My older sister Laurie Lucas asked me to write something about the current situation in the Middle East. Oy!
Okay here goes:
I am as horrified as any sensitive peace-loving dweller on this island earth at what went down Oct. 7th in Israel, and what is about to (apparently) go down in the region, where the situation is rapidly deteriorating. (And no I do NOT think Israel would be stupid enough to bomb that hospital, you've got to be kidding. Haters gonna hate, in any case).
I am appalled as any sensitive soul would be by the staggering worldwide rise in anti-semitic attitudes and violence -- please read David Baddiel's brilliant Jews Don't Count for further explication. I agree: It's Happening Again.
Please note that I have visited and have played in Israel several times--at the Next Festival in Tel Aviv at the Noga Theater with The Golem alongside solo sets by John Cale and Daevid Allen, and at the Jerusalem Film Festival with my Spanish Dracula project.
Last time I went over there to perform I got a lot of stick from various BDS supporting "friends" on Facebook.
But as I don't believe in cultural boycotts--and nobody tells me where I can and cannot perform--I lost a bunch of these so-called friends. Fine by me, c'est la vie, I'm not gonna waste time arguing with anybody, I just delete you. As Frank Zappa once said: "If you like my music, fine-- if you don't, then get the fuck out of here."
Don't misunderstand me too quickly also, as my political judgements have been known to evolve when, um, "new facts emerge"; ie, I'm constantly on the lookout for updated information so as to better understand and reflect on all sides of the issue in question before rendering an opinion.
Let it be said (ahem....very few else will, so I might as well):
Over 40 plus years I've played with a multitudinous bunch, nay, a veritable riot of collaborators, all the colors of the rainbow, all creeds and persuasions; ie, Black, White, Yellow, Brown, Red, Redneck, Gay, Straight, On the Fence, Jews, Jains, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Atheists, Free-Thinkers, Belgians, Brits, Scots, Swiss,Welsh, Irish, Chinese, Koreans, Poles, Turks, Dutchies, Moroccans, Israelis, Egyptians, Iranians, Argies, Portuguese, Hungarians, Frenchies, Austrians, Indians, Pakistanis, South Africans, Aussies, Norwegians, Danes, Swedes, Japanese, Spaniards, Canadians, Africans, Romanians, Brazilians, Colombians, Serbians, Slovenians, Croats, Mexicans, Ecuadorians, Cubans, Italians, Agnostics, True Believers, Pagans, Polygamists...am I leaving anybody / any special interest group out ? Sorry! (I'll get to you eventually).
Fact is, I'm a Big Tent equal opportunity kind of employer/collaborator/offender -- I'm a goddamn one-man musical United Nations. I'm happy to give anyone a shot to play and sing -- the Buckley/Lucas anthems being a case in point -- as long as they/he/she/it can actually play, sing or "make show" at a very high level (or not, I've lowered the bar for a few ringers even at times, what the hey) -- and that my collaborators exhibit a certain enthusiasm and respect for my music.
Please note that I am appalled at the vicious callousness which many academics and their benighted kinder at various universities are currently displaying regarding Israel and its very existence, esp. their views pertaining to Israel's current stance re Hamas terrorists -- oh sorry, "militants".
Regarding Israel -- if your next-door neighbor was loudly and vehemently sworn to your very destruction, and suddenly appeared in your living room brandishing deadly weapons and was about to murder you and your wife after already slaughtering your children and grandparents, what would YOU do? Try and "talk them down"?
Yes, the current situation is horrifying, and tragically is most likely not going to get any better for a long long time. I'm personally on the side of victims everywhere as a general principle, all for constructive dialogue leading to peaceful coexistence, if there was someone to dialogue with in Hamas -- but of course there is not.
The fact is that this murderous Islamic death-cult (let's be clear here) has seized not just 222 hostages from Israel, they have taken 2 million and 222 hostages south of the Gaza border, and are callously using them as pawns in a very sick and deadly propaganda exercise designed to destroy Israel while their paymasters sit in Iran, Doha, and elsewhere (not in Gaza of course!) pulling their strings.
People can beat their breasts and wave flags and bray about "Israeli occupation" till the cows come home. Israelis are gonna do what they have to do to defend themselves in order to survive like anyone else. As would you, and don't kid yourself.
Israel is not going to just disappear off the face of the map no matter how much a frighteningly large and growing part of the worldwide community prays for the country's destruction. They are emphatically NOT going gently into that good night.
By extension, post Holocaust Jews in general are not going to just fold their tents and slink off into the sunset, all 15.7 million of us (a pitifully small number, you Jew-haters -- there are not a lot of Jewish people left after the Holocaust, despite your best efforts to wipe us out).
Anyway, the old bromides still apply in the absence of anything better to replace them (I'm basically a one-world, multi-culti kind of guy).
So we still have to learn to live together.
We have to try, anyway,
And if not, well...
"We'll meet again" (cue the ending of Dr. Strangelove).
Gary Lucas 10/23/23
What a sad time Gary. Thanks for a great article and food for thought.
Thank you, Gary, for your brilliant, passionate essay. You write as well as you compose and play music.
thanks Gary it's how I feel. I enjoy your writing
When the false-flag Gaza hospital bombing took place, we knew that Israel was going to take off the wraps and go in on all 8 cylinders. Agreed, keep the lines of diplomatic communication open, but keep up the pressure and searching to bring home all of the hostages, with Gd-speed.
Way to go Gary
Your comments are eloquent, and I find little to disagree
Well,Gary, I cannot but agree with the essence of your thrust. I note you have dispensed with the "unfriending" comments of your original Facebook post, and can't comment about whatever critical flak you have received from BDS supporters. It's a great pity, to put it mildly, when courteous dialogue and differences of opinion are consumed by vitriol.
I cannot but reflect on a line from a Robert Wyatt song-"You've planted everlasting hatred in my heart"- and guess this is relevant to all victims of major conflict.
I'm appalled that some dismiss David Baddiel's book on the basis of ill-advised actions on his part in the distant past. He has apologised, things move on, and the tenets of his treatise are indisputable.
My thoughts are with the victims of Hamas, and the children of Gaza.
Peace be to you
My thoughts and feelings exactly. I've been appalled at the reaction of the Left to the Hamas pogrom and Israeli response. After almost a century and a half it bears repeating again: "Der Antisemitismus ist der Sozialismus der dummen Kerle."
Hamas is hideous and nothing justifies their terror attacks. Nothing excuses Israel's shutting off the water, food and electricity to Gaza. Netanyahu allowed this horrible attack to happen by moving the IDF away from the Gaza border and deploying them to the West Bank so they could be the personal security force for the ultra right wing settlers. Now he is trying to save face by collectively punishing a civilian population. You should check out the excellent articles in the Israeli press, especially Haaretz and 972 Mag. Killing thousands of civilians will not avenge the innocent Israelis. We need to get the hostages back, ASAP.
We need an update where you express some empathy for the Palestinians in Gaza who are being incessantly bombarded by the IDF. I’m half Jewish. This has nothing to do with Judaism or Jewishness. Stop conflating Anti-Zionism with anti-semitism, it’s gaslighting. How many Palestinian children need to die before you recognize that this is vengeance not self-defense?