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Apr-04-2012 00:52printcommentsVideo

Ali Abunimah on History & Culture

It is obvious to me that, Abunimah didn’t think it through. However, it is never too late to admit a mistake and get it right.

Gilad Atzmon
Gilad Atzmon photo courtesy:

(LONDON) - In the clip below I elaborate on Ali Abunimah’s attitude towards history and culture.

I contend that since Israel defines itself as the Jewish State and its tanks are decorated with Jewish symbols, we are entitled to ask ourselves who are the Jews and what is Judaism and Jewishness?

In my work I try to grasp the role and the impact of Jewish culture on Israeli and Jewish politics - something I believe necessary to bring peace to the region and beyond.

But Ali Abunimah doesn’t agree.

In reference to a talk I gave at the Stuttgart One State Conference (Dec 2010), he suggested that history and politics are detached from culture. This is an unusual approach which contradicts all recognized, intellectual and philosophical understandings of humanity, history, politics as well as culture.

Abunimah says:

    “Talking about Jewish culture, is wrong because such arguments can be made about anyone. We could blame German culture for the history of Germany...”

Someone should tell Abunimah that this is exactly what intellectuals, historian and political scientists do.

They search for the origin of political thoughts in culture, ideology, religion and heritage.

For instance, those who study the Nazi eratry to comprehend the impact of Wagner, the German symphony, Protestant culture, German philosophy, Martin Luther’s “The Jews And Their Lies”, Hegel and the German Spirit, German Early Romanticism, Lebensphilosophie, Heine, Athens vs. Jerusalem and so on.

It is obvious to me that, Abunimah didn’t think it through. However, it is never too late to admit a mistake and get it right.

To view Atzmon’s Stuttgart presentation follow


Gilad Atzmon was born in Israel in 1963 and had his musical training at the Rubin Academy of Music, Jerusalem (Composition and Jazz). As a multi-instrumentalist he plays Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Baritone Saxes, Clarinet and Flutes. His album Exile was the BBC jazz album of the year in 2003. He has been described by John Lewis on the Guardian as the “hardest-gigging man in British jazz".

Gilad Atzmon's essays are widely published. His novels 'Guide to the perplexed' and 'My One And Only Love' have been translated into 24 languages.

As a member of the Blockheads, Gilad has also recorded and performed with Ian Dury, Robbie Williams, Sinead O'Connor and Paul McCartney. Gilad has also recorded with Robert Wyatt, the Water Boys and many others. Learn more about Gilad by visiting his Website

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M. Dennis Paul, Ph.D. April 4, 2012 9:49 pm (Pacific time)

The points you make here, Gilad, are perhaps the most important points for one considering the factors and artifacts of life that coalesce to form the body of any people. Identification, whether for the individual or the entire class, is not determined by mere vocalization of "this is who I/we am/are".

The fact remains that the mind is so powerful a tool it can ultimately convince one of anything... however, this, in no way, validates or establishes any measure of truth to what the mind establishes. Veritas emerges from the totality of ALL characteristics and expressions of being..not merely a select few. To understand the self, the individual apart from a class or the class, one must appreciate exploring all, not just a few, of these many factors.. and find the silver cord which binds them together. Your work is brilliant, my friend.

It is sad to see that valued individuals such as Ali fail to appreciate the challenge to mind such work represents.

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