Daily Israel Report

Barenboim Brings Mozart to Gaza

Daniel Barenboim made another political statement by conducting a Mozart concert in Gaza.
By Aryeh Ben Hayim
First Publish: 5/3/2011, 2:26 PM / Last Update: 5/3/2011, 3:11 PM

Pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim conducted an ensemble comprising musicians from leading European orchestras in Gaza Tuesday. "We are very happy to come to Gaza," he said. "We are playing this concert as a sign of our solidarity and friendship with the civil society of Gaza." 

The concert was arranged by the UN that lists Barenboim as a peace ambassador for the organization. The concert included two Mozart staples: the Eine Kleine Nachtmusik and Symphony # 40 in G Minor.

Barenboim holds honorary "Palestinian citizenship" since 2008.

Barenboim's solicitude for Gazan civil society is in marked contrast to his insulting and provocative attitude towards Israel, which launched his musical career. He refused to take part in Israel's 60th anniversary festivities claiming that ''It is 60 years of Israel's independence, which also means that it is 60 years of suffering of the people who were here."

In 2001, Barenboim overturned the informal ban on playing works by Richard Wagner by insinuating it into an encore performance with the Israel Philharmonic. Playing Wagner, a notorious anti-Semite whose works extolling the Aryan race were Hitler's favorites and were said to have influenced him, is considered an insensitive affront to Holocaust survivors in Israel..

In 2005, while signing a book that he had written with the late Edward Said, he refused to be interviewed by a reporter for Israel Army radio because she was wearing an IDF uniform. The then Education Minister Limor Livnat accused Barenboim of behaving like an anti-Semite.