Yehudi Menuhin

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Mon Jun 4 09:03:30 MDT 2001

A virulent attack on Menuhin in Commentary Magazine, a rightwing Zionist
publication, that can be found on the Arts & Letters website
( piqued my curiosity. A search
through Lexis-Nexis turned up the following:

The Times, January 23, 1998, Friday

Menuhin likens rightwingers in Israel to Nazis

Ben Macintyre in Paris and Christopher Walker

YEHUDI MENUHIN has compared right-wing Israeli nationalism to the evil of
Nazism in an incendiary interview with a French newspaper, provoking an
angry response from many Israelis.

"Those who relentlessly push for war should remember that those who have
tried to have Jerusalem for themselves alone have been defeated because
this is an eternal city," Lord Menuhin, 81, was quoted as saying by Le
Figaro , in an apparent reference to Israeli claims to the whole of the
Holy City.

"It is extraordinary how nothing ever dies completely," he said. "Even the
evil which prevailed yesterday in Nazi Germany and which is gaining ground
in that country (Israel) today."

The musician has criticised Israeli policies in the past, but never in such
emotive terms. Le Figaro headlined its interview: "Illustrious violinist
finds whiff of German Nazism behind politics of the nationalist Right in

Lord Menuhin said that Israel no longer has a "mission as the promised land
for a persecuted people". He added: "That is over. There is now a much more
important mission, which is the responsibility of Israel and Israel alone:
to organise peace in the Middle East. But it increasingly seems to me that
this is impossible."

Lord Menuhin's remarks are sure to invite comparison with his father, the
late Moshe Menuhin, whose bitter criticisms of Israel earned him widespread
enmity among Israelis. The violinist also had harsh words for America,
noting that "I am not sure the Americans, who employ the United Nations
when it is a question of sharing responsibilities, have a superior moral
right in this conflict."

No cause is worth spilling blood over, Lord Menuhin told Paul Gonzales, the
interviewer, after arriving in Paris by train from London for a three-hour
visit. "That is why I dread celebrations. Faure's Requiem is what should be
played on July 14," the annual holiday commemorating the French Revolution.

Lord Menuhin said he would soon be travelling to India to conduct Handel's
Messiah as part of the celebra tions for the 50th anniversary of
independence, but he added that he could not help "thinking of the
massacres" which still tore apart the subcontinent. "This should be a
moment for contemplation, not fireworks."

Most Israelis reacted with a mixture of anger and contempt to Lord
Menuhin's "Nazi" comments. "It is obvious that virtuosity on the violin is
no guarantee of a knowledge or understanding of history," said Ephraim
Zuroff, director of the Jerusalem branch of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre,
which specialises in hunting down Nazi war criminals. He added: "These
statements are patently fallacious and border on the obscene."

Moshe Fogel, chief spokesman for the Israeli Government, said: "These
statements are a desecration of those who died in the Holocaust as well as
the survivors who still live in Israel. Vitriolic statements ... not only
do a disservice to the truth, they also reflect on the judgment of anyone
who would utter such a shameful remark."

Tom Segev, a leading Israeli journalist, said: "This just confirms my
belief that Menuhin is a very weird man."

Louis Proyect
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