Jonathon Blakeley: The Wandering Who? -A Book Review
I first came across Gilad Atzmon on a website called the Jeff rense program; it had become known as a beacon for independent journalism on the Internet and covered stories that the mainstream media would not cover for many reasons; subjects which were viewed as taboo. And so it was, I kept on coming across this name Gilad Atzmon; a writer who was not afraid to tackle some very thorny issues. I read more and more from Gilad and visited his website where I discovered he was also a jazz musician. Coincidentally, around the same time, a friend contacted me to tell me a great Jazz band was playing locally and we should go see them. The band in question was called:- the Orient House Ensemble featuring Gilad Atzmon. This is where my initiation into the world of Gilad Atzmon began some 6 years ago…
His book ‘The Wandering Who?’ begins in Israel where Gilad was born, and tells how he was brought up and indoctrinated into the Zionist ideology. At first he embraced it and all went well until one day he heard some Jazz playing on the radio. It was Charlie Parker the legendary Bebop saxophone player. It seems that Gilad had an epiphany whilst listening to Charlie Parker, his curiosity was ignited and he had to find out more. Shortly after he rushed into Jerusalem to buy all the Charlie Parker records he could find (two), he quickly became obsessed with Jazz and began to lose all interest in the IDF which he was about to join. When eventually the time came to join the IDF Gilad decided to join the Israeli Air Force Orchestra, preferring music to armed conflict. Whilst playing for the IAFO he and his fellow musicians noticed if they played badly they had less bookings, which they all wanted, and so they practiced playing badly.
How to sabotage the system in order to strive for a personal ideal.
Gilad on playing badly for the Israeli Air Force Orchestra.
One day the orchestra was taken to an internment camp in South Lebanon. They were being given a guided tour when it suddenly struck him in another epiphany that this was a concentration camp and he was the Nazi. It shook Gilad to his core and 2 weeks later he escaped to Europe to busk.
Jazz had been my escape route.
He lasted till December then the cold drove him back to Israel but he hungered to return to Europe and the happy-go-lucky Goyim. Back in Israel, Gilad absorbed himself in music ever deeper, and began exploring Arabian and Palestinian music. Initially he found it very difficult to play this music, after some time he realised it was not sufficient to understand or know the notes to play, he had to identify with the music and become one with it in order to be able to play it with any authenticity.
It is listening that stands at the core of deep comprehension – to empathise is to accept the primacy of the ear.
Through this deep listening, Gilad gradually opened himself to others and their suffering. He asks difficult questions to get to the root of the Jewish malaise…and comes to some very interesting conclusions.
Jewish political discourse is always set as a form of negation…
Pre-Traumatic Stress Syndrome can be realised as a self-fulfilling prophecy. The amplified fear matures into a traumatic reality.
Dialectic of negation
He comments about the tense relations regarding identity for various marginal groups, but also the refusal of such groups to be identified by others. Thus the identity is seen as belonging to the group and not those outside the group who may try to identify that group by it various social markers. This division and control of our social and religious groups has increased and with it so has the conflict. But ultimately the labels are all arbitrary, and keep us locked into the primitive dialectic of conflict and consent by which we are all controlled. Through the labels we define borders, walls, security barriers, ghettos and limits of language, but at the end of the day we are all human beings on one world. It seems that the dialectic of negation is what our society has become obsessed with out of a misguided zeal for capitalism. It the Law of supremacy where might is right. Yet power without ethics just leads to terrible abuses and suffering as we have seen all too often.
What purpose do Holocaust denial laws serve? What is the Holocaust religion there to conceal?
The truth is the suffering of the Jews is no different to others who have suffered throughout the world. Suffering is Universal; it is the Weltschmerz, the blues of the Universe. The difference is that various Jewish factions have made an industry out of the Holocaust and done their best to trademark it as their own, that is why they want to legislate against discussion of this subject. To undermine the Holocaust is to undermine the very legitimacy of the state of Israel itself and hence it is strictly forbidden.
There is no Jewish conspiracy it all happens out in the open.
Gilad seeks to define the various streams of the Jewish identity, Zionist, Neocon, Anti-Zionist, Jewish Settlers and Diaspora Jews. He makes the point that they are all quite closely linked and often all pull together often out of misguided loyalty to their Jewish identity, whatever that may be perceived as. But the one thing that unites them all is the Holocaust.
I agree with Gilad that much is out in the open but I would also add that there is an exoteric and esoteric side to the Jewish identity mythos. On the one hand it is a Zionist propaganda machine based on the Judaism and the Holocaust religion, on the other hand the Kabbalah is an ancient & impressive system of mystical and magical knowledge. This inner core of esoteric information and ritual is also used to influence and recruit the rich and powerful into its Zionist agenda.
Ethics is out the window with negation, there is no universal law, there is our law and their law. The dialectic of negation is doomed and here we see the curse of the Jewish nation. In their obsession with negation they lack any sense of ethics whilst at the same time desiring to appear morally superior.
Ethics and temporality can be seen as an endless dialogue between yesterday and tomorrow
Eventually one comes to the conclusion reading Gilad’s book – that is not just the Jews that are suffering from this identity crisis. Globalization and capitalism without ethics has only made the feelings of alienation worse amongst all nations.
Gilad seems to suggest that what we really need is a dialogical approach. Dialogic does not require a supreme position to dominate.
“It does not merely answer, correct, silence, or extend a previous work, but informs and is continually informed by the previous work.” Wikipedia
Conflict and consent are not needed as rules evolve to suit each particular circumstance. In the Dialetic model there must be a winner and a loser and so the conflict never ends. In the Dialogic model there are no winner or losers. It’s a win-win solution, not through conflict or consent but through evolving co-operation and compromise. I hope that Israel and the Jewish people can break free from its outworn mode of primitive dialectic of negation and embrace a new age of enlightenment and engagement.
If you are looking for a thought-provoking read then look no further. Gilad’s heretical views rarely make it onto TV and radio. He is generally censored, sanitised, and edited to remove all of his controversial opinions. The great thing about this book is that it is well-researched and written, a brilliant analysis of a very complicated conundrum. Atzmon speaks the unspeakable with great wit & wisdom.