Israeli musician gets Palestinian passport

A file picture of Israeli pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim, who has received Palestinian citizenship. Photograph: Juan Mabromata/AFP/Getty Images The Israeli pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim has been granted Palestinian citizenship in recognition of his work in promoting cultural exchange between young people in Israel and the Arab world.

The Argentine-born musician is believed to be the first person in the world to possess both passports after receiving his new documentation at the end of a piano concert of Ludwig van Beethoven sonatas, which he performed in Ramallah in the West Bank at the weekend.

“Under the most difficult circumstances he has shown solidarity with the Palestinian people,” Mustafa Barghouti, the Palestinian MP and presidential candidate said at the charity concert to raise money for medical aid for children in the Gaza Strip.

Barenboim, 65, who is musical director of the Staatsoper in Berlin and Milan’s La Scala opera house, established his West-Eastern Divan orchestra with the American-Palestinian intellectual Edward Said in 1999 following a workshop in Germany. The orchestra’s aim is to bring together musicians from Israel and Arabic countries to exchange ideas and perform together.

Barenboim, who is a regular and lively commentator on the Middle East conflict, said he was “moved and very, very happy” to receive the citizenship, adding that he accepted it because it “symbolises the everlasting bond between the Israeli and Palestinian people”.

In a pointed reference to US president George Bush’s recent comments on the Middle-East conflict in which he talked of Israel’s “occupation” of the West Bank, Barenboim added: “Now even not very intelligent people are saying that the occupation has to be stopped.”

Barenboim is considered a controversial figure by many in Israel, but less for the sympathy he openly shows towards the Palestinians and more for his promotion of the music of the 19th century anti-Semitic German composer Richard Wagner which he has conducted in Jerusalem.

He criticised the Israeli government after he was forced to cancel a piano concert in Ramallah after Israeli authorities said they could not guarantee his safety. More recently he held a press conference to protest the Israeli authorities’ refusal to allow musicians from his Divan orchestra to enter Ramallah.

via//Guardian Unlimited

Tagged with: ,
Posted in International Relations, Israel, Music, Palestinian Territories, Politics

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Stats (July 2006-)
  • 149,022 unique hits
This site may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.
%d bloggers like this: