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    Wagner’s music – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. Is there any issue with Jews listening to the compositions of antisemites like Wagner?

    A. In Israel, music lovers often debate whether to ban Wagner’s music from public performance.

    Was Wagner worse than other antisemitic composers?

    My answer is yes. His ideology was crucial to the German nationalist movement. Hitler saw Wagner as his predecessor as leader of the Nazi revolution.

    Wagner argued that Jews were the enemies of humanity. Previously they had been branded Christ-killers; now they were so hungry for world domination that they would crucify mankind as a whole.

    Despite the fact that Wagner died in 1883, 50 years before Hitler came to power, there is a violence in Wagner’s music that is almost Nazi in its intensity.

    It is because of what Wagner symbolises that many in Israel want his work to be banned. Outside Israel it is a matter of personal judgment. No-one is forced to attend a Wagner concert.

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