Daniel Barenboim Says U.S. and U.K. Don't Understand Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Wednesday, December 01, 2004
LONDON ó The conductor Daniel Barenboim said the United States and Britain have failed to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians because they don't truly understand the conflict, a newspaper reported Tuesday [30 November].
"I haven't heard (Prime Minister Tony) Blair say anything that has given me much encouragement," The Guardian newspaper quoted Barenboim as saying in an interview in Berlin, where he is musical director at the Staatsoper.
"I feel that Tony Blair and the United States are trying to treat the symptoms without understanding the causes of the illness. They are trying to treat it with aspirin," The Guardian quoted him as saying.
Barenboim, who was born in Argentina and raised in Israel, said Israelis still see themselves as victims and don't realize they are partly responsible for Palestinians' suffering.
"We have a powerful army. We have the atomic bomb. But the psychology of what comes out of Israel has the tone of the Warsaw ghetto," he said. "On the Israeli side there has to be a new generation, a new person. We have to accept co-responsibility for the suffering of the Palestinians."
The conductor said Palestinians should also acknowledge Jews' suffering.
Barenboim told the newspaper he thought Palestinian physician and human rights activist Mustafa Barghouti would make a better successor to the late leader Yasser Arafat than interim leader Mahmoud Abbas, the front-runner ahead of January 9 elections.
Barghouti, a distant cousin of jailed Palestinian uprising leader Marwan Barghouti, announced Monday that he was running on a platform of clean government and democracy.
"There is a democratic party which really has another agenda," Barenboim said. "The west hasn't shown enough interest in it. The Palestinian elections are doomed already."
In 2001, Barenboim angered many in Israel by defying an informal ban on public performances there of the works of German composer Richard Wagner, Hitler's favorite. He later said he hadn't intended to hurt anyone.
Barenboim is also music director at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
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