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Gilad Atzmon: 'I Have a Reputation for Being a Suicidal Activist'Tim King Salem-News.com
Frank Talk About Israel from one who knows... Includes footage from Gilad's recent talk in Germany.
(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.
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."
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.
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