Bob Dylan’s forgotten pro-Israel song, revisited


‘Neighborhood Bully’ laments the Jewish state is ‘outnumbered about a million to one,’ ‘got no place to escape to’BY GABE FRIEDMAN May 24, 2016, 8:04 am 12

JTA — “I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now,” Bob Dylan sang in 1964’s “My Back Pages.”

Get The Times of Israel’s Daily Edition by email
and never miss our top stories FREE SIGN UP!

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 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 a speech by 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 Jewish Home, in which party leader (and Education Minister) Naftali Bennett urges Israelis to “stop apologizing.”

Well, he knocked out a lynch mob, he was criticized
Old women condemned him, said he should apologize.
Then he destroyed a bomb factory, nobody was glad
The bombs were meant for him. He was supposed to feel bad
He’s the neighborhood bully

“Neighborhood Bully” came after Israel’s controversial 1982 Lebanon War, at a time when even Israelis were questioning their government.

Born Robert Allen Zimmerman and raised Jewish in Minnesota, Dylan has maintained Israel ties throughout his life. He visited the country several times in the late 1960s and 1970s and even took steps toward joining a kibbutz. He played three shows in Israel in 1987, 1993 and 2011. The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement pressed him to cancel his most recent performance — to no avail.

Even more recently, Israelis can thank Dylan for the 2014 Rolling Stones concert in Tel Aviv, the band’s first visit to the country. According to Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood, Dylan gave them the idea.

“He was coming off stage and said, ‘We’re going to Tel Aviv,’” Wood told Israel’s Channel 2 at the time. “He had a big smile on his face and said he loved it there.”


  1. #1 by shafarnullifidian on 10/15/2016 - 12:20 pm

    Bismarck as well as others are supposed to have spoken words to the effect that “If you saw how sausages and laws were made you would have nothing the do with either.”
    Considering some of the real imperialistc, the warmongering, the religiously fanatical, and the hate spewing and monumentally mendacity of a number of its recipients one could appropriately add the process of how Nobel peace prize (as well as questionable worthiness of recipients of Nobel prizes in other categories) get awarded as another that should the supposed cognoscenti were made cognicent would make them colonically incontinent.

  2. #2 by Frederick on 10/15/2016 - 2:19 pm

    A skunk can’t hide his stripe. Dylan even perms his hair to look more jewy. Amazing he’s lived this long, considering the 2-3 packs of cigs a day. I won’t mourn his passing.

  3. #3 by Genie on 10/15/2016 - 8:50 pm

    I’ve never believed that the punk Dylan wrote his own songs, maybe that one, but not his good ones. The guy came out with a really lousy album and then some jewish producer picked him up and branded him with the James Dean look and hired a talented writer to write his good songs, no one can write trash one day and then write great poetry the next day.
    The Nobel Prize is just another Jew prize, like the Jewcadamy Awards.
    They can brag about how “intelligent” Jews are, but it’s a rigged system, the vote is fixed, as long as it’s a Jew that wins.

  4. #4 by The Equalizer on 10/20/2016 - 4:49 pm

    Bob Dylan is not, nor was, an American “rocker”. He is a “folk singer” with a horrible voice and even more horrible musical talent. His claim to fame is lyrics. The joo is a master at the “written word”, never forget that. That means they also know how to LIE and lie they have since the times of the “scribes” of the Old Testament.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: