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Barenboim Sinks to a New Low – bringing “Peace Orchestra” to Hitler’s Waldbühne Stadium to play Wagner

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Daniel Barenboim, the "Israeli" orchestra conductor every Jew-hater loves, has sunk to a new low in his career. The Associated Press reports that next year he plans to bring his East-West Divan Orchestra, a mixed group of Israeli and Arab musicians from various countries in the region, to play in the Berlin stadium used in the 1936 Olympics to salute Hitler. According to Playbill, he is going to play the first act of Wagner's Die Walküre.

Said Barenboim to Die Zeit, a German newspaper, "Can you imagine that? The Waldbühne was built by Hitler. The music is Wagner. Played by us! Hitler and Wagner would turn in their graves. With Wagner it is never about the politics or Wagner the person, but about his great music."

For decades Wagner, a favorite of Adolf Hitler's and himself a Jew-hater, was boycotted by Israeli musicians who refused to dirty their hands with the man's music. Barenboim broke that boycott himself in 2001. Leading a German orchestra, he first programmed Wagner's Die Walküre for performance at the Israel Festival that year. Under official pressure, he substituted Schumann's Symphony No. 4 and Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring. Addressing the audience after the scheduled program, he asked if he could perform the Prelude from Wagner's Tristan und Isolde. according to Playbill, many applauded, some called him a "fascist" and told him to "go home"; some 50 concert-goers walked out while 1000 stayed.

Barenboim has always allowed his politics to dictate his musical choices. According to this New York Times article in 2002, he said, ''Each one of us has a responsibility to do what is right, and not to wait for others to do it. My way is music. What I can do is play music, play music for you, and maybe this way, in a very small way for these few moments, we are able to build down the hatred that is so much in the region.''

This was said in Ramallah, where he played Beethoven's 'Moonlight' Sonata for Arab schoolgirls, effectively breaking a ban on Israeli citizens entering Ramallah.

One year later, he again performed in Ramallah, according to Playbill, in a concert to honor his friend, the Arab scholar Edward Said, who had recently died. Said was exposed in 1999 as a liar in how he described his own youth by Justus Weiner, a writer from Jerusalem.

Barenboim is just the latest in a long line of Jews to imitate persecutors and imagine themselves ennobled because of their actions. The list includes Hassidim who dress up like their persecutors, 17th Century Polish landowners (wearing beaver fur hats and knickers), and than stand there thinking that they are the height of fashion; "intellectuals" in the 1920's who pushed for Jewish assimilation into European Christian society and wound up being killed either by the Nazis or Soviets; Eric Joffie, the head of the "reform" Jews in America, who would water down the faith to a comedy of itself; the Neturei Karta, who recently ran to the side of the newest would-be Hitler, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to support him; and finally, the State President of Israel, who authored The New Middle East and whose foreign policy of dismantling the his own country to please his foreign masters is now state policy here.

A fellow blogger who writes under the screen name Michelle_Nevada and who reported a news brief from Arutz Sheva on this upcoming planned event commented sadly,

No, Daniel Barenboim, Hitler and Wagner would not, as you say, “turn in their graves” to see you do this– they would applaud.

They would congratulate themselves that they were successful because, although they could not kill your body, they have succeeded in killing your soul.

I can’t be disgusted by this story or surprised. I see way too many Jews who have let Hitler win by abandoning the ways of their people, by siding with our enemies, by working to undermine Israel, and by thinking they are in some way too smart or too modern or too “enlightened” to follow the laws of Hashem.

It is not by the hands of our enemies that we suffer, but at the hands of those who should be our brothers and sisters.

Playbill did not report a planned date for this concert at the Waldbühne Stadium in Berlin next year.

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About Ruvy

Hi!! Thanks for coming to my article! I was raised in Brooklyn, was graduated from the City University of New York in 1978 with a BA in political science and public administration there. I lived in Minnesota for a number of years. There I managed restaurants and wrote stories. We moved with our children family to Israel where we now reside. My work can be found at Ruvy's Roost, Jewish Indy,, and on Facebook under my full name, Reuven Kossover
  • Baronius

    Ruvy, I understand the problem with the symbolism. But it isn’t like the Nazis are in power any more. The New York Philharmonic is considering a performance in North Korea, where the concentration camps are still in operation. That’s unconscionable.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Baronius,

    You are right about the New York Philharmonic. For them to perform in North Korea, or anywhere else where concentration camps are yet operating, is unconscionable.

    The point here is not merely the symbolism; it is that “Barenboim is just the latest in a long line of Jews to imitate persecutors and imagine themselves ennobled because of their actions.”

    As Michelle_Nevada said above:

    “Hitler and Wagner would not, as you say, “turn in their graves” to see you do this– they would applaud. They would congratulate themselves that they were successful because, although they could not kill your body, they have succeeded in killing your soul.”

    Too many Jews have allowed their souls to be killed and imagine themselves ennobled thereby.

    Shavua Tov – May you have a good week.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com/ handyguy

    Art and artists shouldn’t have to conform to anyone’s narrow view of what is ‘acceptable,’ particularly a view based on rigid extremism. Performing great music, in whatever venue, has the potential of ennobling and enlightening its audience. Cultural boycotts are just a bad idea. To equate musical performance with the condoning of the abhorrent politics either of the composers, the original builders of a site, or the government, borders on the hysterically shrill.

    And employing words like “Jew-hater” as many times as possible in one article does not help the writer make his meager, indefensible point.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    While I would never buy a ticket to any Barenboim concert, precisely because he pursues political ends with his music, and his politics are fatal to people like me, I would never encourage a boycott on the bastard. Let the idiots who think this asshole is great spend their hard earned money. A fool is easily separated from his wallet.

    But I did put Barenboim in the barrel of trash he rightly belongs in with his pursuit of anti-Jewish politics via music – the barrel of trash of Jews who imitate their persecutors and think themselves ennobled thereby.

    As for “art and artists shouldn’t have to conform to anyone’s narrow view of what is ‘acceptable'”, it is this precise point of view that leads to a pathetically decadent society that pushes drugs as a solution to the exploitation inherent in it, which in reaction often leads to societies where the gas chamber and Zyklon B is the solution to the decadence.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com/ handyguy

    That last paragraph in your #4 is a doozy. If you have examples other than Nazi Germany that conform to that baroque set of circumstances, I’d be interested to hear them.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    “That last paragraph in your #4 is a doozy. If you have examples other than Nazi Germany that conform to that baroque set of circumstances, I’d be interested to hear them.”

    The decadence-repression cycle in history is an old one, going back centuries, if not millennia. The Nazis just had better technology (gas chambers and Zyklon B) to help them out. You can look at the French Revolution, the Russian Revolution, the English Civil War and events occurring after it for examples using less efficient technology.

    Given that technology has advanced in the last seven decades, the next round of repressive society, if, G-d forbid, there is one, will use technology more effective than the gas chamber – try electronic implants to monitor each and every individual and his movements….

  • Dovdov

    It looks like the writer is making fun of hassidim. He must be really insecure if he has to express anti-Jewish sentiment. I wonder why he doesn’t mention that there are also plenty of his buddy Zionists who dress in fur hats and knickers….

  • Baronius

    I’ve never heard the term “decadence-repression cycle” before. The last 150 years or so have seen a collapse of belief in G-d, along with the disappearance of representational art. The old theologians used to talk about beauty, truth, and goodness. And boy, this last century has seen all three fall on hard times. I think the 20th century was even uglier than it was immoral.

    There was a book that came out a few years ago called Human Accomplishment. I didn’t think much of its methodology, but it attempted to identify who and what was the best in arts and sciences. It found that nearly all the greats lived before 1850. Even with all the scientific developments of the last decades, the most important figures are long past.

    A friend of mine likes to point out that the decline in culture began right about when Darwin published. I date it to Marx. But he’s right about one thing: the idea that randomness can create species was closely followed by artists using randomness to try to create beauty.

    Great art has form. It rebels against form a little, but it has form. The great Russians like Tchaikovsky and Dostoevsky pushed the forms of the art they made. By the twentieth century, Stravinsky and who else – there were no great Russian authors – had abandoned the rules. Soviet art departed from formalism, and created pure garbage.

    This process is a bit different from the politicization of art, but maybe not so much. And for the record, I think it’s hilarious that a Jewish orchestra would play Wagner. I see it as an act of defiance, not capitulation. Even better, it’s a dismissal of Wagner’s politics. I look forward to the day that musicians stop playing Wagner because he’s tedious.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    “I think it’s hilarious that a Jewish orchestra would play Wagner.”

    You touch upon the whole point of the article, Baronius. Were it a Jewish orchestra of nationalists playing the same piece in the same place, it would be like peeing on the Nazi past, and would be, as you say, hilarious. And my own article would praise Barenboim, or whoever was the conductor, for peeing on the Nazi past.

    It is NOT a Jewish orchestra. It is a Jewish-Arab orchestra which, by its politics, has been hostile to a Jewish presence in this part of the world, that is playing in a Nazi built stadium, and whose Arab members likely get their nationalism from the Nazi-linked Amir Husseini.

    For this reason Barenboim has hit a terrible low…..

    As for your other observations, they are worth investigating in a separate article.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    If I am reading Baronius correctly, he would include groundbreaking geniuses like Picasso, Joan Miro, Jackson Pollock, and Mark Rothko as symptoms of the decay of our society. Some of us would point to their very beautiful art as indications that there is hope. The Nazis and the Stalinists, of course, also hated non-representational art and sought to repress it.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    I don’t pretend to be an expert on art. What little I remember of music from college (almost four decades ago) is that Stravinski was a ground-breaker in music, playing in 1910 the kind of music that would be heard in movies for decades. And the fact that the technique was so copied had me enthralled. Suddenly, a world of understanding opened to me in how ideas were presented.

    I would note that Picasso, like Barenboim, allowed politics to dictate his art. His painting of the Fascist bombing of Spain was directly related to his political views.

    I don’t have problems with Barenboim as a musician per se. Let me make that clear from the outset. He is not a mediocre honky tonk player, he is a talented pianist. But I have problems with his politics and how he has allowed his politics to kill his Jewish soul.

    If these actions were private and did not affect others at all, I would not care. How he wrecked his soul would be between him and G-d. But his actions do affect others a great deal, and the evil influence he spreads by making it seem respectable to try to ape ones persecutors in the very act of destroying one’s own nation (that is what the efforts of the Arabs are all about in the end) is why I wrote this article in the first place, and why this article is in politics, and not music, where it would appear to belong at first blush.

  • Baronius

    Good catch, Handy – I stated that badly. I was writing about three or four different trends and didn’t distinguish between them. Ruvy’s right that this subject probably requires its own thread.

  • http://www.associatedcontent.com/user/39420/joanne_huspek.html Joanne Huspek

    Barenboim is good, no doubt, but there are better. Wagner is tedious for me to listen to at all, so I avoid it like the plague.

    I hadn’t thought before of investigating an artist’s political leanings before buying a ticket or a CD. Using the same scale, I could save myself the pain of witnessing some bad movies or TV shows, or from reading material by a person with beliefs contrary to my own.

    I’m not saying this to make less of your ideas. It’s an interesting concept, for sure.

  • Ruvy

    Joanne,

    Thank you so much for stopping by. One thing about life in Israel that you learn real fast is that everything is related to politics – from the milk you buy to the color hat and jacket you wear.

    Barenboim was making a political statement by playing in this Nazi-built stadium with his orchestra of Jews and Arabs whose nationalism is linked to Nazism. That’s what this article was about, and why it was listed under politics and not culture.

    But you can’t let politics ruin everything, Joanne, which is what lots of my fellow Israelis tend to do. I have an original Broadway recording of “Fiddler on the Roof” with Zero Mostel. If I were to remind myself that the Jews playing in that musical were largely hostile to the Jewish religion, how would I be able to enjoy the singing of a master from the Yiddish theatre like Mostel was? He indeed captured the accent that someone like my father had when he spoke, and did so far better than the other male actors in the musical who weren’t Jews with the immigrant background that Mostel had.

    Since Mostel is dead and buried, I feel safe in allowing myself an occasional dip in the chicken fat of Yiddish nostalgia.

    Nu? What do you think?