The Israeli pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim has been granted Palestinian citizenship for his work in promoting cultural exchange between young people in Israel and the Arab world.Barenboim even managed to enter Hamas-controlled Gaza last year to perform with his mixed Arab-Jewish orchestra.
The Argentine-born musician is believed to be the first person in the world to possess both Israeli and Palestinian passports after receiving his new documentation at the end of a piano recital in Ramallah in the West Bank at the weekend.
"Under the most difficult circumstances he has shown solidarity with the Palestinian people," Mustafa Barghouti, a Palestinian MP and presidential candidate, said at the recital held to raise money for medical aid for children in the Gaza Strip.
And for the past few years, that same orchestra - the West Eastern Divan Orchestra, which he co-founded with Edward Said - has performed in a festival in Qatar.
But not this year.
The event was supposed to include three concerts featuring the orchestra under Barenboim's lead as well as a debate at a local university on the subject of "music as a contribution to peace."such a horrible Zionist:
Said died nine years ago, his widow was among those invited to the debate. Everything was ready, thousands of tickets were sold, but just a few days ago Barenboim was surprised to hear that the Qatari authorities announced that the festival was cancelled.
The reason? "Sensitivity to the developments in the Arab world." The official announcement further stated: "We are aware of Maestro Barenboim's special talents, but the festival under his lead is cancelled."
Apparently this is only a diplomatic pretext and the reality may be that the Qatari authorities surrendered to the pressure that was put on them by the Palestinian organization for boycott on Israel.
The Arab media insisting that the reason for the cancellation is the fact that "Barenboim represents the occupation."
Editorials in newspapers throughout the Arab world stated: "This isn't the time or place to entertain Israelis and a Zionist conductor. Qatari authorities are giving the Zionist maestro an opportunity to present a seemingly positive aspect of Israel."
Although he rejects the 1967 occupation, he also rejects the return of refugees to the homes they were thrown out of during the nakba [in 1948].Meaning the right to destroy the Jewish state.
Barenboim attempts to cleverly clean up Israel’s image by accepting some Palestinian rights, but at the same time he repudiates the most significant of Palestinian rights.
Barghouti has an entire op-ed in Al Akhbar about this, decrying how Arab countries are "normalizing" relations with Israel in academia, the arts and even sports. He loves to self-righteously force his agenda to boycott Israel on everyone but himself.
Barenboim might be spending his entire life trying to achieve peace and dialogue between Israel and the Arab world, but he still accepts that Israel has a right to exist. That is an unpardonable crime.
And Qatar cannot appear to be "Zionist" by hosting a pro-peace artist who was honored by the Palestinian Authority. That is too controversial.
This episode also neatly proves that the BDS movement is not merely against "occupation" but against the very existence of Israel itself.