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"Music Must Serve to Contain Hate, Not to Reward It!"

Paris, 14 February 2011

In a letter to the International Music Council (IMC) President, Prof,Frans de Ruiter, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre's Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, urged him "to vigourously condemn Greek composer, Mikis Theodorakis, for his obsessive anti-Jewish hatemongering and to strip him of his 2005 IMC-UNESCO International Music Prize".

Samuels explained that:- "Last week, Theodorakis reportedly announced on Greek television that he is 'indeed an antisemite...everything that happens in the world today has to do with the Zionists...American Jews are behind the world economic crisis that has hit Greece also'". 

- "Only yesterday, he amplified these positions in 'Mikis Theodorakis answers the usual circles accusing him of antisemitism', 

'It is a paradox of history that the principal victims of Hitlerism now faithfully imitate the methods employed by the latter for global predominance'. As a composer, he presents himself as a victim, since 'Zionists control 99% of global musical life'". 

- "This hatred could already be foreseen in his 2005 statement that 'Jews are the root of all evil'". 

The letter suggested that "such language which should have sufficed to disqualify his candidacy for the prize. It is interesting that both the IMC and UNESCO decided that the 2005 laureate would be the last". 

The Centre argued that "Theodorakis offends all Jews, now including the identity of many of his predecessor awardees, such as Leonard Bernstein, Daniel Barenboim, Banny Goodman, Gidon Kremer, Yahudi Menuhin". 

The letter stressed that "he has also violated the IMC's mission statement, which 'promotes musical diversity, access to culture for all and building peace and understanding among peoples of all cultures and heritage'". 

Samuels insisted that, "when racists or bigots - of whatever form or stripe - proudly step out of the closet to announce: 'I am indeed, an Islamophobe/anti-Gay/Gypsophobe or Antisemite, they must be scorned and marginalized. They can no longer serve as icons for their peers or for the younger generation'". 

"Mr.President, strip Theodorakis, a self-proclaimed racist, of the prestigious International Music Council-UNESCO Prize. Music must serve as a vehicle to contain incitement, not to reward it", concluded Samuels. 

The letter was shared with European Music Council Chairman, Timo Klemettinen of Germany. >