Friday, June 18, 2010

Time for world to confront Israel: Gilad Atzmon

Thursday, June 17, 2010
Gilad Atzmon Interviewed by Shabana Syed:  “I come from them, and I know how they think.”

Israeli-born British jazz saxophonist Gilad Atzmon

According to the famous Israeli-born Jazz musician, Gilad Atzmon, “The ideology that carried out execution-style killings on the Gaza aid flotilla the ‘Mavi Marmara’ is the same ideology that carried out the massacres at Deir Yassin, Qibya, Sabra and Shatilla, Qana, Gaza, Jenin and the murder of Rachel Corrie — more than that it is the same ideology that killed Christ.” He continues: “there is no biological, racial or ethnic continuum between the ancient Israelites and the contemporary Israelis. The attack on the aid convoy is a continuum of the same ideology that killed Christ. Christ’s killing is a symbol of a brutal assault against goodness, in the same way the attack on the aid convoy was against humanity and compassion.” Speaking to Arab News after the deadly attack on the aid Flotilla where 9 peace activists were shot dead and around 50 injured Atzmon was scathing against Israel’s actions and demanded that it should be stripped of its UN membership.

Atzmon is a former Israeli soldier who now lives in London. He is not only a renowned author and writer but also a famous award-winning jazz musician. Described as a musical genius he has recorded with the likes of Robbie Williams, Sinead O Connor, Robert Wyatt, Paul McCartney, Tunisian singer Dhaffer Youssef and countless others.

With a strong presence on and off stage and a disarming smile, Atzmon has a huge following not only for his music but for being a unique thinker and philosopher.

Admired for his fearless stance against oppression, he is also at the forefront of a taboo discourse that many will not venture into out of fear of being branded anti-Semite; and that is the discourse on the Jewish identity, Zionism and Israel.

Because of this stance, he has been branded a “Jew self-hater.” Atzmon smiles: “in fact I correct them ‘I am not only a self-hater but a proud self-hater.’”

The accusations do not deter him as he is quite vocal about the self-hatred he feels for the Israeli part of him.

He argues: “We are dealing here with a morbid collective that sets itself against humanity.” He believes the reason why he is at the forefront of this discourse is because he is more able than others to understand Israeli mentality because, “I come from them, and I know how they think.”

He himself has studied for many years the issue of the Jewish identity, and in his talks is often found quoting philosophers like the Austrian Otto Weininger, Kant, Heidegger, Nietzsche, Lacan, Marx as well as Eastern philosophers.

He explains: “Israel has violated all international laws, it has never been held accountable for the countless massacres.” However, he argues the latest massacre of peace activists on the aid flotilla with the emerging forensic reports which suggest Israeli execution-style killings of the 9 peace activists has resulted in shock horror around the world.

“The remarkable fact is they don’t understand why the world is beginning to stand against them in the same way they didn’t understand why the Europeans stood against them in the 1930s. Instead of asking why we are hated they continue to toss accusations on others.”


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