Israeli pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim received an honorary Palestinian Authority citizenship on Saturday.
Barenboim, who had been playing regular concerts in the PA - the only renowned Israeli musician to do so - said he was honored by the gesture.
Other Israelis playing in the PA usually did so under Barenboim's baton and as part of his Diwan Orchestra comprised of both Israelis and Muslims from Arab countries - Palestinians as well as Syrians, Egyptians etc.
"I hope that my new status will be an example of Israeli-Palestinian coexistence", said Barenboim as he received the new passport at the end of a concert he played in Ramallah, Saturday. "We have been blessed - or cursed - to live with each other. I personally think we have been blessed."
And there's a motive behind the madness.
Despite being perhaps one of the best-known Israeli musicians of all times, he is considered a controversial figure in the country. Aside from the concerts in the PA, he drew fire for conducting a Wagner piece in Jerusalem in late 2000, breaking on his own initiative a 50-year-old ban on the music of "Hitler's favorite composer". The Wagner movement played that evening was not detailed in the concert's programme, but was suggested as an encore, pending the agreement of the audience.
He was also criticized by the Israeli right-wing for establishing the Diwan Orchestra, in partnership with Palestinian-American academic Edward Said, a vocal critic of Israel.
Nevertheless, he never until now obtained foreign citizenship aside from that of his native Argentina, and never played in countries that would not allow him in with his Israeli passport.
"The fact an Israeli can get a PA passport, means that this is possible. I accept this citizenship because it symbolizes the everlasting bond between the Israeli and Palestinian people", said Barenboim.
Oh, goody. So this means that now he'll be able to play in Teheran and Riyadh? (Oh, probably still not in Riyadh.) Things that make you want to go puke.