A violinist attacks Israel for racism ‘like Nazism’

A violinist attacks Israel for racism ‘like Nazism’


norman lebrecht

November 09, 2016

The US violinist Thomas Suarez is back on the rant with a talk at the School of Oriental and African Studies in which he called Israel a ‘racist, fascist cult’ and likened Zionism to Nazism.

Suarez, a sometime player in the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the Metropolitan Opera orchestra, has previously organised protests in the UK against the Israel Philharmonic.

Questions are being asked as to why he was invited to expressed such biased views at a recognised university.

Report here.


UPDATE: The IPSO has ruled that the Daily Mail’s report of Suarez’s speech quoted here was inaccurate and distorted. You may read the IPSO ruling here. The JC has published a correcton here. We accepte that the statements contested by Mr Suarez are unfounded.

From a book cover: Thomas Suárez studied violin with Louise Behrend, Ivan Galamian, Felix Galimir, and Josef Gingold. A former member of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, he has worked with several of New York City’s major orchestras, including the American Composers’ Orchestra and the American Symphony Orchestra, and has held principal positions at the Spoleto Festival in Italy and with the orchestra at the Metropolitan Opera House playing for international ballet companies. As chamber musician he has toured through Japan, Southeast Asia, Morocco, and Micronesia, and held a quartet residency at Sarah Lawrence College.



  • Mark says:

    What a disgusting excuse for a human being !

  • George King says:

    He’s not far wrong, though it’snot quite as extreme. Still bad enough.

  • Neil van der Linden says:

    Opinions usually are biased. That is why they are called opinions. Personally I think qualifications like fascist and nazist are hollow. On the other hand this blog is biased as well, or le us day opiniated, in that it often campaigns against musicians who for some reason critisese Israel, and sometimes out of nowhere it comes uo with unfavourable views on those who express favoutable views about Palestinian causes, or just negative news about for instance an Arab pop singer. That is the right of the blogmaker.

  • matteo says:

    You can criticize every country in the world – especially Russia, its President and its most distinguished conductor -. But you’re not allowed to denounce the crimes of the Israeli regime. You are not allowed to denounce the terrible life conditions of 1,7 mln of Palestinians who are living in apartheid in a desert strip with no water and die every day because of Israeli white phosphorus bombs. Because by doing that you are ATTACKING Israel! And if you’re attacking Israel and zionism you’re an ANTISEMITE! And if you’re an antisemite, of course, you’re not allowed to be “invited to expressed such biased views at a recognised university”.
    So, please, dear School of Oriental and African Studies, before inviting again Thomas Suarez or someone else who could hurt zionists’ sensitive ears, ask for permission to Aipac.

    • James says:

      Norman Lebrecht writes of biased views, not anti-Semitism (though they sometimes do go hand in hand, as for instance Brits are unfortunately seeing ad nauseam from the Labour Party and indeed in violet incidents on college campuses lately). Your views here are also deeply inaccurate and smack of bias (for some reason or other). Not all Palestinians live in deep poverty – the Palestinian territories have luxury apartments, shopping malls, nice hotels. Standards of living in the West Bank have shot up in recent years. Many Palestinians, in Gaza, of course do live in poverty but in contrast to their PA-ruled cousins that’s because they chose a terrorist government that relentlessly plots and attacks Israel. There is no apartheid unless you count Hamas’s promotion within Gaza only of their supporters and cronies (and killing of many opponents and those they disagree with). Within Israel, while there are some inequalities, there is certainly no apartheid – it was an Arab judge who recently sent a former Prime Minister to prison, Arabs win reality TV shows and hold high office. The third-largest Parliamentary party is the Joint Arab List. Israel does not ‘attack them every day with phosphorus bombs’ for goodness sake. Neither do they have no water – in fact Israel supplies them with water (I’m guessing you’re referring to the misleading story in The Independent in June, which charged that Israel was depriving Palestinians in the West Bank of water whereas the truth was that Israel actually increased the supply during that period at night because of Ramadan). Read a balanced outlet – the centrist Times Of Israel is a good one. Or deal with your own bias. And your ‘Zionists control everything’ trope is duly noted.

  • Nancy Elan says:

    The event at SOAS that Tom Suarez spoke at was to discuss his new, extremely important book “State of Terror” http://state-of-terror.net
    This book is the culmination of 7 years research at the National Archives (UK) in Kew. It is meticulously documented. The material is largely unknown and every quote is cited in extensive end notes. It is an extremely important contribution to the history of the Zionist terrorist groups in Palestine during the British Mandate.
    In his book, there are many quotes from Jews in the 1940s who referred to the Irgun, the Jewish Agency and the Hagannah as Fascist organisations. To turn this discussion (which none of you were at) into a hate fest against Tom is a sordid act of cowardice and misrepresentation. I urge you to buy and read the book as you may learn some new things about the creation of the state of Israel.
    The meeting was hijacked by people who refuse to allow any discussion of Israel/Palestine. It turned into a free for all. So much for freedom of speech, thought and expression.
    I think we should all step back a bit, and instead of the knee jerk reaction about this very emotional topic, explore what is important information.

  • Tom Suarez says:

    I am Tom Suarez, the violinist in question.
    For the record :
    Mr. Lebrecht has “reported” this incident based on the article in that most infamous of UK tabloids, the Daily Mail.
    The Daily Mail article was given to them by parties anxious to silence me and my book (upon which my talk was based)—and who sabotaged the Q&A talk in question, bringing it to a grinding halt.
    (University security declined to remove them because the principal saboteur screamed ASSAULT! when the guard asked him to stop.)
    The quotes attributed to me vary from accurate quotes but out of context, to distortions, to fabrications.
    Ironically, much of the contentious material at issue is not my words, but the words of Jewish survivors of Nazi Germany, whom the people behind the Daily Mail article wish to silence.
    Like the Daily Mail, Mr. Lebrecht did not have the courtesy to contact me for my side of this before reposting the slander.
    May I ask that anyone tempted to judge me based on the words of the Daily Mail article, and by extension Mr. Lebrecht’s adaptation, instead read my book upon which this talk was based.
    I am hoping to obtain a FULL video of the event to expose the misrepresentations of the saboteurs’ selected clips.
    The book, by the way, received a generous endorsement from the eminent Israeli historian, Ilan Pappe.
    Tom Suarez
    ps I don’t know from what book cover Mr. Lebrecht got my violin bio, but it is not quite accurate.

    • Mark says:

      “Eminent Israeli historian Ilan Pappe” ? Thanks for the laugh ! You might as well advertise an endorsement from Cynthia McKinney or David Duke.
      You remind me of something Efrem Zimbalist said about one of his students: “Talent he might have, but brains we cannot give him.”

      • Neil van der Linden says:

        Yes dumb Zionists will rather go with the Daily Mail. Or Wlders, or L Pen…

        • Mark says:

          How does it make you feel that Israel has won all the wars and now has true friend at the White House? I bet you are angry and suicidal.
          Well, open the window and jump, anti-Semitic swine !

          • stefan verbeek says:

            How ‘civilized’…….

          • Neil van der Linden says:

            Hm, To Mark. I notice that it is again about any criticism on Israel being labeled antisemitism than about a questionable article from a questionable newspaper used to vilify and perform character murder on somebody who dared to say something critical about Israel.
            As you don’t know me I take your comment intended to insult for hysteria.
            It is sad that this respectable and enjoyable blog every now and then turns into propaganda and anti-propaganda that is below its regular standard.
            I further rest my case as reacting to some people seems like a waste of time..
            With such friends Israel would not need enemies.

    • stefan verbeek says:

      Keep up the good work Sir, you’re right……

  • BSOPlayer says:

    I’ve played with the Baltimore Symphony for over 13 years and have never heard of this person.

  • Neil van der Linden says:

    So Norman, you preferred the Daily Mail, a newspaoer that, admittedly about 78 years ago, rejoiced over Hitler’s invasions in Czechoslovakia and Poland, and otherwise a paper know fir smear (compare theur recent smear item on the three juges of the court who ruked that British parliament must have a say in May’s Brexit programs, including using the argument that one if the judges is gay) over checking the sources and facts, just to silence an opinion critcal of Israel.

    • norman lebrecht says:

      He is not critical of Israel. He is abolitionist. Neil, curb your antisemitism.

      • Neil van der Linden says:

        Calling everybody who is critical of Israel or of those who can’t stand others being critical of Israel does not help fighting antisemitism.
        I criticised your source, the Daily Mail, as well. With friends like the Daily Mail you don’t need enemies.

  • A. Boyd says:

    Mr. Suarez is a thoughtful, passionate thinker on this extremely controversial subject. When he has taken the time to discuss this topic with me he has always made the very important distinction between his criticism of Zionism from anti-semitism, which he abhors. Never forget that Yehudi Menuhin’s own fsther wrote a book that was expressly critical of Zionism.

    I have made my pro – Israel opinion clear to Mr. Suarez in the past and he has always calmly expressed his own view. He is intellectually honest in this debate. We ought all remain so.

  • NYMike says:

    Playing for ballet in the summer at the MET does not make one a MET orchestra member since the orchestra is off during the summer. What it does make one is a freelance musician unless one is a member of the ABT orchestra. How about some straight facts, Norman?

  • Sarah Streatfeild says:

    Now a book is being discussed, and hopefully the vacuous trolling moved to one side, I would like to say
    I have just finished reading State of Terror. It is a factual presentation revealing the shocking and violent nature of political Zionism – a meticulously researched book uncovering truths of which the mainstream media are ignorant. Tom Suarez is to be commended for his illuminating contribution and scrupulous efforts in uncovering the truth from declassified British documents.

    • David says:

      Someone like yourself, who advocates for boycotting Israel and its artists, found this anti Israel book factual and gives it her endorsement?


      Truly an unbiased and objective perspective!

  • Tom Suarez says:

    This is my final comment on this thread.

    To be clear: The Middle East debacle is not the issue at hand here.

    The issue of this thread is, rather, Mr. Lebrecht’s having used his blog to spread a tabloid story that seriously questions my integrity, both as a person and as a researcher, without any attempt to establish its credibility.

    My views on the Israel-Palestine debacle are not relevant to that issue, and I will not get drawn into a back-and-forth about the various claims on the “conflict” made here. Slipped Disc is hardly the venue for a sober discussion on that issue, even if it were the topic of this thread.

    Similarly, my credentials as a violinist are not at issue. This is not the first time on this blog that a musician’s standing has been raised in context of political opinions, as though one’s political opinions carried more or less weight according to his or her stature in the music world. For the record, I do not known where Mr. Lebrecht got his information, but it was not from me. I have never played in the Met Opera Orchestra, and most certainly never made any such claim.

    One final point: I should also defend Ilan Pappe, since his reputation has also been questioned here. It is pointless to start deconstructing Benny Morris’ NP hatchet job of Pappe here, but for those unfamiliar with the field, just to explain that there is a long history between the two of them. Morris has gone through disparate incarnations as a historian, making a dramatic U-turn mid-career, the latter in ideological conflict with the earlier. It is Pappe alone who maintained his integrity as one of Israel’s “new” historians.

    • Neil van der Linden says:

      In addition, not only Pappé stayed on course, but also Avi Shlaim, Tom Segev and Baruch Kimmerling for instance..

    • John Hawk says:

      Thomas, I just finished your book… As a long-time student of Middle East history, I commend you on your diligent forensic research and spine-chilling writing. Sociopathic zionism is, quite frankly, a curse on humanity. As I have said hundreds of times in my life, Arabs are semites, and those who hate Arabs are anti-semitic…just say’in!

  • Saxon Broken says:

    I am not sure why anyone wants to doubt that political Zionism at the point of the founding of Israel embarked on activities that many thought amounted to terrorism, and in many cases were creating “facts on the ground” which helped to ensure a Jewish majority state in part of the Levant. Nor that such activities were, at the time, considered controversial even within the Jewish community in Europe.

  • sandra yvonne yehya says:

    Just reading State of Terror. This has been meticulously researched and corroborated by well-known academics and eye-witness accounts. It is time that UK and US people and governments know about the events, driving ideology and the aim of political Zionism. Well done to Mr. Suarez and others, many of them Israelis, who understand what racism and Nazism really mean when we pare away the sentimental and shallow portrayal of these entities in the Western world and Israel.