Thu May 26, 2016 2:29 pm Bob Dylan’s Forgotten Pro-Israel Song, Revisited
Bob Dylan’s Forgotten Pro-Israel Song, Revisited
May 24, 2016
“I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now,” Bob Dylan sang in 1964’s “My Back Pages.”
Reverse-aging or no, the legendary Jewish folk singer turns 75 on Tuesday.
While Dylan’s Jewishness has been examined and reexamined over the years, relatively little attention has been paid to his 1983 song “Neighborhood Bully” — a rare declaration of full-throated Israel support by a mainstream American rocker.
The lyrics (posted in full here) equate Israel with an “exiled man,” who is unjustly labeled a bully for fending off constant attacks by his neighbors.
Dylan released the song on his twenty-second studio album, “Infidels,” in the wake of his brief born-again Christian phase during the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Some of the lyrics sound like they could have been taken from speech by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who often portrays Israel as besieged.
Well, the neighborhood bully, he’s just one man
His enemies say he’s on their land
They got him outnumbered about a million to one
He got no place to escape to, no place to run
He’s the neighborhood bully
Others are reminiscent of the 2015 campaign ads for religious Zionist political party Yisrael Beiteinu, in which Education Minister Naftali Bennett urges Israelis to “stop apologizing.” . . . [Read more]