"the destinies of ... the Israeli people and the Palestinian people are inextricably linked"
January 14, 2008 1:03 AM   Subscribe

Daniel Barenboim: pianist, conductor, Israeli, peacemaker, and now Palestinian. Predictably, some will add to that list, "traitor."
posted by orthogonality (23 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Barenboim also slammed President Bush, referring to Bush's call to end "the occupation" by commenting:
"Now even not very intelligent people are saying that the occupation has to be stopped," Barenboim said.
posted by orthogonality at 1:06 AM on January 14, 2008

It's a symbol, in a region that likes it's symbols. A brilliant pr move on the part of the Palestinians, good on them.

I'm not so thrilled by the idea of citizenship granted based on political views, though I suppose in this case it's like an honorary doctorate, not too significant in a practical sense, and I don't suppose he will use at airports, though he could possibly use it to enter territories where Israelis are barred from entry.
posted by terrortubby at 1:51 AM on January 14, 2008

I think he's a brave man.

What's up with the vitriol against Barenboim on that blog linked to in the OP? He's been called a traitor since he dared to conduct Wagner years ago. There's no mention in the article of him giving up Israeli citizenship, only that he accepted a Palestinian passport. Not exactly like he called for Jihad...

Too bad that there are so many people whose livelihoods and positions of influence in the middle east depend on shrieking hate at anyone who dares to say that both Israelis and Palestinians have a right to a state and peaceful coexistence.
posted by Grrlscout at 2:28 AM on January 14, 2008

Aah, watch out, he'll soon be murdered by some Israeli Patriot(tm).

I'd love to have the opportunity to shake his hand..
posted by vivelame at 2:38 AM on January 14, 2008

He's a great man. He earned my respect.
posted by mike3k at 2:58 AM on January 14, 2008

Tip of the hat
posted by zouhair at 4:25 AM on January 14, 2008

You forgot to add "Argentinian" to his list of controversial nationalities.

But all jokes aside, he is horrendously talented. I once turned on the TV and caught one of his masterclasses by accident and just couldn't stop watching. If anyone can get that series and watch it, I guarantee you'll love every minute of it.

And I think it's quite remarkable that he uses his reputation to knock down old taboos. He is a great man, and this is a great FPP.
posted by micayetoca at 5:37 AM on January 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

Seconding the Barenboim love.

Among his other projects, in the summers he conducts the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, which Barenboim and Edward Said founded so that young Israeli and Arab musicians could learn from working together.
posted by Pallas Athena at 5:52 AM on January 14, 2008

Barenboim really seems to go out of his way to invite controversy.

Back in July of 2001 he conducted Richard Wagner’s "Overture to Tristan und Isolde" as an unprogrammed encore while in Israel.

It didn't go over well, for obvious reasons.
posted by pjdoland at 6:28 AM on January 14, 2008

In December of '06 the department for which I very occasionally (generally just hanging posters for events, running films, or hooking up printers) work at Brown University managed to get the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra to play for free in Providence, RI. Since I needed some work, I was selected to be the orchestra's emergency contact throughout their stay here, living with them in the hotel, going with them to all the rehearsals, etc.

That said, I only very briefly met Barenboim, as the orchestra manager handled most of his needs, though I could see from watching all of their rehearsals that he is a ruthless perfectionist when it comes to conducting. I did have the opportunity for a few conversations with the late Edward Said's wife Miriam, who struck me as a very pleasant, down-to-earth, and brilliant woman.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 6:39 AM on January 14, 2008

"I believe that the destinies of ... the Israeli people and the Palestinian people are inextricably linked," Barenboim said. "We are blessed - or cursed - to live with each other. And I prefer the first."

The man's got class.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:05 AM on January 14, 2008

I love him, whether he conducts, plays Ginastera or Well-Tempered Piano, holds masterclasses, or talks to Edward Said. Thanks for the links.
posted by mi at 7:13 AM on January 14, 2008

He really is a fascinating guy that I've admired for years. He uses his talent in such fascinating ways.

That is all.
posted by bassjump at 7:29 AM on January 14, 2008

Israel gets worked up over someone playing Wagner? Seriously?
posted by blacklite at 8:24 AM on January 14, 2008

I've always admired Barenboim both as a musician and as a human being. It's interesting reading this after looking at the N.I. murals thread. Of course this is symbolic but it is in many ways a huge gesture.
posted by ob at 9:15 AM on January 14, 2008

Back in July of 2001 he conducted Richard Wagner’s "Overture to Tristan und Isolde" as an unprogrammed encore while in Israel.

It didn't go over well, for obvious reasons.
posted by pjdoland at 9:28 AM on January 14

Is this a joke? Do jews in Israel find Wagner offensive? Schoenberg cited Wagner as a profound influence and he was Jewish.

If this is true, it's the height of ignorance.
posted by Pastabagel at 11:10 AM on January 14, 2008

Pastabagel, blacklite:

As far as I know, from hearing from friends and family, many holocaust survivors strongly associate Wagner with their concentration camp experiences - it's even triggering for them; Hitler loved his music and had it played in the camps. It's considered very insensitive to play Wagner where there may be survivors - part of why Jewish weddings don't use the wedding march song that's so famous. There are a lot of Holocaust survivors in Israel.

I'm sorry you think that's ignorant. I think it's pretty ignorant of you to think that just because some Jews (including famous musicians) admire Wagner's music, that these experiences and memories shouldn't matter to these survivors and their children.
posted by Salamandrous at 12:19 PM on January 14, 2008

The wedding march you refer to is by Mendelssohn. He was Jewish by birth, but converted.

I admire Jews who can appreciate Wagner. Wagner was instrumental in the forging of a nationalist myth that contained a lot of dangerous ideas, and yes, he did say anti-Semitic things. But his music is not necessarily anti-Semitic. Besides, ridding the world of the work of anti-Semites like Dostoevsky, Alexandr Pushkin, Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, would be self-defeating. Incidentally, there was a campaign against Mendelssohn's music in the third Reich, too.

Personally, I'm not Jewish, so I don't want to say "shame on you for not judging Wagner on his work, rather than his most infamous fans", but I think erasing the work of anyone based on ideology is a shame and a waste.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 3:29 PM on January 14, 2008

P.S. Would like to judge Wagner on his merits, but it's way beyond me. I almost hanged myself sitting through the Meisterzinger.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 3:32 PM on January 14, 2008

I almost hanged myself sitting through the Meisterzinger.

And you know, it's really hard to hang yourself while sitting. I tried it once and it didn't go well at all.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:42 PM on January 14, 2008

There was a tempting balcony and drapes. It would have been so theatrical, but I didn't want anyone thinking I went all young Werther.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 3:44 PM on January 14, 2008


Thanks for the info about the wedding march, I'll have to figure out why I thought that.

I'm pretty sure I didn't suggest ridding the world of work produced by anti-semites! I'm pretty sure no one else has either.

And you know what, I'm pretty confident that even survivors who find his music triggering could still 'judge' it on its artistic merits. That doesn't mean they have to like listening to it.

Also, as much as we can judge a produced work apart from the character of its creator, as long as we remember the creator's name and person, I think we have an obligation to remember the bad along with the good. Otherwise it makes it seem that if someone invents something really cool, it doesn't really matter that they think some people are inferior to others.
posted by Salamandrous at 9:20 PM on January 14, 2008

Salamandrous: You were right. Wagner is behind the famous "Bridal Chorus" (Here Comes the Bride) while Mendelssohn wrote the "Wedding March."
posted by Ljubljana at 8:26 AM on January 15, 2008

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