On Beauty, Palestine and Controlled Opposition

Kevin Amara speaks with Gilad Atzmon


 Kevin Amara: First of all, you were recently featured on Pink Floyd’s brand new album, The Endless River, can you tell us how it happened?  

Gilad Atzmon: I received a phone call from David Gilmour who invited me to a session in his London studio. I didn’t realise at that stage that it was for Pink Floyd’s album. I thought that it was a solo project for Gilmour. Only when I was in the studio did I understand that I was playing with ‘The Band.’ In the past I have I worked with Robert Wyatt and have also recorded with Phil Manzanera who produced the new Pink Floyd album. I am sure that these were contributing factors to my inclusion. I am very excited to be featured on a Pink Floyd album. I grew up on their music and listening to even one bar of this epic glory makes me feel nostalgic and young.

Kevin Amara: Roger Waters didn’t participate on this album. He’s an enthusiastic anti-Zionist activist. What do you think of his many denunciations of the war Israel is waging against Palestine?

Gilad Atzmon: I obviously admire the man for speaking out and also admire him as a musician. In general I feel much more comfortable with artists who, like Waters, express their own voice. I am usually embarrassed when I see artists signing on to collective political pamphlets.  I still want to believe that artists are strong individuals rather than a part of an ‘ideological collective.’  

Kevin Amara: How do you explain that just a few influential people are inclined to do the same thing?  

Gilad Atzmon: Jewish power is the obvious cause. It is, crude, vile and often lethal.  I define Jewish power as ‘the capacity to silence discussion on Jewish power.’ Saying what you think about Israel or the Jewish lobby can be a very painful and sometimes costly adventure. Those who follow my work know that I argue that Zionism, AIPAC, The CRIFF and Israeli impunity are all symptoms of Jewish power. The crux of this negative force is sustained by the Jewish Left – people and organisations like Chomsky, Democracy Now, JVP and Mondoweiss. These organsations demand the right to determine the boundaries of discussion. Instead of teaching us ‘how to think for ourselves’, they teach us ‘what to say on their behalf.’   

Kevin Amara: Your own band, The Orient House Ensemble, is celebrating its 15th anniversary by launching its eighth album, "The Whistle Blower." What was the genesis of this project?

Gilad Atzmon: To start with, music is my life. Music, for me, is the search for beauty and aims at an ultimate and undeniable truth.  When real beauty appears, it is an undisputable instant. As such, music is the total opposite of the political, that is the origin of duplicity and provides a home for the liar.

I am interested in the role of the whistle blower in our culture-the one who delivers the truth. One could wonder, why do we need whistle blowers? Don’t we live in a ‘free’ society? Is not the Western universe the fulfillment of our wishes, true will and whims? Apparently not. Western Liberal Democracy is neither ‘liberal’ nor does it reflect the spirit or values of democracy. The whistle blower provides a surge of truthfulness. It is an instant of perception, an insight into the belly of the beast.

In my new album  (The Whistle Blower) I attempt to extend the notion of both ‘whistling’ and ‘blowing.’  It is a home coming adventure. It is a call to reinstate the relentless Athenian search for exactitude and truthfulness.  And here is my comic twist on the topic. The title track is basically a cheesy 1960’s pop tune. It reintroduces wolf whistling, that whistle men used to produce in the 1960’s when a glorious woman passed by.  As a youngster I had the impression that women were generally flattered by the gesture. However, by the time I became an adult, whistling at women was pretty much prohibited by the ‘tyranny of correctness,’ a disastrous cultural regime imposed on us by different merchants of ID politics. PC culture has devastated the neutrality of cross-gender exchange. Our libidinal instinct must be suppressed in the name of correctness.

I see political correctness as a vile enemy of humanity and a crude interference with the notion of elementary freedom and authenticity. Instead of ‘saying what we think,’ we are trained to ‘think before we say.’ I define ‘political correctness’ ‘ as ‘politics that doesn’t allow political opposition.’ It is interesting that the same definition can be attributed to tyranny. But political correctness is far more vile than tyranny. Under tyranny we understand that there is a clear distinction between the ruler and the oppressed political subject; in the case of political correctness we are dealing with a radical form of self-suppression.

My remedy is musical and comical. In my concerts, I teach my audience, both men and women, how to wolf-whistle. Believe it or not, the ladies are much more assertive in this regard. Seemingly, they crave that male attention that was suppressed or even murdered by militant feminists for decades. 

Kevin Amara: Speaking about music, we just learned that you were stopped from playing your music in a concert hall in Nottingham. What is your position on this and how do you live with this outcry?

Gilad Atzmon: Yep. A few weeks ago, Gedling Council in Nottingham stopped me from playing a concert in their venue because they felt that such a concert would ‘interfere with racial interrelation within the community.’  It happen a few days after Charlie Hebdo, and the council reacted in panic to a call from a few people who have remained anonymous.  I have good reason to believe that the city council regrets its decision by now.  

As in the case of Dieudonne, the council’s decision backfired. The promoters moved the concert to a new venue and it sold out immediately. Since then, the entire local press including the BBC has favored my position, while the council has said nothing to justify its decision. I was initially scheduled to just perform music in Gedling as I have done before. Now many new people in Nottingham have become aware of my ideas. I was invited to give talks in town. Videos of my talks in Nottingham have been watched by around 60.000-70.000 people. And unless the council comes to its senses, it will face serious legal complications. Those who foolishly tried to stop me from playing my music in a small city theatre saw the concert become a local rally in my support that is now emerging into a little movement.

Note: Since this interview took place, Gedling Council has reviewed its position and confirmed that Gilad Atzmon is welcome in Council’s venues and the decision to deny entry was due to hyper sensitivity to do with the Charlie Hebdo Massacre. More on that story shortly

Kevin Amara: Now it seems to happen to you too.

Gilad Atzmon: The attempts to stop Dieudonné were totally counter effective. Dieudonne is now one of the most popular people in France. I would expect my detractors to know this. In fact that single failed attempt to stop me has produced so much support for my work that some cynical supporters of mine now suspect that I orchestrated the ban myself.  

Kevin Amara: You recently met the controversial Professor Faurisson in his home, why did you feel the need to do such a televised interview and what do you make of this interview?

Gilad Atzmon: I find it totally disgraceful that in ‘free’ Europe, Europeans are penalized for their thoughts or beliefs. It is crucial to talk to all the scholars, artists and intellectuals who have been silenced. It is essential for us to understand their vision of the world. Like Heidegger and Lyotard, I believe that History that pretends to ‘narrate the past’ is, in fact, a sophisticated, mechanism designed to conceal our collective shame. Those whom we are not allowed to hear or try to understand are often those who have managed to articulate the true meaning of our collective shame.

Kevin Amara: Could you give us your opinion on the work of Professor Faurisson?  

Gilad Atzmon: I am not an historian and cannot give a scholarly judgment of Faurisson’s work. But I am certain that there is nothing he says that justifies the panic surrounding him. As I suggest in The Wandering Who, the importance of history is the ability to re-vise and re-write the past. Accordingly, revisionism is the only possible method of true historical research. The French government’s interference with our ability to re-visit and re-vise our past is a crude crime against humanity and humanism. It is an interference with our core of Being in time. ‘Being in time’ is the ability to travel back and forth among past, present and future. History provides a narrative of the past as we move along. It allows connectivity between our vision of the future and our interpretation of the past. This interpretation of history allows for a changing vision of the past and implies that we can determine our future. We can for instance, look at the past in an attempt to prevent wars.

Kevin Amara: Last month, France suffered what was described as a terrorist attack. Since then, the laws are becoming increasingly repressive and a very large number of soldiers patrol daily, many of them specifically in front of the Jewish places of worship. What is your position about this?

Gilad Atzmon: I guess that Jews may well be in danger and yet I fail to see any Jewish self-reflection. Instead of Jewish leaders attempting to understand the role of Israel, the Jewish Lobby and Jewish Power, Jewish leaders do as they always do; blame the ‘Goyim’ for being ‘anti Semitic.’ How banal and counter effective is that? It is very depressing to witness because most commentators including me, pretty much agree that there is no prospect of a collective solution to the Jewish question. Israel is doomed. It will cease to exist in the near future. It might once have been seen as a solution, it clearly is not a solution now. Diaspora Jews must be either mad or stupid if they see Israel as a ‘sanctuary.’ Even more concerning is that instead of integrating into European, American or Western society, many Jews are engaged in building barriers again. A few weeks ago we learned that the vast majority of British Jews don’t see Britain as their home. We are talking about a community that settled here more than a century ago. The conclusion is devastating-assimilation and integration that were the Jewish alternative to Zionism- failed completely. Even within the Palestinian solidarity movement the Jews encircled themselves within ghetto walls, working largely within Jews only organisations such as JVP, IJAN, Jewish JFJFP, etc. that are even more racially exclusive than Israel. I can’t make up my mind whether it is amusing or tragic. It is certainly pathetic and I take the credit for exposing the inherent duplicity that is unfortunately intrinsic to Jewish Left politics and anti Zionists in particular.

Kevin Amara: After the Copenhagen synagogue attack that led to the death of one man, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on European Jews to settle down in Israel. Addressing the European Jews, Benjamin Netanyahu proclaimed in a communiqué: "Israel is your home. We are prepared to welcome an immigration of mass from Europe.” What is your feeling on this matter?

Gilad Atzmon: I am convinced that the Jewish elite has grasped by now that Israel’s days are numbered, it may take a year or two, maybe even a decade, but the Jewish settlement in Zion is doomed. It cannot be saved or recovered.  And indeed, as I wrote in The Wandering Who, there is a counter flow of inspiration between Israel and the Diaspora - the Israelis want to escape while many Diaspora Jews want to settle in Zion.

Once again, it is the poor Jews who are going to pay the ultimate price for the crimes that are committed by an exploitive arrogant elite that will manage to stay on top.

Kevin Amara: About Israeli domestic politics, political parties representing Arab voters have finally succeeded in presenting a single list in parliamentary elections this March 17th. How do you feel about it?

Gilad Atzmon: Orgasmic is probably the right expression. By the way, some polls suggest that the Arab party will be the 3rd biggest party in Israel. This is fascinating because while in ‘Zionist’ Israel Arabs are sitting in the Knesset, Jewish ‘anti ‘Zionist organisations keep their boards entirely Jewish. Seemingly, the Zionists are far more progressive than their so-called ‘progressive’ opponents. Let me be clear, this is not an endorsement of Israel or Zionism; it is just another nail in the Jewish progressive coffin. 

Kevin Amara: Could you explain to our readers the "differences", the false opposition, between Zionists of the right and Zionists of the left? 

Gilad Atzmon: In The Wandering Who I refer to a quote that is attributed to Chaim Weizmann, probably the most sophisticated early Zionist, who says “there are no French Jews, English Jews or American Jews, there are Jews who live in France, Jews who live in England and Jews who live in America.” According to Weizmann, Jewishness is a primary quality. Such a view defies the possibility of assimilation. You can never escape your Jewishness.  One would expect that anti Zionist Jews would oppose Weizmann’s formulation and join anti Israeli formations as ordinary people. I guess that a few do, I can probably count them on one hand. But the vast majority follow Weizmannian agendas. Instead of being anti Zionist Jews, i.e. anti Zionists of Jewish ethnicity or origin, they prefer to be Jews who oppose Zionism as Jews. They retain the primacy of their Jewishness and maintain all symptom of Jewish racial exclusivism. As I mention above, the Jewish anti Zionists are more racist and exceptionalist than the Jewish State. The Israeli Knesset has a few Arab members, but on the board of Jewish Socialist Group or JVP you don’t find a single gentile let alone an Arab. And why?  Because they are not ‘racially qualified.’

The conclusion is obvious, unless Jews drift away from Jewish racism; their ‘anti Zionist’ campaign cannot be taken seriously.  However, when the secular Jew stops being defined by Jewish racism, there is nothing left of his or her Jewishness. My study suggests that the entire Jewish anti Zionist campaign is an extended controlled opposition apparatus. It exists to convey an image of ‘Jewish ethics’ and is motivated primarily by Jewish self-interests.  If you want to understand why the Palestinian solidarity movement has failed, the answer is simple; it wasn’t supposed to succeed.  

Kevin Amara: What would be your opinion on the issue of an alter-Zionism, which could help to overcome the antagonism Zionism / Anti-Zionism, which would open a référedum offered to both nationalities, Palestinian and Israeli, in order to ask them what solution would be the better? (two countries, a country where both cohabit ...)

Gilad Atzmon: The notion of peace or reconciliation doesn’t even exist in Hebrew: the Word shalom that is usually translated into English as ‘peace’ actually translates as ‘security for the Jews.’ It is a Judeo-centric concept. Unless Israelis and Jews are removed from Judeo centrism peace in any form is inconceivable. Yet, you have to ask yourself, what are the chances that Jews would drop their Judeo-centrism voluntarily? Zero. There is no prospect of any peaceful resolution. Israel will become Palestine due to a transformation caused by the obvious facts on the ground