…by Gilad Atzmon
A month ago we learned that “a quarter of Jews in Britain have considered leaving the country in the last two years and well over half feel they have no long term future in Europe”*
Interestingly enough, yesterday the BBC published a poll that measured British Muslims’ attitude towards Britain. Unlike the majority of Jews who expressed their will to leave Europe, 95% of the Muslims here are “loyal to Britain.”
In spite of Britain’s waging countless wars against Muslim countries for decades, despite Britain’s blind support for Israel and despite the ongoing discrimination against Muslims in Britain, nineteen out of twenty Muslims remain loyal to this Kingdom.
Contrast this with at least half the of Jews who, although they enjoy prominence in this country and whose Israeli Lobby has enjoyed remarkable success, appear willing to leave this country behind.
This raises the following questions, that a sociologist or perhaps the British Jews themselves must address.
What is it about British Jews, that has caused so many of them to fail to settle after so many decades? Why are they happy to wander again? Is the notion of dwelling foreign to Jewish culture? Is true assimilation impossible as far as Diaspora Jewish culture is concerned? Is it possible that it is actually the prominence of Jews in British society (media, politics, culture, finance) that makes Jews feel insecure?
Early Zionists attempted to address these questions. Settlement in Zion, i.e. Palestine, was supposed to free the Jews from their ‘Diaspora symptoms.’ The ‘homecoming’ adventure was supposed to introduce Jews to the notion of dwelling and belonging.
It was intended to attach the Jew to the soil. However, the birth of the Jewish State brought to light new and far more devastating traits some of which have actually put our planet at grave risk.
I guess that for the time being, there is NO answer to the Jewish question, yet, the question itself is more vital than ever.
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.”