Daniel Barenboim, Israel and Iran: an APUK statement
Newspapers in Israel, the US and Europe reported last week that Daniel Barenboim, one of the world’s foremost pianists and conductors, was planning to take a Berlin orchestra [the Staatskapelle] to Iran for a concert. Immediately, Israel’s culture minister Miri Regev stepped in to call for the concert to be cancelled:
“This melody must be stopped. Barenboim promotes an anti-Israeli line and makes sure to bash [Israel] by using culture as a lever for his anti-Israel political views.” (1)
While the world was still digesting the hypocrisy of this demand from the minister of a government which, when threatened by boycott, never fails to talk the language of ‘communication’ and ‘bridge building’, Iranian officials said that they would block the concert because of Barenboim’s Israeli citizenship:
“The conductor of Germany’s symphonic orchestra is affiliated to Israel concerning his nationality and identity ,” the Spokesman of the Culture Ministry Hossein Noushabadi told reporters in Tehran. (2)
Both Israel and Iran are of the same misguided mind in their obstruction of Daniel Barenboim’s proposed musical visit to Teheran. Iran will not admit him because he is Israeli; Regev wants to stop him travelling because she thinks he has spoken and acted in ways which no Israeli should.
Artists for Palestine UK deplores these symmetrical efforts to impose barriers to the flow of culture based on national identity. Arguments like these are rejected by the Palestinian call for the cultural boycott of Israel, part of the general Boycott Divestment and Sanctions strategy, which APUK supports.
BDS is a broad-based and staunchly anti-racist non-violent movement whose aim is an end to Israel’s apartheid system, its repression of Palestinians, and its occupation of Palestinian lands. The BDS movement does not target anyone, Israeli or otherwise, as individuals. Its target are those who are supported by or represent the Israeli state, or who benefit from or whitewash the Israeli occupation in its myriad forms.
We call on the Israeli and Iranian states to cease their discriminatory policy against Maestro Barenboim.
- Ha’aretz, 26th August
- Fars News Agency, 30th