Barenboim Draws Criticism for Refusing Interview

Classic Arts News   Barenboim Draws Criticism for Refusing Interview
Daniel Barenboim, the music director of the Chicago Symphony, sparked a controversy late last week when he refused to be interviewed by an Israel Army Radio reporter, the Associated Press reports.

Dafna Arad approached the conductor in uniform at a September 1 event in Jerusalem promoting a book written by Barenboim and the late Palestinian intellectual Edward Said.

"I wanted to interview Barenboim very much and to ask him about the concert he conducted in Ramallah last week, about his musical vision and more," she said on Army Radio later. "But he wouldn't agree to talk to me, and started signing the book. I insisted. Then he said he refused to be interviewed by a soldier in a uniform and that he will agree to talk to me only if I come to him in civilian clothes."

Barenboim, an Argentinian-born citizen of Israel, is a peace activist and an outspoken critic of Israeli policies in the Palestinian territories.

Education minister Limor Livnat angrily criticized Barenboim over the incident, calling him "a real Jew-hater, a real anti-Semite."

Barenboim was interviewed on Army Radio the following day and defended himself. "What is anti-Semitic about it?" he said. "When I say that a uniform should be worn to the right places and not the wrong ones, there is nothing anti-Semitic about it.... I just though that that in this place, discussing a book written together with a Palestinian, it shows lack of sensitivity."

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