Daniel Barenboim is an Israeli conductor and pianist who currently serves as the musical director of Berlin State Opera and the Staatskapelle Berlin. He’s also quite outspoken on the Israeli-Palestinian issue, and published an op-ed at the Guardian (Germany must talk straight with Israel, Nov. 10) arguing that Germany – due to its historic ties to the Jewish state – must take a more activist approach to coax Israel into making peace.
Whilst the largely one-sided nature of Barenboim’s imputation of Israeli responsibility for the conflict is par for the course at the Guardian, one purported quote from his op-ed warrants closer attention.
Here are the relevant passages. The quote is in bold.
Germany can and should put political pressure on Israel. After all, we are talking here about the intellectual and political future of the state of Israel. The logic is simple: Germany is committed to the ongoing security of the state of Israel, but this is only possible in the long-term if the future of the Palestinian people, too, is secured in its own sovereign state. If this does not happen, the wars and history of that region will be constantly repeated and the unbearable stalemate will continue.
One man was under no illusion of this – the Israeli prime minister, Yitzhak Rabin: “I was a soldier and I know that Israel can win wars with Syria, Lebanon and Egypt and maybe even beat them all at the same time. But Israel cannot win a war against the Palestinian people. My first duty is to protect the security of the Israeli people and I can only meet this obligation if we make peace with the Palestinians.” It was this publicly expressed opinion that sadly cost Rabin his life.
Barenboim in fact also used this alleged Rabin quote in a Nov. 11th op-ed at Haaretz in a Hebrew version of the same op-ed.
However, though we’ve come across quite a few oft-cited quotes by the late Israeli leader, this one used by Barenboim didn’t look at all familiar. Indeed, though we searched both in Hebrew and in English, we couldn’t find any evidence of the quote, or even some similar version of the words cited by Barenboim.
We’ve contacted Guardian editors asking for a source to back up Barenboim’s alleged Rabin quote and will let you know when we receive a reply.