Anti-Zionist show in Rochester is back on, though not in original church venue

on 39 Comments

Yesterday we ran musician Rich Siegel’s report that a gig he was doing at a church in Rochester, NY, with Gilad Atzmon, like Siegel an anti-Zionist, got cancelled because of political pressure, including from a local temple, B’rith Kodesh. Some folks who read the report queried John Keevert, a Rochester social justice activist who had helped schedule the event at his Unitarian church. Keevert said that Siegel’s report was inaccurate. "We did not cancel because of Temple pressure." Why then? "Scheduling conflict," he wrote in a note to the questioners. "it has been scheduled in a new location, same time." We asked Siegel for the latest:

The concert has been reinstated, but at a different venue.  I am convinced that the concert was initially canceled because of the objection from the rabbi.  And I believe that what is being said now is pure bull.

Here’s the story:  This concert/presentation at First Unitarian of Rochester has been booked for probably around two months- I can check old e mails to verify.  All of a sudden we get a communication that the concert is canceled.  Two reasons are given:  1) that there are other events scheduled at the same time in the building, and the noise level would interfere, and 2) that a local rabbi contacted the church objecting to Gilad Atzmon. So please note that it was stated outright from the start that ONE of two reasons was the communication from the rabbi. To deny this now is disingenuous.
The concert/presentation came about when Dan McGowan, founder and chairman of Deir Yassin Remembered, booked us to play in Geneva, NY, which we are also doing, and then got in touch with the church and offered us for a second night.  Dan continued to be involved, and when the church canceled giving those two reasons, Dan offered two options: to move the concert to a different venue, or to keep it at the church, removing the musical aspect of the evening and turning it into spoken presentations by the three of us- Dan, Gilad, and myself. No noise. The church turned him down, proving that the rabbi’s objection was the one and only reason for the cancellation.  The church was clearly determined to just shut down the event, and was not interested in options, and I have e mails indicating exactly that.
Dan and I had a conversation and agreed that we should organize an e mail and telephone campaign.  I’m good at that, so I spread the word and people started making communications.  A friend of mine, Emman Chehade Randazzo, a Palestinian woman married to an American and living in Chicago, telephoned John Keevert, chair of the Social Justice Council.  He was one of the two people involved in both the booking and the cancellation, the other being Ron Johnson of the church.  (I’m not sure if the council is part of the church or a separate entity.)  John Keevert took Emman’s call, and explained to her that he had heard some very disturbing things about Atzmon (evidently from the rabbi).  Emman communicated to me that he said, basically, that Atzmon is a Jewish Anti-Semite.   This was significant because it made it clear that the people we were dealing with had been influenced by propaganda, and it was not just the rabbi’s objection that caused the cancellation but it had evolved into a situation where it had become, through the rabbi, our own host’s objection.
I got in touch with Atzmon and communicated the situation to him.  He in turn called Keever and explained that he is often quoted with "cherry-picked" quotes taken out of context, and was able to convince Keever that he is not an Anti-Semite and that it would be very bad indeed to cave into pressure from Zionists.  I wasn’t privy to the conversation but all of a sudden we were back on, at another venue, but still hosted by the church and the Social Justice Council.  And it seems from the character of subsequent conversations that our hosts have returned to being as enthusiastic as they previously had been. It seems that they came to a realization of some sort, probably that the rabbi was part of an agenda that they don’t want to support.

39 Responses

  1. hayate
    June 27, 2010, 8:31 pm

    I wonder what that rabbi’s connections the pennsylvania ring are?

  2. wondering jew
    June 27, 2010, 9:52 pm

    Gilad Atzmon is a foul Jew hater.

    Gilad Atzmon is not a Jew. He calls himself an ex Jew. The only time he calls himself a Jew is when he refers to himself as a proud self hating Jew.
    I accept his self definition. He is a Jew hater and a foul one.

    Here is the beginning of his essay called Zionists and Christ killers:

    GA (Gilad Atzmon) Zionists are annoyed when they are blamed for the death of Jesus. (I am referring here to the Jewish American organisations’ reaction to Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of Christ.” Many people around the world regarded the Israeli siege of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem as an attempt to kill Jesus ‘again’).

    I would suggest that perhaps we should face it once and for all: the Jews were responsible for the killing of Jesus who, by the way, was Himself a Palestinian Jew.

    wj: Note that though Atzmon denies attributing divinity to Jesus, he capitalizes Himself.

    wj: Jesus was a Jew and would have referred to himself as such. Jesus was born and died in a place that Atzmon would refer to as Palestine, but that Jesus himself would never have referred to as Palestine.

    GA: But then two questions should be asked:

    1. How is it that people living today feel accountable or chased for a crime committed by their great great great ancestors almost 2,000 years ago? I assume that those Jews who get angry when blamed for killing Jesus are those who identify themselves with Jesus’ killers.

    wj: This is a preposterous assumption. (Jews do not have a unified reaction to being called Christ killers, I can only speak for myself.) Being called a Christ killer upsets me because Jews were killed based upon this accusation. In the movie Shoah, Claude Lanzman stood on the stairs of a church as a parishioner justified the genocide of the Jews as a just punishment for the killing of Jesus. It is the murder of Jews justified by the title “Christ killer” that upsets me, not identification with Jesus’s murderers. For a smart man Atzmon makes a stupid assumption. He is blinded by his hatred for Jews who do not agree with him.

    GA: Those who would commit this murderous act today. Those Jews are called Zionists and they are already advancing into their sixth decade of inhuman crimes against the Palestinian people and the Arab world. Zionism, for those who do not know, is a repetition of the darkest age of the Jewish Biblical era. It isn’t that surprising therefore that Zionists have selected the most suicidal chapters in Jewish history (such as Massada and Bar Cochva) and turned them into the pillars of their reborn culture. On the other hand, we must praise the Zionists for being consistent. Zionists claim that the whole of Palestine belongs to the Jews because their Jewish ancestors lived there 2,000 ago. Jews attempting to live on confiscated Palestinian lands nowadays regard themselves as the same Jews who lived in Palestine two millennia ago. This must explain why Zionists are so offended when they are blamed for the actions of Judas. They are offended because they are all Judases. Might I remind the reader that the Judases of today are armed with hundreds of nuclear weapons without being signed to any international control treaty.

    2. Why is it that the Jews who repeatedly demand that the Christian world should apologise for its involvement in previous persecutions, have never thought that it is about time that they apologised for killing Jesus? I wouldn’t ask the Italians to apologise on behalf of the Romans for their part in Christ’s killing simply because Italians do not feel remotely offended when Romans are blamed for it.

    wj: Have Italians ever been murdered because of blame for the killing of Jesus? No. Have Jews ever been murdered because of blame for killing Jesus? Yes.

    GA: I merely suggest that if a Jew feels offended when accused, this reveals attachment to the perpetrators.

    When I, as a Jew feel offended when accused, it is because i feel attachment to those who were murdered with this accusation as the justification.

    Gilad Atzmon blames the Jews for the murder of Jesus. Gilad Atzmon equates Zionism with the killing of Christ. Gilad Atzmon cannot understand why someone would get upset with being called a Christ killer and assumes that it must be because such Jews identify with the Jews who killed Christ. He does not entertain any other possibility.

    Gilad Atzmon is a hater.

    • wondering jew
      June 27, 2010, 10:02 pm

      This essay “Zionists and Christ killers” is not available on Atzmon’s website. I had to find it on a Jewhating website Maybe Atzmon has disavowed it. If so, he should say so.

      • sherbrsi
        June 27, 2010, 10:06 pm

        Maybe Atzmon has disavowed it. If so, he should say so.

        Where is the proof that he even wrote it in the first place?

      • wondering jew
        June 27, 2010, 10:22 pm

        sherbrsi- here is a link to the same content on an atzmon website in an article titled “On Anti-Semitism”
        link to files/onanti.html

      • Schwartzman
        June 27, 2010, 10:23 pm

        link to files/onanti.html

      • sherbrsi
        June 27, 2010, 10:24 pm

        The link doesn’t work.

      • Schwartzman
        June 27, 2010, 10:25 pm

        The MFA’s cyber division won’t be hiring us anytime soon WJ.

        link to

      • wondering jew
        June 27, 2010, 10:29 pm

        link to

        this one should work

      • sherbrsi
        June 27, 2010, 10:37 pm

        Ok, so I read the article. But there is no calling of the Jews being “Christ Killers.” The heading must have been made by the biblebeliever’s website. You’ve either been misled or are vastly simplifying Atzmon’s work.

      • hayate
        June 27, 2010, 11:05 pm


        “You’ve either been misled or are vastly simplifying Atzmon’s work.”

        The thing is a sayanim/hasbarat. Atzmon is a threat to their ziofascist traitor/spy/war criminal way of life. They’ll twist or invent anything to push their subhuman, grotesque agenda. These fanatical things are no better than a. stern. In fact I personally consider them the zionist version of hitler youth.

      • maximalistNarrative
        June 28, 2010, 1:05 am

        Wondering Jew,

        Thank you for sharing this.

        This man must be boycotted.


      • Mooser
        June 28, 2010, 11:48 am

        “This man must be boycotted.”

        Yeah, why don’t you go and complain to the guy producing his records, not to mention all the people who give Atzmon’s playing rave reviews? Say, maybe you could detroy his musical career!

      • Schwartzman
        June 27, 2010, 10:17 pm


        I read the essay: link to

        He seems like a real piece of work. Not sure why Mr. Siegel would want to promote the appearance of such a vile individual.

      • Mooser
        June 28, 2010, 11:27 am

        “Not sure why Mr. Siegel would want to promote the appearance of such a vile individual”

        Have you heard him play? The man can wail and blow!

    • azythos
      June 27, 2010, 10:55 pm

      wondering jew – “Gilad Atzmon blames the Jews for the murder of Jesus.”

      Where exactly is the “Jew-hating” in all this? [intended, let’s repeat definitions every time, as wholesale discrimination of a group of people based on their accident of birth]

      Whatever facts this fragment refers to re the killing of Christ seem perfectly correctly reported, considering that the only available source is the NT mention of it and that it checks perfectly with what we know of usual Roman policy re relations with local tribal authority.

      As for the logical request of requiring that anyone who advances the highly absurd idea “that the Christian world should apologise for its involvement in previous persecutions” should offer an apology for the killing of Christ, it would be perfectly justified given that both are based on the same idiocy of assuming continuous tribal responsibility over long periods. Are you saying that there was no such request on the Jewish side (not only Zionist)?

      “Gilad Atzmon equates Zionism with the killing of Christ”

      The parallel there is obvious! Over 90% of the population of Israel and a good amount of religious or tribal Jews outside cheered the pirates for the murder perpetrated on pacific volunteers who sacrificed themselves trying to help most destitute, oppressed people. This is, following to an analysis oft repeated and refined bu Atzmon, attributable to the teachings of Judaism (except the schools belonging to what he calls “Torah Judaism”.) One may agree or disagree on his analysis or his sources. One may contest the statement that Judaism exerts considerable influence on today’s Zionism. One may even want to make a desperate stand on the principle that even if more than 90% of a given population fanatically supports a policy it has no responsibility at all.

      Accusing Gilad Atzmon of racism is despicable slander by either Zionist propaganda agents or the logically challenged.

      Religious and tribal teachings and ideology are not, repeat not, connected in any way or wise to an accident of birth. Also, they are most legitimate subjects of enquiry and judgment.

      If you want to discuss it with argument, based not on how facts could be interpreted by morons (as you just did) but on their own merits, and on logical equivalence (which you seem to be blind to), by all means do so. I am sure that Atzmon will welcome the discussion.

      Hysterical yells of “antisemitism” don’t cut it anymore.

      • hayate
        June 27, 2010, 11:10 pm


        “Hysterical yells of “antisemitism” don’t cut it anymore.”

        It’s all the things have left, I’m afraid. Nothing left they can do but lie and slander.

      • Citizen
        June 28, 2010, 9:08 am

        Yes, hayate, and they pop up with ever more frequency. Today, on CSPAN’s Washington Journal, the guest, a former US state department official, was being asked questions by callers who disagreed with his statement that Joe Lieberman and Israel are
        110% actors in behalf the best US values–the callers brought up the influence of AIPAC, our government’s rubber-stamping of Israel right or wrong, etc–I kept waiting for the counter caller; sure enough he came along quickly: “Those callers criticising Joe Lieberman and Israeli policy–are basically anti-semites! Jew-haters! They just hate Jews! There’s a lot of them out there! Just my opinion.”

      • Mooser
        June 28, 2010, 11:41 am

        Hey, Wondering Jew, let’s make a deal: We’ll give them Jesus’ killing, if they give us Israel? Sounds like a good trade to me!

    • Mooser
      June 28, 2010, 11:54 am

      “When I, as a Jew feel offended when accused, it is because i feel attachment to those who were murdered with this accusation as the justification”

      Oh Jesus, what a pathetic phony you are, Wondering. Got yourself a real good excuse for murder there, don’t you pal? Or anything else you can fantasize, huh? ‘Okay, Jew-haters, us inglorious basterds is coming to get a little of our own back!

      Well, maybe you feel offended, but I feel guilty. And herewith apologise! And what a horrible way to die, too! But look, a lot of really fantastic music, in many genres, was inspired by Christ’s crucifixion. So maybe there’s an up-side.
      Still, I’m awfully sorry about it. Don’t pay any attention to Wondering Jew, some people never learn to make a sincere apology.

  3. syvanen
    June 27, 2010, 9:58 pm

    As one who supports Palestinian rights, I have to say being somewhat sympathetic to the rabbi who wishes to ban him from performing in his town. This is one seriously controversial guy. JSF have railed against Gilad for ages, and for good reasons.

    • azythos
      June 27, 2010, 10:59 pm

      Being railed at by alphabet soups (of which no one knows the exact degree of commitment to destroying Zionism) is not a serious argument. Here is a serious critic of both religion and Zionism, and if you want to make a point you have to be serious. Otherwise, slander to hamper critics of Zionism is Zionist propaganda, nothing else.

      • Mooser
        June 28, 2010, 11:45 am

        “Being railed at by alphabet soups (of which no one knows the exact degree of commitment to destroying Zionism) “

        Say what? I don’t want to shock you azythos, but JSF or Jewes Sans Frontieres is an anti-Zionist blog (it says so right in the masthead) and you can go and look at it.

        Does their commitment to destroying Zionism match your’s? Well, you have to make allowances, azythos. Not everyone has the kind of commitment you have.

      • hayate
        June 28, 2010, 1:15 pm

        Mooser June 28, 2010 at 11:45 am

        I’ve run into more zionists playing antizionists than I have real antizionists. Anyone can claim they are antizionist.

  4. VR
    June 27, 2010, 11:15 pm

    “In the light of the growing discussion initiated by Israeli politicians and Zionist enthusiasts regarding the eruption of new anti-Semitism I am here to announce as loudly as I can: there is no anti-Semitism any more. In the devastating reality created by the Jewish state, anti-Semitism has been replaced by political reaction. I am not suggesting that Jewish interests are not being mutilated and vandalized. I am not saying that synagogues aren’t being attacked, that Jewish graves are not brutally smashed up. I am saying that these acts, that are in no way legitimate, should be seen as political responses rather than racially motivated acts or ‘irrational’ hate crimes. If Israel is the state of the Jewish people and the Jewish people themselves do not stand up collectively against the crimes that are committed on their behalf, then every Jewish person, Jewish symbol and Jewish object becomes an Israeli interest and a potential terrorist target. It is up to the Jewish people to take a stand against their Jewish state and to disassociate themselves from their zealous national movement. ”

    This is the preface to the article by Atzmon in the link that wj provided above. I must say, this is sort of an epidemic of contextual violence you find with Zionists of almost all stripes and flavors. They do this even with legal documents that blot out all preface showing the entire intent of the writing. It does not surprise me that this is also posted by the current character who does not fool anyone with his nonsense (or at least, does not fool me). This has been going on for years, there is also an entire false list of what is supposed to be Gilad’s writings, I recommend you look through the site and read everything in the context of the original – there are those who count on you not reading anything.

  5. hayate
    June 27, 2010, 11:31 pm

    Touching Left, Islam, Israeli Lobby, Chomsky and Many other Hot Topics

    June 27, 2010 at 10:05PM


    MC: There are a number of things in what you are saying that I would challenge. Firstly, and ironically, somewhat like the Zionists themselves, you place them front and centre of everything that is happening. To disregard the motives and influence of the many other non-Zionist groups who are equally involved with them is similar to the disregard the Zionists show for others.

    GA: There is actually again a continuum that you fail to detect between the sense of chosensess that is inherent to Zionism and any other Jewish political discourse and the Zionist political practice which is relentlessly exercised around the world. Zionists do not try to control everything, I guess that they do not care much about tobacco for the time being (this is probably why we cannot smoke freely anymore) but they do care about Western foreign affairs and would use any possible means to shape them. Look at the pressure Zionist groups mount on the American administration with regard to Turkey, Iran, sanctions, attacking the Mavi Marmara and so on.

    MC: Nobody sensible thinks they are being clever about any of this, but that they are capable of uncontrolled greed backed up with equally uncontrolled violence.

    GA: Actually Israeli violence is far from being ‘uncontrolled’. It is deadly and premeditated. This is the true notion of Israel’s power of deterrence. Back to your question. In fact they do it all in the open. David Miliband, who is also listed as an Israeli propaganda author, was acting against British universal jurisdiction just to allow Israeli war criminals to visit the UK. How do you explain it? Was it very clever of him? Was it very clever of David Aaronovitch and Nick Cohen to advocate an illegal war while being also Jewish Chronicle (a UK Zionist outlet) writers? Was it a clever move to support a war that led to 1.5 million dead Iraqis? Is it very clever of Haim Saban to tell the American people ‘we the Jews influence your life through political funding, media, and think tanks’? The answer is no, it is not clever at all. It is an infantile arrogance that is inherent to the chauvinist identity.

    MC: Isn’t your fundamental mistake in this respect that you are confusing or ignoring much of the quite independent and equally violent avarice of the other vested interests with the extent of AIPAC’s influence, which everyone knows is undoubtedly strong.

    GA: With due respect and without claiming to be free of errors, I do not think that you are pointing to any mistake in my reading of the situation. If anything, all I can see is you being reluctant to admit that we had been pulled by an extensive institutional and very dangerous lobby for more than a while. In fact, I know that you and others are holding this position because you want to believe that you are true humanists. I respect it. Indeed one of the most crucial questions we have to confront here is how to say what we think about Israel and its Jewish lobbies and still be humanists. I believe that the answer is to admit that we are confronted with an ideology that dismisses our notion of humanism, kindness and compassion. To a certain degree we are confronted here with a deep challenge: ‘how shall we perform kindness to the unkind.

    This is why it is so important for me to maintain that the massacre on the Mavi Marmara was no less than killing Christ again. Regardless of the historicity of Jesus and regardless of the fact that there is NO continuum between the ancient Israelites and the contemporary Israelis, we see here a broad daylight assault on goodness and kindness. This deadly attempt was supported by the Israeli people, it was committed by their popular army and it is still supported by world Jewry except some sporadic Jews such as the Torah Jews who oppose it and obviously are highly respected for it. How do we confront it? Call for what it is. This must be our approach because as far as I can see, the Israelis and their lobbyists interpret your silence or reluctance to use the right language as weakness. If we want to help Israelis we may as well make it clear to them that we actually see through them.

    MC: At the crudest level of all, Israel may have 500 nukes courtesy of the US, but the US arsenal and its overall military capability is many multiples of Israel’s. No contest.

    GA: This is pretty irrelevant, I am afraid. America is or at least was a super power. It was engaged in a cold war. This may explain rather than justify why it has so many bombs. However Israel engaged in a territorial battle with its so called ‘enemies’. One must wonder why it needs atomic bombs at all. If Israel cares about Sderot and Ashkelon as much as it says, it would never nuke Gaza. The answer is pretty devastating. Israel possesses all those bombs because it insists on keeping the rest of the world in a constant threat. In case anyone fails to see it, the rest of the world is what we call humanity. And this is the crux of the matter. We are dealing here with a lethal collective that is driven by deadly psychosis against humanity and humanism.

    MC: The Zionists have no monopoly on deadly psychosis towards other groups of people. The native American Indians have told the world a thing or two about the centuries-long psychosis of the Christian settlers there – the misery that led to mass suicides among many other horrors. It’s surely fundamentally anti humanist – racist/discriminatory even – to single any one group of people out as being uniquely evil?

    GA: To start with we both agree that the Zionists didn’t invent evil. In fact Zionism is an attempt to exercise some colonial barbarism in a world that has moved on from that kind of political philosophy. In short Zionists are guilty of committing colonial crimes 100 years too late. However, you make one crucial mistake here. You say “It’s surely fundamentally anti humanist to single any one group of people out as being uniquely evil.” You maybe right, but Zionism is not at all a group of people, it is actually an ideology. In fact it is a racist, anti humanist ideology that must be confronted. Similarly, those who follow this ideology are succumbing to an inhuman philosophy and must be exposed, named and shamed. As you will notice in my writing, I never criticize Jews as Jews or Judaism as a religion. I concentrate on Jewish ideology, namely Jewishness that has a very particular supremacist interpretation of the Judaic core. In my writing I have managed to trace Jewishness in every modern Jewish political setting whether it is right wing Zionism, the pseudo- socialist Bund or the radical Matzpen. However, I must mention that Torah Jews are free of that fault. They draw their inspiration from the Torah and present a very unique form of tribal humanism.

    link to

    • hayate
      June 27, 2010, 11:49 pm

      I posted maybe a quarter of the interview, mostly stuff being discussed on this thread. It’s an interesting confrontational interview and in some parts, the two seem to be talking around each other, rather than addressing each other’s points. That’s a disadvantage of a live interview, as opposed to written exchange, where people can take their time and are not “on the spot” so to speak.

      I have a strong suspicion Atzmon’s views of the left have been heavily influenced by British zionists of the sort who inhabit the guardian and it’s talkboard. What he describes as the left is good description of that hypocritical and duplicitous lot. He lives in the UK, and this sort has a strong presence there. Their leftism is dominated by zionism, so is not really leftism, but is much like nulabor. That lot can sour anyone’s views of the left.

  6. hayate
    June 28, 2010, 12:04 am

    I’m curious, is this an antisemitic poem?

    It was the last chance,
    it was a nightclub in the desert called the last chance,
    a cluttered dive of stones and wheels,
    it was a refuge for the rootless of the world,
    washed up like driftwood on the sand,
    and we were there,
    it seemed so long ago.

    they came from nowhere,
    the lost, the broken, and the mad as if from nowhere,
    they blundered in like blind invaders,
    while Mahailia boomed a gospel song,
    and candles blurred gloom,
    they drank and argued till the dawn,
    had drained the night away.

    among the seekers after oil, or truth, or a home,
    among the business men, the pickpockets, and whores,
    among the soldiers, and the tourists,
    some had names, and histories,
    Meir with his stone bald head,
    built like a butcher, which he was,
    he made his money dealing in pork,
    though not on the Sabbath,
    they said his parents were killed in Belsen,
    they said he saw his sister raped,
    but no one really knew,
    stories swirled about like dust on the desert wind,
    you never knew what was true,
    but in the end it didn’t really matter,
    there he was.
    and Sam with his mournful expression,
    with his mobile face like crumpled leather,
    there he was,
    a dancer, light, light on his feet.
    theirs was a needle match,
    each trying to out score the other,
    Sam out of mischief,
    Meir out of a desire for victory,
    so they came out of opposite corners of the ring in every argument,
    everything was an argument,
    like the Sinai campaign,
    for Meir that was the time of glory,
    “that was when we found out we were strong,” he said,
    “strong,” shrugged Sam “who needs it?”
    so Meir pinned his arm behind his back,
    and forced him to his knees,
    “you do Jew,” he said,
    the general opinion was that Meir won that round.

    they came from nowhere,
    the lost, the broken, and the mad as if from nowhere,
    they blundered in like blind invaders,
    while Mahailia boomed a gospel song,
    and candles blurred gloom,
    they drank and argued till the dawn,
    had drained the night away.

    do you remember?
    the day the Bedouins came to town,
    I still remember,
    the women waiting still as stone,
    their silent shapes cocooned in black,
    against the white washed walls that echoed back the sun to blind the eyes,
    ghosts from another world.

    “you know what’s wrong with Israel?” said Meir one night,
    “I know,” said Sam, dancing in, grinning,
    “too many Arabs, right?”
    “wrong,” said Meir, ”too many Jews,
    look at them,
    they don’t speak Hebrew, half of them,
    take the Yemenis,
    donkey riders,
    never set foot in a bus before they came here,
    and their women,
    all whores.”
    “what about Rumanians?” Sam threw in obligingly,
    “all thieves,” said Meir,
    “they say all Hungarians are bores,” said Sam,
    and raised his eyes to the heavens.
    Meir ignored him,
    “we must forge one nation,” he said,
    “we must weld the youth into one nation.”
    “why?” said Sam,
    “how?” said Sam,
    “in the fire,” Meir went on,
    “in the heat of battle we will become one nation,
    under king Solomon Israel was a great nation,
    rich and powerful,
    one day she will be so again.”
    Sam sighed “we are Jews,” he said,
    “why should our children turn into Israelis?”
    “history loves a winner.” said Meir,
    “no more guilt,
    no more fear,
    no more being strangers,
    no more being different.”
    “I like being different.” said Sam throwing his arms out,
    “I want to be different.”
    Meir stood up and pointed a thick finger and yelled,
    “he thinks he’s funny,
    this Jew thinks he’s funny,
    no wonder they fed you into the gas ovens.”

    do you remember?
    the day the Bedouins came to town,
    I still remember,
    the women waiting still as stone,
    their silent shapes cocooned in black,
    against the white washed walls that echoed back the sun to blind the eyes,
    ghosts from another world,
    across the desert,
    the road carved southward to the red sea,
    through the desert,
    a cratered moonscape made of sand,
    we saw the burning fists of rock,
    and felt the wind that sucked us dry,
    and heard those urging, stirring songs,
    always new lands to tame.

    Meir liked telling stories of how in the war of independence he blew up Arab houses,
    he knew Sam would become agitated,
    it would turn Sam inside out,
    “it is not true,” he said,
    “you did not do that.”
    “why not?” said Meir,
    now there’s nothing left for them to return to
    only stones,
    let them find homes with their own kind.”
    “I want nothing to do with such facts.” said Sam,
    “where would you be without them?” sneered Meir,
    “we made this country,
    before us, what was there.
    the promise was to us,
    the desert shall blossom like a rose.”
    “there were people,” said Sam,
    “like us,
    with hopes and dreams.”
    “hopes, dreams.” Meir spat the words out,
    “you think you can buy the future with dreams?”
    then he took a pile of notes from his pocket,
    and threw them on the table,
    “there.” he said,
    don’t give me your dreams.”
    Sam turned away and began to find a dance with his feet like a child taking its first steps,
    while Mahailia sang on,
    her voice intense with the joy and pain of believing,
    but Meir wasn’t finished,
    “this man is full of dreams.” he taunted,
    “full of could of beens,
    a dancer he could of been,
    a mime artist he could of been.”
    “it’s true.” said Sam,
    as he moved and swayed to the music,
    “I could of been a great mime artist.”
    and slowly,
    his mournful face upturned,
    and his hands outstretched,
    he wove a strange shuffling dance,
    around the pillars,
    and the wheels,
    and the home made stools,
    round the stolen signpost indicating Ramideh 45 kilometers away,
    round the lacquered stones,
    and the pieces of driftwood,
    twisted, knarled, and desolated by the wind and the waves,
    meir’s stone bald head seemed to swell with fury,
    “displaying himself.” he said contemptuously,
    “where’s the dignity?”
    and he pushed aside his cognac,
    and pulled himself to his feet,
    and picked up a stone,
    and gripped it in his bunched fist,
    and in his eyes was a peculiar sort of hatred,
    and suddenly the jangle of noise,
    the chattering,
    the shouting,
    the laughing,
    fell away to a whisper,
    every one turned to watch,
    there was only the sound of Mahailia singing,
    and the shuffling steps of Sam’s dance,
    could we have guessed then how it would be?
    could we have seen then in Meir’s eyes?
    those certainties,
    the houses torn apart,
    the torture,
    the weeping,
    the children burning,
    the fragmentation bombs,
    the phosphorus bombs,
    the shortest distance between the past and the future,
    but we saw only Meir,
    stone in his fist,
    and waited in silence for what he would do,
    “sit down.” he said in a low voice,
    “sit down.”
    then he hurled the stone with all his force,
    not at Sam, exactly, but still at him,
    it smashed against a pillar and clattered to the floor,
    Sam froze,
    stopped dancing,
    a silent shape in the candle’s gloom,
    his mournful face crumpled and yellow,
    it seemed to us he was about to cry,
    and he put his arms about his head as if to protect himself,
    turning in on himself,
    “I want to go home.” he said,
    “I want to go home.”

    they came from nowhere,
    the lost, the broken, and the mad as if from nowhere,
    they blundered in like blind invaders,
    while Mahailia boomed a gospel song,
    and candles blurred gloom,
    they drank and argued till the dawn,
    had drained the night away.

    It was the last chance,
    it was a nightclub in the desert called the last chance,
    a cluttered dive of stones and wheels,
    it was a refuge for the rootless of the world,
    washed up like driftwood on the sand,
    and we were there,
    it was so long ago.

    • thankgodimatheist
      June 28, 2010, 5:21 am

      Leon Rosselson…

    • hayate
      June 28, 2010, 11:39 am

      It’s a song called The Last Chance by Leon Rosselson.

      It’s one on a new album of his called The Last Chance. All profits from the sale of this CD go to Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP). Website:

      link to

      • hayate
        June 28, 2010, 11:54 am

        It’s available through many dealers, including Amazon. The song was originally from the early 80’s, I used to have the album back then. The new album:

        “The Last Chance weaves eight finely-crafted human stories around one of the burning issues of our times: the Israel/Palestine conflict. Songs to move the mind and the heart.

        The Song of Martin Fontasch/ Song of the Olive Tree (sung by Janet Russell)/ The Last Chance/ They Said…/ Yafa! (lyrics by Mahmoud Salim al-Hout, music by Reem Kelani, sung by Reem Kelani)/ My Father’s Jewish World/ The 3rd Intifada/ Loyal Soldiers.”

        His website:

        link to

        I caught a show of his back in the early 90’s at a church (of all places :D ) in Berkeley. He’s still touring. He’s also still an activist, I’ve even seen letters/comments of his criticizing some zionist plug writing in the guardian cis section.

  7. Egbert
    June 28, 2010, 5:07 am

    Atzmon is alledgedly a Jewish Anti-Semite (???? does that mean he wants to exterminate himself?)

    i) Kill A Turk
    ii) Castrate An Arab
    iii) Jew Exterminates Himself

    My mind will now explode in 3 … 2 … 1 …

  8. joer
    June 28, 2010, 7:44 am

    I have to admit when I read some of Atzmon’s quotes, he seemed like a nut-but when I checked out his website, I had a totally different impression. He seemed like a peaceful artist who is trying to come to terms with some real ugliness in the world. What I kind of find of amusing, for all his talk about not being a Jew, he is a fairly common type of Jew.

    But speaking about musicians, I hear this guy is popular in Israel these days:

    link to

    One of his quotes from the article:
    “Someone who doesn’t love Israel will never love another person in his life.”

    • Mooser
      June 28, 2010, 11:32 am

      “What I kind of find of amusing, for all his talk about not being a Jew, he is a fairly common type of Jew.”

      They all are, except for me, of course. Or is that a typically Jewish thing to say?
      Oy, from being Jewish you can go crazy! And I had nothing to do with poor Jesus’ death, so why do I feel so guilty about it? Maybe I should send a nice basket waxed fruit to his family. And they had such hopes for him!

    • Mooser
      June 28, 2010, 11:36 am

      “Someone who doesn’t love Israel will never love another person in his life.”

      No wonder there’s a birth-rate problem! But that’s what happens when you won’t take the Good Book’s advice! If polygamy and concubines were good enough for the Ten Tribes, they should be good enough for the Jewish State!

  9. Citizen
    June 28, 2010, 9:46 am

    Atzmon, a couple years ago: “There is not much doubt amongst Biblical scholars that the Hebrew Bible contains some highly charged non-ethical suggestions, some of which are no less than a call for a genocide. Biblical scholar Raymund Schwagerhas found in the Old Testament 600 passages of explicit violence, 1000 descriptive verses of God’s own violent actions of punishment, 100 passages where God expressly commands others to kill people. Apparently, violence is the most often mentioned activity in the Hebrew Bible.

    As devastating as it may be, the Hebrew Bible saturation with violence and extermination of others may throw some light over the horrifying genocide conducted in Gaza by the Jewish state. In broad daylight, the IDF was using the most lethal methods against civilians as if their main objective is to ‘destroy’ the Gazans while showing ‘no mercy’ whatsoever.

    Interestingly enough, Israel regards itself as a secular state. Ehud Barak is not exactly a qualified Rabbi and Tzipi Livni is not a Rabbi’s wife. Accordingly, we are entitled to assume that it isn’t actually Judaism per se that directly transforms Israeli politicians and military leaders into war criminals. Moreover, early Zionists believed that within a national home Jews would become ‘people like all other people’, i.e., civilised and ethical.

    In that very respect, Israeli reality is pretty peculiar. The Hebraic secular Jews may have managed to drop their God, most of them do not follow Judaic law, they are largely secular, and yet 94% of them interpret their Jewish identity as a genocidal mission. They have successfully managed to transform the Bible from being a spiritual text into a bloodsoaked land registry. They are there, in Zion, i.e., Palestine, to invade the land and to lock up, starve and destroy its indigenous habitants.

    Accordingly, it seems as if the artillery commanders and IAF pilots that erased northern Gaza were following Deuteronomy 20:16 as they indeed did “not leave alive anything that breathes.” And yet, one question is left open. Why should a secular commander follow Deuteronomy verses or any other Biblical text?

    Some very few sporadic Jewish voices within the left are insisting upon telling us that Jewishness is not necessarily inherently murderous. I tend to believe them that they themselves consider their words as genuine and truthful. But then one may wonder, what is it that makes the Jewish state brutal with no comparison?

    The truth of the matter is actually pretty sad. As far as we can see, Zionism is the only secular ideological and political Jewish collective around and as it happens, it has proved once again that it is genocidal to the bone. As far as genocide is concerned the difference between Judaism and Zionism can be illustrated as follows: While the Judaic Biblical context is soaked with genocidal references, usually in the name of God, within the Zionist context, Jews are killing Palestinians in the name of themselves, i.e., the ‘Jewish people’. This is indeed the ultimate success of the Zionist revolution. It taught the Jews to believe in themselves. To believe in the Jewish state. ‘The Israeli’ is Israel’s God.

    Accordingly, the Israeli kills in the name of ‘his or her security’, in the name of ‘his or her democracy’. The Israelis destroy in the name of ‘their war against terror’ and in the name of ‘their America’. Seemingly, in the Jewish state, the Hebraic subject reverts to mass killing as soon as he finds a ‘name’ to associate with.This doesn’t really leave us too much room for speculation. The Jewish state is the ultimate threat to humanity and our notion of humanism.

    Christianity, Islam and humanism came along with an attempt to amend Jewish tribal fundamentalism and to replace it with universal ethics. Enlightenment, liberalism and emancipation allowed Jews to redeem themselves from their ancient tribal supremacist traits. Since the mid 19th century, many Jews had been breaking out of their cultural and tribal chain. Tragically enough, Zionism managed to pull many Jews back in.

    Currently, Israel and Zionism are the only collective voice available for Jews. The merciless offensive against the Palestinian civilian population does not leave any room for doubt. Israel is the gravest danger to world peace. Clearly the nations made a tragic mistake in 1947 giving an emerging volatile racially orientated identity an opportunity to set itself into a national state. However, the nations’ duty now is to peacefully dismantle that state before it is too late. We must do it before the Jewish state and its forceful lobbies around the world manage to pull us all into a global war in the ‘name’ of one banal populist ideology or another (democracy, war against terror, cultural clash and so on). We have to wake up now before our one and only planet is transformed into a bursting boil of hatred.”

  10. richpiano
    June 28, 2010, 9:53 pm

    Sorry to report that the story I gave Phil Weiss was completely incorrect. A communication I received from Dan McGowan of Deir Yassin Remembered was worded in such a way that I interpreted it to indicate that the church had found us this other venue. In fact the church dumped us and we’re still dumped. It was other organizations in the area that found us another venue. Regarding Keevert’s claim that the church did not dump us because of pressure from the rabbi, I believe it’s total bullshit. Why would there all of a sudden be a “scheduling conflict” a few days before an event that’s been on the books for a couple of months? Just doesn’t make sense. And- why would Ron Johnson- the other rep from the church- have TOLD us that the objection from the rabbi was a factor in the church’s decision if it wasn’t. Clearly it was, and I am stipulating that it was the only reason because the other reason given is ridiculous. Anyone still wishing to take the First Unitarian Church of Rochester to task for dumping us, please do. -Rich Siegel

  11. hayate
    June 29, 2010, 12:17 am

    In Case You Are Around
    June 29, 2010 at 12:56AM

    link to

    A short list of Atzmon’s public appearances in the usa.

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