A Review of Gilad Atzmon's
My One and Only Love
by Karin Friedemann
My One and Only Love
London, England: Saqi Books, 2005. 239 pages
A comical narrative of Zionist espionage and intrigue, My One and Only Love is a psychological and political commentary on the personal conflict between being true to one’s heart and being loyal to "The Jews." This book is about basing one’s life on Zionist lies to the point where a moment of truth and love is perceived as madness. Gilad Atzmon makes fun of famous Zionist historical figures, events and propaganda techniques while exploring the mystery of what it means to be a Jew. This genuinely entertaining book illustrates many ironies of Jewish existence, in particular the opportunistic use of Jewish suffering to promote the State of Israel.
Danny Zilber is a world-famous trumpet player who, despite living the glamorous life, remains innocent. His band is not only wildly popular but is part of a secret Zionist plot to protect a Nazi war criminal while they profit off German guilt feelings. His boss, Avrum Shtil, believes that any dastardly deed is justified for the sake of propagating the Zionist cause. When Danny falls head over heels in love with a mysterious German woman, his boss sees in his torment a chance to make mega-bucks. He prefers glorifying Danny’s despair to divulging the lady’s identity. At first, Danny’s career is enhanced by the pain of unfulfilled desire as his music becomes increasingly soulful. Yet the intense and prolonged suffering is unsustainable. Human nature demands that one connect with humanity and be real. As the web of lies becomes increasingly transparent, one must either give up the Zionist cause or self-destruct.
It will be much to the relief of his female admirers that Gilad Atzmon’s portrayal of women is maturing. In his first book, A Guide to the Perplexed, the most exciting woman was a plastic blow-up doll. Here we find Danny drawn to the mystery lady’s "intelligent and gentle eyes." While the previous protagonist’s heart was completely shut down, Danny consciously suffers feelings of unbearable pain and emptiness from his inability to truly love and be loved. It hurts, but it is progress. An emerging sense of personal integrity still shields itself behind a wall of sarcasm.
Danny’s refusal to see the cause of his pain results in the loss of his soul. Danny is not fully conscious of the extent to which his manager is willing to hurt, mislead, and use him for profit, but his willingness to believe Avrum’s deceptions turns Danny’s life into a perpetual hell. Asking God to liberate him from his self-inflicted misery never even crosses his mind. As the author demonstrates, a Jew prefers to self-destruct rather than to repent, accept forgiveness, and henceforth lead an honest life. The Jewish experience is a state of exile from one’s true self, the separation of the soul from God.
Is there a way for Jews to transcend their spiritual exile, achieve inner peace, and stop hurting other people? Although no one in the book has the courage to go through with it, My One and Only Love sheds some light on The Way:
Danny’s love for the mysterious German woman leads him for a brief moment to transcend apparent reality and become like Jesus walking over the water. He no longer has any interest in objectifying Germans as targets of manipulation. Danny’s secret desire to have an authentic personal relationship with a German person reveals the key to personal salvation. Learning to love one’s enemy is what is required for the spiritual redemption of the Jews. Danny attains an inner state of harmony and ecstasy which his Zionist boss dismisses as a psychotic delusion. The problem with becoming Christ-like is that you will be crucified. Danny’s one and only love is a lie. While it is ironic that Danny’s true self is accidentally unleashed by a lie, he is ultimately destroyed by an even deeper lie.
In the end, this book was frustrating. Not a single character was redeemed. They were all Zionist scum who deserved to be utterly destroyed, but Atzmon played a nasty trick on us by making us like them and feel bad for them. Those who once experienced a moment of truth yet failed to reject Zionism suffered a far worse end than those who were simply evil and enjoyed being evil. Nevertheless, we emerge with the knowledge by which we can save ourselves from a similar fate. Life always leads you to truth if you let it. Even if all we can see are kaleidoscope distortions of lies upon lies, the intuitive grasp of the patterns within the patterns can serve as our escape route if we actually want to be free.
© 2005 Arabic Media Internet Network Internews Middle East
Karin Friedemann is a US citizen living in Boston, Massachusetts.
This review appeared earlier on the website of the Arabic Media Internet Network.
Further reviews of this book may be found at http://www.gilad.co.uk/html%20files/myone.html.
Gilad Atzmon was born a Jew in Israel, grew up in Jerusalem and currently lives in London. During his military service in the Israeli army he witnessed the suffering of the Palestinian people at first hand and as a result became a committed anti-Zionist. He is renowned as a jazz musician (saxophone and clarinet) and as a composer.
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