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Protesters: An Israeli Orchestra Shouldn't Play Wagner

Young Israelis protest over the the Israeli Chamber Orchestra's performance of Richard Wagner's music. "We are shocked and insulted."
By Elad Benari & Yoni Kempinski
First Publish: 7/27/2011, 2:48 AM / Last Update: 7/27/2011, 3:44 AM

Arutz Sheva visited on Tuesday the protest in Tel Aviv over a concert by the Israeli Chamber Orchestra at the Bayreuth Opera Festival in Bayreuth, Germany.

The orchestra performed Richard Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll. Wagner was a virulent anti-Semite who claimed that Jews were “vermin” and parasites who produced “artificial” and “imitative” music and culture. He concluded that the solution to the problem should be what he called an “Untergang” – a word whose primary meaning is “destruction” – of Jews in general. Wagner was greatly admired by Adolf Hitler.

The protesters were outraged that an Israeli orchestra would perform the music of an anti-Semitic composer who wished to destroy the Jews.

“[Wagner] said that Jews cannot create art and music,” Tal Katz, one of the protesters, told Arutz Sheva. “He didn’t want civil rights for the Jews in Germany.”

Amichai Shikli, another protester, said that “it doesn’t make sense that a public Israeli orchestra will play in a festival that is related directly to the Third Reich and to the Nazi culture.

“We put arts and politics together because Wagner put them together,” added Shikli. “He wrote an article about the Jews and the music. He used his musical talent to spread his vicious opinions about Jews, about the need to ‘clear’ German culture from Judaism.

“We are shocked that an Israeli orchestra is stooping down to the level of going to this festival. We are insulted, not just in the name of the young generation in Israel, but also on behalf of those who can’t protest today: the Holocaust survivors as well as those who didn’t survive.”