Incensed that infamous anti-Semite and storied composer Richard Wagner was the
subject of a public symposium marking his 200th birthday at the Jerusalem
Theater on Tuesday evening, a Jewish man shouted expletives, charged the stage
and sang Israel’s national anthem in protest.
According to a police
spokesman on Wednesday, shortly after the discussion began at 8 p.m., the man
created a scene by screaming, barreling past security guards and jumping on the
stage, before proceeding to sing “Hatikva.”
Described as powerfully built
and in his mid-30s, the man refused to get off the stage, referred to an usher
who attempted to detain him as a “Nazi collaborator,” and shouted insults at the
audience, resulting in their exodus from the theater until police
Upon arriving at the scene, police promptly removed the man,
questioned him and later released him without pressing charges, police
After calm was restored, the orchestra’s French conductor and
musical director, Frederic Chaslin, said the discussion, and an accompanying
Wednesday concert featuring Wagner’s German influences – including Beethoven,
Weber, Debussy and Chausson – were not intended as a celebration of
“I didn’t want to celebrate his birthday – that was not the idea…
[but] the Jewish spirit is to study a problem, not to ignore it… so if we ignore
the fact that Wagner [was born] 200 years ago, we ignore a big problem that is
part of this society,” Chaslin told Reuters.
director-general, Yair Stern, said the Wednesday concert was subsequently
canceled due to poor ticket sales. However, Stern claimed that the concert would
have likely sold out had Wagner’s music been included.
“Had we played
Wagner, I’m sure that the auditorium would have been overbooked,” he told
Reuters. “But since [it was] around Wagner, I don’t think we will hold another
concert of this type in the near future.”
Wagner’s music is unofficially
banned in Israel due to its use as propaganda by Adolf Hitler in the genocide of
6 million Jews during World War II.