Go to home page

This article appears in the November 3, 2023 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

Indispensable Precondition for Peace: Lift Up the Human Spirit

[Print version of this article]

Oct. 28—The following three documents capture the spirit of the profound truth that culture and the notion of beauty—so totally absent in the current global strategic breakdown of sanity and human dignity in the Western world—are both necessary and possible to end the madness and create a new architecture of security and development for the world, and thus a durable global peace.

The first is an opinion piece from musician Daniel Barenboim, co-founder and director of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, which is composed of young Arab and Israeli musicians who perform classical music around the world as a means of bringing out the common humanity shared by the performers and the audiences. His call for an end to the carnage in Israel and Gaza and for a negotiation for peace, which he knows is possible through his cooperation with Israeli and Palestinian musicians in classical music, resonates with Schiller Institute founder Helga Zepp-LaRouche’s call for a return to classical culture, and especially classical music, insisting that “Lifting up of the human spirit is the absolutely unavoidable precondition for us to get out of this.”

Second, an open letter signed by a group of Jewish artists, writers, and scholars living in Germany, titled “Freedom for the One Who Thinks Differently,” denouncing the campaign within Germany to ban any expression of support for the Palestinian people, and even the arrest of anyone critical of the mass killing of the Palestinian people. These courageous individuals are refusing to allow Judaism to be used as an excuse for the “prevailing atmosphere of racism and xenophobia in Germany.”

Finally, the first of six leaflets released clandestinely by the group known as White Rose in 1942 in Germany, led by five students and a professor at the University of Munich, calling on the German people to stand up in non-violent resistance against the evil of the Hitler regime, based on the higher principle of humanity represented in the ideas of Germany’s great thinkers and poets Friedrich Schiller and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

World Renowned Pianist Barenboim: ‘Humanity Is Universal’—A Message of Peace

View full size
CC/Raimond Spekking
Maestro Daniel Barenboim

Oct. 20—Six days following the horrific assault on Israeli citizens and the follow-on revenge bombings by Israel on Palestinian citizens, both bestial acts of murder, musician Daniel Barenboim, the co-founder, with Edward Said, of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, issued the opinion piece below. The Divan Orchestra is composed of young Arab and Israeli musicians who make music together in harmony. To date only three media worldwide have published Barenboim’s article.

During a Sept. 27 live webcast, before the eruption of events in Israel-Palestine, Schiller Institute founder Helga Zepp-LaRouche was asked, “How can singing Classical pieces in a chorus stop insane war hawks from making war?” The question was in reference to the Schiller Institute’s then just-released Petition for Artists soliciting signatures endorsing a campaign to revive the principles of classical thinking in our culture. With a smile and a bit of laughter, she replied:

Well, I don’t think it will do that, because these war hawks are war hawks.... But the purpose of Classical music is to uplift the general population. We are right now in a situation where the West as an entity, meaning the United States and Europe in particular, are in the biggest cultural crisis I can think of. It’s a plunge into decadence, which makes the end of the Roman Empire pale by comparison. If you look at what is allowed under the flag of democracy and freedom and whatnot, the violence—I think there were 500 mass shootings in the United States so far this year.... Look at the suicide rate, the drug addiction, the violence of the drug gangs in the cities, the decay of infrastructure, the barbarism which is portrayed in the way migrants are treated.... This is the downfall of the West! Don’t kid yourself.

My late husband, Lyndon LaRouche, always used to say that a society which is not capable of Classical thinking any more, will not make it. With Classical music, you are appealing to that in the inner soul of the human being which is human, which is beautiful, which is creative, which is uplifting, which is lofty, which has all the ideas of humanity. The only way ... to get back on a track of peace and decency in the world order, is to revive the Classical traditions in Western culture: Classical music is the absolute key, because it is the international language which is understood by everybody. Lifting up of the human spirit is the absolutely unavoidable precondition for us to get out of this.

So it’s not the war hawks, it’s the rest of the population which needs to be uplifted.

It is, therefore, in the spirit of peace, and with hope for a revival of classical thinking, that EIR reprints Maestro Barenboim’s Oct. 13 article.

Our Message Must Be Stronger Than Ever

Opinion Article by Maestro Daniel Barenboim

The current events in Israel and Gaza have deeply shocked us all. There is no justification for Hamas’ barbaric terrorist acts against civilians, including children and babies. We must acknowledge this, and pause. But then the next step is, of course, the question of: What now? Do we now surrender to this terrible violence and let our striving for peace “die”—or do we continue to insist that there must and can be peace?

I am convinced that we have to move on and keep the larger context of the conflict in mind. Our musicians of the West-Eastern Divan, our students in the Barenboim-Said Academy, they are almost all directly affected. Many of the musicians live in the region, and the others also have many ties to their homeland. This strengthens my conviction that there can only be one solution to this conflict: one on the basis of humanism, justice and equality—and without armed force and occupation.

Our message of peace must be louder than ever. The greatest danger is that all the people who so ardently desire peace will be drowned out by extremists and violence. But any analysis, any moral equation we might draw up, must have as its core this basic understanding: there are people on both sides. Humanity is universal and the recognition of this truth on both sides is the only way. The suffering of innocent people on either side is absolutely unbearable.

The images of the devastating terrorist attacks by Hamas break our hearts. Our reaction clearly shows: the willingness to empathize with the situation of others is essential. Of course, and especially now, one must also allow for emotions like fear, despair and anger—but the moment this leads us to deny each other humanity, we are lost. Every single person can make a difference and pass something on. This is how we change things on a small scale. On a large scale, it is up to politics.

We have to offer other perspectives to those who are attracted to extremism. After all, it is usually people who are completely without prospects, who are desperate, who devote themselves to murderous or extremist ideologies, who find a home there. Education and information are equally essential, because there are so many positions based on absolute misinformation.

To reiterate quite clearly: The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not a political conflict between two states over borders, water, oil or other resources. It is a deeply human conflict between two peoples who have known suffering and persecution. The persecution of the Jewish people over 20 centuries culminated in the Nazi ideology that murdered six million Jews.

The Jewish people cherished a dream; a land of their own, a homeland for all Jews in what is now Palestine. But from this dream followed a deeply problematic, because fundamentally false, assumption: a land without a people for a people without a land. In reality, however, the Jewish population of Palestine during the First World War was only 9%. 91% of the population was therefore not Jewish, but Palestinian, grown over centuries. The country could hardly be called a “land without a people” and the Palestinian population saw no reason to give up their own land. The conflict was thus inevitable, and since its beginning the fronts have only hardened further over generations. I am convinced: the Israelis will have security when the Palestinians can feel hope, that is, justice. Both sides must recognize their enemies as human beings and try to empathize with their point of view, their pain and their hardship. Israelis must also accept that the occupation of Palestine is incompatible with this.

View full size
Daniel Barenboim conducts the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, Salzburg, May 20, 2013. The orchestra takes its name from a collection of lyrical poems by Goethe.

For my understanding of this more than 70-year-old conflict, my friendship with Edward Said is the key experience. We found in each other a counterpart who can take us further and help us to see the supposed “other” more clearly and understand him better. We have recognized and found each other in our common humanity. For me, our joint work with the West-Eastern Divan, which finds its logical continuation and perhaps even its culmination in the Barenboim-Said Academy, is probably the most important activity of my life.

In the current situation, we naturally ask ourselves about the significance of our joint work in both the orchestra and the academy. It may seem little—but the mere fact that Arab and Israeli musicians share a podium at every concert and make music together, that is of immense value to us. Over the years, through this commonality of music-making, but also through our countless, sometimes heated discussions, we have learned to better understand the supposed other, to approach them and to find common ground in our humanity and in music. We start and end all discussions, no matter how controversial, with the fundamental understanding that we are all equal human beings who deserve peace, freedom and happiness.

This may sound naïve, but it is not: for it is this understanding that seems to be completely lost in the conflict on both sides today. Our experience shows that this message has reached many people in the region and around the world. We must, want, and will continue to believe that music can bring us closer together in our humanity.

Daniel Barenboim

October 13, 2023

This article is posted here on the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra website.

Freedom for the One Who Thinks Differently

An Open Letter from a group of Jewish artists, writers, and scholars in Germany

We, the undersigned Jewish writers, academics, journalists, artists, and cultural workers living in Germany, are writing to condemn a disturbing crackdown on civic life in the wake of this month’s horrifying violence in Israel and Palestine.

There is no defense for the deliberate targeting of civilian life. We condemn without reservation the terrorist attacks on civilians by Hamas. Many of us have family and friends in Israel who have been directly affected by this violence. We condemn with equal force the killing of civilians in Gaza.

In recent weeks, regional and city governments across Germany have banned public gatherings with presumed Palestinian sympathies. Canceled demonstrations include those named “No Conflagration in the Middle East,” “Youth Against Racism,” and “Solidarity with the Civilian Population of Gaza.” The ban extends to gatherings planned by Jews and Israelis, including one called “Jewish Berliners against Violence in the Middle East.” In an especially absurd case, a Jewish Israeli woman was detained for standing alone in a public square while holding a sign denouncing the ongoing war waged by her own country.

The police have offered no credible defense of these decisions. Virtually all of the cancellations, including those banning gatherings organized by Jewish groups, have been justified by the police in part due to the “imminent risk” of “seditious, anti-Semitic exclamations.” These claims, we believe, serve to suppress legitimate nonviolent political expression that may include criticisms of Israel.

Attempts to defy these arbitrary restrictions are met with indiscriminate brutality. Authorities have targeted immigrant and minority populations across Germany, harassing, arresting, and beating civilians, often on the flimsiest of pretexts.

In Berlin, the district of Neukölln, home to large Turkish and Arab communities, is now a neighborhood under police occupation. Armored vans and squads of armed riot police patrol the streets searching for any spontaneous showing of Palestinian support or symbols of Palestinian identity. Pedestrians are shoved and pepper-sprayed at random on the sidewalk. Children are ruthlessly tackled and arrested. Those detained and arrested include well-known Syrian and Palestinian activists. Schools have banned Palestinian flags and keffiyeh, and although these objects are legally permitted in public, to possess one invites police violence and arrest.

Earlier this year, Berlin police officers admitted in court that in suppressing protests they have targeted civilians who “stood out” for wearing the colors of the Palestinian flag or scarves associated with Palestinian solidarity. A preponderance of filmed evidence suggests that this remains the case, and that racial bias plays a significant role in the targeting of suspects.

These infringements of civil rights are taking place almost entirely without comment from Germany’s cultural elites. Major cultural institutions have silenced themselves in lockstep, canceling productions that deal with the conflict and de-platforming figures who might be critical of Israel’s actions—or who are simply Palestinian themselves. Such voluntary self-censorship has produced a climate of fear, anger, and silence. All this is done under the banner of protecting Jews and supporting the state of Israel.

As Jews, we reject this pretext for racist violence and express full solidarity with our Arab, Muslim, and particularly our Palestinian neighbors. We refuse to live in prejudicial fear. What frightens us is the prevailing atmosphere of racism and xenophobia in Germany, hand in hand with a constraining and paternalistic philo-Semitism. We reject in particular the conflation of anti-Semitism and any criticism of the state of Israel.

At the same time that most forms of nonviolent resistance on behalf of Gaza are suppressed, acts of violence and intimidation are also taking place: a Molotov cocktail thrown at a synagogue; Stars of David drawn on the doors of Jewish homes. The motivations for these indefensible anti-Semitic crimes, and their perpetrators, remain unknown.

It is clear, however, that Germany’s refusal to recognize a right to grieve the loss of lives in Gaza does not make Jews safe. Jews were already a vulnerable minority population; some Israelis report they are afraid to speak Hebrew on the street. Bans on demonstrations and their violent enforcement only provoke and escalate violence. We also contend that the perceived threat of such assemblies grossly inverts the actual threat to Jewish life in Germany, where, according to the federal police, the “vast majority” of anti-Semitic crimes—around 84%—are committed by the German far right. If this is an attempt to atone for German history, its effect is to risk repeating it.

Dissent is a requirement of any free and democratic society. Freedom, wrote Rosa Luxemburg, “is always and exclusively freedom for the one who thinks differently.” As our Arab and Muslim neighbors are beaten and silenced, we fear the atmosphere in Germany has become more dangerous—for Jews and Muslims alike—than at any time in the nation’s recent history. We condemn these acts committed in our names.

We further call on Germany to adhere to its own commitments to free expression and the right to assembly as enshrined in its Basic Law, which begins:

Human dignity shall be inviolable. To respect and protect it shall be the duty of all state authority.

This Open Letter is signed by 122 Jewish artists, writers, teachers, scholars, professors, film makers, photojournalists, sociologists, musicians, composers, curators, scientists, philosophers, and others living in Germany.

First Leaflet of the White Rose

Munich, 1942

View full size
Jürgen Wittenstein
Sophie Scholl, a leader of the White Rose, with two other members, her brother Hans (left) and Christoph Probst. She was beheaded for treason, Feb. 22, 1943, seven months after this photo was taken, when she was 21.

Beginning June 27, 1942, a group known as White Rose, led by five students and a professor at the University of Munich, conducted an anonymous leaflet and graffiti campaign calling for active, but non-violent opposition to the Nazi government. On Feb. 18, 1943, their activities ended when the Gestapo arrested its core members, as well as other members and supporters. Many were imprisoned and executed. In total, White Rose authored six leaflets, 15,000 copies of which were distributed, mostly in southern Germany.

The following is the full text of its first leaflet. Its content remains incredibly relevant for today:

Nothing is more dishonorable for a civilized people than to let itself be “governed” without resistance by an irresponsible clique of rulers devoted to dark instincts. Is it not true that every honest German today is ashamed of his government? And who among us can sense the dimensions of the dishonor that will lie upon us and our children once the veil has fallen from our eyes and the most horrid and extravagant crimes come to light? If German people are already so corrupted and spiritually crushed that they do not raise a hand, frivolously trusting in a questionable faith in the lawful order of history; if they surrender man’s highest principle, that which raises him above all other of God’s creatures, his free will; if they abandon the determination to take decisive action and to turn the wheel of history, and thus subject it to their own rational decision; if they are so devoid of all individuality, have already gone so far along the road to turning into a spiritless and cowardly mass—then they clearly deserve their downfall.

Goethe speaks of the Germans as a tragic people, similar to the Jews or the Greeks, but today it would appear rather as a shallow, spineless herd of followers, robbed of their core with the marrow sucked out of them, who are now just waiting to be hounded to their destruction. So it seems—but it is not so. Through gradual, treacherous, systematic violation, every single person has rather been put into a prison of the mind, which he only realizes after finding himself already in chains. Only a few have recognized the impending doom and their heroic warnings have been rewarded with death. The fate of these persons will be spoken of later.

If everyone waits for his neighbor to take the first step, the messengers of the vengeful nemesis will come ever closer, and the very last victim will senselessly be thrown into the throat of the insatiable demon. Therefore, every individual must be aware of his responsibility as a member of western culture and put up as fierce a fight as possible, he must work against the scourges of mankind, against fascism and any similar system of totalitarianism. Offer resistance—resistance—wherever you may be, stop this atheistic war machine from running on and on, before it is too late; before the last city, like Cologne, lies in ruins; and before the nation’s last young man has bled to death somewhere on the battlefields for the hubris of a subhuman. Don’t forget that every people deserves the regime it is willing to endure!

Excerpt from Friedrich Schiller’s
“The Legislation of Lycurgus and Solon”:

“… Viewed in relation to its purpose, the legal code of Lycurgus [of Sparta] is a masterpiece of political science and knowledge of human nature. He desired a powerful, indestructible state, firmly established on its own principles. His goal was to achieve political power and permanence, and he attained this goal to the fullest extent possible under the circumstances. But if one compares Lycurgus’ purpose with those of mankind, then a deep disapproval must take the place of the admiration which we felt at first glance. Anything may be sacrificed for the good of the State except that end for which the State itself only serves as a means.

“The State is never an end in itself; it is important only as a condition under which the purpose of mankind can be attained, and this purpose is no less than the development of all human resources, progress. If a political constitution prevents the development of the capabilities which reside in man, if it interferes with the progress of the human spirit, then it is reprehensible and injurious, no matter how excellently devised, how perfect in its own way. Its very permanence in that case amounts more to a reproach than to a basis for fame; it becomes a prolonged evil, and the longer it endures, the more harmful it is….

“At the cost of all moral feeling a political merit was achieved, and the resources of the State were mobilized to that end. In Sparta there was no conjugal love, no mother love, no filial love, no friendship; all men were citizens only, and all virtue was civic….

“It was the Spartans’ duty by law to be inhumane to their slaves; with these unhappy victims of war humanity itself was insulted and mistreated. In the Spartan code of law the dangerous principle was promulgated that men were to be looked upon as means and not as ends—thus the foundation of natural law and of morality was legally demolished….

“What an admirable spectacle is given, by contrast, by the rough warrior Gaius Marcius [Coriolanus —ed.] in his camp before Rome, when he sacrifices vengeance and victory because he cannot bear the sight of a mother’s tears!…

“The State [of Lycurgus] could endure only under one condition: if the spirit of the people became quiescent. Hence it could be maintained only if it failed to achieve the highest, the sole purpose of a State.”

From Goethe’s “The Awakening of Epimenides,” Act II, Scene 4:


Though he who has boldly risen from the abyss

Through an iron will and cunning

May conquer half the world,

Yet to the abyss he must return.

Already a terrible fear has seized him;

In vain will he resist!

And all who still hung onto him

Must perish in his fall.



Now I meet my good men

Who have gathered in the night,

To wait in silence, not to sleep.

And the glorious word of liberty

They lisp and stammer,

Till in unaccustomed newness,

On the steps of our temple


Once again in delight we cry:

(with conviction, loudly:)


(more moderately:)


(echo from all sides and ends:)


Please make as many copies as you can of this leaflet and distribute it!

Back to top    Go to home page