Israeli university cancels concert including Wagner pieces
A university in Israel on Tuesday announced it would scrap plans for a Richard Wagner concert.
It says that staging the first event to focus on the German composer's work in the country would offend Holocaust survivors.
Wagner (1813-1883), who was openly anti-Semitic and a favourite of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, is taboo in Israel.
The June 18 concert at Tel Aviv University, conducted by Israeli-born Asher Fisch, would have been the first ever devoted entirely to Wagner works to be staged in Israel.
"Holding it would cross a read line, which would deeply hurt the feelings of the Israeli public in general, and those of Holocaust survivors in particular," the university said.
"We are talking about a topic of special public sensitivity in Israeli society, where Holocaust survivors live."
The university said it had not been told that the concert at its Smolarz Auditorium would be devoted to Wagner and announced its cancellation in a letter to the organizer Jonathan Livny, of Israel's Wagner society.
"In the last days, it became clear to us – to our astonishment – that the concert plays creations of the German composer Richard Wagner. This essential fact was deliberately hidden from us," the university said in the letter to Livny.
Livny, the son of a Holocaust survivor, denied he had failed to point out that Wagner would be played at the event, insisting he had received the explicit permission of the university's president.
He said he wanted to go to court to force the university to keep its commitment. He said many tickets had already been sold, including by people abroad who had booked tickets.
"We are searching for a solution and we are also trying to find an alternative location," he told dpa.