So this was a rare event, spread over two days, focussed on a flamboyant rebel and mixing work and play, culture and politics, expertise and prejudice, strength and weakness. It just went to demonstrate how much one can pack into twenty four hours!
Gilad was born to and grew up in an Israeli Jewish family. He’s a mean jazz saxophonist, a prolific writer and, my, can he talk!?! Fundamentally, also a rebel and a thinker. He does not identify as Jewish any longer, he don’t live in Israel no more, nor will the UK Labour party let him speak at their meetings so he abides now in Athens and elsewhere, albeit clearly spends time in the UK.
His 2019 Christmas message: https://youtu.be/WwTWlKmQX2I
For two days, then, we had The Gilad Experience! A Purple Haze with the Wind Crying for …..what? Still not entirely sure but I loved the journey.
Ok, first stop was “The Penrhyn Arms”, a fine pub uphill, on the inland side of the mainroad which has the Little Orme to seaward. Like an olde fishing village on the Cornish coast, bending roads and all kinds of different levels, with much atmosphere. Sadly, a bend after the square with the pub, the village is lost into acres of new, brash housing. Hold that thought – it may be useful later……
As I chatted with friends the band set up simply by shifting a couple of tables, close by us, to the side and occupying maybe ten metre squared in a window alcove. Drum kit, electric piano and double bass. No PA at all and the centre gap gave room for trumpet player Neil and headliner Gilad. So, for the evening we were right up close to the music.
Acoustic Jazz, Coltrane style, switching lead instrument round, all getting their solo spots. They did two sets and it was all precision stuff. It was impressive, too, as they were pretty much a “scratch” band – bass and drums from Birmingham, piano from Chester and trumpet from the campsite down the hill. His day job is owning said venture!
So, yeah, they gelled. Maybe wasn’t the Hot Club de France but certainly that kinda vibe. Wow – could Llandudno be cool?! We had a very relaxed evening, chatting with each other and, periodically, the band. At my table Tony knew Neil through his Conwy folk club connections and Gilad seemed easy to engage in banter – there wasn’t time for conversation, but you learn a lot, anyway.
One thing which came out was the need for professionalism. They were beautifully “on cue”, all talked the same musical language and clearly fired off what each played. Solos were fun but I most enjoyed the duet pieces when sax and trumpet rippled over each other’s melodies and weaved complex, intertwined musical tapestries.
But fantastic though this tuneful evening had been, it was only the overture for the verbal symphony we experienced the next day, at a private seminar soiree, hosted by two friends, nearby.
After a splendid buffet and a chat with my anarchist friend, Chris, we came to order and Gilad began to relate his story and, essentially, by implication, how come he’s an expat twice over and persona non grata where you might think – or hope – he’d be welcomed. How come the British Labour Party label an Israeli born Jew as so anti-semitic that they “unstage” him at all Labour local authorities?
He’s passionate. He had us Corbynista on edge by telling how, for him, the immense early promise and enlightenment offered by JC had been irrevocably tarnished for Gilad by, as far as I could determine, his inability to deal positively and proactively with the weaponised “anti-semitism” abuse hurled at him and the Labour Party. Our eloquent racounteur essentially suggested that Jeremy should have been far more assertive in his own and his party’s defence.
Watching, as I did, the TV showdown between racist liar Johnson and pure, honest multiculturalist Corbyn, I flinched whilst the former labelled JC as anti-semitic and unwilling to purge the Labour Party of such attitudes to no retaliation other than a quiet shake of the head. He is noble to a fault. Ghandiesque, in fact but his new kind of politics needs adjustment to the new brutalism of Trumpism. “I speak the truth because I say it is the truth and so do my social media cohorts and my MSM claque”. When this includes the compare of the interview program you are appearing on – in this case went to school with Mr Johnson – then you needs must adjust.
Or not – and there lay Gilad’s departure from JC’s fan club! Clearly, though, this departure predated the election, and his hassles with LP local authorities for his anti-Zionism form a strong and influential tale. This was assumed on Wednesday afternoon, so I’ll have to do the background research, but, I’m sure it’ll have been analogous to that of Jackie Walker, Ken Livingstone and Chris Williamson. Shameless weaponisation of concerns over Israeli actions in Gaza and all Greater Palestine, in suppressing the indigenous Palestinian population under the Zionist banner, being used to terminate their contributions as being “anti-semitic”.
If you place within the strictures of a faith an implicit permission to treat those of other or no faith with contempt and so give yourselves force majeure over these people then I would suggest this faith to be illegal under all international law. To say “God gave this land to us, and us alone” cannot be given legal force.
In a question, I suggested that Israel had become the “poster girl” for global, expansionist capital. It was being defended in its actions because, essentially, capital should be allowed to purchase a country and drive out its unwanted population just like capital can buy a mine just to close it or a business to strip out its assets. Agri-business can be allowed to strip out natural rainforests and drive out all their complex populations, of all species, including humans, because that way they can drive a profit. And capital needs profit, seeks it insatiably and withers away without it.
So, Israel’s a good investment shielded by biblical texts.
There was lively discussion on this point, as well as many others, over around three hours. As mentioned above, there was Labour Party incredulity at his audacity, coupled with the deep, near humiliation of the recent general election defeat and spiced with Gilad’s professed departure from the Corbynite/Labour fold. Protests against his views, thus, were coupled with the back knowledge of Labour’s loss and that possibly, just possibly, he could be right!
How could he stand up and do, well, stand up, using Israeli anti-Jewish jokes? I’ll not quote them – suffice to say that blacks use “nigger” jokes in the same, sardonic manner. The audience squirms but objective analysis cannot criticise him over this. He is recounting exactly what others say and not inventing it himself. He talks of the holocaust not to deny it, nor to in any way diminish its impact but, I think, to suggest it not be used to attain status as victim nor as a pivot for social planning going forward.
I don’t know about him but I see that such histories should be taught as of human suffering derived from labelling and the outcome of targeting minorities – particularly in times of stress or to distract the general population from other matters. It is all too easy for a strong leader to turn his or her subjects against minority groups. It is ALL such events, not just one we should remember and, every time we do so we should emphasise “Never again should any form of racism or religious prejudice be allowed to flourish and drive any government’s actions”.
How far we are from that goal at present! I don’t need to catalogue them, they are too many and so ongoing, but think of more recent and current examples like Cambodia, Northern Ireland, Rwanda, Brazil, USA, Myanmar, Ukraine, India and, yes, Palestine. All emphasise how picking on one sector of any population can let out brutal instincts and will encourage and unleash unrestrainable hatreds.
I will not here deny that I see the recent UK election as having used these techniques in wholesale manner. Firstly and perversely to label the Labour Party as racist and actually creating a politically correct firestorm of derision on Jeremy and his supporters whilst, behind this shield, painting Europeans and other immigrants as a problem to be fixed. Now, having gained power on this and a host of other lies, our government, this regime, will be driven by an increasingly divisive, racist cohort.
Small wonder Gilad has taken residence elsewhere!
Thanks to Eva and Bargas for arranging and hosting this enlightening event. I shall look forward to meeting up with this insightful and controversial saxophonist in the future.
20th December, 2019.
Gilad’s web site: https://gilad.online/