The Blessed Leonard

By Jenni Frazer
April 24, 2009

It was only a matter of time before the mad professors of Bricup, the academic boycott group, turned their attention to the proposed visit of Leonard Cohen to Israel in September, and urged him not to stage a concert there.

According to a report in Ha'aretz, Haim Bresheeth, Mike Cushman, Hilary Rose and Jonathan Rosenhead, representing the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine, sought to soften Mr C up by telling him "Your songs have been part of the soundtrack of our lives, like breathing, some of them."

They then went on to warn him: "You will perform in a state whose propaganda services will extract every ounce of mileage from your presence. They will use it to whitewash their war crimes."

Additionally, the Bricup crowd apparently fear that a Cohen show will be attended by Israeli soldiers who are "drinking beer" and "playing backgammon with their mates and going to discotheques." Goodness, how extraordinarily evil and self-involved. Can't have that.

I yield to none in my admiration for Leonard Cohen, perhaps the best poet and songwriter of the fabulous triumvirate of Cohen, Dylan, and Paul Simon. Having met him, I think he is more than capable of making up his own mind.  It is worth noting that he flew to Israel in 1973 to perform for Israeli soldiers in the desert. Both he and Israel have moved on since then but I am optimistic that the blessed LC will do the right thing - regardless of the desperate bleatings of Bresheeth and his gang.


Lord Reith

Wed, 05/06/2009 - 19:00

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I wonder if he'll recite this, Questions for Shomrim, which he wrote in the 1970s

And will my people build a new Dachau
And call it love,
Jewish culture
For dark-eyed children
Burning in the stars
Will all our songs screech
Like the maddened eagles of the night
Until Yiddish, Arabic, Hebrew, and Vietnamese
Are a thin thread of blood clawing up the side of
Unspeaking steel chambers
I know you, Chaverim
The lost young summer nights of our childhood
We spent on street corners looking for life
In our scanty drops of Marx and Borochov.
You taught me the Italian Symphony

And the New World
And gave a skit about blowing up Arab children.
You taught me many songs
But none so sad
As napalm falling slowly in the dark
You were our singing heroes in '48
Do you dare ask yourselves what you are now
We, you and I, were lovers once
As only wild nights of wrestling in golden snow
Can make one love
We hiked by moonlight
And you asked me to lead the Internationale
And now my son must die
For he's an Arab
And my mother, too, for she's a Jew
And you and I
Can only cry and wonder
Must Jewish people
Build our Dachaus, too?


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