Atzmon writes on political matters, social issues, Jewish identity and culture. His papers are published on very many press outlets around the world. Here is just a short list of his recent publications: World News, Press Tv, Rebelion, The Daily Telegraph, Uprooted Palestinians, Veterans Today, Palestine Telegraph, Counterpunch, Dissident Voice, Aljazeera Magazine, Information Clearing House, Middle-East-Online, Palestine Chronicle, The People Voice, Redress, Shoa (The Palestinian Holocaust) , The Guardian, transcend and many more.
Jewish identity is tied up with some of the most difficult and contentious issues of today. The purpose in this book is to open many of these issues up for discussion. Since Israel defines itself openly as the ‘Jewish State’, we should ask what the notions of ’Judaism’, ‘Jewishness’, ‘Jewish culture’ and ‘Jewish ideology’ stand for. Gilad examines the tribal aspects embedded in Jewish secular discourse, both Zionist and anti Zionist; the ‘holocaust religion’; the meaning of ‘history’ and ‘time’ within the Jewish political discourse; the anti-Gentile ideologies entangled within different forms of secular Jewish political discourse and even within the Jewish left. He questions what it is that leads Diaspora Jews to identify themselves with Israel and affiliate with its politics. The devastating state of our world affairs raises an immediate demand for a conceptual shift in our intellectual and philosophical attitude towards politics, identity politics and history.
I have seen many jazz clubs in my life but this is the best! The food is really good, the with e list is good, the room is awesome and the back bands were hot.
The opening act was The Clark Tracey Quintet and I have never seen such musicianship. Tight and deep harmonics from the sax, trumpet and occasion am flugelhorn. Best jazz band I have ever seen - until the next band played.
The Charlie Parker experience with Gilad Atzmon was better. I have wept at four performances in my life because they were so good. I wept four times on this one night. Gilad was an amazing sax and clarinet player, witty, charming and smart. Go see him! For this performance there was a string quartet in addition to the sax, piano, drums and bass.
And go to Ronnie Scott's. It looks straight out of an old classic movie and the acoustics are great. A very small venue with very few bad seats.
As his long-time followers will know, there are two Gilad Atzmons. One is the expat political activist-cum-philosopher who can quote Hegel and enjoys making the sort of incendiary comments about Zionism that are usually hidden away in the murkier end of the internet. The other is the nonconformist saxophonist who blends bebop virtuosity with the immediacy and intensity of folk rhythms from the Balkans and the Middle East.
It was the latter, thankfully, who had the upper hand in this celebration of Charlie Parker’s with-strings recordings. Between numbers, the verbal sallies, rendered in Atzmon’s gruff Israeli accent, were mostly confined to opaque jokes at the expense of the Milibands, not to mention Marxists who can afford the admission prices at Ronnie Scott’s. The audience often didn’t quite know what to make of his muttered asides, and you sometimes had the impression that Atzmon, ever the contrarian, enjoyed their discomfort.
But his music spoke to the heart as well as the head. Instead of going for airbrushed, note-perfect reproductions of the originals, he imposed his own vision, his band improvising opposite the Sigamos String Quartet led by violinist and arranger Ros Stephen. The settings on the vintage Parker tracks come with a coating of Hollywood treacle. Here, the sound was leaner and much more angular.
The programme pushed forward into the modern era too. A heavily disguised What Is This Thing Called Love? was suspended over a funky beat, the strings largely confined to a spartan but atmospheric two-bar phrase. Atzmon’s own piece, Moscow — taken from his recent album Songs of the Metropolis — was rather more long-winded and portentous. But earlier on, when he asked us to imagine what Parker might have played if he had been raised in Gaza, his reedy, nasal timbre charted a stark and compelling new path.
[presented at the Alterity Conference, Genoa, Italy; July 2014]
– Michael McAnear, PhD*
In 2010 the National Association of Scholars in the US analyzed what incoming freshmen are asked to read as part of college orientation programs prior to their starting school. Surveying 290 programs, the analyses concluded that “[. . .] the preponderance of reading assignments promotes liberal social causes and liberal sensibilities. Of the 180 books, 126 (70 percent) either explicitly promote a liberal political agenda or advance a liberal interpretation of events. By contrast, the study identifies only three books (less than 2 percent) that promote a conservative sensibility and none that promote conservative political causes." Common knowledge holds that the academy is dominated by the Left, and conservative commentators all over the West bemoan this fact. In Germany, for example, the leftist 68rs—so named to mark the cultural upheavals of the late sixties—are resented by some for their long standing dominance. Even in 1990, an editorialist for the right-of-center Die Welt was writing that “The ideology of the 68rs has settled like fine dust … into every nook and cranny of society.” As to the reading lists mentioned above, the president of the organization conducting the survey wrote that it supports these programs on American campuses but wants them out of "the rut of promoting trendy causes." Something is wrong when "books on Africa outnumber books on Europe nearly six to one,” (Jaschik).
On the Right there is a compelling theory circulating to explain the Left’s dominance, a notion put forth not only in scholarly writings but of course spread on the Internet. The theory holds that the so-called Frankfurt School has exerted overwhelming influence in the West to shape cultural discourse in the academy, media, and society at large. This paper investigates the strong criticisms directed at the Frankfurt School and its legacy following more than a half century of prevailing influence in European and American academia, particularly in the social sciences where notions of cultural pluralism dominate the discourse. Conservative commentators have claimed that the Frankfurt School’s thrust has been entirely ideological, and it has eschewed empiricism to assault Western society through the production of countless identities—countless others—which are in explicit opposition to the dominant culture. Women’s liberation, the gay movement, minority interest groups and radical-progressiveness of all shades: conservatives view these as attacks on tradition and yet they are firmly ensconced in the academy and largely considered mainstream. But the overarching ideology of the ‘Other’ is defined solely by negation of the mainstream, say its critics. So, as the argument goes, the Frankfurt School’s formulation of alterity prevents authentic identity building because of its adversarial stance. The self is defined chiefly by what it is against, leaving scarce room for genuine self-affirmation and authenticity (Atzmon).
The opening salvo in this critique appeared in 1992 with the publication of Michael Minnicino’s “The Frankfurt School and Political Correctness” in the far-right American journal Fidelio. He writes that the “irrational adolescent outbursts of the 1960s have become institutionalized in a ‘permanent revolution’ [and] our campuses now represent the largest concentration of Marxist dogma in the world (3).” He traces this development to the 1920s, when the Institute for Social Research was established as a Marxist think tank associated with the University of Frankfurt and which became known as the Frankfurt School. Following the Bolshevik Revolution, global communism believed that the proletarian revolution would sweep into Europe and ultimately to North America. But it didn’t, so Frankfurt School theoreticians set out to implement Antonio Gramsci’s inspired judgment that social revolution occurs through the permeation and gradual command of the means of cultural production and policy-making, through cultural hegemony. Author Minnicini identifies the initial guiding light of the Frankfurt School, a Jewish Hungarian aristocrat-turned-communist named Georg Lukacs, a prolific cultural and literary critic who allegedly asked when joining the Communist Party during the 1st World War, “Who will save us from Western Civilization?” It appears the Frankfurt School had a bone to pick with the West from the outset.
Alimuddin Usmani: As I write to you, the ceasefire has, once again, collapsed between Israel and Palestinian fighters in Gaza. In its attempt to kill Hamas armed wing leader, Mohammed Deif, the IDF failed, and instead killed his wife and infant son.
It is increasingly clear that Israel is stuck in this conflict and doesn't know how to end it. You were the first to say that Israel was "desperate for a break in the violence."
How were you able to predict this outcome when most analysts failed?
Gilad Atzmon: Unlike the Jewish ‘progressive’ commentators who have dominated the Palestinian solidarity discourse for about two decades, I am a reactionary essentialist. I believe that events in history and politics become meaningful only when analyzed within an rigorous essentialist context. Righteous progressive Jews suffocate the discourse with tons of anecdotal details in order to conceal the Jewish ideology at the core of the crimes committed by the Jewish State and the Lobby. I firmly believe that every Israeli and Jewish collective political activity from AIPAC to Mondoweiss can be understood within the framework of Jewish culture, ideology and heritage.
By now I am not a lone voice anymore. Many scholars and commentators detect the obvious spin at the heart of the Jewish progressive discourse. The Jewish State openly proclaims its commitment to Jewishness, Jewish values and heritage, making the Jewish progressive attempt to prevent an understanding of Israeli crime and Jewish lobbying within the context of Jewish culture, ideology and heritage almost amusing.
As an essentialist it is clear that Israeli barbarism, the Nakba, the Holodomor, the Zio-driven neocon movement and even the crimes committed by the Yiddish speaking International Brigade at the time of the Spanish Civil war must be examined in the light of Jewish goy hatred, Jewish supremacy and the unique sense of Jewish righteousness inextricably intertwined with Jewish self-love.
"Ian Donovan is a long-time Marxist, currently independent of the putative Marxist organisations, but active in the Left Unity broad left party as well as a signatory to its Communist Platform. This list was issued to encourage others on the left to read about the Jewish question as preparation for a discussion in the near future."
One of Marx’s earliest published essays. This is in two parts: the first of which ought to be uncontroversial, as in replying to Bruno Bauer it puts forward a simple call for political emancipation of the Jews and freedom of religion. The second part, however, is highly controversial, as it contains passages such as:
“What is the secular basis of Judaism? Practical need, self-interest. What is the worldly religion of the Jew? Huckstering. What is his worldly God? Money. Very well then! Emancipation from huckstering and money, consequently from practical, real Judaism, would be the self-emancipation of our time.
“An organization of society which would abolish the preconditions for huckstering, and therefore the possibility of huckstering, would make the Jew impossible. His religious consciousness would be dissipated like a thin haze in the real, vital air of society. On the other hand, if the Jew recognizes that this practical nature of his is futile and works to abolish it, he extricates himself from his previous development and works for human emancipation as such and turns against the supreme practical expression of human self-estrangement.