Forget the picket at Max Brenner’s, the Jewish chocolatiers! There’s a Boycott Divestment and Sanctions Movement against the playing of Wagner‘s works in Israel. We learn from an interesting piece in ‘The Australian’ of 13 May 2017, by Vic Alhadeff, the chief executive of the New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies, that there is a longstanding unofficial ban, despite recent attempts to overcome it by such luminaries as Daniel Barenboim.
Mr Alhadeff refers, as part of his case, to the repulsive pamphlet, “Jewry in Music” which is certainly strident and virulent, but might more properly be seen as a reflection of Wagner’s personal paranoia about one man, Giacomo Meyerbeer.
Apart from Wagner’s noxious theories about ‘the Hebraic tastes in art,’ the main argument for the ban – which Mr Alhadeff argues should endure – is that the Nazis took-up Wagner as part of their loathsome ideological baggage.
To ban great art because it was admired by the wrong people – truly, a logic worthy of Torquemada.
The Varnished Culture, posing as outraged of Adelaide, wrote to the newspaper, who duly published our riposte. Here’s some of what we wrote, some of which made the paper, some of which did not:
Supporting an unofficial ban on Wagner’s music demonstrates the ingenuity with which good people pervert their own best intentions. Certainly the Maestro displayed anti-Semitism, like Luther, Kant and Karl Marx. Yet delve deep in his miraculous catalogue of music-dramas and you’ll struggle to detect credible signs of it. That his works were appropriated by such evil clowns as the Nazis (in fact, only the top man liked the stuff; the rest of them were bored stiff) hardly supports a conclusion that “Wagner provided ideological infrastructure for Hitler” or that his was a “pivotal presence in the Nazi psyche.”
The Varnished Culture will have representatives in Sydney later in the year to hear Jonas Kaufmann sing Parsifal. TVC would welcome Mr Alhadeff’s attendance and afterwards, will gladly break a picket line at Max Brenner’s with him.