In an article published in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz and republished at least in the British The Guardian, the Spanish El País and the Argentine La Nación, acclaimed conductor Daniel Barenboim expressed feeling ashamed to be an Israeli since the state “passed a law which replaces the principle of equality and universal values with nationalism and racism.” Of course none of that has happened, but the Maestro is given to bombastic exaggeration every time he has an opportunity to revile Israel.
In 1947, the General Assembly of the United Nations called for the establishment of a Jewish state and an Arab state. Those were its terms. That was its nomenclature. Seventy years later, Israel declares that it is a Jewish state. The only one, let’s remember, in the whole concert of nations. Nor is Israel the only country to emphasize its national symbols. Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Greece and England, among others, have a Christian cross on their flags. Malaysia, Turkey, Algeria, Tunisia, Pakistan and Maldives, among others, have an Islamic crescent on theirs. France and Spain declare French and Spanish, respectively, as their official languages. Iran even names the Muslim religion in its official designation: Islamic Republic of Iran. Once again, Israel is questioned for doing what other nations do without frights.
And what about Palestine? Let’s take a look at the first articles of the 2003-approved draft of its Constitution. Article 2: “Palestine is part of the great Arab nation.” Article 4: “Jerusalem is the capital of the State of Palestine.” Article 5: “Arabic and Islam are the official Palestinian language and religion.” Article 7: “The principles of Islamic Sharia are a major source for legislation.” Daniel Barenboim has Palestinian nationality. Does any of this embarrass him in any way? Is it perhaps embarrassing to him that the Palestinian government in the West Bank applies the death penalty to Palestinians who sell land to Jews? Or that the Palestinian president has minimized the Holocaust? Or that the Palestinian government in Gaza kills homosexuals? Or that it attacks the Israelis with rockets, rifles, tunnels and incendiary kites? Does he not feel personal embarrassment when his countrymen in the territories give out candies every time an Israeli is killed?
We look forward to his indignant article in Al-Hayat al-Jadida.