By Gilad Atzmon
In the above clip I elaborate on Ali Abunimah’s attitude towards history and culture.
I contend that since Israel defines itself as the Jewish State and its tanks are decorated with Jewish symbols, we are entitled to ask ourselves who are the Jews and what is Judaism and Jewishness? In my work I try to grasp the role and the impact of Jewish culture on Israeli and Jewish politics – something I believe necessary to bring peace to the region and beyond.
But Ali Abunimah doesn’t agree. In reference to a talk I gave at the Stuttgart One State Conference (Dec 2010), he suggested that history and politics are detached from culture – an unusual approach which contradicts all recognized, intellectual and philosophical understandings of humanity, history, politics as well as culture.
Abunimah says “Talking about Jewish culture, is wrong because such arguments can be made about anyone. We could blame German culture for the history of Germany…”
Someone should tell Abunimah that this is exactly what intellectuals, historian and political scientists do. They search for the origin of political thoughts in culture, ideology, religion and heritage. For instance, those who study the Nazi eratry to comprehend the impact of Wagner, the German symphony, Protestant culture, German philosophy, Martin Luther’s “The Jews And Their Lies”, Hegel and the German Spirit, German Early Romanticism, Lebensphilosophie, Heine, Athens vs. Jerusalem and so on.
It is obvious to me that, Abunimah didn’t think it through. However, it is never too late to admit a mistake and get it right.
To view Atzmon’s Stuttgart presentation follow http://youtu.be/MlvaN2c-Oto
Gilad Atzmon is an Israeli-born British jazz saxophonist, novelist, political activist and writer.
Atzmon’s album Exile was BBC jazz album of the year in 2003. Playing over 100 dates a year, he has been called “surely the hardest-gigging man in British jazz.” His albums, of which he has recorded nine to date, often explore the music of the Middle East and political themes. He has described himself as a “devoted political artist.” He supports the Palestinian right of return and the one-state solution in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
His criticisms of Zionism, Jewish identity, and Judaism, as well as his controversial views on The Holocaust and Jewish history have led to allegations of antisemitism from both Zionists and anti-Zionists. A profile in The Guardian in 2009 which described Atzmon as “one of London’s finest saxophonists” stated: “It is Atzmon’s blunt anti-Zionism rather than his music that has given him an international profile, particularly in the Arab world, where his essays are widely read.”
His new book The Wandering Who? is now availble at Amazon.com
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