Barenboim links Israel to rising anti-semitism

Barenboim links Israel to rising anti-semitism


norman lebrecht

January 02, 2022

From a New Year’s Day interview with Austrian media:

Can you explain why anti-Semitism is so prevalent again?
No. Anti-Semitism cannot be explained. There are many attempts at explanation. Christian anti-Semitism, European nationalism in the 19th century, which prepared the Nazi era. But you can’t explain anti-Semitism. It also exists in places where there are no Jews.

Not even left anti-Semitism, which disguises itself as anti-Israelism?
This is a different chapter, I wouldn’t mix it up! This is not about left or right, but about the Israeli government. It has made, and continues to do, a certain policy that is likely to provoke anti-Semitism. Some Israeli governments have done some things that are not humanly acceptable. You see, I am decidedly critical of some aspects of Israeli government policy! Zionism started in Vienna with Theodor Herzl, as a Zionist dream, and it was a wonderful dream for a people who had been persecuted for centuries. For centuries. Worldwide. You have to understand that. But what came after that? A lie.

Israel’s founding is based on a lie?
Yes. It read “a land without a people for a people without a land”. That’s a lie. In World War I, the proportion of Jews in Palestine was nine percent! How can you say the country was empty when 91 percent of those who lived there weren’t Jews?

What conclusions do you draw from this?
This is a problem of depth psychology: you have a wonderful dream, then you wake up. And if you always lie to yourself when you wake up, you have to see a psychiatrist.

And how do you solve the murderous conflict between Israel and Palestine?
You have to bring the two together by civilized methods, and certainly most of the responsibility rests on the Israeli side because Israel was the one who ousted the Palestinians. Both are to blame for the conflict, but it cannot be that the majority in Israel thinks that the conquest of Palestine is something positive! That was 54 years ago, and we can keep adding up what the Palestinians have done. But there is a minority, albeit a tiny minority, in Israel that understands that what you have done yourself is not right. You have to find a dialogue! It is not acceptable that two peoples want to live here for themselves, if possible each without the other. That will not do! This country has always been home to different peoples.

You are a great pacifist.
I am not a pacifist. All I know is that what the Israelis and Palestinians are doing now is leading to disaster. You don’t have to be a pacifist to do that.


Full interview here.


  • John Borstlap says:

    He does not quite ‘explain’ rising antisemitism elsewhere to Israel politics. And about the ‘lie upon which the country is founded’, he is right.

    Antisemitism is nothing special in comparison with other types of discrimination, it is the typical reation of underdeveloped, hateful people looking for a scapegoat because they can’t see their own role in their own frustrations. It’s a process extensively described in mass psychology. Antisemitism has its ugly and unique history in Europe because in the 19th century people from Jewish descent were the only major minority. Had that period seen an influx of Muslims (like today), they would have shared the hatred with them.

    Hilarious is, in the interview, the mention of DB in rehearsel forgetting the name of the player and calling ‘bassoon’ instead, which is then interpreted as an authoritarian, patronizing, dehumanizing put-down in the press – a case of woke infection in Berlin. The next step would be to cancel the role of the conductor altogether because he has the impertinence to correct the players. Next: teachers at schools, lecturers at universities, doctors at hospitals, etc.

    • As usual wrong, anti-Zionist, anti-Semitic and ugly comments from a jealous loser.

      • John Borstlap says:

        How my comment can be construed as ‘anti-Zionist’ and ‘anti-Semitic’ is probably much clearer to a psychiatrist, but it is beyond me. As for ‘wrong’ and ‘ugly’, that is probably a matter of interpretation. As for ‘jealous loser’, that’s merely hilarious.

        Had, after the incredible event of the Holocaust, the surviving Jews a right on a homeland? Yes, in sofar as they felt themselves indeed being different from their natural environment. Did they have the right to found a Jewish nation in an area populated with Arab Muslems, without their permission? I don’t think so – for the Palestinians they were European foreigners taking their lands. We should refrain from inverted racism in such matters.

    • V. Lind says:

      It has more or less happened to teachers and university lecturers (and professors) already, with students dictating what will be taught, and how, and their institutions padding grades and marking softly because they consider students “customers,” and they are also pressured by the current woke ideologies.

      As for doctors: I merely give you anti-vaccers. There are other instances of people eschewing expertise in favour of their own desires. (Usually to their cost, e.g. laetrile).

      • John Borstlap says:

        And yet, it irritates the hell out of me that my dentist knows better than me while it’s ME who uses my own teeth on a daily basis.


    • Another false and uninformed comment by Bortslip  ” Antisemitism is nothing special in comparison with other types of discrimination, it is the typical reation of underdeveloped, hateful people looking for a scapegoat because they can’t see their own role in their own frustrations.” Science and technology in Israel is one of the country’s most developed sectors. Israel spent 4.3% of its gross domestic product (GDP) on civil research and development in 2015, the highest ratio in the world.[1] In 2019, Israel was ranked the world’s fifth most innovative country by the Bloomberg Innovation Index.[2] It ranks thirteenth in the world for scientific output as measured by the number of scientific publications per million citizens.[3] In 2014, Israel’s share of scientific articles published worldwide (0.9%) was much higher than its share of the global population (0.1%).[4][1]Israel counts 140 scientists and technicians per 10,000 employees, one of the highest ratios in the world. In comparison, there are 85 per 10,000 in the United States and 83 per 10,000 in Japan.[5] In 2012, Israel counted 8,337 full-time equivalent researchers per million inhabitants.[1] This compares with 3,984 in the US, 6,533 in the Republic of South Korea and 5,195 in Japan. Israel’s high technology industry has benefited from both the country’s highly educated and technologically skilled workforce coupled with the strong presence of foreign high-tech firms and sophisticated research centres.[6][1]Israel is home to major companies in the high-tech industry and has one of the world’s most technologically literate populations.[7] In 1998, Tel Aviv was named by Newsweek as one of the ten most technologically influential cities in the world.[8] Since 2000, Israel has been a member of EUREKA, the pan-European research and development funding and coordination organization, and held the rotating chairmanship of the organization for 2010–2011.[9][10] In 2010, American journalist David Kaufman wrote that the high tech area of Yokneam, Israel, has the “world’s largest concentration of aesthetics-technology companies”.[11] Google Chairman Eric Schmidt has complimented the country during a visit there, saying that “Israel has the most important high-tech center in the world after the US.”[12] Israel was ranked 13th in the Global Innovation Index in 2020, down from 10th in 2019.

      • Technology Bla bla bla says:

        So what, Helene!?

        Who cares. Because it’s the modern world that will end up destroying us.
        Are you proud that Israel is also at the forefront of that?!

      • V. Lind says:

        So? The US is filled with science and high tech and innovation, God help us. Doesn’t stop them working against democratically elected governments in Latin America whose politics don’t suit their paranoid agenda, or a myriad of other offences against basic humanity.

        You can argue against Barenboim’s argument all you like, but this post is an exercise in missing the point and irrelevance.

      • John Borstlap says:

        Great! And what has all of this to do with antisemitism? I must have missed something.

      • The Bigger Picture says:

        Ok, Helen, so indeed Israel is a nation of brainiacs. Now, if only those smarties would also use their hearts as much as their heads, what a better world we would have! Get your imperious self over to Gaza, and speak with the victims trapped in that hell-hole, and then try to defend Israel’s actions towards the Palestinians. Good luck.

        • A Dolfadam says:

          How do you defend the Palestinians (made-up identity) actions against Israel? You can’t. No sane person can, no rational person can. Only an anti-Semite can. I am appalled at how many anti-Semites are reading Slipped Disc.

      • Jared says:

        Just because you are good at math and science doesn’t mean you are good at public policy. I’m sure if all the politicians were scientists, Israeli policies would be different than today (same in US, Korea, Japan, etc). Perhaps it is possible that the large investment in STEM is an investment on Israel’s part to increase its prestige and sphere of influence. Just my thoughts as a real life scientist.

      • Tamino says:

        Ms Kamioner, your argument here in its essence is similar to Hitler‘s reasoning (of superiority of the ‚aryan race‘.
        How one group of people has more rights than another group of people, based on some factual data that is taken out of context and falsely argued in causality for that one group being superior to other humans.
        What colludes this even more for Jews, is that their own ancient religious dogmas preach their superiority over their human brethren. A fatal attraction to ideology.

    • A Dolfadam says:

      You are only partly correct, because as he stated, Jews do not have to be present for anti-Semitism to exist. It is more extreme than most other hatreds and to not recognize that is dangerous, indeed.

    • What about Luther and the Reformation re: the roots of anti-Semitism in Europe

  • Pianofortissimo says:

    Daniel Barenboim’s non-musical views are typical of our time’s political disease: self-hatred. A very dangerous condition that can lead to self-extinction.

    • John Borstlap says:

      Yes I have that too although I don’t quite get what it means.


    • Barry says:

      Agreed. I would only differentiate Israel from the West in this respect by pointing out that most of the populace of Israel has not bought into the self-hatred. Obviously, far too many in the West have.

      Pascal Bruckner’s, “The Tyranny of Guilt: An Essay on Western Masochism,” is a good read on the subject.

      Brutality throughout history hasn’t been a Western condition. It’s been a human condition. But only the West is so caught up in its past atrocities. That’s not to say they should be forgotten or not taught. But there is a difference between learning about something and taking it to the point of self-destruction

    • Sue Sonata says:

      It was Woody Allen in his films who first brought to real prominence the idea of the self-hating Jew.

      “Max; did you here what he said, “d’you (Jew) eat?”

      Absolutely hilarious!!

      • John Borstlap says:

        But wait: when a majority of the Jewish population left the lands of Israel after the devastating suppression of the Romans of the rebellions, they did not want to mix with the populations of the host lands, and guarded their national and cultural identity carefully through customs and culture. This triggered suspicions with the environment and the rest is a sorry history of bad behavior towards the Jews, as we all know. If they had integrated, they would have lost their culture and identity forever and ‘Israel’ as an idea would be lost. The origin of all the trouble was religious in nature, the Jews looked down upon the ‘pagan’ nations around them, and they did not want to be part of the commonwealth that the Romans created with all the conquered lands, where people generally found their new situation an improvement. The Romans never understood what the Jews were after with their religion and found it mere bigottry, since religion in Greek-Roman culture was pluralistic and open to influences. The original conflict has been written beautifully in ‘Hadrian’s Memoirs’ by Marguerite Yourcenar.

        • Pianofortissimo says:

          Dear Mr Borstlap,

          Marguerite Yourcenar’s novel ’Memoirs of Hadrien’ is great fiction (I never understood why she did not get the Nobel), but it is FICTION. It seems that the Jews were more ‘compatible’ with the Roman multireligious society than what was generally accepted in later times; the Christians were the real ‘radicals.’ As far as they have separate temples there was no real problem. Roberto Calasso had very convincing arguments about this point in his ‘Il libro di tutti i libri’ (an English translation was published in 2021).



        • A Dolfadam says:

          So Jews are to blame for the anti-Semitism they willfully attracted? That is the height of anti-Semitism. You must be British. Your posts reek of the backwards logic of the British, whose anti-Semitism has been totally unwarranted and is totally documented throughout history. I hope Lebrecht bans you from the site, as he keeps doing to me. You deserve it far more.

          • John Borstlap says:

            I agree! My aunt Cecilia lived for 20 years next to a jewish family so I’m all for anti antisemitism.


          • Never believe that anti-Semites are completely unaware of the absurdity of their replies. They know that their remarks are frivolous, open to challenge. But they are amusing themselves, for it is their adversary who is obliged to use words responsibly, since he believes in words. The anti-Semites have the right to play. They even like to play with discourse for, by giving ridiculous reasons, they discredit the seriousness of their interlocutors. They delight in acting in bad faith, since they seek not to persuade by sound argument but to intimidate and disconcert. If you press them too closely, they will abruptly fall silent, loftily indicating by some phrase that the time for argument is past.

        • Yehuda Maccabee says:

          You need to accept the verdict of history. The Jews have returned to their own country.

    • Max Raimi says:

      Barenboim was our Music Director here in Chicago for more than a decade. I like to think I gained some sense of the man. You can love him or hate him, and you might applaud or revile his politics. But one phrase that I can assure you does not describe him is “self hating”.

    • Tris says:

      Another sheep not daring to face the truth!

  • M McAlpine says:

    Of course, the PC views of our time trotted out again. But how then explain the anti-semitism throughout the centuries when the Israel state did not exist? And the fact that the state exists because of anti-semitism? Clueless!

  • Violist says:

    There is no secret that jew can be a biggest antisemit if he want to be in trend and if he want to be liked by all left antisemitic establishment.

    • John Borstlap says:

      The entirely assimilated Jews in 19C Europe, especially in Germany and Austria, were generations who no longer adhered to Jewish religion and customs; were they free to leave their religion? Yes, as in contrast with Muslems. From that moment onwards, they were no longer Jews. Where they THUS antisemitic? This is persuing racism to its absurdist ends.

  • Anmarie says:

    Why doesn’t Danny just join Hamas?
    Surely, they’ll be happy to have him.

  • Piano Lover says:

    SO much I admire DB as a pianist and conductor(the only one who could do both perfectly) I dislike his political views on this subject.
    His solutions are clueless.
    Playing some Wagner in Israel was a good point…but what else?
    Stating that music will solve all political problems is silly .
    He has 3 passports….isn’t that a way to share each countries political views?ONE passport ties you to a country:why three?
    It won’t solve anything.
    Isarael VS Palestinian views….
    One more thing:a few years ago the climate change was on its way in media.
    Who remembers DB hitting a chord on a piano and saying HELP US FIGHT AGAINST CLIMAT CHANGE?
    SInce then…nothing anew.
    He should stick to his concerts and his money.

  • msc says:

    In 1914 the Jewish population of what became Palestine was 13.6%. It was significantly more in the areas that would eventually become the British mandate. Those areas had continuous Jewish settlement since Roman times.

    • Elizabeth Owen says:

      So does that mean that the remaining population (if there was one) was some 86% non Jewish?

      • James says:

        According to various censuses cited by Wiki pedia, in 1905 there were 13,300 Jews there and 11,000 Muslims (among Ottoman citizens, this being in the Ottoman Empire). The Ottomans decided to bring in more Jews to try and rescue their crumbling empire, and in 1922 according to a British census there were 33,971 Jews and 13,413 Muslims, and 29,400 Christians. Altogether a total of 62,578 – in a land that today holds more than nine million (not counting Palestinian territories). It was indeed pretty much a land without a people in the sense that the vast majority of it was unpopulated desert and swamp (look at the early pictures of Tel Aviv). So in both senses, Barenboim is deeply ill-informed.

        • A Dolfadam says:

          The Ottomans imported Arab population in the middle ages, and later. Arafat imported thousands more in the 1980s. The idea of Palestinian identity is utterly false. The “indigenous” people are the Jews, the Druze, some Christians, and Bedouins.

          • Tamino says:

            You don‘t get the irony, how you complain about anti-semitism, while shouting one anti-semitic post after the other here, do you?

            (Palestinians are semites. Russian immigrants to Israel are not. Palestinian identity is not more false than a secular Russian remembering his Jewish ancestors to claim citizenship in Israel as an ‚Israeli‘. But you believe the latter has a birth right over the other for the land. Hilarious nonsense, religious brainwashing.)

          • Jetemy Wilson says:

            The real palestinians are the Jews. Entities such as the Palestine Post, Palestine Philharmonic Orchestra, the Palestine Football Team, the Palestine Brigade and the United Palestine Appeal represent the Land’s original inhabitants. The 7th century settler colonists should not have invaded in the 1st place.

          • V. Lind says:

            The people whose ancestors have occupied Palestine for centuries identify as Palestinians. The people from wherever who have occupied Israel for less than a century identify as Israelis. How is one claim of identity wrong and the other unassailable?

            I see the weapon of denying the existence of the Palestinians, which I was criticised for mentioning a couple of days ago, is alive and well.

            The hypocrisy concerns me.

      • Araragi says:

        That’s why the original land division plan offered the Jews 17% of British Mandate Palestine and the Arabs 75% (the remaining 8% to remain in British control). The only reason Israel controls as much land as it does is because the Palestinians rejected that plan and opted for war. Had the Palestinians accepted, their state would be much larger than the W.B. and Gaza. Tragically, emigration to the new Jewish state would have also likely saved 1 million Jews from perishing in the Holocaust.

    • A Dolfadam says:

      And in 1920, when the Ottoman Empire was carved up, the land west of the Jordan River was set aside for the Jewish Nation by the League of Nations.

  • Corno di Caccia says:

    At last somebody is courageous enough to talk sense and state the obvious truth of this matter, and Barenboim should know. It’s high time people started opening their eyes and ears to what is going on and not rely on the one-sided news bulletins we see in the UK. Wake up, people.

  • Allen says:

    Music education must have advanced by leaps and bounds over the last half century or so because conductors are now experts on everything.

    Amazing what you can pick up when waving a stick.

  • Mecky Messer says:

    Apparently the enlightened here not dare comment on statistics (9-13% of Israelis 100 years ago) nor dare use their only neuron for anything else than to say “we watched all the movies, Israel is perfect, everybody else is the problem/antisemitic/anti-anti”.

    Should the government of israel actually establish the hunger games they would celebrate it. Any comment or nuance shall be considered antisemitism.

    Perfect example of the chimp heritage in 21C homo sapiens…

    As for DB…pretty sure he will never read your vitriol. Too busy living your dreams and actually leaving a mark in history.

    An eagle doesn’t hunt flies.

  • amazonian says:

    A brave man. And I’m not his biggest fan. But it takes a lot of courage to tell these truths and endure the kind of abuse it attracts from his own people.

  • Rich C. says:

    Another self-hating Jewish leftist.

  • Alan Glick says:

    Collaborationists like Barenboim who sprout pro-terrorist propaganda in the hope that it will save their own cowardly skin conveniently ignore historic facts. Just one example: Those who claim that Israel’s occupation of the West Bank is the major roadblock to peace between Arabs and Jews ignore the fact that when the Arabs did control the West Bank along with the Golan heights and the Gaza strip for 20 years, their attitude toward Israel was not one of peace. It was the same as it always has been and always will be: Total destruction and genocide for the Jewish state. Collaborationists like Barenboim who kow-tow to genocidal movements are a disgrace to the memory of those Jews who, when given the opportunity, fought heroically against their oppressors.

    One thing I do have in common with Barenboim is that we both hate the same Jew.

    • V. Lind says:

      When I was in Egypt, a small hotel owner with whom I had a long conversation — I was not staying at his place, we just met by chance and got to chatting — said that things were so much better now (this was the mid-80s) because the Israeli tourists had returned. Now, granted, his motives may have been entirely commercial, but he was typical of his profession — expansive, hospitable, open.

      Not all Arabs, or even Muslims, have any desire to wipe out Israel. It does increasingly look to the world as if Israel would like to wipe out Palestinians. A lot of them are more interested in building an economy than in maintaining a warring stance in a fight they know they will lose. Israel, and some who support it, fuels the flame of hatred by trying to pretend that Palestinians do not exist. But however they are identified, they are people, and the sight of a powerful nation-state acting as if its next-door neighbours are less than human is, to put it mildly, unbecoming of a soi-disant democracy.

      I am not in the least anti-Semitic. In the face of it I fight with people I otherwise like and respect, sometimes to the cooling of relationships that have been very good until someone drops a comment I find unacceptable. But I do not buy into the position that Israel is always right. No government is, or can be, and the demand that a government is beyond criticism is not one with happy precedents.

      • Nissim Finkel says:

        This is probably the dumbest, most ill-informed comment you have ever made. You clearly have no idea about Israel’s policies and practices towards Palestinians, yet you keep spouting off. Do some actual research. Saying, “Im not the least bit Anti-Semitic” is the oldest Anti-Semitic trope. Just shut up and stop commenting.

      • Barry says:

        I’m sorry, but that’s a ridiculous take. The fact that a segment of the Egyptian populace that benefits financially from Israeli tourism – or a few leaders whose views were not in line with most of their people – wanted to peacefully co-exist with the region’s Jews doesn’t negate that for years, there could have been a peace deal if the Arabs weren’t wedded to the idea of driving the Jews into the sea. Eventually, the Jews took the hint.

        How long is one supposed to keep holding out his hand to another who keeps trying to chop it off?

        Mein Kampf and The Protocols have remained big sellers in much of the Arab world right up through modern times.

        Have you checked on how Jews are depicted in cartoons in the Arab press?

        I’d like to think that’s changing with the new anti-Iran alliance between Israel and some of the Sunni world, but I’m not holding my breath.

        • John Borstlap says:

          Israel is a gift from heaven for most Arab regimes, they can point to ‘the Jews’ as the cause of all the trouble they create in their own countries.

    • John Borstlap says:

      Criticizing the Israeli government does not necessarily mean supporting Palestinian terrorism. It is a thing in itself.

  • Brian says:

    One of the biggest problem for Jews are other self-hating Jews who enable persecution by thinking that appeasement of their enemies will somehow make antisemitism go away. They were wrong in Nazi Germany and they are wrong now. The fact is that Israel is the only country on earth that guarantees safety for its Jewish and Arab citizens. Let Barenboim go to an Arabic country and advocate on behalf of Jewish people. What a joke that would be.

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    Ah…. so it’s not Left or Right. Only when the Left is mentioned is it NOT about the Left. The Left hates Israel. End of story.

    This is the kind of political ‘logic’ you get from a musician.

  • Tom Phillips says:

    Nothing remotely inaccurate about anything he says. Indeed he should be celebrated for these humanitarian views based on a clear-eyed empirical understanding of the conflict. Whatever his personally disagreeable qualities as a person.

  • Bill says:

    Austria and Germany love Israel no matter what! It’s their way of saying “Welp, guess everything works out in the end (and don’t come back).”

    • Media Control says:

      Austria and Germany HAVE to love Isreal.
      Otherwise, the media would cry out antisemitism, wouldn’t it? Ha!

  • Evan Tucker says:

    Some points he makes are right, some points he makes are wrong. But what degree does Daniel Barenboim studied to be constantly interviewed as an authority on this subject?!?!?!

  • Evan Tucker says:

    (let me write that better…)

    Some of those points are correct, some are wrong. But what credentials does Daniel Barenboim have that he’s always considered an authority on this subject?

  • Burn it down says:

    “But what came after that? A lie.”

    That’s deeper than you think: “A lie.”

    With the whole “western” world being a modernist decaying place, I’d say: yes spot on!

    We can continue, as if there are no identities and as if everyone is exchangeable, and as if only outer measurable material matters.

    But sooner or later, we’ll burn, burn, burn…

  • James Weiss says:

    He’s really quite sick in the head. He’s a deludedly unserious person and his twisted ideas are not worth engaging.

  • Tristan says:

    Based Barenboim

  • Michel Lemieux says:

    Nonsense. James Conlon has talked in interviews about the blatant anti-Semitic remarks he has heard in Vienna.The Austrians have always been antisemitic. Unlike Germany, Austria was not demazified after WWII

  • Alan Green says:

    Every word said by Maestro Barenboim on the establishment of Israel is entirely true. This has nothing to do with expressions of “jewish self hatred” or any other such statements. It has all to do with the historical record which is available to anyone who will examine the facts of the historical facts.Add to this what Israel has become, what it stands for, the 60 year occupation of the East bank, the stranglehood on Gaza, and all the recent edicts…..and what is especially true and particularly tragic is that what Israel represents is a complete negation of what the Jewish People have stood for through the millenia.

  • cancerdoc says:

    The correct term is Jew-hatred, and not antisemitism
    Barenboim has forgotten all of his history and is a woke self-hating Jew

  • JustPassingBy says:

    Quite a lot has been written about the origins of anti-Semitism in the ancient world. The first aspect commonly noted was the shift from poly- to monotheism, which alienated many of the other contemporary cultures and civilizations. The second, and perhaps the most important issue was the practice of circumcision. It was a practice that was considered horrific and barbarous by other ancient peoples (and by plenty of modern people) and was one of the definitive reasons for the early ostracization of the Jewish people. The act of mutilating a male child’s sex organ was enough to turn most other cultures off and gave reason enough to treat the Jewish people as history has well-documented. The Ancient Romans wrote about this, as did the Catholic church, even so far as to prompt Pope Eugene IV in 1442 to issue a Papal Bull, The Bull of Union with the Copts, to warn Catholics against circumcision that it would prevent their salvation. This bull has, in fact, never been overturned, although the modern Catholic church does not continue to prevent the mutilation of infants.

    Several authors who have researched this have suggested that had the Jews at some point in history reformed to the point of discarding that tradition (rather than discarding foreskins), they might have stood a better chance at being integrated into the various European societies that otherwise sought to banish them. Of course, these are theories that cannot be tested, however they do provide an historical perspective that is often ignored today what with circumcision being so common amongst non-Jewish persons.

    Of course, it is a practice that the Muslims themselves adopted at the birth of their religion, and surely that didn’t stand well with the various cultures on the European continent when having to contend with them as well.

    As for the whole Palestine thing, well, others can speak far better on the subject, but it seems that Barenboim, as sleepy as he is conducting a Don Giovanni, was asleep during his history classes…

    • John Borstlap says:

      In Antiquity, the Jewish people got the sense that ‘God’ was something far beyond and above the divine images that other cultures were sporting, it was the second attempt at such idea after the first in Egypt under pharao Akhenaton failed miserably. This made them feel superior and since religion, in those times, was the most important cultural identifyer, it rubbed with the surrounding cultures.

  • M2N2K says:

    There are two main root causes of “antisemitism” as we have known it for the last couple of centuries: ignorance and envy – in various proportions – and anti-Zionism is not much different in that respect. As for DB, I would not call him or others like him “self-hating”, because that seems to imply an ability of looking at themselves critically. In his case and in those similar to it, I see an inability to connect their limited knowledge of current events to wider and deeper understanding of subjects such as history and geography, combined with an inflated opinion of their expertise in such matters.

    • John Borstlap says:

      That does not seem to be the case, DB simply touched on simple subjects which are easy to see for anybody.

  • Stanley Cohen says:

    I would no more consult Barenboim on the Arab-Israeli situation than I would consult him for a boil on my bum. Cobblers ought to stick to their lasts or they may spout cobblers.

  • Helen says:

    No comment, as usual, about the persecution of Christians in the region. No doubt Israel is responsible for that as well?

  • Corno di Caccia says:

    In our newly-formed Woke society, it appears that some groups of people/nations are seemingly above criticism. This does not promote equality but rather enables the spreading of untruths which, in turn, creates unrest, frustration, and often violence. In conflicts between Israelis and Palestinians the number of dead Palestinians always exceeds Israeli victims. Sadly, the one omnipotent being who apparently gave the Gaza strip to the Israelis isn’t available for comment.
    As far as I know, there is only one conductor who regularly conducts an orchestra of both Israeli and Palestinian members and that’s Barenboim. I’m not his biggest fan when it comes to his conducting interpretations – his Elgar recordings should carry a health warning – but on this subject I would respect his words, as opposed to those who don’t know what they’re talking about and just repeat the accepted political clap-trap we’re meant to take at face value.

  • José Bergher says:

    I recommend “Battleground: Facts & Fantasy in Palestine” by Samuel Katz. Revised edition 2002.

  • to Sally: What about Luther and the Reformation re: the roots of anti-Semitism in Europe

    • John Borstlap says:

      I never understood what those Europeans wanted, we’ve done it much better with kicking-out the pope and all becoming anglicans & keeping the singing and robes and stuff.



    Jean-Paul Sartre said:

    Never believe that anti-Semites are completely unaware of the absurdity of their replies. They know that their remarks are frivolous, open to challenge. But they are amusing themselves, for it is their adversary who is obliged to use words responsibly, since he believes in words. The anti-Semites have the right to play. They even like to play with discourse for, by giving ridiculous reasons, they discredit the seriousness of their interlocutors. They delight in acting in bad faith, since they seek not to persuade by sound argument but to intimidate and disconcert. If you press them too closely, they will abruptly fall silent, loftily indicating by some phrase that the time for argument is past.