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Daniel Barenboim Calls for Peace in the Middle East

By Sara Schabas on October 16, 2023

Daniel Barenboim
Photo: Daniel Barenboim Decca Classics

The conductor and founder of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra calls for peace.

Following Hamas’ terror attack on Israel and the beginning of the Israel-Hamas war, conductor Daniel Barenboim issued a statement to his social media. Barenboim expressed horror, sadness and condemnation of Hamas’ brutal attack on Israel. He also expressed his wish for peace and an end to military action, saying that Israel’s retaliatory siege on Gaza would constitute a violation of human rights.

Refresher: Though born in Argentina, the conductor and pianist Daniel Barenboim moved to Israel with his family when he was 10. In 1999, he co-founded the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra with the Palestinian public intellectual and writer, Edward Said. The orchestra has promoted peace between Israel and Palestine by bringing together musicians from countries throughout the Middle East. Said and Barenboim also founded the Barenboim-Said Akademie in Berlin in 2015 with the same principles.

Why It Matters: Barenboim, who is Jewish, was the first person to hold both Israeli and Palestinian citizenships simultaneously. He is known for his nuanced engagement with antisemitism and politics through his conducting of Wagner in Israel, as well as his peace initiatives. In June 1967, he and his then-fiancé Jacqueline du Pré performed around Israel before and during the Six-Day War, demonstrating their solidarity with the people of Israel during another time of horror.

Sara Schabas
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