Love has many definitions; but one is certainly to have the patience and care to point out the errors and flaws in another so that they may reform themselves, and by doing so avoid repeating self-destructive behaviour and the mistakes of the past. By this definition, Gilad Atzmon has a great love for the Jewish People although at times he has received great hatred in return. This is because in addition to being a Jazz Saxophonist of note and delight, writer and philosopher, he is also the sharpest and bravest of the critics of contemporary Jewish identity politics.
The central role of the modern State of Israel in middle east affairs, and the central role of the Jewish lobby in shaping the policies of the United States of America make his insights into Jewish power, Jewish identity and Jewishness of vital and pressing interest to all men and women with an interest in the forces which shape our world and affect our future. His views and observations are also an antidote to the narrow politically correct mindset which prevents honest discussion of vital matters due to fear of the label “anti-Semite”
Certain of Gilad’s insights, such as the issue of temporality- the short time horizons which characterise the Jewish world view, and the exilic nature of the Jewish religion will likely be entirely new to anyone not familiar with his writings as he has been almost alone in examining these issues which are at the heart of so much of contemporary Jewish culture and politics. These themes are explored further in Gilad’s first book “The Wandering Who”
In this interview we expand on his observations on Jewishness and take an occasionally more universal snap shot of the human condition, looking at issues for Great Britain, The United States and the Arab world. In particular comparisons and contrasts between our two nations; Scots and Jews, are used to illustrate the problems of exceptionalism, national exclusiveness and the effects of a powerful political elite upon national thriving.
This interview was a pleasure to be involved with and I hope the warmth and frankness of our discussion comes across to the viewer.