Browsing the shelves of a bookstore this afternoon I came across The Heebie-Jeebies at CBGB's - A Secret History of Jewish Punk (2006) by Steven Lee Beeber. Jewish Punk? - that stood out! The inside fly reads:
"Focusing on punk rock's beginnings in New York, this book is certain to change how we view not only punk music and culture, but the nature of Jewish identity since the Holocaust....Originally known as New York Rock, punk began in that city because it could begin nowhere else - it was all about outsiders in the shtetl-like East Village. Wiseasses with sharp minds and wounded psyches; it reflected the irony, the romanticism, and, above all, the humor of the Jewish experience."The Introduction starts:
Punk is Jewish. Not Judaic. Jewish, the reflection of a culture that's three millennia old now. It reeks of humor and irony and preoccupations with Nazism. It's all about outsiders who are "one of us" in the shtetl of New York. It's about nervous energy, the same nervous energy that has characterized Jews from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob through the Hasids to the plays of David Mamet. Punks, like Jews, self-consciously identify with the sick and twisted, what Hitler referred to as "the decadent". Punk's home is the home of the Jews - New York, especially downtown Lower East Side/East Village New York, the birthplace of this new music known for its populist vibe, its revolutionary attitudes, its promotion of do-it-yourself like some sort of anarchist mantra.It continues,
Punk reflects the whole Jewish history of oppression and uncertainty, flight and wandering, belonging and not belonging, always being divided, being both in and out, good and bad, part and apart. The shpilkes, the nervous energy, of punk is Jewish.And concludes,
..they invented the punk sound that continues to be heard to this day. This book shows how that sound cannot be separated from their Jewishness.This made me recall Douglas Reed's perspective on New York in Far and Wide (1951) (chapter 9):
It is polyglot, but one of its breeds is paramount. 'New York is a Jewish city' (wrote the Zionist Record of Johannesburg), 'when you have got over the first terrific impact which New York makes on you, you wake up to discover that New York is a Jewish city.' That is true and to my mind is the secret of New York's especial tension; it is that of Jewry in ferment. Any man who knew the Jewish quarters of Warsaw, Berlin, Vienna, Prague and Budapest in this age of Political Zionism recognizes the condition, and it is tauter and more vibrant in New York than it ever was anywhere. It has more Jews than any city in the world and is the stronghold of Political Zionism, which now grasps all of Jewry, Zionist and anti-Zionist, as firmly as the Nazis held all Germans and the Communists hold all Russians.For his views on Zionism and it's plans for world domination via domination of the US, Douglas Reed found his books "on the index" (meaning they were ostensibly unable to be obtained in the US), and no publisher prepared to publish him. While, here we have a Steven Lee Beeber (a Jew) freely stating as a fact that New York is a Jewish city. That city that controls US and much of global finance and thereby asserts it's power across the globe is stated as being a Jewish city, by a Jew.
Jews would alone be enough to fill it with unrest. It stirs them, for or against, to the depths of their natures, for they (if not the Gentiles) know what it portends: that though the world has made peace with the Jews the Jews refuse to make their peace with the world (as Mr. Shaw, by report, once said). They are anew to be torn between the teaching of Jeremiah, 'Seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captive', and that of the nameless psalmist, 'How shall we sing the Lord's song in a foreign land?'
If Mr. Shaw did use those words, however, they were wrong; not 'the Jews' but Political Zionism refuses peace and scourges Jewry towards new wanderings. From New York the Political Zionists persist, so far with success, that the American Republic must hitch its wagon to the star of David. The same claim has been made with success in England, but the strength of America is apparently considered decisive for the final ambitions; the expansion of the Zionist State and the setting-up of a world one. This seems to me the chief cause for the uncanny sense of a sinister destiny which overhangs the nervous tumult of New York. I met many Americans, including native New Yorkers, and foreigners who felt it. Mr. Priestley (who would presumably not agree about its cause) described the condition in words which fit my own sensations:'... I would be visited, after the first enchantment of landing in New York had vanished, by a growing feeling of spiritual desolation. ... In this mood, which has never missed me yet in New York, I feel a strange apprehension, unknown to me in any other place. The city assumes a queer, menacing aspect, not only to me, I feel, but to all the people I know there ... When Americans say that New York does not represent America, they are leaving much unsaid ... My deep uneasiness remains, grows, even accompanying me into the houses of friends there, calm, smiling, hospitable friends. Outside those houses, it begins to take on a nightmare quality. I feel like a midget character moving in an early scene of some immense tragedy, as if I had had a glimpse in some dream, years ago, of the final desolation of this city, of seabirds mewing and nesting in these ruined avenues. Familiar figures of the streets begin to move in some dance of death. That barker outside the Broadway burlesque show, whose voice has almost rusted away from inviting you day and night to step inside and see the girls, now seems a sad demon croaking in hell. The traffic's din sounds like the drums in the March to the Gallows of a Symphonie Fantastique infinitely greater, wilder, more despairing than Berlioz's. Yes, this is all very fanciful, of course, the literary mind playing with images; yet the mood behind it, that feeling of spiritual desolation, that deepening despair, are real enough. And nowhere else in America do I catch a glimpse of this Doomsday Eve. Only New York does that to me ... Has something been seen, some faint glimmer of writing on one of these walls, some echo of the voice that was suddenly heard, pronouncing judgment, at Babel?' (Midnight on the Desert.)
This seems to be another example where non-Jews are pilloried for stating such things while Jews make such statements freely.
This reminded me of the article on sott this week. In Australia that such views are now to be regarded (if the Anti Defamation Commission succeeds in its manipulations) as anti-Semitic and to be censored.
If that does indeed become the case then all of Douglas Reed's book will no doubt be banned in Australia. A very definite loss for those seeking truth and perspective on the current state of the world.
No doubt books on Jewish Punk will still be freely available.