We have learned a secret about jazz musician and philosopher Gilad Atzmon in the last few days: the man only has two speeds, 100 mph (that's 161 kph for the Brits reading this) and zero. His energy wore out a crowd of 25 folks in Ypsilanti, Michigan Friday evening and about 50 listeners in Toledo, Ohio Thursday, yet at last sighting he was going strong.
Though leaving his audiences without a clear path of "what to do", he certainly provides a lot of thought-provoking ideas for the uninitiated to chew upon. So much so, that a Jewish doctor and friend stormed out of his Friday delivery midstream, shocked, shocked at the idea that an examination of Jewish collective behavior could possibly be helpful in understanding the actions of others. Gilad waxes nostalgic over the loveable bigot Archie Bunker, whom he describes as the last free self-expressing person and urged those in his audience to give up the shackles of political correctness and speak our minds. Patriotism, he instructed, is the ability to admire our surrounding rivers, valleys, mountains while using and preserving our First Amendment rights.
He expounded on the nature of Jewish Power for us -- it is the invisible hand that forbids us from speaking about Jewish Power. He claimed that AIPAC (American-Israel Public Affairs Committee) is *not* an example of Jewish Power, but the power resides in Jewish leaders of the peace movement who – like the anti-aircraft batteries protecting a military target – provide cover for targets like AIPAC. As such, Gilad identifies for us these leaders – Medea Benjamin of Code Pink and Rebecca Vilkomerson of Jewish Voice for Peace to name just two - who place Jewish tribalism and a faux focus on "anti-Semitism" at primary levels in the peace movement, while the effort to actually liberate Palestine remains secondary. This observation is now being questioned by Atzmon supporters like Paul Larudee in his recent piece, "The Palestine Liberation Movement is not about Anti-Semitism".
Gilad at JWPF Vigil
Mr. Atzmon slowed down just long enough to join ten members of Jewish Witness for Peace and Friends at our May 25 vigil in front of the Zionist Beth Israel Congregation. Following that, after a quick breakfast with JWPF vigilers, he was hustled off to Detroit Metro airport to head east for his NYC and Washington DC appearances. Thank you, Gilad for recognizing the importance of our weekly vigils.