Gilad Atzmon

jazz artist-world music-live dates-author-thoughts-Jewish Identity-Politics-Athens & Jerusalem-The Wandering Who? Being in Time

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Gilad Atzmon: Being in Time

Time Banking and Social Changes

(A talk given at the 'Palestine, Israel, Germany- The Boundaries of Open Discussion Conference’,  Freiburg 11th September 2011)

 

Dear ladies and gentlemen.

 

I will begin my talk with an unusual confession. Though I was born in Israel, in the first thirty years of my life I did not know much about the Nakba, the brutal and racially driven ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian population in 1948 by the newly born Israeli State. My peers and myself knew about a single massacre, namely, Deir Yassin but we were not at all familiar with the vast scale of atrocities committed by our grandparents. We believed that the Palestinians had voluntarily fled.  We were told that they had run away and we did not find any reason to doubt that this had indeed been the case. 

Let me tell you that in all my years in Israel, I have never heard the word Nakba spoken. This may sound pathetic, or even absurd to you -- but what about you?  Shouldn’t you also ask yourself -- when was the first time you heard the word Nakba? Perhaps you can also try to recall when this word settled comfortably into your lexicon. Let me help you here -- I have carried out a little research amongst my European and American Palestinian solidarity friends, and most of them had only heard the word Nakba for the first time, just a few short years ago, whilst others admitted that they had only started to use the word themselves three or four years ago. 

But isn’t that a slightly strange state of affairs? After all, the Nakba took place more than six decades ago. How is it that only recently it found its way into our symbolic order?

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Gilad Atzmon: An Interesting Exchange With A Jewish Anti Zionist

Daniel:  If you ask, for instance, why were the Jews repeatedly hated in so many places along their history, as you do in some of your texts, you create room for anti-Semites who may say it is because they are intrinsically evil.

Gilad: To start with, as a thinking being full of curiosity, I do not take instructions from anti Semites or Zionists or Jewish anti Zionist campaigners. I instead follow my instincts and go along with my sincere ethically driven truth-seeking adventure. Also, I believe that the answer you attributed to anti Semites can be easily addressed. Jews cannot be ‘intrinsically evil’ because Jews do not form a racial or ethnic continuum. Any racial attribution to Jews is clearly wrong and silly.

Daniel: I actually do not agree with your approach.   The appropriate answer to the above question is that in the Middle Ages Jews were barred from many professions except money trade and peddling, two professions which could easily arouse disdain and hate.

Gilad: Dear Daniel, with all due respect, such an answer is far from being sufficient. In Europe at least, Jews have been emancipated since the French Revolution. By the end of the 19th century most European Jews enjoyed equal rights.  And yet, something went  horribly wrong in the 1920s-30’s. Our duty then, is to understand, what was it? Why did it happen? Why do Jews encounter resentment all too often and in many different places?

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Re-Arranging the 20th Century: Allegro, non Troppo by Gilad Atzmon

 

23.2.06

(Cartoon by Khalil)
"I say this as the child of a German Jewish-born father who escaped in time. His mother did not. I say it as a half-Jewish German child chased around a British playground in the second world war and taunted with "he's not just a German, he's a Jew". A double insult. But I say this too as a Christian priest who shares the historic guilt of all the churches. All Christians share a bloody inheritance." Paul Oestreicher - The Guardian Monday 20th February 2006 (Paul Oestreicher is a chaplain at the University of Sussex)
"What about freedom of expression when anti-Semitism is involved? Then it is not freedom of expression. Then it is a crime. Yet when Islam is insulted, certain powers raise the issue of freedom of expression." Amr Moussa, Arab League Secretary General

 

 “There is a myth that we love freedom, others don’t: that our attachment to freedom is a product of culture; that freedom, democracy, human rights, the rule of law are American values, or Western values…Ours are not Western values, they are the universal values of the Human spirit”. Tony Blair, a speech given at a joint session of the United States Congress, summer 2003
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