Recently Publicized Manuscripts Include Bob Dylan’s Reflections on Anti-Semitism

Oct. 29 2020

That Robert Zimmerman changed his name to Bob Dylan at the outset of his musical career is well known. But a collection of papers belonging to Dylan’s friend and fellow musician Tony Glover—recently put on auction by Glover’s widow—suggests that Dylan was very conscious of trading a Jewish-sounding name for one that was less so. William Kole writes:

Transcripts of 1971 interviews with the late American blues artist Tony Glover—and letters the two friends exchanged—reveal that Dylan had anti-Semitism on his mind when he changed his name. . . .

Some of the 37 typed pages contain handwritten notes in Dylan’s own scrawl.

A March 22, 1971, conversation began with Dylan joking: “I mean it wouldn’t’ve worked if I’d changed the name to Bob Levy. Or Bob Neuwirth. Or Bob Doughnut.”

But in handwritten additions, the tone became more serious as Dylan discussed his Jewish identity. “A lot of people are under the impression that Jews are just money lenders and merchants. A lot of people think that all Jews are like that. Well they used to be cause that’s all that was open to them. That’s all they were allowed to do,” he wrote.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: American Jewry, Names, Popular music

How Israel and Its Allies Could Have a Positive Influence on the Biden Administration’s Iran Policy

Nov. 25 2020

While the president-elect has expressed his desire to return the U.S. to the 2015 nuclear agreement with the Islamic Republic, this should not in itself cause worry in Jerusalem; it has never been the Israeli government’s position that a deal with Tehran is undesirable, only that the flaws of the deal negotiated by the Obama administration outweighed its benefits. Thus Yaakov Amidror, Efraim Inbar, and Eran Lerman urge Israel to approach Joe Biden’s national-security team—whose senior members were announced this week—to urge them to act prudently:

To the greatest extent possible, such approaches should be made jointly, or in very close coordination with, Israel’s new partners in the Gulf. These countries share Israel’s perspectives on the Iranian regional threat and on the need to block Tehran’s path to nuclear weapons.

For Israel, for Iran-deal skeptics in Washington, and for her partners in the region, the first operational priority is to persuade the incoming U.S. national-security team to maintain full leverage on Iran. Sanctions against Iran should not be lifted as a “gesture” without a verified Iranian return to the status quo ante (at the very least) in terms of low-enriched-uranium stockpiles and ongoing enrichment activities.

In parallel, there may emerge a unique opportunity to close ranks with the French (and with Boris Johnson’s government in London) on the Iranian question. On several issues (above all, the struggle for hegemony in the eastern Mediterranean, against Turkey), Jerusalem, Abu Dhabi, and Paris now see eye-to-eye. On Iran, during the negotiations leading to the [deal] in 2015, the position of France was often the most robust. In 2018, President Macron was willing to reach an operational understanding with Secretary of State Pompeo on [key issues regarding the Islamic Republic’s nuclear activities].

Last but certainly not least, it should be clear to the incoming U.S. national-security team that any attempt to negotiate must be, can be, and (as far as Israel is concerned) firmly will be backed by a credible military threat.

Read more at Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security

More about: France, Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, US-Israel relations