Gilad Atzmon - An Intellectual Giant

Gilad Atzmon Speaks (120:00)

Description: Gilad Atzmon speaks about the cancellations of his shows and his ideas concerning Jewish cultural identity politics, Jewish Left, and anti-Semitism.

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By TLB Contributor: Ricki Landers

Gilad Atzmon has two simultaneous careers, both electrically charged. As an innovative, intense saxophonist, he has been called Britain’s hardest gigging man,who’s played with everyone from Paul McCartney to Pink Floyd, recently having been featured on their latest album. His album”Exile“ was the BBC jazz album of the year in 2003.

He is also a controversial author (The Wandering Who 2012) and speaker on the subjects of Jewish Identity, Zionism and leftist thinking that has brought him both harsh criticism from Zionists and anti-Zionists alike and who more recently brought efforts to cancel his performances.

An interview with Gilad Atzmon is an intense trip into his thinking in which his powerful free ranging personality shines even more than his words. During the meandering conversation Gilad expounded on and explained his views, among them; Israel, being called an anti-semite, the Jewish Left and the coterie of conflict that tends to surround him.

While Gilad has been discussing these ideas for many years, some of our readership may not be familiar with the subject matter, therefore the conversation has been reassembled in terms of topics, rather than following it’s chronological order.

Gilad-The Jewish Anti Semite and Jewish Tribalism

Gilad began by saying that;

“I am not an anti-Semite, I hate everyone equally”.

I found Gilad, however to be quite a lover of humanity and an intense advocate for the need for real truth seeking.

Gilad began by saying that he does not find Judaism itself to be the problem, but Jewish tribalism and Jewish Identity politics. He has personally disavowed himself of Judaism. He considers himself an ex-Israeli and a “Hebrew speaking Palestinian Brit”. His reason for leaving Judaism is that in Israel Jews area privileged class, and because of the culture of political correctness, which would censor criticism of him.

Jewish Tribalism

Gilad Atzmon Speaks

Gilad Atzmon Speaks

Gilad states that “Jews are not a race, but Jews are uniquely racist”. He explains that Jews have created a culture of separatism over the last three thousand years which demands that they separate themselves from their communities or at least see themselves as a cohesive separate entity. The religious Jews did this by observance of the Torah and adherence to religious practices, but the secular Jew maintained his separateness by creating “ethnocentricity”. They created the idea that Jews are a distinct culture with high attributes and consequently high privileges. They need to present a “cohesive racial identity”, as Gilad terms it. This cohesiveness creates a sense of entitlement and “choseness”.

There is a tremendous amount of self-concern. Their ideas about everything in the world tend to revolve around the idea “Is it good for the Jews?” Liberal and right wing Jews do not always agree on what is good for the Jews, in fact they usually disagree, but they all enter into the discussion with idea that saving themselves, the Jews, is of the essence. That is what is essentially important, and consideration for everyone else is not important. They are basically a privileged “tribe”. He feels that this type of thinking is what leads to entitlement. It has lead to Zionism and the State of Israel. It has lead to the violence that became necessary to maintain the Jewish supremacy in Israel. It has lead to a sort of

“Lust for violence” in order to secure their positions in Israel and to maintain theJewish point of view”.

He pointed out that historically Jews have been involved in lobbying for wars and/or directly involved with the actual violence perpetrated in revolutions.

He talked about the Jewish involvement in the burning of churches in the 1936 Spanish revolution. The Jews justified their actions by saying that churches had no sanctity as far as Jews were concerned.

Ultimately it all goes back to the idea “Is it good for the Jews?” Does it “save the Jews?” This is a kind of overt racism.

Across the board in the international Jewish community, however, there is a kind of mass unwillingness for self examination or to accept any type of criticism from outside the ”tribe”. He feels that it is a quintessentially Jewish trait to be non self-reflective. As he says

,..”When ethical people feel guilt they try to change themselves, non ethical people react by blaming others ( the goyim)”.. for their shortcomings.

Talmudic Quotes Concerning the Term GoyimYalkut 245c

Extermination of the Christians is a necessary sacrifice.

Zohar, Shemoth Tob shebbe goyyim harog – Even the best of the Goyim (Gentiles) should be killed. Sanhedrin 57a [Translation: A Jew may rob a Goy, but a Goy may not rob a Jew. If a Goy murders another Goy or a Jew, he should be killed, but a Jew will not be incur the death penalty for killing a non-Jew.]

Kill the Goyim by any means possible. Zohar, Shemoth, Toldoth Noah, Lekh-Lekha Jehovah created the non-Jew in human form so that the Jew would not have to be served by beasts. The non-Jew is consequently an animal in human form, and condemned to serve the Jew day and night.

Midrasch Talpioth, p. 225-L

Everything a Jew needs for his church ritual no goy is permitted to manufacture, but only a Jew, because this must be manufactured by human beings and the Jew is not permitted to consider the goyim as human beings.

Libbre David 37

A Jew should and must make a false oath when the Goyim asks if our books contain anything against them.

Mas. K’rithoth 6b [This passage refers to anointing with oil. “Heathens,” i.e., Gentiles, are not “adam” or man but are equated with cattle]

Menachoth 43b-44a
[A “prayer” or “benediction” to be said by a Jewish man every day: “Thank God for not making me a Gentile, a woman or a slave.”]

Do not save Goyim in danger of death.

Show no mercy to the Goyim.

Hilkkoth Akum X1

A Jew is forbidden to drink from a glass of wine which a Gentile has touched, because the touch has made the wine unclean.

Gilad points out that there is a long history in Judaism of strongly silencing and excommunicating those with views that go against the Jewish norm. He talks about how the Jews excommunicated Jesus for his views. He says the word for Jesus is “Yeshua”, which is an anagram for the words for “ that which must be destroyed”. He recounts that Spinoza, a Dutch philosopher who laid the groundwork for 18th century enlightenment, was excommunicated from the Jewish community of Holland for his criticisms of some of the dogma of Talmud. They issued a formal document called a “cherem” which cursed him, and forbade anyone in the Jewish community from ever speaking to him again or reading any of his writings.

Jewish Identity Politics

Since the Jews have established a culture of separateness and entitlement, those ideas naturally lead to the concept of  “choseness” and supremacy of the Jewish people…”We are entitled to our own country”, we were “chosen” establish the State of Israel ,” because that is what serves our ethnocentric needs”. That which serves ”our needs” is ultimately what is “good for the Jews”, and all other people and considerations be damned.

Gilad talks about Scotland as an example of Identity politics. Scotts strongly identify with the idea of being Scottish, rather than British, and so as Scotts, they would want their country and politics to be separate, enabling them to be more fully Scottish.

Jews strongly identify with the idea of being a people, separate from other peoples, and so the Idea of creating Israel and having their own political system would be the Jewish form of, “identity politics.” Because of this need, Zionism was created. From the beginning, Zionism was a racist ideology that placed Jews and Jewish needs above everyone else. The point was made that this seemed to be akin to the master race thinking of the Nazis. Gilad pointed out that it was similar to Nazism, but Zionism predates he Nazi party by about forty years. Indeed the first Zionist Congress was held in 1897 and the Balfour declaration, the document that declared that Palestine would be made the home of the Jews, was written in 1917.

ISIS and Identity Politics

Gilad says ISIS is a mirror policy of Identity politics…”it asks people to go to their own country to further their identity” He says that the” idea of the caliphate is engrained in the Muslim psyche”. The ISIS conquest is a reaction to the Western system that has been imposed on the Arab world by wars that the United States has been dragged into by Jewish lobbyists. He feels that ISIS will not, however attack Israel at this point. He says they will take Libya, Jordan, Egypt and the Gulf countries in order to control the oil, and have some negotiating leverage over the United States. If they tried to take Israel they would spend too much time at battle and may not survive a formidable enemy.

Gilad pointed out that in both the case of Israel and ISIS, identity politics has disastrous results. He feels in some ways that Jewish culture and Muslim culture is more similar than anyone cares to admit.

Jazz musician Gilad Atzmon

The Jewish Left and the Culture of Political Correctness

The problem with political correctness is that it mandates what the correct way of thinking and speaking is and doesn’t allow for opposition, which is a kind of tyranny. It is the means for self-suppression. Political correctness is a form of self-suppression. In a political dictatorship, the suppressor is more obviously the political leader, like Pinochet, as he mentions, and in that way the rules of society are more clear and transparent. Whereas with political correctness there is a sort of ”collective opinion castration” that has been in place for thirty years and killed the ability for critical and original thinking. Atzmon points out that George Orwell saw the beginning of this type of tyrannical thinking in the Jewish trotskyites he associated with and predicted it in England. He talks about 1984 being set in England, not Russia. He talked about the fact that today England is submerged in surveillance equipment, brought about by the Labor Party, the left party of the government.

The New Left is the embodiment of that idea and he says,” the Jewish Left is taking core control of thought censorship.” Gilad states that the Jewish Left started the “anti-Gilad“ movement. The essential problem with the left is that for one they are funded by George Soros, who is a liberal Zionist, but a Zionist all the same, and the language of the Jewish Left consequently needs to be couched in thinking and phrases that do not overtly insult Zionists. Secondly, there is a still a Jewish tribalist mentality among the Jewish Left, after all the Jewish Left invented Jewish ethnocentricity.

He mentioned the Jewish Voice for Peace group as an example of Jewish tribalism. He described them as a group that considers themselves ant-Zionist and non-racist, yet there is not a single non Jew on their board. He said conversely the Knesset (the Israeli parliament) will have at least 15 Arab members, though the Knesset is openly racist. Netanyahu has called for a constitution that declares that the State of Israel is a “Jewish State”, removing any vestiges of false claims to citizen equality.

Gilad feels that the Jewish left is dishonest about their goals working against Zionism. He says they, like many others do not really want to examine the root causes of Zionism in order to fully eradicate it. Those root causes being tribalism, separatism, elitism, entitlement, and Judaism itself. To examine those causes would take tremendous introspection, a quality he says is not an important part of Jewish culture, and so any efforts made are hypocritical and ultimately fruitless. Gilad insists because he dwells on these concepts revolving around Jewish choseness and forces an ideological mirror in front of their faces, that is the real reason for the Jewish Left’s hatred of him.

Gilad maintains that since the efforts of the Left are not honest it is ”hard to save themselves from themselves” and that “they are working 24/7 to bring disaster on themselves’.

The Problem of the Pro Palestinian Movement

Gilad has had ideological arguments with the pro Palestinian movement as well. He mentioned a conference with Ilan Pappe and Ali Abumineh. They spoke about the beauty of forging peace and reconciliation with Jews and Palestinians, to which Gilad replied that was an impossibility with the Jewish culture (insulting everyone roundly). He insisted that unless you explore the cultural reasons, not the political reasons for Zionism, it could never be dismantled.

Gilad pointed to terminology that was dishonest, but to which Pappe clung to. He said that Israel is not an apartheid state, because apartheid would imply that the ruling class was exploiting the native population for the ruling class’s benefit. Israel does not want to exploit the Palestinians, it wants to annihilate them or banish them. Gilad said the correct terminology to use with regards to Israel is ethnic cleansing, and that apartheid is just an appeasement to the Jewish Left, a way of making the situation seem not as dire.

He said Israel is not a colonial state. It was called a colonial state because it was established at the time when colonialism in Europe was ending, but colonialism implies that one country was taken over for a mother country (i.e. France/Morocco), but in the case of Israel… “where is the mother country?” In fact, there has never been another example in history where one foreign people claimed rights to a country and systematically tried to rid the country of it’s entire native population.

Gilad argued that seeking a political solution only with dishonest terminology was absurd. He likened it to creating an anti apartheid movement that did not want to offend Afrikaners, or a civil rights movement in the US south that did not want to offend Southerners. Just as the Nazi society and Afrikaners society cultures were examined, the Jewish/Israeli culture would have to be looked at for answers. That examination would involve saying things that a lot of people would find insulting.

Ali Abunimah took severe issue with this and even circulated a letter against Atzmon, signed by Palestinians. When Gilad argued with him, Abunimah admitted he and not read his book ”the Wandering Who”. Later Atzmon was approached by Norton Mezvinsky, a noted professoremeritus and anti-Zionist and who Gilad claims is more of an expert on Gilad’s work than Gilad is, and he told he was in agreement with his theories. When Mezvinsky approached Abunimah, they apparently had a meeting of the minds and Abunimah retracted what he had said before.

Max Blumenthal is another noted writer and journalist on the wrong doings of Israel. While Atzmon commended him on his book, Blumenthal has taken offense at the “anti-Semitic” nature of Atzmon’s thoughts and writing. They continue to be at odds.

BDS and Cultural BDS

While Atzmon agrees that sanctions against a country are an effective means of showing them your opposition to their policies and doing harm to their economy, he disagrees with Cultural BDS.

He stated that as far as sanctions go he makes the …”distinction between a tomato and a poet”, meaning that the world of ideas should never be shut down, whereas the world of business can be.”

He feels that cultural BDS is a function of political correctness and the Left. It is a way of not allowing opposition to what they have established as the proper point of view. Whether or not one agrees with a point of view, we should be open to hearing it and should not close it down or censor it. Atzmon gave the example of a woman walking out of a talk because she felt insulted as a Jew by what the speaker was saying. Gilad pointed out the uselessness of this type of thinking, and said that it is always better to raise one’s hand and counter an opinion, than to shut down or boycott opinions.

Norhwest Friends of Israel and Performance Cancellation

The Northwest Friends of Israel is a Zionist group that effectively shut down Atzmon’s performance at Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. The group had threatened the college with violence should Atzmon perform, so out of fear for safety the performance was cancelled. However, word got out, and Gilad got extensive news coverage and publicity as result. Additionally, British musicians support him and support the right to perform regardless of political views. In fact they have stated that there would be a ”Free Gilad Music Festival” for every performance that is cancelled involving local musicians as well the top musicians in the Britain.

Atzmon noted that his most vocal antagonists have criminal records and /or charges, such as Alan Dershowitz, accused of child rape.

Atzmon went on to say that as a jazz musician one has the opportunity to reinvent themselves. He recalled Miles Davis calling it a “moment of enlightenment”. It is a moment where everything you thought about something was dissolved and it is as if you have stepped into another realm. He said that when he had these moments on stage, it was those singular moments that made all the hardships endured worthwhile.


Links Max Blumenthal     Norton Mezvinsky   Cultural identity politics   Ilan Pappe  Jews in the Spanish Civil War   George Soros   Alan Dershowitz   Spinoza   Balfour declaration Cancelled performance  Talmudic References to the Term Goyim


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