Following the terror attacks on Israel by Hamas, Daniel Barenboim has released a statement.
The conductor said, “I have followed the events of the weekend with horror and the utmost worry as I see the situation in Israel/Palestine worsening to unimaginable depths. Hamas’ attack on the Israeli civilian population is an outrageous crime, which I condemn fiercely. The death of so many in southern Israel and Gaza is a tragedy that will loom for a long time to come. The extent of this human tragedy is not only in lives lost but also hostages taken, homes destroyed, and communities devastated. An Israeli siege on Gaza constitutes a policy of collective punishment, which is a violation of human rights.”
He added, “Edward Said and I always believed that the only path to peace between Israel and Palestine is a path based on humanism, justice, equality and an end to the occupation rather than military action, and I find myself today grounded in this belief more strongly than ever. In these trying times and with these words, I stand in solidarity with all victims and their families.”
Barenboim has been an advocate for peace over the years. In 1999, Barenboim and Edward Said, the Palestinian literary critic and public intellectual, established the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, which was an alternative way to address the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The orchestra is made up of musicians from countries in the Middle East, of Egyptian, Iranian, Israeli, Jordanian, Lebanese, Palestinian, Syrian, and Spanish backgrounds.
The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon designated the orchestra as a United Nations Global Advocate for Cultural Understanding, praising the orchestra’s push for peace and unity.