My Invitation to Participate in Israel’s VIP Big Brother TV Show

A few days ago, I was approached by the casting supervisor of Israeli TV Channel 2. He offered me a part in the next VIP Big Brother show.  For those who don’t know, Big Brother is a top rated reality show that follows a group of people who live together for six weeks in a sealed house while the general public spies on them 24/7.

Though I was flattered that some Israelis see me as a ‘celebrity,’ there was no chance that I would consider the ‘opportunity.’ I have not visited Israel for 20 years and have vowed not to do so until Israel is once again Palestine. The Israeli TV representative tried to persuade me with various incentives. First, he made me aware of a financial reward that promised to be generous. I explained to him that Jazz artists are not attracted to mammon; he would have to try something else. He then argued that Big Brother would provide an excellent platform for me and my ‘politics.’ The TV program enjoys 1.5 million followers in Israel and is by far the most watched Israeli TV program. I told him that I do not see any point in talking to the people of Israel, I am much more effective in talking about Israel.  After three telephone conversations the Israeli TV guy understood that I was not voluntarily schlepping to Eretz Yisrael to be locked in a televised concentration camp for six weeks.

And yet, this peculiar episode highlighted one of the differences between Israel and the Diaspora. For the last decade I have been subjected to a relentless harassment campaign by Diaspora Jews both Zionists and the so-called ‘anti.’  Supporters of Israel and their Jewish opponents have been united in their futile efforts to silence me and wreck my career. They have failed completely. Over the same time period, Israeli media outlets have repeatedly offered me uncensored opportunities to share my thoughts with the widest possible Israel public.

Is it that Israelis are far more tolerant than our imaginary Jewish ‘anti’ Zionists allies (e.g., JVPMondoweissMax Blumenthal & Co)? The answer is clearly ‘yes.’ While Zionism is a proud celebration of Jewish particularities, Jewish ‘anti’ Zionism is a tyrannical attempt to conceal problematic Jewish cultural symptoms. The Jewish ‘anti’ Zionists are determined to block any attempt to grasp the root of Zionism in the light of Jewish culture, ideology and history.

This finding that has now been overwhelmingly documented has led me to believe that the Jewish anti Zionists are not a part of the solution, they are actually at the core of the problem. They have been paralysing the solidarity movement for years and they have managed to frustrate adequate scholarship into the root cause of Zionism and Jewish political power in the west. Jewish Anti Zionism is at best a controlled opposition apparatus.

Ten years ago at a performance by Artie Fishel & The Promised Band, my satirical musical project that mocked Jewish self-love, a Jewish progressive follower of my music approached the band after the concert. She said, “everything you say about us the Jews is spot on but why to share it with the Goyim?” At the time we were an Israeli band. None of us saw any problem in mocking ourselves or criticising ‘our people’ (I was then still a Jew).  My recent invitation to participate in the Israeli Big Brother emphasises this dichotomy between Israel and the Diaspora. You can say whatever you want as long as you stay within the ghetto walls. But don’t you ever blow the whistle, don’t you dare share your insights with the Goyim.

Watch Artie Fishel & The Promised Band:

Gilad Atzmon, now living in London, was born in Israel and served in the Israeli military. He is the author of The Wandering Who and one of the most accomplished jazz saxophonists in Europe. He can be reached at: atz@onetel.net.uk. Read other articles by Gilad, or visit Gilad's website.