Packing Hasbara 2015, Targeting Gilad Atzmon, Loading Anti-Semite and Holocaust-denier attacks…

March 12, 2015  /  Gilad Atzmon

GA: This is a very interesting article by Shawn Robinson.  It delves into the methods in which criticism of the Jewish State, its ideology and culture are suppressed.

http://falastinews.com/

 Packing Hasbara 2015, Targeting Gilad Atzmon, Loading Anti-Semite and Holocaust-denier attacks…

By Shawn Robinson

So who is Gilad Atzmon the ant-Semite and Holocaust-denier de jour?

Well for one, he is a former Israeli and now British citizen living in London England; but his claim to fame is as a world renowned jazz saxophonist and writer on identity politics.

And he is no schmuck either. He has a Masters in Philosophy from the University of Essex in Colchester, England after being schooled in composition and jazz at the Rubin Academy of Music in Jerusalem.

Gilad Atzmon Video

As an Israeli you have guessed it, Atzmon is Jewish and therefore Semitic. So by definition he can be hardly an anti-Semite. But something needs to be said here, just as a point of reference that there are more than 50 groups that fall under the Semitic category. The commonality of this foundation is the derivations of the Semitic languages that relate and stem from the Hebrew dialect. Others often maligned as anti-Semites are the Arabs who too are of the 50 plus Semitic peoples.

It is absurd to continue this precept of anti-Semitism in its current construct. Hate directed towards the Jewish people is not acceptable and nor is discrimination or prejudice that Jewish people have experienced for thousands of years.

Knowing the origin of the term anti-Semite, which not that long ago was a construct that was considered normal in particularly the western Christian communities, it really needs to be released from the narrative of the Jewish community as it is not an appropriate term at all. As to refer to someone as ant-Semitic would by definition indicate that they are against a broader group of people beyond the Judaic population.

 

Furthermore… when someone makes a claim of anti-Semitism, it needs to be not presented as a conclusion ever. Clear and defined statements need to be presented that indicate and prove the construct of anti-Semitism before making such an allegation as these days allegations of anti-Semitism abound unfettered leaving the victim of this accusation with an indelible mark on their name and reputation.

 

But my personal favourite is the accusation of holocaust-denial.

What more sickening slander can be allocated on someone than to suggest the suffering and systematic mass murder of any people did not happen.

So with regards to Gilad Atzmon, and knowing that various reporters including Blake Alcott of the respected magazinecounterpunch actually read and evaluated the writings of Atzmon in 2013, concluded that he was NOT what he was accused of – being an anti-Semite or holocaust-denier can be reviewed, assessed and determined from that article:

To Shun or Bury the Hatchet? The Case of Gilad Atzmon by BLAKE ALCOTT

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So moving on because there really is no basis on the accusations, but what must be clearly stated, is that Atzmon is being slandered with these accusations that have the potential to be socially deprecating career killing labels. What needs to be exposed is that the pro-Israeli lobbies who are able to falsely target people with impunity do so because of the silence of the masses including the media who could shut all this down in one day.

Yes, the pro-Israeli lobby is a machine that is backed up by lots of money, eager lawyers and the mentality of people to drain the victim financially and emotionally. This sends a loud message that sets the precedence to others to stay quiet, to not speak out, to not support the targeted person publicly or to criticize or demand Israel to account for its crimes.

With the various definitions of fascism, I would say this is a fascist mentality and action in the way of the State of Israel and its lobby groups go about organizing society that controls the lives of the people and in which people are not allowed to disagree with the State of Israel and its policies.

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What is horrific is the media bolstered by the journalism community who are not doing their jobs which is to report the news, who with their complicity in silence maintain and further abrogate the denial of an important discussion including the crimes of the State of Israel, the slow genocide of the Palestinians and the persecution of those who come forward with evidence and knowledge to right terrible wrongs. Atzmon even takes it a step further by linking Jewish identity politics and their impact within world history. I would also add in how they have also been hi-jacked by the Zionist entity who fund these pro-Israeli lobby groups that in their missions, co-opt Judaism and its meanings.

Reflecting back we have the story of Dr. Norman Finkelstein. Yes he appeared on the AIPAC radar with his PhD thesis in the 1980s proving Joan Peter’s book “From Time Immemorial” was a fraud. He exposed the information that could not be substantiated are accepted within the scholarly construct that she presented herself as a respected journalist when she published her book.

Having read the Peter’s book and Edward Said’s “Blaming the Victim”, I have to agree with Dr. Finkelstein and I find it offensive that such a book is considered to be noteworthy never mind permitted as a source in other books including Dr. Alan Dershowitz’s “The Case for Israel”.

Dr. Finkelstein’s “crimes” however were to challenge the notions on subjects such as the holocaust money making industry that did not bring reparations or resolution of any meaning or value to the survivors or to the families of people systematically murdered in Europe. It should be noted that it took 350,000 employed Christian Europeans and various European governments between the 30s until the liberation of the thousands of camps within the massive concentration camp system in Europe by the Allies and Soviets in 1945.

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But it really was Dr. Finkelstein’s exposure of another fraud, on Democracy Now, hosted by Amy Goodman on Dr. Dershowitz’s book “The Case for Israel”. One of the best recorded discussions ever I have to say, and it was Dr. Finkelstein who with his comprehensive knowledge, detailed facts and categorical evidence who was able to put the truth in perspective in spite of Dr. Dershowitz’s efforts to distract from his false claims.

This would be the undoing of Dr. Finkestein who dared to challenge Dr. Dershowitz, America’s appointed voice on Judaic and Israeli history, along with American foreign policy and America’s requirement to protect Israel from in my opinion itself, but according to Dr. Dershowitz’s statements, the forces that want to annihilate Israel.

So long story long, Dr. Finkelstein found himself the target of an odious and slanderous campaign by Dr. Dershowitz and others that would publicly result in Dr. Finkelstein’s denial of tenure at DePaul University. All I will say is that DePaul complied with the process of granting tenure, which by democratic process was going to give tenure to Dr. Finkelstein which was suddenly overturned by one individual who by Dr. Dershowitz’s good fortune, was in the position to ruin Dr. Finkelstein’s reputation and ability to work as an educator. Denial of tenure does not bode well for any scholar or professor of which Dr. Finkelstein found himself in with regards to his future employment. Never mind that he was a popular professor and that his classes were always filled to capacity.

Getting back to the Atzmon issue of free speech.

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There is something that people need to stand for no matter where, how or for whom, and that is the human right of freedom of speech also known as freedom of expression or right to free speech.

In the United Kingdom, this concept of free speech goes back to 1689 when the Bill of Rights granted parliamentary privilege for freedom of speech and debates along with proceedings in Parliament which is still in effect.

Yes, the United Kingdom is a member of the European Union, so just to be clear, it is also defined and justly so in 1998 when the United Kingdom accepted the European Convention, and the guarantee of freedom of expression which is contained in Article 10, integrating it into the United Kingdom’s domestic law under the Human Rights Act.

Freedom of expression does not include racial incitement, or threats or a list of other negative uses that attack or subjugate an individual or people. See below for links to texts and commentaries that identify specifically these concerns if you are so interested.

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Atzmon does not incite or subjugate anyone. What he does in his texts is take on a difficult conversation as a former Israeli, former soldier of the Israeli Defense Forces, as a former Israeli nationalist, as a former Jew even, and does so philosophically and politically. His “mistake” seems to be to open a discussion on Zionism and the State of Israel outside of the defined parameters that Dr. Dershowitz and the pro-Israeli lobby groups have determined for all of us.

I will not speak for anyone, particularly a Jewish person and what they feel or think or have concluded about their ethno-religious culture slash identity, however I will fight the forces that deny them to write about it.

Which is in many international laws and decrees, these rights to free expression including the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights that granted formal recognition on the laws of most nations including the United Kingdom to preserve the inherent human right to voice one’s opinion publicly without fear of censorship or punishment.

To deny a voice is to censor the message.

phrases “ant-Semitic” and “holocaust-denier”, as members of all societies, we retreat and distance ourselves from such ideas and people which these pro-Israeli lobby groups well know.

These actions on Atzmon since mid-January have resulted in the cancellation of two performances at prestigious and well-known venues and now a third venue is being threatened with a public boycott by Jewish groups if they allow Atzmon and his ensemble to perform in their scheduled concerts.

The second venue that cancelled did so because they felt threatened and the need to be protective of their 800 students, which should be their priority.

How did that even happen, that they would feel insecure physically and that their students were at risk for the sake of a performance by a jazz saxophonist? Where is the Metropolitan Police? How is a Jewish lobby group allowed to threaten a world renowned concert venue and conservatory to cancel the performance of Atzmon and his ensemble, and nothing is investigated?

Even with the signing of almost 4000 signatures calling on the second venue, the Royal Northern Music College to reconsider and reschedule the performance which they are so stricken with silence due to fear of terror and being also hatefully labeled.

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So what are we going to do about that and all this?

Because once Atzmon is 100% unable to schedule a performance, they will move on to their next target that they will victimize as systematically supported by our ears and eyes, looking the other way.

No one under attack is saying anything other than the truth. The State of Israel is committing war crimes whether they be illegal settlements or dropping phosphorus on an unarmed civilian population.

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Why does Israel and its supporters keep getting free passes to terrorize and harass people either collectively or individually? Even in my own country Canada, the current conservative government is trying to pass legislation that criticisms of Israel will be deemed anti-Semitic making the criticizer subject to legal charges

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Atzmon is not the only former Israeli Jew who has something to say. Others are also working hard to dispel the myths and propaganda. Are they next on the target list? Or what about human right activists who have no claim or stake in any of this, but to seek humanity for all in that region?

This I know. Many people want to support Atzmon but they are afraid of these pro-Israeli lobbies. They have mortgages to pay and mouths to feed and don’t want to risk their families’ futures. But silence is not justice, it is not an answer and is an important ingredient in this cocktail of propaganda that is disabling the world.

If a Jewish person can’t create a conversation on the Jewish religion and its identity within the political realm, who can? Ask yourselves that.

These pro-Israeli lobby groups need to be exposed. They receive tax advantages that help fund destructive campaigns like the ones that went after Dr. Finkelstein, Dr. Steven Salaita and the cartoonist Carols Latuff whose work is used in this article.

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Now they are currently attempting to derail Atzmon and his ability to work as a musician.

Look at your community. Are there any other lobby groups with the same missions?

These lobby groups are not only sustained through substantial funding but are in existence to promote the propaganda (hasbara) that continues the denial of the Palestinians and their suffering while elevating the Israelis as perpetual victims in a region that the majority of Israelis are being of European descent, and have no cultural ties or long term connection. Does that make sense?

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Because the pro-Israeli lobby groups are now very engrained in government policies and pro-Israeli individuals are able to work within these governments in positions in which they can influence foreign policy that makes our countries complicit in the crimes against humanity that are being inflicted on the Palestinian people, not only openly but with impunity which is sustained by our silence, and violates everything that we have in terms of international law and even the construct of the United Nations, which was to prevent genocide and war.

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So is Atzmon going to be the next victim or an example of why we worked so hard to have freedom of speech?

Maybe ask Dr. Steven Salaita?

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You decide.

*****

Like all mentioned in this article, I do not necessarily agree with all that they have to say but I will always stand for them to be able to express their views and understandings. I am sure that people do not necessarily always agree with me and I welcome the opportunity to be enlightened. For the record the basis of all my arguments and writings are human rights supported by international humanitarian law.

My Ode to Carlos Latuff: I am a fan of his work and I do at times blink hard when I see his latest cartoons however I give him my respect for also not shying away from creating a conversation on various subjects including anti-globalization, anti-capitalism, anti-imperialism, anti-racism, anti-fascism, anti-Americanism, anti-Zionism, Marxism, socialism, feminism, indigenous rights…

 

Sources on Freedom of Expression (UK):

Arab Press Freedom Watch

ARTICLE 19, Global Campaign for Free Expression

Committee to Protect Journalists

“Free Speech in the Age of YouTube” in the New York Times

Fundamental Freedoms: The Charter of Rights and Freedoms – Canadian Charter of Rights website with video, audio and the Charter in over 20 languages

Index on Censorship

International Federation of Journalists

International Freedom of Expression Exchange

International PEN

International Press Institute

OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media

 

  1. Klug, Francesca (1996). Starmer, Keir; Weir, Stuart, eds. The Three Pillars of Liberty: Political Rights and Freedoms in the United Kingdom. The Democratic Audit of the United Kingdom. Routledge. p. 165. ISBN978-041509642-3.
  2. Hensley, Thomas R. (2001). The Boundaries of Freedom of Expression & Order in American Democracy. Kent State University Press. p. 153. ISBN 9780873386920.
  3. Public Order Act 1986
  4. Section 1 of the Malicious Communications Act 1988
  5. Joint Committee on Human RightsParliament of the United Kingdom(2005).Counter-Terrorism Policy And Human Rights: Terrorism Bill and related matters: Oral and Written Evidence. Counter-Terrorism Policy And Human Rights: Terrorism Bill and related matters 2The Stationery Office. p. 114.
  6. Sadurski, Wojciech (2001). Freedom of Speech and Its Limits. Law and Philosophy Library 38. p. 179. ISBN9781402002816.
  7. Crook, Tim (2010). Comparative Media Law and Ethics. p. 397. ISBN9780203865965.
  8. Lemon, Rebecca (2008). Treason by Words: Literature, Law, and Rebellion in Shakespeare’s EnglandCornell University Press. pp. 5–10. ISBN9780801474491.
  9. Emmerson, BenAshworth, Andrew; Macdonald, Alison (2012). Human Rights and Criminal Justice(3rd ed.). Sweet & Maxwell. p. 200. ISBN 978-1-847-03911-8.
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