Group claims 'anti-Semitic' musician Gheorghe Zamfir to perform in TA; Zamfir: I'm not anti-Semitic

Group claims Romanian pan-piper Gheorghe Zamfir a Holocaust denier and member of extremist party.

zamfir 224.88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
zamfir 224.88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
A renowned Romanian pan pipe player scheduled to perform in Tel Aviv Tuesday evening is a known Holocaust denier, Ze'ev Schwartz, chairman of the association of Romanian olim in Israel claimed. After the Tel Aviv show on Tuesday evening, Gheorghe Zamfir, who has received 120 golden and platinum disc awards and sold over 40 million albums, is set to perform in Ashkelon on Wednesday and in Herzliya on Thursday. "The man who is a member of an extremist right wing party in Romania and who had an elaborate theory denying the Holocaust should not enter Israel and certainly should not perform in front of Jews," Schwartz said. "This is an anti-Semite of the worst kind. Two years ago when he tried to enter Israel he was not allowed in and was sent back to Romania. I don't understand how he got in the country this time." Schwartz is also the chairman of foreign relations and hasbara in the umbrella body of Holocaust survivors' organizations in Israel. In the Romanian elections in 2001, Zamfir joined forces with the extremist Great Romania party and published articles in the party's magazine, where he adamantly claimed that the Holocaust never happened and wrote that if Jews were killed in Romania, it was following provocation on their side. "Since we only heard of this evening's planned show today, we will examine whether there is a legal possibility to protest against [Zamfir's] performance tonight," Schwartz said. "In any case, we call on the managers of halls to cancel the performance by this anti-Semite. The audience of fans of pan-pipe music would do better to seek out other artists and happily, there are better musicians than him in the world." In 2002, Zamfir was denied entry to Israel for a concert tour due to improper work visas. However, the entry denial came against a backdrop of claims that Zamfir had written articles for a right-wing journal in Romania that were anti-Semitic and questioned the authenticity of the Holocaust, allegations that Zamfir emphatically denied. The following year, the musician was allowed to enter the country, where he visited Yad Vashem and planted a tree in memory of Holocaust victims in order to clear his name. "The whole [2002] incident had nothing to do with the Holocaust, it was due to visa problems," said Nancy Brandes, a veteran Romanian-born Israeli musician who organized Zamfir's visit to Israel, and who is also bringing the musician here this month for six shows. "There were all kinds of made-up rumors about him. He's never been a Holocaust denier. I've talked to him about this," Brandes said.