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?