Gilad Atzmon: Music As A Language For Peace In Palestine – on MintPress

Gilad Atzmon playing a saxophone. Atzmon, an Israeli-born journalist, holds outspoken and controversial views on Zionism.
Gilad Atzmon playing a saxophone. Atzmon, an Israeli-born journalist, holds outspoken and controversial views on Zionism.

I am so happy to publish the ProMosaik e.V.interview with the artist and thinker Gilad Atzmon today.

Apart from being a great musician, composer, and also a funny guy, the Israeli-born Atzmon cares about Palestine and is a dedicated anti-Zionist!

Look at the backdrop to his concert in Turkey in February: 

Gilad Atzmon performs “Gaza Mon Amour” in Turkey on February 19, 2015

Behind the musicians, it reads:

There is one Palestine, and again there will be one Palestine.

Before we get to the interview, here are a couple of very impressive quotations:

Strong nations tend to unite behind their leaders in times of crisis. The Israelis are spoiled. They prefer to turn against their leaders in times of conflict and not because they crave peace. Quite the opposite, they want to see a conclusive victory; buckets of Arab blood. Bibi didn’t provide the goods and in the eyes of many Israeli patriots he was a softy.


Although Zionism typically represents itself as the solution to anti-Semitism, the truth is less flattering. In fact, hostility toward Jews is indispensable to the cause of Jewish nationalism. If anti-Semitism didn’t exist, Zionists would have to invent it.


As a thinker and an artist stimulated by challenge and titillated by intellectual provocation, I prefer to deal with hard core Zionists and Israeli Right wing ideologues rather than with the so-called ‘anti’ and their culture of deceit.  At least with Zionists, I know exactly what I am up against.

Also read his essay, “From Delusion to Vindictiveness.”

An interview with Gilad Atzmon

Dr. phil. Milena Rampoldi: When did you realize that you aren’t just a musician but that you also have a political soul?
Gilad Atzmon: I believe that describing me as a political being is slightly misleading. I have never been part of any political party.  I despise politicians collectively and I am not a great believer in the value of the political spiel. I guess as a philosopher I am interested in the human condition. I care about that which establishes meaning, beauty, happiness, yearning, knowing, belief etc. Unlike banal activists who suffocate us with faulty answers, my role is simple; I refine the questions.
This intellectual adventure is fully consistent with my jazz and music career. As a jazz artist I strive to reinvent myself on a daily basis. This is the essence of truth seeking, we submit ourselves to the process rather than the goal.

Gilad Atzmon poses with one of his beloved instruments. Though born in Israel, Atzmon's book "The Wandering Who" questions the meaning of Jewish identity and Zionism.

Gilad Atzmon poses with one of his beloved instruments. Though born in Israel, Atzmon’s book 
“The Wandering Who” questions the meaning of Jewish identity and Zionism.

MR: How would you present your book “The Wandering Who” to our readers?
GA: As the sub title states, “The Wandering Who” is “A Study of Jewish Identity Politics.”
The book asks, if Israel defines itself as the Jewish State: what is Jewishness? Who are the Jews? What is Judaism? How do these terms relate to Zionism, Israel and Jewish power? I offer a few answers and my studies reveal that all forms of Jewish politics, whether Zionist or ‘anti,’ Left or Right, are always Judeo-centric, racially oriented and exclusivist to the core.

MR: How difficult is it as a Jew to live in the middle of Zionism, Anti-Zionism, Jewish Identity and Lobbies?

GA: To start with, I am not necessarily qualified to answer this question because I have not been a Jew for quite a while. I define Jewishness as a template that facilitates choseness.
All Jewish political discourses — both Zionism as well as ‘anti’ celebrate the specialness of ‘being Jewish.’ Zionism calls upon Jews to return to ‘their’ alleged ‘promised land’ after 2000 years and take it over. It is the choseness that justifies such an unusual plunderous attitude.
But at the same time, The anti-Zionist Jews would claim that their voices are uniquely privileged because, after all, they are Jews and therefore special for opposing the bad Zionists. In fact the ‘anti’ claim to be ‘über Chosen.’ It seems that when Jews operate politically as Jews, they fall collectively into the same supremacist trap.

MR: What can music do for human rights? How can music be the universal language of peace?
GA: Art and music in particular celebrate the best in the human condition; the ability to experience the power of beauty. Art and music remind us what humanity and humanism are all about. I assume that once our hearts are open to beauty, we are also able to think empathically.
I do not like the idea of art being recruited by political institutions. I know that I am seen as a political artist, but I am not. I am an artist who thinks deeply about social and humanist matters and that is probably reflected in my art.

Gilad Atzmon & The Orient House Ensemble on November 1, 2011

MR: What does ethical awareness mean to you?
GA: The ability to produce a universal judgment that distinguishes between good and evil. But also to accept that different people can produce different and even contradictory universal judgments. For me, this is the real essence of diversity and ethics that are essential for ethical awareness. And it is something I really miss in Left thinking.

MR: How can we explain to the Jews that Netanyahu does not represent them?
GA: I actually think that he does. Apparently a poll in Britain revealed [in March] that British Jewry’s support of Netanyahu is massive. The Israeli election proves that Netanyahu doesn’t just represent the Israeli he is actually a representation of what Israel is all about.
One thing is clear though, not a single Israeli politician offers any alternative vision of peace or reconciliation. Israel is a doomed escapist society, the more doomed its fate, the more paralyzed the society becomes.

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