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Dec-09-2010 19:13printcommentsVideo

Gilad Atzmon: 'I Have a Reputation for Being a Suicidal Activist'

Frank Talk About Israel from one who knows... Includes footage from Gilad's recent talk in Germany.

Gilad Atzmon
Gilad Atzmon photo courtesy: MyCatBirdSeat.com

(SALEM / STUTTGART) - Born in Israel; Gilad Atzmon is the musical note from a song of peace that binds our solidarity and builds strength for the freedom of Palestine. I wish I could say the same for more people born in Israel.

I often tell people that the strongest voices in the struggle to free Palestine come from our Jewish brothers and sisters who remain absolutely steadfast in their belief that at the end of the day, we are all exactly the same as human beings. To be clear, Gilad is no longer Jewish; but the point remains.

Most men would be happy to overflow with musical talent the way Gilad does, but these days music is his tool for world peace; more so than an ultimate goal. His stunning career as a musician, particularly as an alto sax player, spans a list of notoriety. Gilad has worked with Ian Dury, Robbie Williams, Sinead O'Connor, Paul McCartney and many others. Today, along with Eddie Hick on Drums, Yaron Stavi and Frank Harrison, Gilad is a member of the Orient House Ensemble.

That would indeed be a life's journey for most, but Gilad's real measurable passion is with the Palestinian people and his goal is their restoration. Like all activists in this regard, Gilad has his critics; though there is not a soul in the ranks of the dedicated who do not admire him.

During a recent talk in Stuttgart, Germany, Gilad made points that perhaps were shocking, but consistent with the reality of the history of Palestine and Israel.

Americans, Canadians and Britons have long had a role in the story that leads to the current quagmire in Palestine. Biblical scripture is the excuse for Israel having taken over the land in the first place. Gilad explains, "It was quite a nice idea, but it comes at the expense of other people you know?"

What began as a realistic idea, the Jewish return to the homeland; has become a nightmare that impacts the Palestinian people, and in effect the whole world.

Those attending the meeting in Stuttgart, heard Gilad's explanation of how the Israeli people are not necessarily interested in world peace, but a peace that affects the Jewish population. He says, contrary to what I have written in the past, that the word 'shalom' does not mean peace. He says its real meaning is "security for the Jewish people".

"Just because the notion of loving your neighbor is foreign to this culture, this is why Christ is such an interesting revelation. Let's accept the fact that we are all brothers and sisters."

This is not a universal thought in Israel, he says.

But some people in Israel are extremely helpful; in fact an Israeli governmental official recently leaked the names of 200 Israeli war criminals to the press; Salem-News.com, along with Gilad, were among the first to publish it. In fact Gilad's Website was the first. (see: Israeli Military War Crime Suspects Revealed - Salem-News.com)

Gilad explains, "A few days ago a very brave Israeli has managed to leak at least 200 Israeli war criminals. For some reason, I don't know what reason, in the Israeli press it came out. They blame me for being the person, I would be very proud to, but it wasn't me, I don't live in Israel. If there was a question about identity, I would identify myself as a Hebrew Speaking Palestinian."

In fact it took no act from any activist, as the list was absolutely sent out by an Israeli. Gilad's humorous quote, "I have a reputation for being a suicidal activist"- is not literal; it is a reflection of the dangers that follow people who openly speak the truth about, among other things, genuine state sponsored terrorism.

When it comes to the simple measurement of right versus wrong; good versus evil- it is rare that a war criminal would earn the better favor from God or any moral source. For beating the drum of Israeli resistance, and naming those who are suspect of having committed heinous crimes against human beings, people like Gilad, our comrade Ken O'Keefe, and so many others are vilified by the Israeli influenced press.

Here is what the Israeli who submitted the 200 names had to say about it:

"Underlining the following people is an act of retribution and affront. They are the direct perpetrators, agents for the state of Israel that in Dec.- Jan. 2008- 2009 attacked scores of people in the besieged Gaza. The people listed here held positions of command at the time of the attack therefore not only did they perform on behalf of a murderous state mechanism but actively encouraged other people to do the same. They bear a distinctive personal responsibility. They range from low-level field commanders to the highest echelons of the Israeli army. All took an active and direct role in the offensive.

In underlining them we are purposefully directing attention to individuals rather than the static structures through which they operate. We are aligning people with actions. It is to these persons and others, Like them, to which we must object and bring our plaints to bear upon.

This information was pirated. We encourage people to seek out other such similar information, it is readily available in the public sphere and inside public officials' locked cabinets. This is a form of resistance that can be effectively sustained for a long while.

This project for one, has only just begun, do your bit so that this virtual list may come to bear upon the physical. Disseminate widely.

The upshot to all of this, is Israel's reaction. For some reason, moral democratic countries in this day and age are just not good with this level of responsibility.

Of course in Cambodia, former members of Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge regime are very leery of foreign western people, who may or may not be related to the war crimes tribunals. Are the Israelis scared? No, they are pissed that the information was leaked.

"I was quite shocked because they were only interested to find the whistleblower, the one who leaked," Gilad said to the group in Germany.

"And I said, listen, 'you have 200 war criminals; a party leaked from your ministry of defense or attorney general, and you are concerned with the person... actually the person who did it, did the best thing for Israel. They tried to explain to the next generation of Israeli combatants, that there will be a clear price there will be consequences for non ethical or war crimes."

Stranger than fiction Order Now

And there will no doubt, be a different future for Israel, because people are really sick of the idea of religious extremists having such reign in this modern world.

"But I then realized a very very important concept that we can deliver to the Israelis. It is very simple. We already had a comparison between Israel and Nazi Germany. I really don't like this comparison because I think Israel is far worse than Nazi Germany. Why? Because Israel is a democracy; Nazi Germany was not a democracy. The Germans had zero responsibility for acts that were committed by Nazi's. Only people who were directly perpetrating the crimes, or were politically leading it, were responsible. In Israel, it's a democracy and every citizen is complicit, as much as I am complicit for the tragedies in Iraq, as a British citizen."

The one human quality Gilad Atzmon clearly possesses, is the ability to see a bigger picture. Perhaps it really is not more complicated than that. There are unacceptable levels of human pain and suffering taking place, and the needs of people according to Maslow's hierarchy of needs, are not being met. Until people are allowed to live with at least a degree of humanity, they will resist and revolt and yes, they will kill. Political reconciliation is mandatory from Israel and even then it is going to take a long time. The only people who can forgive Israel for what has happened; a nightmare based on Biblical prophesy, are the Palestinians themselves.

Even if we are all Palestinians in our hearts.

Tim King: Salem-News.com Editor and Writer

Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines.

Tim holds numerous awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), first place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several others including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Tim has several years of experience in network affiliate news TV stations, having worked as a reporter and photographer at NBC, ABC and FOX stations in Arizona, Nevada and Oregon. Serving the community in very real terms, Salem-News.com is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website. As News Editor, Tim among other things, is responsible for publishing the original content of 65 Salem-News.com writers. He reminds viewers that emails are easily missed and urges those trying to reach him, to please send a second email if the first goes unanswered. You can send Tim an email at this address: newsroom@salem-news.com




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Anonymous December 13, 2010 4:51 pm (Pacific time)

Words (even lyrics) can indeed become deeds when they are propagandized.

One famous melody (to which a variety of lyrics have been attached) was scored around 1856 by William Steffe. The first known lyrics to Steffe’s melody were called "Canaan's Happy Shore" or "Brothers, Will You Meet Me?" and the song was sung as a campfire spiritual. The tune spread across the United States, gaining a reputation as the best song of its time.


In a few years, Thomas Bishop (from Vermont) joined the Massachusetts Infantry before the outbreak of the Civil War and compiled what became another popular set of lyrics to Steffe’s melody (circa 1860) titled "John Brown's Body", which became one of his unit's walking songs. According to writer Irwin Silber (who has written a book about American Civil War folk songs), the original lyrics were about John Brown, the famed American abolitionist.

Early in the Civil War, Thomas Bishop's battalion was dispatched to Washington, D.C., and it was there, near the nation’s Capital that Julia Ward Howe initially heard this song during a public review of the troops outside Washington on Upton's Hill, Virginia. Julia Ward Howe's companion at the military review was the Reverend James Freeman Clarke, who, upon hearing the song sung, suggested to Howe that she write new words for the fighting men's song.

As regarding the military review and music that day, Rufus R. Dawes, then in command of Company "K" of the Sixth Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, later stated in his memoirs that the man who started the singing the song was Sergeant John Ticknor of his company. By this time, the tune’s prior association with the John Brown was long forgotten or unknown to most listeners, who that day heard only a rough and somewhat oddly-phrased marching song about a ‘John Brown’ who had been an abolitionist.

Howe took the Reverend’s suggestion to heart. While staying at the Willard Hotel in Washington on the night of November 18, 1861, Howe awoke with the words of now famous lyrics to the song in her mind, and in near darkness Howe wrote the verses to the what is now known for nearly a century and a half in the U.S.A. as the "Battle Hymn of the Republic".

Of her writing of the lyrics, Howe later reminisced:

“I went to bed that night as usual, and slept, according to my wont, quite soundly. I awoke in the gray of the morning twilight; and as I lay waiting for the dawn, the long lines of the desired poem began to twine themselves in my mind. Having thought out all the stanzas, I said to myself, 'I must get up and write these verses down, lest I fall asleep again and forget them.' So, with a sudden effort, I sprang out of bed, and found in the dimness an old stump of a pen which I remembered to have used the day before. I scrawled the verses almost without looking at the paper.”

Howe's "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" was first published on the front page of The Atlantic Monthly of February 1862. The sixth verse written by Howe, which is less commonly sung, was not published at that time. The song was also published as a broadside in 1863 by the Supervisory Committee for Recruiting Colored Regiments in Philadelphia.

Both "John Brown" and "Battle Hymn of the Republic" were published in Father Kemp's Old Folks Concert Tunes in 1874 and reprinted in 1889. Both songs had the same Chorus with an additional "Glory" in the second line: "Glory! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!"

As a background note: Julia Ward Howe was the wife of Samuel Gridley Howe, the famed scholar in education of the blind. Samuel and Julia were also active leaders in anti-slavery politics and strong supporters of the Union. Samuel Howe was a member of the Secret Six, the group who funded John Brown's work.

Source of above: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Battle_Hymn_of_the_Republic

The melody and Howe’s lyrics lend themselves to the satire which follows:

They’ve taught us since our childhood who to hate and who to love;
They put us in our classrooms to salute a Flag above;
Then they sent us off to battle with the banner of a dove;
Our Flag keeps marching on.

(Chorus)

Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Our God is marching on.

We’ve placed it near the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps,
We’ve builded it an altar in the evening dews and damps;
We’ve saluted it beside our dim and flaring lamps:
Our Flag keeps marching on.

(Chorus)
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Our God is marching on.

We fought to raise our Flag with burnished guns of steel:
They’ve taught well us on TV with whom our scorn must deal;
Our heroes, schooled by media, crushing serpents with our heel;
Our flag is marching on.

(Chorus)
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Our God is marching on.

We’ve sounded forth a trumpet that has rarely called retreat;
We’ve sifted out the hearts of men before our judgment-seat:
Oh, be swift, your souls to answer us, be quick upon your feet!
Our Flag is marching on.

(Chorus)

Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Our God is marching on.

Near the beauty of the lilies Christ walked where you might be,
The modern day of Zion has transfigured you and me:
Our flag is crossing oceans as we kill to make men free,
Our flag is marching on.

(Chorus)

Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Our Flag is marching on.

Our ships go where they need to on the cresting of a wave,
Our people always mighty; we hold homage to our brave,
The world shall be our footstool, ideologies our slave,
Our Flag is marching on.

(Chorus)
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Our God is marching on.


Mevashir December 13, 2010 8:48 am (Pacific time)

the conflict is a spiritual battle with only a spiritual solution: youtube * com/user/Singvangelist?feature=mhum#p/c/EC6C7F78AFA174BD/0/tRIh0gifMtg


Mevashir December 13, 2010 8:56 am (Pacific time)

superb comments by mr ebrahim


Zahir Ebrahim | Project Humanbeingsf December 11, 2010 10:41 pm (Pacific time)

Hello.

While I have never met or spoken to Gilad Atzmon, there is one thing I respect him for. It is my understanding that he left the Jews-only state on a matter of principle and now lives in the UK or elsewhere. If this is indeed the case, then I find much weight and un-hypocritical substance to his overall support of the Palestinains and his critique of Der Judenstaat.

What do I mean?

I have explained it in the following missive which collects my long held position on Israeli Jews' courageous dissent in support of the victims of Jews-only state's unbriddled quest for Lebensraum:

How many Jews does it take to confuse me? : Response to 'How many Rabbis does it take to create a Racist State?' December 10, 2010'

http://print-humanbeingsfirst.blogspot.com/2010/12/how-many-jews-does-it-take-to-confuse.html

The answer there is of course: Only One.

Having said that, Gilad Atzmon, at least to my mind, invokes mixed messages in his equally unbriddled critique of Jewish fundamentalism and the weight of 3000 years of history upon the battered Jewish psyche. At times, I feel repulsed by his critique because of how he does it:

What do I mean?

It is outlined in the following response to Gilad's sardonic expression of disgust with Jews' bizarre 'sense of humor' that is often seen belittling Christians and other goyem, and in this instance, pissing on what is sacred to many Christians on a television entertainment program:

Response to Gilad Atzmon's 'In Defence Of Larry David' : Don't see the courage or the genius in pissing and spitting on others' sacred things, pee and spit on your own!

http://print-humanbeingsfirst.blogspot.com/2010/03/respto-gilad-larrydavid-jews-piss-spit.html

This rather revolting expression of dissent by Gilad Atzmon against his own peoples unequivocally demonstrated to me that the old Jewish adage 'enemy of my enemy is my friend' doesn't necessarily always work as well for others as it does for every hectoring hegemon. It is both shortsighted and self-defeating to adopt it in a moral struggle, but is entirely realpolitik in a hegemonic conquest.

Gilad writings in general are informative and revealing - but I stopped reading them after I read that objectionable piece by him. It revealed to me a character that I didn't really like despite all the manifest goodness in his many other zealous endeavors. You win some and you lose some. This one I lost - by having lost some confidence in a courageous activist and reformer who had gained my respect.

Now I am confused anytime I see Gilad Atzmon's name - see, it only takes one moral Jew to confuse me - and wonder whether the primary motivation for Gilad's support of the 'untermensch' Palestinians stems from his antagonism towards the 'ubermensch' Jews' fundamentalisms?

Is Gilad Atzmon primarily the Jews' secular/atheistic/new-age-messianic reformer, or is he primarily a moral Jewish activist supporting the Palestinians in their struggles against his own oppressing peoples?

While surely both are worthy and moral pursuits, the twain aren't the same thing. Albeit, in periods of chaos and confusion, as the times we live in today, they can often intersect, as they evidently do in this case. Combining them can only lead to the Palestinians ultimately being short-changed when they stop intersecting, and start conflicting.

If I was a Palestinian, and I am not of course, I would try to comprehend all the motivations of the various prominent Western peoples and Western dissent chiefs who make Palestine their cause celebre, and do it far more acutely than the prima facie evidence might indicate. Some are clearly aboveboard, in fact beyond description. Some others, well, ... to cut a long narrative short, perhaps a few are in it for their own hidden reasons which I need not enumerate here. It is already evident that many of these Western chiefs have not served Palestinian interests well despite all their overt gestures to the contrary. A few examples may be found in "The endless trail of red herrings".

I wish Mr. Gilad Atzmon well. I hope he can be a tad more circumspect in respecting others' sacred things when trying to fix his own. Especially, for the sake of the Palestinians for whom he evidently forsake the vile hypocrisy outlined in my first link above.

Thank you.

Zahir Ebrahim
Project Humanbeingsfirst.org

 

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