The acclaimed Jewish American singer and songwriter Bob Dylan was recently controversially awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature. However the close association of Bob Dylan with Israel has tainted this award. Good literature is about critically revealing truths about humanity through songs, poetry, plays, short stories and novels.
In sharp contrast, Bob Dylan’s poem “Neighbourhood bully” is full of untruths and half-truths that support the racist, anti-Arab, anti-Semitic Zionist agenda and thus betrays the fundamental truthfulness ethos of good literature. However a fundamental crime against Humanity and truth of “Neighbourhood bully” is that it falsely identifies Judaism and all Jews with the political ideology of Zionism that is genocidal racism in obscene 19th century theory and in horrendous 20th century and 21st century practice.
Anti-racist Jews are justifiably proud of the moral and humanitarian and moral tradition of Judaism that has had a huge impact on Islam and Christianity in past millennia and on secular humanism since Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677), the subsequent Enlightenment and the 19th century Jewish assimilation with European cultures.
For anti-racist Jews and indeed all anti-racist humanitarians the core moral messages from the WW2 Jewish Holocaust (5-6 million dead, 1 in 6 dying from deprivation) and from the more general WW2 European Holocaust (30 million Slav, Jewish and Gypsy dead) are “zero tolerance for racism”, “never again to anyone”, “bear witness” and “zero tolerance for lying”. While the late Jewish Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen repeatedly visited Israel, acclaimed anti-racist Jewish Canadian writer Naomi Klein, has observed these sacred injunctions and has unequivocally stated: “There is a debate among Jews - I'm a Jew by the way.
The debate boils down to the question: "Never again to everyone, or never again to us... [Some Jews] even think we get one get-away-with-genocide-free card...There is another strain in the Jewish tradition that say[s], “Never again to anyone”. Numerous anti-racist Jewish and non-Jewish intellectuals, writers, leaders and artists around the world have variously spoken out against the genocidal crimes of Apartheid Israel and the need for Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Apartheid rogue state and its supporters. Thus, for example, outstanding anti-racist Jewish American scholar Professor Jared Diamond in his best-selling book "Collapse” (Prologue, p10, Penguin edition) enunciated the "moral principle, namely that it is morally wrong for one people to dispossess, subjugate, or exterminate another people" – an injunction grossly violated by Apartheid Israel and its racist, genocide-committing and genocide-ignoring US Alliance backers (for further such humane opinions Google “Jews Against Racist Zionism”).
Indeed the 2 millennia Orthodox Jewish tradition rejects Zionism on theological as well as humanitarian grounds, asserting that the return to Zion (Jerusalem) can only happen when the Moschiach (Messiah) arrives and informs the whole world of the glory of Adonai (the Lord). Thus the True Torah Jews of the Neturei Karta on the blasphemy and heresy of the Zionist State:
"The founding of the Zionist State is in direct contradiction to the teachings of the Torah, which forbids the establishment of a Jewish State and commands Jews to remain in exile until released from that exile by G-d Himself without any human intervention. At which time all Nations of the world will live together in peace. Two thousand years ago, at the time of the destruction of the holy Temple, the Jewish people were commanded by the Creator (kesubos 111a) not to go up en masse to the land of Israel; not to rebel against the nations; and not to in any way attempt to end the exile. Torah faithful Jews are to behave in a civil, honest and grateful manner towards their host nations throughout the world. The Zionist intervention against G-d’s will by establishing the ‘State of Israel’, represents a direct rebellion against G-d and the Torah, a rebellion which has generated untold pain and suffering, to Jew and non-Jew alike”.
Before reviewing Bob Dylan’s “Neighbourhood bully” in detail, it is useful to briefly review the history of Zionism. Racist psychopath and founder of Zionism, Theodor Herzl, was torn between Argentina and Palestine as a suitable location for a Jewish Homeland but in his 1896 book “Der Judenstaat” (“The Jewish State”) argued for the notion of a Jewish state in Palestine as Western -backed and “a portion of a rampart of Europe against Asia, an outpost of civilization as opposed to barbarism”. The British conquered Palestine in WW1 and in 1917 issued the Balfour Declaration of a Jewish Homeland in Palestine as a ploy to get Russian Zionists to keep Russia the war. In 1880 the population of Ottoman Turkey-ruled Palestine comprised 500,000 Indigenous Arab Palestinians and 25,000 Jews of who half were Jewish immigrants.
The post-WW1 flood of Zionist colonizers led to friction with the Indigenous Palestinians and the rise of genocidal Zionist terrorism. Zionist terrorists collaborated with the Nazis and killed British servicemen before, during and after WW2. By 1947, 1/3 of the population of the Palestine Mandate was Jewish, but after British Partition of Palestine and UN recognition of a “Jewish state”, the Zionist terrorists expelled half the Indigenous Palestinian population from villages, towns and cities and seized nearly 80% of the land of Palestine in a genocide called the Nakbah (the catastrophe).
A second Nakbah occurred in 1967 when a now nuclear-armed and US-backed Apartheid Israel attacked all it neighbours and occupied the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and part of Lebanon, the Sinai and the Golan Heights, sending hundreds of thousands more Palestinians fleeing their homes. Israel periodically invades its neighbours and regularly subjects its Gaza Concentration Camp inmates to horrendous destruction of life and property by army, navy and air force bombing, rocketing, shooting and shelling.This is the horrendous reality for Indigenous Palestinians:
(1) Since the mid-1930s there have been 2 million Palestinian deaths from Zionist violence (0.1 million) or Zionist-imposed deprivation (1.9 million);
(2) There are 7 million Palestinian refugees and all of the over 12 million Palestinians are excluded from all or part of Palestine;
(3) Of over 12 million Palestinians (half of them children), 6 million are forbidden to even step foot in their own country, 4.7 million are held hostage with zero human rights under Israeli guns in the Gaza Concentration Camp (2.0 million) or in ever-dwindling West Bank mini-Bantustan ghettoes (2.7 million), and 1.7 million live as Third Class citizens as Israeli Palestinians under Nazi-style Apartheid Israeli race laws;
(4) 90% of Palestine has now been ethnically cleansed of Indigenous Palestinian inhabitants;
(5) GDP per capita is US$2,900 for Occupied Palestinians as compared to US$37,700 for Apartheid Israel;
(6) Through imposed deprivation, each year Apartheid Israel passively murders about 2,700 under-5 year old Palestinian infants and passively murders 4,200 Occupied Palestinians in general;
(7) Apartheid Israel violently kills an average of about 500 Occupied Palestinians each year;
(8) Occupied Palestinians are deprived of essentially all human rights by Apartheid Israel;
(9) Democracy-by-genocide Apartheid Israel determines that of the 52% of its subjects who are Indigenous Palestinians, 73% cannot vote for the government ruling them;
(10) US-backed Apartheid Israel in its genocidal treatment of the Indigenous Palestinians ignores numerous UN General Assembly Resolutions and UN Security Council Resolutions, the UN Genocide Convention, the Geneva Convention, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Rights of the Child Convention, the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and many other aspects of International Law (Google “Palestinian Genocide”).
However Jewish American pro-Zionist, Zionist collaborator, and 2016 Literature Nobel Laureate Bob Dylan sees Apartheid Israel as a victim rather than as a perpetrator in his sarcastically entitled poem “Neighborhood bully” as systematically analysed below from a 2016 perspective:
Verse 1. Well, the neighborhood bully, he's just one man,
His enemies’ say he's on their land.
They got him outnumbered about a million to one;
He got no place to escape to, no place to run.
He's the neighborhood bully.
In this verse the “neighborhood bully” is evidently Apartheid Israel which has occupied and ethnically cleansed 90% of Palestine plus part of Lebanon, and part of Syria. However the population of this Zionist-occupied entity is now 12.6 million, comprising 5.9 million Jewish Israelis, 0.3 million non-Arab and non-Jewish Israelis, 1.7 million Palestinian Israelis and 4.7 million Occupied Palestinians, this being 1,500 million/12.6 million = 119 to one rather than “about a million to one”. The Indigenous Palestinian subjects of Apartheid Israel now represent a 52% majority in Zionist-occupied Palestine. About 0.2 million Israelis have dual citizenship. The US-, UK-, EU-, Canada- and Australia-backed “neighborhood bully” reportedly has up to 400 nuclear weapons, has the fourth largest army in the world and variously attacks, devastates and occupies the territory of its neighbours with impunity.
Verse 2. The neighborhood bully just lives to survive,
He's criticized and condemned for being alive.
He's not supposed to fight back, he's supposed to have thick skin,
He's supposed to lay down and die when his door is kicked in.
He's the neighborhood bully.
In this verse the “neighborhood bully” may still be Apartheid Israel. Since the mid-1930s there have been 2 million Palestinian deaths from Zionist violence (0.1 million) or Zionist-imposed deprivation (1.9 million) whereas violent Zionist colonizer deaths in Palestine total about 4,000. The words of this verse would precisely apply to Indigenous Palestinians living under the war criminal and illegal Apartheid Israeli Occupation.
Verse 3. The neighborhood bully been driven out of every land,
He's wandered the earth an exiled man.
Seen his family scattered, his people hounded and torn,
He's always on trial for just being born.
He's the neighborhood bully.
In this verse Dylan falsely conflates Zionist Jews with all Jews, including anti-racist Jews who find the crimes of Apartheid Israel morally reprehensible. Jews were indeed badly persecuted in Europe for 2,000 years, this culminating in the WW2 Jewish Holocaust (5-6 million killed) but had a good relationship with Muslims for about 1400 years until the Zionist Palestinian Genocide. Indeed this verse could well describe the over 12 million Palestinians, over half of whom are refugees and cannot return to their homes and homeland under pain of death. The 4.7 million Indigenous Palestinian subjects of Apartheid Israel who are highly abusively confined to the Gaza Concentration Camp (2 million) or to ever-dwindling West Bank ghettoes or mini-Bantustans are confined under guns without charge or trial for the asserted “crime” of “just being born” as Indigenous Palestinians living on a steric of the Palestine continuously inhabited by their forebears to the very dawn of agrarian civilization. As for “an exiled man”, anti-racist Jewish Israeli historian Professor Shlomo Sand in his seminal book “The Invention of the Jewish People” declares that there was no significant Jewish exile from Palestine (the Romans didn’t have cattle trucks and loved exacting taxes on productive populations).
Indeed there is no non-Biblical evidence either for the Exodus from Egypt, for King David, or the huge Kingdom of David and Solomon. The genetic and cultural descendants of the Palestinian Jews at the time of Christ are actually the highly-persecuted, present-day Palestinians, the Jewish Israelis being largely descended from Berber, Yemeni and Khazar converts to Judaism in the first millennium AD. Indeed recent mitochondrial DNA analysis has found that the genetic lineage of female Ashkenazi Jews has an ancient European origin. Converse to having “been driven out of every land”, there were schemes over the last 2 centuries for Jewish colonization in about 20 countries around the world (see page 95, Martin Gilbert, “Jewish History Atlas”).
Verse 4. Well, he knocked out a lynch mob, he was criticized,
Old women condemned him, said he should apologize.
Then he destroyed a bomb factory, nobody was glad.
The bombs were meant for him.
He was supposed to feel bad.
He's the neighborhood bully.
This is evidently a reference to illegal Israeli bombing of targets in the Muslim world from Tunisia to Iraq. While home-made Gaza rockets have killed almost no Israelis, Apartheid Israel has responded with utterly disproportionate violence in attacks on the crowded Gaza Concentration Camp in 2006 (400 Palestinians killed, 1,000 Palestinians injured) , 2008-2009 (1,400 killed, 5,300 wounded), 2012 (160 killed, 400 wounded), and 2014 (2,300 killed, 1,000 wounded). While there have been about 4,000 Zionist colonizer deaths from Palestinian violence since 1920, the Zionists have been remorselessly massacring Palestinians since the formation of the race-based state of Israel. Apartheid Israel kills about 5,000 Indigenous Palestinians each year, with 10% killed violently and the rest dying from imposed deprivation. Since the mid-1930s there have been 2 million Palestinian deaths from Zionist violence (0.1 million) or from imposed deprivation (1.9 million) (Google Palestinian Genocide”).
Verse 5.Well, the chances are against it and the odds are slim
That he'll live by the rules that the world makes for him,
Cause there's a noose at his neck and a gun at his back
And a license to kill him is given out to every maniac.
He's the neighborhood bully.
“He’ll live by the rules” is an Orwellian lie when applied to a serial war criminal and human rights-violating Apartheid Israel which with US backing resolutely ignores numerous UN General Assembly Resolutions and UN Security Council Resolutions, the UN Genocide Convention, the Geneva Convention, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Rights of the Child Convention, the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and many other aspects of International Law (see “Rogue State” by anti-racist Jewish American William Blum).
Verse 6. He got no allies to really speak of.
What he gets he must pay for, he don't get it out of love.
He buys obsolete weapons and he won't be denied
But no one sends flesh and blood to fight by his side.
He's the neighborhood bully.
Again more Orwellian hasbara lies – indeed an appropriate anagram for ISRAEL is e-LIARS. Before 1967 Apartheid Israel was strongly backed by the UK and France, its allies in the war criminal invasion of Egypt in 1956. After Israeli acquisition of nuclear weapons by 1967 with French and US assistance, the US and thence the US Alliance of the UK, Australia, Canada, France and some other NATO members became resolute backers of Apartheid Israel.
The long-term accrual cost to America of Zionist-promoted wars, aid to Israel, and tens of millions of American preventable deaths inescapably linked to this expenditure has been estimated to total $40 trillion. Indeed, as reported by Dr. Kevin Barrett “The BBC announcer reported [3 October 2001] on an Israeli cabinet meeting: Shimon Peres had been pressuring Ariel Sharon to respect American calls for a ceasefire, lest the Americans turn against Israel. According to the BBC, a furious Sharon turned toward Peres, saying: “Every time we do something you tell me America will do this and will do that. I want to tell you something very clear: Don’t worry about American pressure on Israel. We, the Jewish people, control America, and the Americans know it”. The racist Zionist tail has been wagging the American dog for half a century.
Verse 7. Well, he's surrounded by pacifists who all want peace,
They pray for it nightly that the bloodshed must cease.
Now, they wouldn't hurt a fly.
To hurt one they would weep.
They lay and they wait for this bully to fall asleep.
He's the neighborhood bully.
Apartheid Israel has attacked and occupied the territory of all of its 5 neighbours. The post-1950 avoidable deaths from deprivation in countries variously occupied by Apartheid Israel total 24 million (see Gideon Polya, “Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1950”). However Apartheid Israel has also attacked a further 7 countries from Tunisia to Iraq. In contrast, of the 12 countries military attacked by Apartheid Israel – Tunisia, Egypt, Sudan, Uganda, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Turkey, Iraq and the US (the deadly Israeli attack on the unarmed USS Liberty in 1967 and a very likely Israeli involvement in the 9-11 atrocity) - almost none except for the US have invaded and occupied long-term other countries in the post-WW2 era. Turkey has made anti-Kurd forays into Iraq and Syria, and Iraq fought a US-backed war with Iran in 1980-1988 and was greenlighted by the US to invade Kuwait in 1990. The US has invaded 71 countries (50 since WW2), has bases in 75 countries and of course subverts every country on earth.
Verse 8. Every empire that's enslaved him is gone,
Egypt and Rome, even the great Babylon.
He's made a garden of paradise in the desert sand,
In bed with nobody, under no one's command.
He's the neighborhood bully.
According to anti-racist Jewish Israeli historian Professor Shlomo Sand in his seminal book “The Invention of the Jewish People”, there is no evidence for the Exodus from Egypt or the exile from Palestine under the Romans. Babylon routinely took hostages from all its conquered lands and the Israelites/Jews in Babylon were heavily responsible for organizing the quasi-mythological history known to Christians as the Old Testament of the Holy Bible. The Zionist colonizers drove out the Indigenous Palestinians from the richest agricultural land in coastal Palestine and the Galilee. “A garden of paradise in the desert sand” is part of the Zionist “hasbara” myth of Zionists colonizing an empty and desolate land. Whence have come the over 12 million Indigenous Palestinians of today and the 6.4 million Palestinian subject of Apartheid Israel who now represent a 52% majority of the land ruled with an iron fist by Apartheid Israel?
Verse 9. Now his holiest books have been trampled upon,
No contract he signed was worth what it was written on.
He took the crumbs of the world and he turned it into wealth,
Took sickness and disease and he turned it into health.
He's the neighborhood bully.
This verse reverts to falsely identifying Apartheid Israel with the persecuted Jews of Europe, many of whom found haven and made good lives in the US and the White and/or White-ruled parts of the British Empire in the 19th and 20th centuries. The exodus of a flood of Jews from the ghettoes of Europe was associated with a flowering of science, technology, economic advances and medical advances to which assimilated Jews made a disproportionately high contribution.
Verse 10. What's anybody indebted to him for?
Nothin', they say.
He just likes to cause war.
Pride and prejudice and superstition indeed,
They wait for this bully like a dog waits to feed.
He's the neighborhood bully.
This verse alludes to the European reality from the 18th century onwards that wars could be very profitable for entrepreneurs that included a growing class of wealthy Jews. Thus a Rothschild made a killing by getting the first intelligence of the victory against Napoleon at Waterloo. In the 21st century war remains highly profitable for the rich, notably the Neocon American and Zionist Imperialist (NAZI)-dominated Establishment of the US. Establishment control of the Mainstream media hides the real economic reasons for war behind a veil of lies, propaganda, “manufacturing consent”, patriotism, jingoism, racism, anti-Arab anti-Semitism and terror hysteria. Thus both Alan Greenspan on the Right and Noam Chomsky on the Left have concluded that the Iraq War was essentially about oil. Conservative humanitarian Dr. Paul Craig Roberts (Father of Reaganomics) has put it succinctly:
“Washington lies about everything”. Apartheid Israel repeatedly launches wars and attacks, noting that prior insider knowledge of such attacks or even sabre-rattling makes for highly profitable insider trading. The US War on Muslims has been associated with 32 million Muslim deaths from deprivation (27 million) or from violence (5 million) in 20 countries invaded by the US Alliance since the US Government’s 9-11 false flag atrocity in 2001 (that very likely involved both Apartheid Israel and Saudi Arabia). Israel has benefited strategically from the US War on Muslims (aka the US War on Terror) through the devastation of its neighbours. The “He” in “He just likes to cause war” is a false generalization and an utterly obnoxious defamation of anti-racist Jews who have been disproportionately involved in anti-racism, anti-war and pro-human rights activism.
Verse 11. What has he done to wear so many scars?
Does he change the course of rivers?
Does he pollute the moon and stars?
Neighborhood bully, standing on the hill,
Running out the clock, time standing still,
This final verse is false in applying “he” to all Jews but quite accurate when applied to racist Zionists, Apartheid Israel and the Neocon American and Zionist Imperialist (NAZI)-dominated neoliberal Establishments of the US and the Anglosphere. One notes that about 50% of American billionaires are Jewish although Jewish Americans represent only 2% of the population. This disproportionality extends to democratic representation, and despite representing 13% of the population, Black Americans have 5 times fewer congressional representatives than Jewish Americans who are 2% of the population. Unrestrained neoliberalism has now taken the world to a tipping point at which a catastrophic plus 2 degrees C temperature rise is now unavoidable and plus 1.5C may be reached in 4 years’ time.
Yet Israeli PM Netanyahu’s friend and pro-Zionist US president-elect Donald Trump is a climate change denier who proposes to discard the Paris Climate Agreement of aiming for no more than a 1-.5-2.0C temperature rise. “He” as the Neocon American and Zionist Imperialist (NAZI)-dominated, neoliberal Establishment has taken us to the realistic prospects of changing of the very course of rivers (as climate change impacts mega-deltas) and pollution of our view of the moon and stars (sulphate aerosols that will alter our views of the moon and stars are dangerously proposed for global dimming to allow further pollution of the atmosphere by corporate climate criminals).
Jewish Canadian activist Naomi Klein indeed argues for a climate revolution to save the planet. At a local level, Apartheid Israel has substantially demolished the former natural and cultural environment of Palestine, and the River Jordan has become a highly polluted remnant trickling through a Jordan Valley ethnically cleansed of Indigenous Palestinians to a Dead Sea, now really dying through pollution, ecocide and speciescide. Apartheid Israel now holds the whole world to ransom, threatening to destroy Humanity and much of the Biosphere – Apartheid Israel is now a global bully, not just a neighborhood bully. Human survivors will not to be able to see the moon and stars in the global nuclear winter following a major nuclear exchange.
Bob Dylan inspired us with his anthem for peace and justice, “Blowin’ in the wind” that commences: “How many roads must a man walk down/Before you call him a man?” and concludes “Yes, and how many years can some people exist/ Before they're allowed to be free?/ Yes, and how many times can a man turn his head/ And pretend that he just doesn't see?/ The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind/ The answer is blowin' in the wind” . However Bob Dylan’s repeated trips to Apartheid Israel, his support for the “neighbourhood bully” and his ignoring of the plight of the ethnically cleansed and horribly abused Indigenous Palestinians all suggest that he should examine his own conscience using these very words of “Blowin’ in the wind”. Of course Bob Dylan is not the only performer or Westerner to have visited Apartheid Israel or supported what the Zionists and their supporters falsely call “the Jewish state”. Indeed most neoliberal Western politicians, parties, journalists and academics have been “sold” the false notion of Israel as a “Jewish state” that is “the only democracy in the Middle East” - 52% of the subjects of Apartheid Israel are Indigenous Palestinians, and a large body of decent, anti-racist Jews utterly reject democracy-by-genocide Apartheid Israel and its ongoing Palestinian Genocide.
Like Bob Dylan, the pro-Zionist, Jewish Canadian and similarly iconic singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen (1934-2016) repeatedly visited Apartheid Israel and hence lent legitimacy to the Apartheid rogue state. It is too late for the late Leonard Cohen (who died on 7 November 2016) to no longer “turn his head and pretend that he just doesn’t see”, but it is not too late for 2016 Literature Nobel Laureate Bob Dylan to heed the words of “Blowin’ in the wind” in relation to Apartheid Israel and the ongoing Palestinian Genocide.
Nearly half a century of the obscene and Israeli Occupation and the ongoing Palestinian Genocide demand zero tolerance for Apartheid Israel and its supporters. Decent, anti-racist people around the word must (a) inform everyone they can, (b) declare that Zionism is genocidal racism and that the Zionists and their supporters must be sidelined from public life as have been the Nazis, neo-Nazis, Apartheid and the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) and, (c) urge and apply Boycotts. Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel and all the people, politicians, parties, countries, companies and corporations complicit in the ongoing Palestinian Genocide by Apartheid Israel, just as BDS was successfully applied against US-, UK-, Australia- and Israel-backed Apartheid South Africa. There must be zero tolerance for racism.
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|Allen L. Jasson|