Salon did an interview with me about some of the mishegas in which I have been involved here of late regardeding Israel, Palestine and The Nation. I found it narrowly accurate but generally misleading, so I posted a response. You can read both here.
A few years ago, I did a lengthy interview with Israeli singer/composer/national treasure David Broza about music, politics, life, etc., and it was never published. David is a great guy, though, and he’s got a new album he recorded in East Jerusalem with Palestinian musicians that is produced by a friend from Altercation Records, Steve Earle. It’s called East Jerusalem/West Jerusalem, and you can read all about it here and can read a profile of David here.
So let’s hear what David had to say way back when.
Eric Alterman: Have you had much involvement with the American Jewish community?
David Broza: Yeah. Uninspired by those who are in their 40s, two or three kids, and they have to teach the kids something. I would have to maintain some kind of relationship with them. In order to maintain something of what their families went through, they have to maintain some form of identity besides being a citizen of America. And the Jewish community offers that. It offers it through all kinds of programs. Whether it’s education… tours, trips.
To me, a big problem with the American Jewish community is that it lives through Israel. In part, through the memory of the Holocaust, in part, through Israel. And it’s not an inauthentic expression of Judaism, it’s one of the ways… That’s why I find Jewish education in America so distasteful because it’s not, it doesn’t strike me as imparting anything authentic. I don’t mean the Orthodox, the Orthodox have their, you know, they know what they do. I’m talking about, well, not the secular Jews…
I think it all depends on the leadership; the leadership is not always excellent. But where it is excellent, I’ve seen… There are incredible leaders within the Jewish community of America which therefore give a different tone and a different meaning to the modern-day needs of young Jewish families that are not going to be religious. That don’t even think of Israel as the promised land, they think of Israel as another, literally, as another society, and yeah there are a lot of Jews there and it’s really interesting and I’d love our kids to go and experience, you know to Masada, you go to Tiberias, go to Tel Aviv, go to the Kotel. That’s the kind of Judaism that I see. And that I believe is a very open-minded, free spirited, but with, but with an identity. You know? And it’s not, die for Israel. Israel is a strong country now. Israel doesn’t need the Jewish communities to donate, Israel exists now, after sixty years of independence, Israel is actually shining like a really hard diamond on its own merit, on its brain power. And because it’s so critical of itself, which is not what Italy is, it’s not Spain, and it’s not France. It will survive all the problems, even the fact that the peace is taking longer to come and eventually everything will have to come. If Israel does survive—Israel doesn’t have coal mines, it doesn’t have oil, it does have gas now…