It seems The Forward generally agrees with me that this is a man who should not be ignored. In an article this week, the Jewish paper covered an interesting incident that transpired outside on of his Radio City concerts.
Turns out that instead of a camp-out for tickets, it was the myopic and hypocritical anti-Israel throngs who were making noise outside of Radio City, in an attempt to boycott his concert (did they have tickets? Was it really a boycott if they never had tickets?) and hold a rally, all in a vein attempt to get Cohen to cancel an upcoming concert date in Israel.
I’ve got three things to say:
1. Cohen is exactly the kind of person who these protesters should be encouraging to go to Israel. He is unsatisfied with the status quo, is an ardent supporter of a two-state solution and equal rights, and regularly uses his music to rouse the populous out of dormancy. They should charter a jet and send his ass into Jerusalem right now.
2. Political ponderings aside, the Forward article makes an interesting (and very brief) statement about the differences between Canadian and American Jewry. Check this excerpt out:
Born and raised in Montreal, where he attended Orthodox day schools through high school, Cohen is one of a trio of iconic figures in the city’s intensely ethnic Jewish culture, along with late novelist Mordecai Richler and poet A.M. Klein. All three became towering figures in Canada’s general culture through writings that were deeply suffused with their Jewish experience, in much the same way as American writers such as Philip Roth and Saul Bellow. Unlike the Americans, however, the three Canadians remained deeply engaged with Judaism and the Jewish community throughout their lives.
3. Any article that includes the phrase “a live psychodrama of his psycho-religious career” is worth reading. Check it out.