Gilad Atzmon returns to Portland

Gilad Atzmon photos from last year's performance in Portland, Oregon by Tim King Global News Centre

Gilad Atzmon photos from last year’s performance in Portland, Oregon by Tim King Global News Centre

London’s number one jazz saxophonist; author and political commentator, Gilad Atzmon, returns to Oregon for a memorable discussion and performance.

Global News Centre

Gilad Atzmon, philosopher, jazz artist, political commentator and satirist,  returns to Portland Friday, May 15th (Nakba Day), he will be speaking, showing off his latest book and taking questions at 7pm at the Lucky Lab on 915 SE Hawthorne.  Donations will be taken at the door.

Gilad’s writings can be found on his excellent website .  His previous book The Wandering Who:  A Study of Jewish Identity Politics drew a sharp line highlighting Jewish support for Zionism, and calling out the Jewish identity politics that prevent Israeli and Diaspora Jews from realizing that they have more in common with Palestinians than with this amorphous and supremacist  ideology.

It has been a long road, but Portland and Gilad Atzmon have developed a relationship that keeps him coming back.  The Palestinian Liberation struggle is much bigger than the fight over historic Palestine and the rightful return of the land and the people to their homes.  It is a struggle for history, memory, justice, equality, enlightenment, ethics and dignity.  It is a struggle to say what must be said in the face of fierce organized and powerful forces that would shut down this God given right to free speech.

Here is an excerpt from Nahida Izzat’s review of the Wandering Who.  Nahida is another voice that needs a lot more ears to hear.   “Gilad reflects on how they learned -as young Jews – to view Palestinian as workers and providers of cheap labour, those nameless, faceless people who roam around:

We never socialised with them. We didn’t really understand who they were and what they stood for. Supremacy was brewed in our souls, we gazed at the world through racist chauvinistic binoculars. And we felt no shame about it either

The breaking point of his attachment was his visit to Ansar prison camp in South Lebanon in 1984. His IDF orchestra team was invited to visit. Gilad describes how did this journey affected him and changed him forever: “As we continued past the barbed wire I continued gazing at the inmates and arrived at an unbearable truth: I was walking on the other side, in Israeli military uniform. The place was a concentration camp. The inmates were the “Jews” and I was nothing but a “Nazi”“.

He then goes on to tell the tale of the last straw that broke the camel’s back: “while I contemplated the resonance of my uniform, trying to deal with the great sense of shame in me, we came to a large, flat ground at the centre of the camp. The officer guiding us offered more platitudes about the current war to defend our Jewish haven. While he was boring us to death with these irrelevant Hasbara (propaganda) lies, I noticed that we were surrounded by two dozen concrete blocks each around 1m² in are and 1.3m high, with small metal doors as entrances. I was horrified at the thought that my army was locking guard dogs into these boxes for the night. Putting my Israeli chutzpah into action, I confronted the officer about these horrible concrete dog cubes. He was quick to reply: “these are our solitary confinement blocks; after two days in one of these, you become a devoted Zionist!”. This was enough for me. I realized that my affair with the Israel state and with Zionism was over


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