BERLIN — Conductor Daniel Barenboim, whose plan to perform music by German composer Richard Wagner in Israel has stirred opposition, says going ahead with the concert would be a sign of Israeli tolerance.
In an article published Saturday by a German magazine, the conductor said no one should be forced to listen to Wagner but that Israel should show itself to be a ''100 percent democracy.''
Denying Israelis a chance to hear the music ``would indirectly condone the misuse of Wagner's music by the Nazis,'' he wrote in the latest edition of Focus, which hits newsstands Monday.
Wagner's music had been virtually banned in Israel because the 19th-century composer was openly anti-Semitic and inspired Adolf Hitler and Nazi cultural propaganda. About 200,000 survivors of the Holocaust live in Israel.
Mendi Rodan, a Holocaust survivor, conducted the first performance of Wagner music in Israel last year. Barenboim, an Israeli, wants to conduct a Wagner concert by the Berlin Staatskapelle at the Israel Festival on July 7.
Israel's parliament held a special session Wednesday at which lawmakers urged festival organizers to scrap the Wagner performance.