The conductor has published another of his Middle East interventions. This one, in Armistice Week, seems more injudicious than most. Daniel writes:
Germany’s approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a diminutive one. It does not want to inflame sensibilities over its relations with Israel. However, if there is to be a solution to the conflict, Germany must play some role and exert some form of influence on Israeli policy. Germany can and should put political pressure on Israel. After all, we are talking here about the intellectual and political future of the state of Israel. The logic is simple: Germany is committed to the ongoing security of the state of Israel, but this is only possible in the long term if the future of the Palestinian people, too, is secured in its own sovereign state.
Aside from grossly over-estimating Germany’s influence, his aim is wild and wrong.
If Germany is to play a Middle East role, should it not start by putting pressure on Russia to end its support for the Assad regime, which has forced more of its citizens to leave the country than Israel ever did with the Palestinians? Shouldn’t it, perhaps, pull out of the football World Cup in Qatar, a major sponsor of Islamist terrorism? Mightn’t it do something to help regenerate the Egyptian economy before hunger breeds another extremist revolution? Shouldn’t it be concerned about chaos in Libya?
I have often endorsed Barenboim’s thinking in the past, but I find him wrong here on two counts, badly wrong. Germany is not the solution to the Jewish problem. And the idea that pressure on Israel – but not on the Palestinians – will yield a just and lasting peace is, frankly, absurd.