August 26, 2012
Wagner in Israel: Promoting Anti-Semitism or Fighting Censorship?
Should the music of Wagner be played in Israel? There is, in fact, an Israeli Wagnerian Society, but attempts to play the music -- by Zubin Mehta in 1981, by Daniel Barenboim in 2001, and most recently in June 2012 at Tel Aviv University -- have been opposed by groups in Israel. The TAU president stopped the private concert on his campus, arguing that it would offend the public, especially Holocaust survivors, of whom 200,000 remain alive in Israel. Wagner was an unremitting anti-Semite, as shown both in his prose and in his music expression. His article Das Judenthum in der Musik (Jewishness in Music), written in 1850 under a pseudonym, is a strong criticism of the role of Jews in German culture and society in general, and a more personal attack on the composers of Jewish origin, Giacomo Meyerbeer and Felix Mendelssohn, of whose success he was jealous. More pertinent to the issue than his anti-Semitic writings is the fact that the music of Wagner and the persona...(Read Full Article)