to throw another trillion or so at the economy by way of stimulus since the last trillion does not seem to have worked so far. Who could possibly doubt his sincerity??

  6. oao says:

    But somebody who keeps on making very general promises –usually without specifics– makes me suspicious.

    he made BLATANTLY CONFLICTING promises, depending on who he was speaking to. the chance that such a person is sincere is nil.

    alibama is only interested in being president and showing everybody how smart he is. the only thing the guy cares about is himself and self-promotion. he did not seem to have a clue even about how important and complex the POTUS job is. he’s nobody.

    i would comment further on his and michelle’s behavior, except i’ll be accused of racism.

  7. Jeremy says:

    Barenboim is a supreme musician and, in common with most performers, he does not suffer from a lack of self confidence. He appears to believe that his brilliance in music also extends to the realm of realpolitik (connection? none) and so the Maestro preaches to the rest of us with his usual condescension.

    His “proof” of the fact that Israelis and Arabs can all live in harmony side by side is his little orchestral venture, the Palestinian/Israeli orchestra. No disharmony there! Why, oh why is the world not made up of musical sycophants?

    Perhaps if Haled Mash’al could be taught to play tuba …

  8. oao says:

    artists usually live in a world of their own which has little to do with reality.

    the problem is that they often try to influence reality and the results are such that you dk whether to laugh or cry.

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