Palestine/Israel News and Information
David vs Goliath – the remix An interview with Gilad Atzmon by Simon Jones
It was clear that in most cases, we had to make sure that Nazis were never brought to justice. We understood that an act of jurisdiction would dilute the impact of the Holocaust. It would bring about a resolution and perhaps even establish a disastrous reconciliation between the Jewish world and the gentiles. (”My One and Only Love”)
911 and the emergence of what looks verrry much like a US-Israeli imperial axis have turned politics on its head, creating a frightening surge of violence and unrest around the world. Leaving aside the notorious bL, a few figures of resistance have dared to challenge this new order on the political stage (let’s hear it for Chavez!). On the cultural scene, there are as yet few voices helping us to make sense of the growing threat to the pre-911 world order. One remarkable voice is Gilad Atzmon, an ex-Israeli musician and writer.
A veritable David – a sabra, as native Israelis like to call themselves, he dares to point his finger (sling-shot?) at the once persecuted, now triumphant Jewish Goliath, marching towards its vision of a Greater Israel, meanwhile, dragging the rest of us along on the road to war and chaos.
First and foremost an accomplished jazz musician, winner of the BBC’s Jazz Album of the Year Award in 2003 with “Exile”, Gilad Atzmon has been inspired by his own experience as part of this emerging world order to raise his voice against it. His internet essays at www.gilad.co.uk are trenchant dissections of Israel’s ruthless colonial mentality. He is also the author of 2 novels. His new novel “My One and Only Love” is like a prequel to “Guide for the Perplexed”, his first, written in 2002, and can be ordered at www.saqibooks.com/.
Both are valuable as entertaining political parables exposing the opportunistic use of Jewish suffering to promote the State of Israel. “My One and Only Love” provides a tantalizing insider’s view into the workings of a state born of subterfuge. “Guide for the Perplexed” takes place after its collapse and incorporation into a Palestinian state.
Mossad’s motto is “By way of deception, thou shalt do war.” Gilad uses fiction to penetrate this shadowy underworld of Israeli reality. Even when caught red-handed conducting international espionage, all facts are routinely denied (passport fraud, murder, torture, and, of course, the REAL plans for peace), and at the same time energetically pursued, as if the rest of the world is completely blind. We see this over and over as if it could go on indefinitely. Giving it a beginning and an end – at least in novel form – puts a different light on where it’s all leading.
My first impression was that the premise of “My One and Only Love” – Israel using cultural groups to smuggle weapons and capture ex-Nazis – was taking things to extremes to make the point. Yes, Mordechai Vanunu was seduced by a Mossad agent (not even an Israeli, but an American), but hiding ex-Nazis in double bass cases and endlessly shipping them around the world? Not being an expert on Israeli history, I asked Gilad just how close the sexy women Mossad agents, the hero Danny himself, and others were to real figures.
As I suspected the characters are a mixture of various Israeli types, and as he didn’t want to give too much away, I suggested we try to ‘pin the tail on the donkey’. Apart from Danny, there is ‘the Kid’ (Ben Gurion ‘the Elder’), and agent Parsley, Codcod and others could be any of a number of Israeli political figures, including Sharon, Yitzhak Shamir and Isar Arel. Gilad provides hints for others by using similar names (Henchmann for Eichmann, Vizikrechzintal for Vizintal, Ingelberg for Mengele). But unfortunately for the world, he affirmed that each ‘donkey’ definitely has a ‘tail’.
SJ: How realistic is the scenario of Israeli intelligence operatives using cultural groups as fronts?
GA: Very realistic… and not even original. Apparently the CIA used jazz musician as political messengers. A book about the subject was published by Harvard this year, I read a review and an extract in The Independent (the chapter about Stan Getz being sent to Thailand to gratify the Thai King, a famous jazz lover as well as a saxophonist). Anyhow, clearly I myself, being (at the time) a young Israeli born clarinet player, was performing all over the world (especially in Germany) promoting the zio colonialist agenda. This part of the story is almost biographical. For 2-3 years I was collaborating with the Israeli guilt industry. As funny as it may sound, when I was twenty-six I received a formal letter from the Israeli ‘prime minister’s office’ inviting me to join the Israeli secret service (basically the Mossad). I hope that you realise that I didn’t go for that tempting career shift. I do not have any doubt that they knew exactly who I am, what I do and how to exploit the beauty of music.
SJ: Is it still as important today? We know about art students and movers involved in spying in the US, but double bass players transporting live ex-Nazis?
GA: Obviously this is a send-up and yet they like to ship human being in boxes; they did it more than once…
SJ: Is there a good factual study dealing with all this?
GA: Not really, but then, every Israeli and a Diaspora Zionist Jew is a potentially zio agent. [SJ: Israel can tap the worldwide Jewish community outside Israel through a unique system of sayanim, volunteer Jewish helpers.] We have at the moment more than a few actual investigations in USA. We all know about Pollard. This fits the Zionist philosophy very well. If Israel is the state of the Jews then every Jew around the world is an Israeli sympathizer… every Jew is expected to be loyal to his national state (Israel) rather than the state he dwells in. When Argentina went through a financial crisis, many of its Jewish habitants moved to Israel; the same happened in the former Soviet Union. The loyalty of Jews to their host countries is challenged repeatedly by Israel.
When we are talking about cultural manipulation, the Israelis are far ahead of the game. Israelis were very quick to spread their Ava Nagila and Hatikva, just ask yourself how many Palestinian songs you know. Israelis were very quick to use the Jewish armada of top violin maestros, they were all rallying for Israel in ‘67 and ‘73. Think of Barenboim who was so efficient in promoting the left Zionist ideology recruiting the old Edward Said. Despite his attempts to bring Palestinian and Israeli youth together via classical music, I think that all he really wants is to use Arab’s naivete to get them to approve the left Zionist school. Let’s admit it, these guys are very persuasive. In the book I just throw some light on their methods. Being a musician myself I try to use their strategy against them. I use music to expose their soft belly. I must admit it works.
SJ: One of Canada’s legendary pianists, Anton Kuerti, is a supporter and friend of Mordechai Vanunu and actively involved in supporting the Palestinian cause. We are both musicians… Your characters used music to slavishly support Israel, ignoring its/ their crimes. But there are musicians who are just as passionately anti-Israel. What is it about music that can cut through all the political cant?
GA: This is what ordinary music is supposed to do. As you know I play Lilly Marlene in my gigs. It isn’t so much music, as art in general. Since politicians are communicating with their crowd within a given symbolic order, they can never present a conceptual change. The artist on the other end, is capable of expanding our symbolic order. Thus, the artist is the one who can introduce an alternative reality. The artist is the first sign of a change. The artist is the where an alternative way of thinking comes to the world. This is the reason that in our globalized era, art is controlled by cultural industry monopolies as well as politicians. Art and aesthetic expression are the biggest threat for the current order. This is the reason that major record companies are themselves providing us with an image of anarchistic music. As long as they control it it isn’t that dangerous…
SJ: Are you able to promote the book?
GA: So far I’ve had one literary event in the SOAS Palestinian society. Obviously some zio student leaders tried to stop it with no success. It is not that easy to stop me: I’m a popular jazz artist, I play in front of hundreds of people a week. Next week I have 4 literary events in the UK, let’s see what is going to happen …
SJ: Do you think/ write in Hebrew? You’ve argued that modern Hebrew is an artificial language. Is Hebrew language literature doomed to be 2nd rate because of the political agenda behind it?
GA: I may think in Hebrew from time to time but I do not write in Hebrew anymore. A while ago I decided not to communicate with the Hebraic people. I support any form of boycott on the Israeli society and people. I argue that Israeli academics and artist should be banned from any overseas activity unless they publicly denounce Zionism. This means as well that they, the Hebraics, can’t buy my albums and books. If they really insist they can always buy them on-line abroad. I know for sure that some of them do. Saying that, I must maintain that Hebrew is an astonishing language. A well of spiritual and ideological insights. And yet it is a very dangerous language. The pre-Zionist orthodox Jews realized that in order to maintain the Hebrew language as a spiritual core Jews had better communicate in another language. This was partially the philosophy behind Yiddish and Ladino (obviously there are other reasons to do with trade strategies – it guarantees that the goy never understands what the Jewish merchants are talking about). Gershon Sholem, the German Jewish scholar was clever enough to predict that the idea of the ‘chosen people’ speaking the ‘language of God’ may result in tragic consequences. It turns out he was right.
If we follow the hermeneutic insight, if we agree that people are shaped by language or even belong to language, then we must agree that the early Zionists were very clever to predict the devastating impact of the Hebraic Jew. They were right. The ‘chosen’, speaking the language of God, happened to be the ultimate immoral being. With sheer enthusiasm the chosen people ‘redeemed the land of Israel’; in practice they ethnically cleansed the Palestinian indigenous population in 1948. They did it in Hebrew, regarding themselves as the last chapter of the Bible. Then they ‘freed’ Jerusalem, again in Hebrew, after 2000 years. The Hebrew claim to have established an intrinsic continuation with their Biblical ancestors.
Saying all that I must admit: Hebrew is a very unique language. But in the hands of Zionist it is a murderous tool. I do hope to see this language back in the closet, handled carefully by rabbis (spiritual entities) and scholars, treated as a spiritual core rather than a colonialist recipe.
SJ: How do you deal with your critics?
GA: They call me all sorts of things – self-hating Jew, for instance. Marx, Freud, Chomsky – there are some quite nice people on this list. I call it my Cartesian point. As long as people dislike me, then I am saying something.