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Lou Reed was on our side, Israel supporters say

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Lou Reed
Lou Reed

The late great Lou Reed was a Jewish boy from Brooklyn, and though Zionism hasn’t been an element of the mainstream obituaries I’ve seen– still, the claim is being made. Here’s Tom Gross in the National Review:

Perhaps even more than other American-Jewish rock stars such as Billy Joel and Bob Dylan, Lou Reed was fiercely proud of being Jewish — and included lyrics on behalf of Israel and against anti-Semitism in some of his songs.

I mention Reed’s Jewishness because not a single obituary I have read of him in the mainstream press mentions it, when for Reed it was an important factor.

Reed, who died yesterday of liver failure at the age of 71, was born Lewis Allan Reed to a Jewish family in Brooklyn. He said that while “he had no god apart from rock ‘n’ roll” his Jewish roots and standing up for Israel meant a lot to him. He was a frequent visitor to the country, last performing in Tel Aviv in 2008, and his aunt and many cousins live in Haifa and other Israeli towns.

Both the National Review and The Jerusalem Post describe a Reed song called Good Evening, Mr. Waldheim, from 1989, that related anti-Semitic incidents, including, in Reed’s view, Jesse Jackson’s talking to the PLO.

The Jerusalem Post says Reed was private about his religious feelings but that a progressive Jerusalem rabbi who befriended him said he “definitely had a Jewish soul.”

Despite feeling at home in Israel and visiting the country a handful of times over the last two decades, Lou Reed kept his feelings about Judaism private, according to a Jerusalem rabbi who befriended the fabled rocker and his wife, performance artist Laurie Anderson….

[Progressive Rabbi Levi] Weiman-Kelman, who first met Reed through Anderson, who performed in Israel for the first time in 1992 in a benefit show for the New Israel Fund.

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Dunno what Lou Reed (RIP) “felt” except from my grateful ears’ interpretation of his music. As far as I am concerned, he spoke for “everyman”– humble and beautiful. Being “fiercely” proud of being Jewish is great. He was a brilliant artist. “Perfect Day” and “Walk on the Wild Side”, as well as his many other works of art, are and will always be special and listened to by me, myself and I. I’ll wait until… Read more »

That Lou Reed was cozy with Israel, is nothing surprising for me. I read jewcy two years ago:

Lou Reed’s Manager Is Really Tight With The Israeli Army

http://www.jewcy.com/arts-and-culture/music/lou-reeds-manager-is-really-tight-with-the-israeli-army

When Lou Reed died my first and thus far only reaction has been: who?
More or less all my friends think the same. We’re in our 20s. We never heard of this guy.
And the more I do read about him, the more I understand why.

RE: “Lou Reed kept his feelings about Judaism private, according to a Jerusalem rabbi who befriended the fabled rocker and his wife, performance artist Laurie Anderson…. [Progressive Rabbi Levi] Weiman-Kelman, who first met Reed through Anderson, who performed in Israel for the first time in 1992 in a benefit show for the New Israel Fund.” ~ Jerusalem Post MY COMMENT: And now, 20 years later, the New Israel Fund (NIF) is virtually treif as far… Read more »