Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Lieberman – A Thug and a Shame on Israel

Israel’s Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, has announced that if Hamas do not return the bodies of Israeli soldiers killed in Gaza, "…, they have to understand they will get in return the bodies of Mohammed Deif, [Ismail] Haniyeh and all of the Hamas leadership in the Gaza Strip…”

Haggling over the return of corpses is one of the ugly by-products of war. But isn’t everything about war ugly? Being disgusted by Hamas should not mean stooping to their level. Mr Lieberman, Israel’s foreign minister, regularly comes out with outrageous statements and remarks, such his 1998 suggestion that Israel would bomb the Aswan dam and thereby flood Egypt.

Israel needs to rid itself of this despicable man.  

Anna Netrebko

I was there. And I saw and heard this year’s Salzburg Festival’s highlight: Beautiful, powerful and sensitive. It was the most wonderful opera singing that I have ever heard. Il Trovatore with Anna Netrebko, as Leonora. Some have compared her performance to Callas. Long may she last and give us pleasure!

The production (Alvis Hermanis) was quite interesting and makes clearer than anything I had seen before, that the gypsy Azucena is really the central tragic figure in this opera. Perhaps the opera ought better be named after the gypsy instead of after the troubadour.

ARTE will broadcast the Trovatore production on Friday, 15 August, at 20:15 (CET). Try to watch it. 

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Gaza – Israel – Double Standards ?

Does the world expect too much from Israel?

The latest round that took place between Israel and the Hamas produced immense misery for the population of Gaza, great discomfort for the Israelis and not only very many dead Palestinians but also a high number of Israeli casualties. The media war and the war over public sympathy have created serious anti-Israel sentiment that has worryingly also turned anti-Semitic.

Over the last three years, the civil war in Syria has seen more than 170,000 Muslims, who were killed by fellow Muslims. According to Palestinian sources, the number of casualties in Gaza is 1800. Yet, it seems that there is much more agitation concerning the dead of Gaza than there is about the Syrian dead. Why? Israel and many Israelis feel that they are victims of double standards. Is it possible that what hurts or angers those condemning Israel is not the killing of Muslims but the fact that it was Israelis who did the killing?

Or does Syria simply “benefit” from the fact that it is a pariah state, of which there are no moral expectations and which makes no claims to be a western democracy?