I just got home from hearing Gilad Atzmon speak at a charity event for refugees. We don’t get a lot of big names on Jewish topics in Glasgow, so I couldn’t justify missing the talk.
With youthful arrogance, I prepared for that perfect verbal confrontation. I was sure that once he stepped on my court, I would slam dunk on him like a mid-90s Jordan in bullet time. But we never got there.
The good news is that we, “the Jews,” have nothing to fear when it comes to Atzmon if this lecture was any indication. He discussed how “the Jews” are influential due to an ancient culture of meritocracy. Unfortunately, we couldn’t talk about this because of political correctness, which is also perpetrated by “the Jews.” The goyim – as he referred to the audience – are being ruled by a supreme class of Ashkenazim, who have even solved the dilemma of political opposition by conveniently taking on that very role, too. With this clever trick, they ensured that no Gentile could ever enter the big Jewish debate… On banking, or whatever.
He presented himself as a disciple of Heidegger, a mathematician, a German philosopher, and an advocate for production-based economy. He appeared delusional, hopelessly bamboozled by Western and Jewish thought. At the end, he was challenged and undermined by a local pro-Palestinian activist. Then he said he had to leave for a concert.
The sad news is that all of this was an exercise in tragedy. While my mood alternated between mild bemusement and aggressive boredom, I couldn’t help feeling heartbroken for the saxophonist at the same time. Atzmon was supposed to be an uncompromising firebrand. But here he was, a confused middle-aged man who turned with his boundless Jewish pain to a non-Jewish audience. He desperately wanted validation, but he was ridiculed instead. He was a stranger in a strange land, an enigma to himself, and a laughingstock to others. I couldn’t see how John Mearsheimer could take this guy even semi-seriously. The only rational explanation I could muster was coming to an unflattering conclusion about the kind of man Mearsheimer himself must be.
Regarding his ideas, there was nothing for me to publicly say to Atzmon. He hated us, and he hated himself. In his lighter moments he may forgive us for being the way we are, but, for whatever reason, he couldn’t forgive himself for the accident of his birth. All I saw was a yid defeated by and obsessed with a Judaism he couldn’t comprehend. He believed everything the Jew-haters told him about himself.
If you are reading this Gilad, I’d like you to know one thing: Without the slightest trace of malice, I sincerely hope one day you will find some peace of mind.