BERLIN – Conductor Daniel Barenboim criticized Israel Monday for preventing a Palestinian musician in an ensemble that was to perform at a music festival from entering the Gaza Strip for a concert.
Barenboim said his group of about 20 musicians from England, the United States, France and Germany, as well the Palestinian musician, had been authorized by Israeli authorities to travel to Gaza for a baroque music festival, where they were to play on Sunday.
But the 27-year-old was stopped at the Israel-Gaza border and informed he needed individual permission to enter. The group was held for seven hours at the border, then cancelled its concert in solidarity.
“A baroque music concert in a Roman Catholic church in Gaza – as we all know – has nothing to do with security and would bring so much joy to people who live there in great difficulty,” Barenboim said.
The Jewish conductor, who was born in Buenos Aires but grew up in Israel, called on Israelis to support humanitarian and cultural projects in the Palestinian territories.
Barenboim has for years been critical of Israel in its conflict with the Palestinians. In 1999, he founded the WestEastern Divan Orchestra for youths from around the Middle East.