Conductor criticizes Israeli policy

JERUSALEM (AP) – Symphony conductor Daniel Barenboim angered Israeli officials May 9 when he criticized the country’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza as he accepted a prestigious Israeli award. In his acceptance speech for the Wolf Prize at Israel’s parliament, Barenboim said Israel’s policy toward the Palestinians contradicted the humanist values on which the state was founded in 1948.

“Can a situation of occupation and control of another people be reconciled with (Israel’s) declaration of independence?” he said. “Is there logic to the independence of one people at the cost of a blow to the basic human rights of another people?”

Israel captured the West Bank and Gaza Strip during the 1967 Mideast war. Peace talks with the Palestinians stalled with the September 2000 outbreak of the current Palestinian uprising.

Barenboim, who was born in Argentina and raised in Israel, is music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and general music director of the Berlin Staatskapelle Orchestra.