[ Editors Note: Gilad is one of the few performing artist that weaves his Anti-Zionism activism into his music career seamlessly. He is the Jazz Man Energizer Bunny.
For all the scardy cats who constantly whine that because Jews control so much of the entertainment business they can ruthlessly crush all critics of Israeli policies regardless of their merit in terms of being truthful about the disastrous effect they have had on the rest of us, he proves them the cowards that they are… Jim W. Dean ]
– First published April 6, 2014 –
Alimuddin Usmani: Gilad Atzmon, on the 20th of March in Geneva you gave a talk which was a success. People of all ages, different ethnic origins and social backgrounds came to listen your thoughts on Jewish identity politics. Do you feel that more people are interested in your ideas?
Gilad Atzmon: I have no doubt that my ideas are becoming increasingly popular and reach new circles. Yet, often people who claim to follow my thought process appear not to understand where I come from or what I try to achieve. I am not a political person nor am I an activist.
I am an artist and a thinker and I believe that my intellectual responsibility is to reinstate the spirit of Athens, which is the ability to think freely, to seek truth, to ask questions, to make judgments, to think ethically and to revise our thoughts as we progress. As such, I am an opponent of Jerusalem, the attempt to reduce the universe into a set of binaries, by means of castrating laws that defy the natural aspiration for freedom, always in the name of one form of correctness or another.
Alimuddin Usmani: During your speech you mentioned that some young American Jews are fascinated by the Israeli way of life and immigrate to Israel. Do you think that most of them are disappointed after spending some time in that country?
Gilad Atzmon: Some are interested and then some of those immigrants are disappointed. I suggest that we stop judging Jewish politics on the basis of individuals or statistics – it is not about Moishe or Haim. We are engaging in an ideological discourse. What I argue in the talk as well as in my latest book is that we detect a counter flow of aspirations between the ‘Diaspora’ Jew and the Israeli. The ‘Diaspora’ subject is thrilled by the image of the Israeli who shoots from the hip, flies an F-16, drops bombs from afar and then relaxes on the beach on Sabbath. The Israeli, so it seems from afar, fills the hollow emancipated Jewish identity with content which the Diaspora Jew lacks.
The Israeli, on the other hand, is happy to leave everything behind and move to LA or Brooklyn, make money, marry a shikze and have BBQ on Sunday. The reason is very simple. the Israelis, are like the French, the Americans and the Brits, their identity is geographically oriented. Sometimes they move away from Israel and adopt a new nationality, just like other migrants. In other words, Zionism has managed to plant geographic orientation in the Israeli Jew and this orientation is subject to replacement by new geography.
Alimuddin Usmani: A few Palestinians in the audience were a bit offended by your suggestion that there is no real leading figure for the Palestinian resistance. Did you mean to provoke them in order to help them think in a different way about their leadership?
Gilad Atzmon: In fact I was extremely worried before the talk. It was the first attempt ever to explore the Israeli Palestinian conflict from an evolutionary psychological perspective. It was the first time anyone compared the Israeli Jewish elite and the Palestinian elite. The topic is indeed very disturbing but I believe that Palestinians should understand much more fully what they are up against.
As you must have noticed, I was very apologetic because I genuinely felt bad for the Palestinians in the room. Interestingly enough, there were many Arabs and Palestinians in the room, and they were actually pretty excited. For the first time they grasped the reasoning behind the on going betrayal by their own elite.
However, towards the end of the talk a Palestinian man asked me to suggest where we should go from here. And this is exactly what I refuse to do. I am here to refine the question. It is up to the audience to find answers for themselves and to decide how to act upon them. This is the true meaning of ethical thinking, making judgments and taking responsibility.
Alimuddin Usmani: In the 20th century, Zionism capitalized on two events. In 1917, there was the Balfour Declaration and in 1948, the Israeli Declaration of Independence. Both events took place during or shortly after a world war. Do you believe this is a coincidence?
Gilad Atzmon: Clever people do not believe in ‘coincidence,’ they try to find a causal explanation the places events within the appropriate context. These two events were the direct outcome of relentless global Zionist lobbying with no precedent in human history. Together, they provide a glimpse into Jewish power. And it is far from surprising that the Jewish intelligencia and the Left are investing enormous efforts in an attempt to divert attention from these two events. This shouldn’t be a surprise, as you know, I argue that the real meaning of Jewish power, is the capacity to silence the discussion on Jewish power.
Time is ripe for an open discussion of the role of the Jewish American elite in pushing America into WWI in return for the Balfour Declaration. I would highly recommend Alison Weir’s new book, “Against Our Better Judgment: The hidden history of how the United States was used to create Israel.”
Alimuddin Usmani: According to some sources the former spy Jonathan Pollard could be freed in exchange for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners. Why is Israel often willing to free hundreds or thousands of its prisoners for a single Israeli Jewish citizen?
Gilad Atzmon: That is a very interesting question. Pollard is clearly a Jewish spy who betrayed his host country, the USA, and sold its secrets to the Jewish State. It has been revealed recently that Pollard offered his services to other countries as well (in other words, he wasn’t exactly a Zionist patriot, greedy bastard more likely).
And if this is not enough, Pollard also betrayed Israel when he attempted to gain asylum at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C when he realized that the FBI was about to arrest him. By doing so, he also betrayed his Israeli employers.
I can think of two explanations. The obvious explanation is cultural. I would refer to the Talmudic Aramaic phrase “Kol Yisrael arevim zeh la-zeh” that is commonly translated into “all Jews (or all the people of Israel) are responsible for one another.” http://www.myjewishlearning.com/practices/Ethics/Caring_For_Others/All_of_Israel_is_Connected.shtml Jews are supposed to look after each other, they can’t leave a tribal member behind.
Similarly, when Ponzi scheme fraudster Bernie Madoff was caught, the Jewish world was shocked to find out that Jews and Jewish organisations were the primary victims of that arch villain’s crimes. Again they were shocked because Jews are supposed to be ‘responsible for one another’.
But it is also possible that the Jewish lobby and Israel are simply testing the boundaries of Jewish power.The release of an American traitor in an attempt to appease Israel and the Jews would be regarded as a huge victory within the American Jewish community.
Alimuddin Usmani: France’s new Prime minister is Manuel Valls. This former interior minister is well known for bending the law in order to ban some shows of Dieudonné and for telling a Jewish audience : “Through my wife I am eternally linked to Israel.” What is your reaction to this new appointment?
Gilad Atzmon: I guess that the English appropriate reaction is to suggest that by admission ‘Manuel Valls was caught in bed with Israel.’( It certainly helps us to defy anti Semitism. )***(I don’t know what you mean)You see, you don’t have to be a Jew in order to be a Zionist, sleeping with one can also do the job.
P.S. The interviews published on Egalité&Réconciliation with Gilad Atzmon as well as number of other unpublished interviews with Atzmon will be part of a forthcoming collection published by Kontre Kulture.
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.”