Edward Said’s wife, Miriam, cautions critics of Israel to be careful what they’re boycotting and why:
On 28 January 2010 the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) issued a statement to the Qatari government calling for a boycott of Daniel Barenboim and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra (WEDO) and condemning the Qatari Ministry of Culture for hosting the orchestra in Doha. The statement goes so far as to accuse Daniel Barenboim of being an ardent Zionist. I would like to point out that the PACBI policy is “to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel.” It does not call for a boycott against all Israelis, but those affiliated with institutions that support the Israeli state and its policies and who do not express support for the Palestinian struggle against occupation. Daniel Barenboim and WEDO do not meet any of those criteria.
WEDO is but one of the many educational programs of the Barenboim-Said Foundation (BSF) which was founded by Daniel Barenboim together with my late husband, Edward Said. It is registered in Spain and the regional government of Andalusia is the main partner in this project.
WEDO is not a project for normalization. The yearly workshops in Spain are advanced musical summer courses. When students from Arab countries and Israel attend the same courses at any university around the world where the professor’s competence is the reason for which they enroll, it is considered furthering their education, not normalization.