Who Conflates Zionism and Judaism?

September 17, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

Every Sabbath the good people of Ann Arbor protest against their local synagogue. They have been doing it for 15 years.

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On the censorship of Michael Hoffman’s books by Amazon

On the censorship of Michael Hoffman’s books by Amazon

The Saker

September 13, 2018

[This article was written for the Unz Review]

A couple of months ago I did an interview with one of the foremost scholars of rabbinical Judaism, Michael Hoffman. The occasion was the release of his latest book “The Occult Renaissance Church of Rome”. At the time I did not expect to have to ask for a follow-up interview with him, but when I learned that Amazon had censored his books (please see Hoffman’s own account of this here). Specifically, the ban is on three of his books. A complete ban (Kindle + printed book) on Judaism’s Strange Gods: Revised and Expanded, as well as The Great Holocaust Trial: Revised and Expanded, while his textbook, Judaism Discovered, has been removed from the Kindle. I felt that I had to talk to him again and he kindly agreed to reply to my questions. I submit to you the full text of our Q&A which I will follow-up with a short commentary.

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The Saker: Please summarize what happened to your books and Amazon and tells us what specific explanations were given to you. Did Amazon ever offer you a “page and paragraph” list of “offending” passages? Do you have any means of knowing exactly what your book is being banned for?

Hoffman: Whether it is Facebook, Google or Amazon, the excuse most often cited for suppression is “content guidelines’ violation.” Amazon notified us on August 13 that two of our titles, which they have been selling for years and in thousands of copies, Judaism Discovered, our 1100 page textbook published in 2008, and Judaism’s Strange Gods: Revised and Expanded, published in 2010 — were being permanently removed after “review” by the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) unit of Amazon. A facsimile of the KDP notice can be viewed here:

https://www.revisionisthistory.org/page8/page8.html

In their e-mail they told us that “…we found that this content is in violation of content guidelines.” In studying their content guidelines one encounters a vague, generic statement about not permitting that which is “offensive.” There is no guidance as to what “offense” has suddenly arisen after these books were sold on Amazon for several years. Like the Red Queen in Wonderland who declared to Alice that, “A word is anything I say it is!” — that which “offends” is anything Amazon says it is. A third book, The Great Holocaust Trial: The Landmark Battle for the Right to Doubt the West’s Most Sacred Relic, was also forbidden.

Does Amazon have the chutzpah to publicly categorize these books as “hate speech” or some other alibi for censorship that could be contested? No, they do not. They leave authors and publishers twisting in the wind, making it more difficult to appeal the decision and report to the public on the tyranny. Although since they allow no appeal, it’s a moot point. Personally, I have no doubt concerning why my books were censored.

The Saker: What is, in your opinion, the true intent behind the ban on the sales of your book? What is Amazon’s interest in this?

Hoffman: I don’t believe Amazon has much interest in this. It is more likely that the Southern Poverty Law Center (SLC) is the interested party. Last August 7 the New York Times online published a revealing piece by David French in which he wrote: “We live in a world where the Southern Poverty Law Center, a formerly respected civil-rights organization, abuses its past trust to label a host of mainstream organizations (including my former employer, the Alliance Defending Freedom) and individuals as ‘hate groups,…based sometimes on…outright misreadings and misrepresentations of an individual’s beliefs and views…Amazon recently booted Alliance Defending Freedom from its AmazonSmile charity program because of the center’s designation.”

At around the time in 2017 that the SPLC was trying to interfere with the business operations of people such as myself, by intimidating banks and credit card processors into refusing to process payments for books, Paypal notified us that due to the contents of our website (www.RevisionistHistory.org) we were an embarrassment to their brand and they were terminating our account. As long as Paypal was owned by libertarians, all was well and we had a high customer satisfaction rating for our integrity and dependability. The original Paypal mainly cared about whether you were a responsible seller. A politicized administration eventually took over Paypal and in 2017 we were terminated, very likely on the “advice” of the SPLC.

To return to Amazon, CEO Jeff Bezos founded it in 1994. It was very much a libertarian book operation from the start. From 1994 until a year or two ago, Amazon only refused to sell hard core pornography and books that constituted direct appeals to violence or law-breaking, which is how it should be. Every other type of book was sold, without censorship, which is one reason for Amazon’s early success and increasing market share. Then last year, after Mr. Bezos had reached the status of one of the world’s wealthiest persons, and Amazon’s total value was beginning to approach that of Apple and Google, Amazon staged a huge purge and eliminated more than a hundred World War II revisionist history books published by Germar Rudolf’s CODOH organization (books smeared as “Holocaust denial”). This year it was my turn. Next year it might be any author not part of the university press syndicates or the major houses. Such is the heedless power and immunity of Amazon.

It’s important to note that the thought police who removed three of my books were based in the digital division of Amazon, where the electronic Kindle books are marketed and managed. A Kindle permits anyone connected to the Amazon website to read approximately the first thirty pages of any Kindle book free of charge. Consequently, my Judaica scholarship was on display around the world and therefore it was much harder to lie about me and mischaracterize my Talmud and Kabbalah research under those circumstances.

We were also beginning to sell ever increasing numbers of these Kindle books to people in Asia, particularly India and Japan. It’s my hunch that Big Brother is not half so worried about printed books as the digital kind. Removing the three books from the Kindle was the primary objective.

To be banned by Amazon is not equivalent to being banned by any other private business. Most publishers will admit that Amazon has replaced Bowker Books in Print as the industry’s authoritative guide to what books in English have been printed in the past and what is in print now. Amazon is currently the reference source. For a book to be forbidden by Amazon renders it largely invisible. It is equivalent to burning the book. So this is not a matter of Amazon exercising the prerogative of private enterprise. Amazon is a monopoly. It has no rival. If your book doesn’t exist on Amazon, then for most people who are not research specialists, your book doesn’t exist. The consequences for the pursuit of knowledge are ominous.

There is a problem here for Amazon as well. The more Amazon excludes books that embody facts and ideas that constitute radical dissent, the more it becomes a narrow censor’s aperture rather than a reliable bridge to the entire range of the Republic of Letters.

Apologists for censorship of radicals and authentic conservatives often claim that no First Amendment rights are violated when Amazon bans books, therefore it is not a civil rights issue, merely an inconvenience of the capitalist system. In the 1950s however, when the privately-owned movie studios banned certain directors, actors and screen-writers judged to be Leftists or Communists, that action on the part of private enterprise was inscribed in the rolls of the culture wars as the infamous “Blacklist,” and we are still reading and weeping over it sixty-five years later. So it depends on whose ox is being gored.

My Judaica studies are free of “Jew hate,” as anyone who peruses the sections in both books titled “To the Judaic Reader” knows. There we state that the books are dedicated to pidyon shevyuim (redemption of the captive), i.e. rescuing those Judaic persons who are in bondage to the Talmud and the Kabbalah.

Our enemies easily turn to their advantage books containing hatred of “The Jews.” What they absolutely have no credible answer to is a critique predicated, as our books are, on a sincere foundation of true Christian love. Boundary-breaking scholarship united to compassionate concern for the welfare of Judaic people is almost unprecedented in this field. This approach makes my studies of Judaism among the most powerful and effective because they are free of the “hate speech” which is the pivot upon which turns the machinery of liberal-approved censorship. For that reason, making Judaism’s Strange Gods: Revised and Expanded, and Judaism Discovered available on the Kindle undercut decades of hatred and libel. Therefore those volumes had to be suppressed.

The Saker: Since this ban was put in place – what reactions have you heard? who has spoken in defense of your scholarship and right to be heard? has anybody taken your defense or spoken up for you?

Hoffman: Ron Unz allowed me to publish a note on the ban at unz.com and you, the Saker, have taken an interest. Our many friends, readers and subscribers have expressed outrage on Twitter and in e-mail. Meanwhile we have contacted everyone from a columnist for Taki’s website to the legacy media, to no discernible effect thus far. The Washington Post, which is owned by Mr. Bezos, has as its motto, “Democracy dies in darkness.” Yet it is in that very darkness where Amazon’s book-banning dwells, due to the apathy of the media and the American Library Association. To ban books by a vulnerable independent scholar is not exactly a daring move in this age where “hate speech” is anything that offends someone’s cherished myth. The definition is so loose it functions as an inquisitor’s sword.

On the positive side, we have seen an uptick in orders to our own online store for the printed books which Amazon has banned [https://truthfulhistory.blogspot.com/2016/02/judaica-books-and-resources.html]. There is no replacement for the banned Kindle editions, however.

The Saker: What do you believe could be done to resist this state of affairs? what can we all do to put at stop to this kind of censorship?

Hoffman: In a general, the supporters of the lies of the Overlords wage spiritual and psychological warfare with far more dedication, commitment and self-sacrifice than the purported allies of God’s truth. The Cryptocracy’s defenders are 24/7 militants resolved to contend with their perceived foes with every ounce of their being. Whereas on the side of Christian conservative renewal, with honorable exceptions, I find mainly armchair warriors and folks so enormously distracted by the choices offered by the Internet’s deluge of words and images, that they are nearly paralyzed by the spectacle.

Compare the reception Judge Kavanaugh received in the Senate hearings with that of recent Supreme Court nominees Kagan and Ginsburg. The Republicans were too cowed to seriously confront those ladies. Maintaining decorum was the chief concern of the timid GOP at the time, while Kavanaugh faced a near riot in the visitor’s gallery and extremes of withering interrogation and contempt from defiant Democratic senators.

When CODOH’s books were banned we reported the case extensively online and in our printed newsletter. We contacted an executive with the American Library Association to elicit his response and express our outrage. We did what we could even though we have almost no relationship with CODOH. We would do the same for any person of good will who is denied the right to advance human learning with suppressed facts and ideas. This was formerly a truism in America, up until the rise of the punks of social media who seem to be more like a branch of Antifa than an intellectual class invested in discovery and enlightenment.

Advances in human knowledge are achieved on the basis that “error has rights,” for the reason that enshrined dogmas are often wrong and demonized dissidents are sometimes the bearers of rare discoveries. But the epigram of our time is “Error has no rights,” which was the doctrine of the fiery Inquisition, of the head-chopping French Revolution and of the Bolsheviks and Maoists. If error has no rights then neither does truth, in that what is denounced as hateful error by the mob is sometimes a destabilizing, necessary and even cosmic truth.

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Reading Hoffman’s words I thought that what happened to him is so typical of the Orwellian world we live in where the what I call the “Skripal rules of evidence” (aka “highly likely”) have replaced even basic evidentiary notions, a world in which false flag attacks are announced weeks in advance, a world in which the Planetary Hegemon has declared urbi et orbi that nothing in the body of international law applies to the “indispensable nation” (or to the parasitic host feeding off it) and where “might makes right” has become the motto by which everybody lives. Of course, the censorship of a book cannot be compared to the initiation of a war of aggression (which is the “supreme international crime” under international law: this was the conclusion of the Nuremberg Trial on this topic: To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole). Still, there is something uniquely devious and evil about the censorship of Hoffman’s books by Amazon, several things in fact:

  1. What is attacked in not a person or even a group, but ideas, arguably the most precious attribute of mankind. This is therefore not only an attack on a human being, but an attack on the very notion of humanity as such
  2. While the method is different, the intention here is no different from the book burnings of the Nazis or the Papacy except that in these latter cases it was obvious who ordered the burning of putatively “degenerate” or “heretical” books. Thus the ideological motive of the Nazis and Papists was always clear whereas in the case of Hoffman this ideological motive is hidden (even if obvious with anybody with a modicum of intelligence).
  3. The ultimate hypocrisy lies in the fact that most so-called libertarians (from the Left to the Right) have nothing to say about this because this is not a case of censorship by government but the action of a corporation which has the “right” to do as it wishes, nevermind that the result is still a clear de-facto infringement of Hoffman’s First Amendment rights and the freedom of academic scholarship.
  4. The US government and Congress, by allowing monopolistic corporations such as Amazon to have that kind of power are basically engaging in what I would call “censorship by proxy” which is to be expected from a deep state which now does almost everything by proxy in order to bypass fundamental US and international laws (“extraordinary renditions” anybody?).
  5. Unlike the government which does have to produce at least some evidence before it can censor an individual or organization, a US corporation does not even have to justify itself by a single word. This is viewed as a triumph of deregulation by mindless libertarians who would gladly surrender all their freedoms as long as it is not to the state. In the real world, of course, they still end up handing over their freedoms to the state, except that the state is hiding behind their beloved corporations.

It is also pretty obvious that those who might, at least in theory, have something to say about this kind of censorship by proxy remain silent because, at least according to them, Hoffman is an “anti-Semite” (which, having read many of his books, I can attest is a total falsehood; by way of evidence here are sample pages from his book: https://twitter.com/HoffmanMichaelA/status/1039159686233088000) and thus he is undeserving of support. So-called “anti-Semites” are, along with the pedophiles, the “consensus villains” of the day (I explain that in detail here) but what the anti-anti-Semites fail to realize is that each time a “consensus villain” is deprived from his rights, this sets a precedent for everybody else. This is why Yehuda Bauer warned us when he wrote: “Thou shalt not be a victim, Thou shalt not be a perpetrator, And above all, Thou shalt not be a bystander”. To no avail, alas: we live in society of silent bystanders apparently! And when YouTube decides to silence all the Syrian state channels to better prepare for a false flag chemical attack, everybody looks away – “ain’t my problem”…

We all know that in Europe (and in Russia) you can be jailed and your books banned if a court finds them to be “revisionist” or “anti-Semitic” or “hateful” and the like. But at least in Europe (and in Russia), you get your day in court and you can defend yourself against accusations which the state has to prove. In Russia, just last week, a man accused of “rehabilitating National-Socialism” (for reprinting an article by another author!) was found non guilty by a majority of jurors (5 to 3) (the punishment he was facing was a fine and several years in jail). Thank God, in the “home of the brave” no such thing could happen, right?!

True, Hoffman does not risk jail (yet!). But in terms of crushing crimethink, I submit that the US system is much more effective because it allows the deep state to hide behind the veil of corporate malfeasance. There have been plenty of revolutions against a state, but I don’t know of any revolutions against the corporate dictatorship.

You tell me: which is worse, the absence of freedom or the illusion of freedom?

Personally, I find the latter *much* worse.

I never expected the corporate presstitutes to really care about our freedoms, ditto for the libertarians and the progressive Left. They are all too busy with their narrow ideological agenda. As for the US academic world, it has shown its true face when it allowed the persecution of Professor Norman Finkenstein. But I have to say that I am shocked by the fact that the blogosphere and the so-called “alternative media” has remained so silent in the face of such a blatant censorship by proxy by the deep state against one of the foremost US historians.

I urge all those reading these lines to speak up on Hoffman’s behalf and to support him by purchasing his superb and censored books. This is how every one of us can resist the Hegemon and his rule!

The Saker

The End of Zion

September 12, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

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By Gilad Atzmon

Before the Jewish new year, Rosh Hashana, the Hebrews are commanded to make an audit – an overview of their standing in the world. Haaretz, the paper of the so called ‘thinking Israelis,’ followed that Mitzvah, polling Israeli Jews on their attitudes toward Jewishness, Judaism, God and ‘the Jew.’

The Jewish God

The Jewish God is, without doubt, a spectacular invention. He (she or it) was invented by the Jews to love them especially. The Jewish God comes across as a jealous and vengeful character. He engages in genocidal projects, using WMDs of chemical and biological warfare as the early Egyptians could testify. Clearly the Jewish God would stand no chance at The Hague, but Jews seem to love their God, or more likely, are fearful of their own invention.

One may wonder why the Jews invented such an unpleasant deity. Couldn’t they contemplate a merciful and kind father instead? Initially, Zionism was a secular nationalist Jewish movement that tried to separate Jews from their evil God, to make them enlightened people. With that in mind, it is fascinating to examine what was missing from the Zionist secular ‘promise.’

Not a lot apparently.

According to Haaretz’ poll, “54 percent of Jewish Israelis believe in God, and another 21 percent accept the existence of an undefined superior power other than God.” These results resemble the American attitude toward God. A poll published by Pew Research a few months ago found that 56 percent of Americans believe in the original God of the Bible and another 23 percent in a superior force. It is worth noting, however, that unlike the Jewish god, the American God is largely Christian – kind and merciful.

believe in God?.png

Haaretz’ poll reveals the intimate relationship between right wing politics and Judaism. 78% of the Israeli right believe in God. Only 15% of the left are believers. This means that as Israel becomes more religious, the fate of the Israeli left is sealed. This is hardly surprising. Left is a universal attitude. Judaism is a tribal precept. Left Judaism is a contradiction in terms, the tribal and the universal are like oil and water, they do not mix. The Israeli left is destined to die out (assuming that it isn’t dead already).

For the Jew not the Many

The poll reveals that “Slightly more than half of Jewish Israelis believe that their rights to the Land of Israel derive from God’s divine covenant in the Bible.” I guess this doesn’t leave much hope for peace. “56 percent believe that the Jewish people are chosen people.” This leaves even less hope for peace. And to remove any possible doubt of a peaceful resolution anytime soon, Haaretz reveals that “Seventy-nine percent of right-wingers believe that God singled out the Jews… Seventy-four percent of right-wingers believe that Israel holds a divine deed for its land.”

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The vast majority of Israelis appear to adhere to a rigid Judaic notion of choseness that is translated into an entitlement to someone else’s land.

I wonder what the 13% of Israeli ‘leftists’ who see themselves as ‘chosen’ understand left ideology to be. Is ‘for the Jew not the Many’ how they interpret social justice?

The Jewish Deity

In my latest book, ‘Being in Time,’ I argue that a cultural study of the Jews and their many religious precepts (Juda-ism, Athe-ism, Zion-ism,  Holocaust-ism, Moral Intervention-ism, everything-ism etc.)  reveals that Jewish religions can be characterised as a set of ideas that facilitate entitlements. The holocaust, thought by some Jewish scholars to be the most popular Jewish religion, is attached to a list of entitlements that are cultural, political and, of course, financial.  Zionism, another popular Jewish religion, holds that it was the ‘God of Israel’ that promised Palestine to the chosen people. But Jewish entitlement is not just an Israeli or Zionist attitude. When Jewish anti Zionists offer their political positions, they first declare their unique ‘Jewish entitlement’ to their beliefs. ‘As Jews we are there to kosher the Palestinian Solidarity movement.’ Many of the same Jews who ‘legitimised’ the Palestine plight, are busy these days giving a kosher stamp to Jeremy Corbyn. In general, the Jewish left’s entitlement has been exercised by disseminating ‘kosher stamps’ that paint ‘the Jews’ in a positive, humane light.

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Israel seems to be divided on religious issues but the trend is clear. With 51 percent believing that the Jews’ right to Israel stems from God’s promise, regional reconciliation probably isn’t the next project in the ‘pipe line.’

Darwin didn’t make Aliya

The poll suggests that Israel is separating geographically and culturally: “eighty-five percent of Jerusalemites believe in God, compared with only 44 percent in Tel Aviv and the central region. Only a quarter of Israeli Jews fully keep Shabbat, but 66 percent keep it in Jerusalem as compared with just 15 percent in Tel Aviv or Haifa. Thirty-seven percent don’t believe that humans and apes share a common ancestor – a disturbing finding – but in Jerusalem the anti-Darwinians enjoy an absolute majority of 81 percent while in Tel Aviv they’re in a distinct minority ‘of only’ 27 percent.”

Israel is getting “Jewier”

Haaretz notes that “the most startling gaps are generational. In Israel in 2018, the younger the Jew, the more likely he or she is to be more religious, observant, conservative and willing to impose his or her beliefs on others. Sixty-five percent of the population would let supermarkets and groceries operate on Shabbat, but that position is supported by only 51 percent of people between 18 and 24, compared with 84 percent of those 65 and older.”

Haaretz points out that that the religious shift of young Israelis “stands in stark contrast to current trends in the United States and Western Europe, where millennials are ditching religion in droves.” In Israel, “younger Jews go to shul at twice the rate of their parents and grandparents, while in the United States and Western Europe the opposite is true.” In other words, “Israel is getting Jewier, at least for the time being.”

These results indicate that Israel is drifting away from enlightenment. Zionism promised to modernise and civilise the Jews by means of ‘homecoming,’ but the Jewish state has achieved the opposite result. While Israel has transformed itself into an oppressive dark ghetto surrounded by humongous concrete walls, it is actually the young diaspora Jews who are ditching the ghetto.

 

Transcending ‘Chosenness’: Journey of an ‘ex-Jew’

September 11, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

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GA: TRT published yesterday this extensive interview. Those who struggle with my ideas or fail to understand where I come from, may want to read this article. It clarifies where I stand on most relevant issues.

Transcending ‘Chosenness’: Journey of an ‘ex-Jew’

An interview By Nafees Mahmud

How a former Israeli citizen Gilad Atzmon left Israel and how becoming a musician helped him understand Palestinian suffering.

 

LONDON — If you are despised by both conservative Zionists and liberal anti-Zionists, it can only mean one thing: you are Gilad Atzmon.

Born in Israel in 1963 into a Zionist household, he saw his birthplace as the Jewish promised land and says he was expected to serve and cement the Israeli ideology of Jewish supremacy.

However, at age 17, he was mesmerised by the sounds of African American jazz musician Charlie Parker. As a passionate Israeli, this challenged what he’d believed up until that point: only Jews produce greatness.

Serving as a paramedic and musician in the Israeli military during the 1982 invasion of Lebanon, he witnessed the immense suffering of Arabs.

At this point, he says, he began to view life “from an ethical, rather than a Zionist point of view.”

Years later he moved to Britain to study philosophy and launched his career as a jazz musician. Today, he attempts to enlighten and unite people through his art.

Yet his work as a writer examining Jewish identity has seen him described as a peddler of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. He argues that this is an attempt to censor honest analysis of, and reflection upon, Jewishness’ immense impact on mass culture, politics and global economics through the likes of The Frankfurt School and Milton Friedman.

As Israel increasingly meets international criticism and boycott, Atzmon believes his former homeland can only be seriously challenged for its injustices, if it is understood in the wider context of Jewish identity politics – a context he is trying to remove himself from. TRT World spoke to him to find out why.

 

TRT WORLD: As a musician, how do you feel about Lana Del Ray and many others cancelling their performances at the Meteor Festival in Israel following pleas from the BDS campaign?

Gilad Atzmon: It’s a beautiful thing.

I don’t support BDS mounting pressure on artists, but I think it is well appreciated when artists refuse to perform in states where there are so many crimes against humanity. I myself decided to boycott Israel a long time before the BDS movement was born. Since 1996, I haven’t visited my home country.

There have been major stories in the news this year regarding Israel. One of the most significant was the Jewish nation-state bill. What do you make of that?

GA: It confirms what we’ve known for more than a while: Israel is the Jewish state and everything that is happening in Israel should be understood within the context of its Jewishness. It confirms what I’ve been saying for many years. We must dig into the notions of Jews, Jewishness and Judaism to understand the difference between these three and the relationship between them.

Break that down for us.

GA: I make a clear differentiation between Jews, the people, which I regard as an innocent category; Jewishness, the ideology; and Judaism, the religion.

I argue that both Jews and Judaism are innocent categories. The fact you are born a Jew doesn’t make you a war criminal or a supremacist. Also, Judaism is a relatively innocent notion. We know the only genuine Jewish collective who really operate actively for Palestine are Torah Jews, Orthodox Jews.

When it comes to Jewishness, this is complicated.  I had a debate about this with a supremacist Jew yesterday and his argument was there is no such thing as Jewishness – it changes along the years. I couldn’t agree more, elasticity is inherent to Jewishness.  One thing that remains constant is the exceptionalism. Jewishness is different explorations of the notion of “chosenness.

” Some Jews feel they are chosen because they are elected by God, some Jews feel they are chosen because they are Bolsheviks, and a week later they can feel chosen because they are supporting a free market – like Milton Friedman. They can feel chosen because they are religious, and they can feel chosen because they are secular. It is this exceptionalism that is the core of “chosenness,” that is racially driven, that I believe is the common ground for all Jewish cultures.

This is why I have never in my life referred to Jews biologically, nor as a race, nor ethnicity. But I believe supremacy is something that is essential to Jewishness. This is why instead of talking about “Jews” I talk about the people who identify “politically” as Jews.

Gilad Atzmon (Tali Atzmon/)

You’ve made a 180 degree turn from what Israel represents, but tell us about your childhood during which you say you were heavily influenced by your Zionist grandfather.

GA: I don’t think you can talk in my case about 180, 45 or even 360 degree turns. I see my role as a philosopher, and as a philosopher, my job is to refine questions rather than subscribe to or recycle slogans. I’m working now on Zionism, and I find – this is interesting – you’ll be the first one I explore this idea with. I grew up in a society that saw itself as a revolutionary society. I was subject to an ultranationalist upbringing driven by complete contempt towards the diaspora Jew, something I didn’t understand because I was growing up in Israel and I didn’t know any diaspora Jews. But the diaspora Jews were seen by us as a bunch of capitalists, unsocial abusers of the universe, and we were born to become ordinary people – workers. My father was a hard-working man, my mother was a hard-working woman and I was raised to be a hard-working Israeli.

Unlike the diaspora Jews who went like lambs to the slaughter in Auschwitz, we were raised to fight and, accordingly, I was happy and looking forward to dying in a war. This was my upbringing. Let me tell you: when the war came, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to die for Israel. I started to understand that something wasn’t right.

Now, I never understood what the problem was with the diaspora Jews. All I knew was that when you immigrate to Israel, we called it aliyah. Aliyah means ascending. If you leave Israel and become a diaspora Jew, it is called yerida descending. So here, you already see within Zionism an internal concept of “chosenness;” so the Israelis are the “uber-chosen.”  What I do understand, nowadays, looking at the shift that happened in Israel after 1967, Israel gradually stopped seeing itself as the Israeli state and more and more as the Jewish state. The dichotomy between “us” the special emancipated Israelites and the diaspora Jews started to disappear.

As we became a Jewish state, we started to adopt more and more Jewish symptoms. We became victims, we started to cry about the Holocaust. When I was young, we looked at the Holocaust with contempt. We looked at the Jews who went like lambs to the slaughter with contempt. If you don’t believe me, read Tom Sergev: The Seventh Million. It’s about the million who survived the Holocaust, how badly they were treated in Israel. There are films about it. My parents tell me, and you can hear it from a lot of people, that they were not allowed to play with or bring home young survivors of the Holocaust. They were looked upon by the Israelis at the time as sub-humans. There is a film about it: Aviya’s Summer.

What I understood recently is that I was initially very enthusiastic about this Israeli revolution. I agreed with it.

I just wanted to be an ordinary human being. But as Israel was transforming into a Jewish state, I had to leave the country.

What were you taught at school about the creation of Israel?

GA: We were misled. We were told the Palestinians left willingly. I didn’t hear the word nakba until the late nineties. However, when I was in Lebanon in 1982, I started to see all the refugee camps. I started to dig into it and I realised the scale of the ethnic cleansing.

Can you share some of the things you saw?

GA: I don’t like to talk about it. But when I saw the Israeli army in Lebanon, I understood that we were not as righteous as we claim to be and this was the beginning of my transition in the early 1980s. My journey really started there.

What was the tipping point that made you leave?

GA: Very simple – the Oslo Agreement of 1993. Until that point, there was a common belief that we, the Israelis, wanted peace. When I look at the peace deal that was imposed on the Palestinians, I realised by then the Palestinians were the ones expelled from the country that I believed to be mine. I understood then that we don’t mean peace, that what Israel means by peace is security for the Jews.

This is why I am not hopeful. You will not hear me talking about resolution. Israel will be defeated into a solution by the facts on the ground.

How did music change you? It’s part of your journey away from Israel, isn’t it?

GA: It was the first time I understood that I can join a discourse that is universal – aiming at beauty – rather than being a part of an ultranationalist tribal ethos. If jazz was the music of the oppressed, I gladly joined the oppressed and learned their language and I made it into quite a successful career.

How does being a jazz musician aid your philosophical work?

GA: In my thirties, I tried to integrate Arabic music into my jazz. By then I could pretty much play any kind of music, but I realised how difficult it is for me to play Arabic music which is surprising because I grew up with Umm Kulthum, the Egyptian singer, all around me.

I found it really difficult. But then I realised that in Arab music it’s all about the primacy of the ear, as opposed to Western musical education where they put you in front of notes and you have to learn to translate the primacy of the eye. The West is obsessed with the primacy of the eye but humanity is all about the primacy of the ear.  Primacy of the ear is where ethics starts. We have to listen to each other. I made a huge effort to listen to the Palestinians and understand their plight. If you were a Jewish journalist you would say: “What about listening to the Jews?” I say listening to the Jews is not necessary because you get it all over – from the media to the Holocaust museums. But Gaza, Syria, Iraq, Libya is the holocaust that is most relevant for us now.

Tell us about some of the thinkers, philosophers and activists who have influenced you?

GA: I am disgusted by most forms of activism and I think activists have very little to contribute to our understanding. This is why they achieve nothing.  They are part of the controlled opposition. I ended up learning German philosophy. I started with Immanuel Kant and what I took from him is the ability to refine questions. Then Hegel, Nietzsche and most important, Heidegger who is the ultimate master in refining questions, and this is what I do. By refining questions, I can see the answers are flexible. They are changing as the questions are shifting.

Heidegger was about “being,” right?

GA: Obviously, but being is the goal. How do you reach the understanding of “being,” if ever? Through questioning. What is “being?” What is that thing that is unique, most fundamental to us human beings? What he called dasein. This “Being,” with a capital B, that we can never touch.

So, what were you told “Being” was when you were growing up in Israel?

GA: I guess that being an Israeli meant, at the early stage of my upbringing, being forceful, being determined, fighting for what you believe in and the willingness to sacrifice for that goal. Believe it or not, in that sense, I am 100 percent Israeli and I had to leave Israel because Israel was not Israel anymore. It stopped being Israeli. It became Jewish, and Jewishness is celebrating victimhood which is something that I would never do. I prefer to die than be a victim.

How do you describe yourself now?

GA: I aim at a universal understanding of humanism. To be a universal humanist is a challenge for everyone, it’s a task rather than a state of being. It is being inspired by the ability to see yourself as an ordinary creature. To remove yourself from any sense of privilege.

Universal humanism is not the human rights declaration, not a set of commandments. It’s an organic thing that is changing all the time and is finding itself to be more and more inclusive, and this is why you can only aspire to become one and work on it twenty-four seven rather than declare yourself to be one.

Is universal humanism not part of the cultural Marxist doctrine, which you find impedes human flourishing?

GA: On paper, yes. But in reality, definitely not. The new left, cultural Marxists – the Frankfurt School – are all people in the open who define who is in and who is out.  They invented no platforming. How can people who adhere to no platforming be universalists?

Aren’t you still seeing the world from a Jewish perspective despite trying to move beyond this?

GA: I hope not, you know. Some people would argue they see some Jewish traits in my thinking, and I accept that. The one thing that I would admit to you is that the one thing I learnt from Otto Weininger – he’s one of the people who inspired me – is that in art, self-realisation is the realisation of the world. So while a scientist looks at the world and tells us something about the world, artists close their eyes and write a poem, and through this poem we understand the world, or through a symphony – and this is the most important thing. So when I look at myself, I occasionally deconstruct the Jew that is left in me. It’s not a privilege, it’s an instrument towards developing a better understanding and a better world.

This interview has been edited for clarity

Julia Salazar and Jewish Privilege

September 04, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

A few years ago in Portland, a pro Palestinian activist told me that he was a bit uneasy. A recent study of Portland’s demography had found that the number of Jews in the city had doubled overnight. This concerned my activist friend for the obvious reasons. Jewish migration is often attached to political and cultural transitions. He asked me, as an expert on Jewish affairs, what is it that brings so many Jews to his northern American city.  I thought about it for maybe 30 seconds and, even without examining the evidence, I offered a possible answer. “It is certainly easy to imagine that many Jews migrated to your city, but it is more likely that what happened is that many more people, Jews and gentiles, have chosen to identify themselves as Jews.”

Jewish identification in the 21st century is an obvious privilege, some might claim, the ultimate political privilege. As we know, Judeo-centric exceptionalist politics are protected from criticism by different legal and cultural instruments such as the bogus IHRA definition of antisemitism and the tyranny of correctness. If you are a Jew, you are perceived as a well-connected character, probably slightly more ‘sophisticated’ than the average American. Whether we like to admit it or not, a young law school graduate, may benefit from appearing to be Jewish as he interviews for his first job at a NY law firm.

Last year in San Diego, an astute Palestinian- American friend, loudly joked during the Q&A following my talk: “I really don’t understand my people. All we have to do is to convert en mass into Judaism and then make Aliya and take our land back.”

It is hardly a secret. In the world in which we live, the ultimate political privilege is reserved for Jewish ID politics. The Jewish Identitarian ethos goes far beyond Jewish political orientation. It is the piece that unites the Jewish right and left. The Zionists claim the right to live ‘in peace’ on someone else’s land. The so-called ‘anti’ Zionists insist that their Jewishness places them in the very special position to “kosher” the entire pro Palestinian movement.

N.Y. State Senate hopeful Julia Salazar is just 27 years old, but she has clearly grasped the universe around her. She wants to be elected and she understands that being a Jew is the quickest path to her goal. The Brooklyn candidate stated that her Jewishness is based largely on “family lore,” but to her great surprise, the Jews weren’t happy to take her in. Haaretz quickly pointed out that Salazar doesn’t belong to the chosen people.  A Jewish ex-friend told the Israeli paper Salazar had “admitted she couldn’t go on Birthright trip because she wasn’t Jewish.”

Apparently the ‘ex friend’ told the Israeli paper that “As someone who values and cherished my Jewish identity, I’m incensed at the idea of another person fabricating a similar identity for political gain, for the purposes of recognition and to get ahead in life.”  The message here is unambiguous although hardly news. Jewish identity is an exclusive tribal setting that is racially defined. Unless Salazar can show her mother’s Jewish racial purity, she is basically out of the Jewish club and can’t be a beneficiary of the Jewish privilege.

The Zionist outrage around Salazar is to be expected. For whatever political reasons, Salazar who runs in Brooklyn, decided to adopt the Jewish pro BDS position. In the eyes of Israel firsters she committed two crimes: she ‘pretends’ to be a Jew and then, if this were not enough, she actually pretends to be a ‘self hating’ one.

The good news for humanity, however, is that Salazar, like many others, can read the political transition in the west. She probably sees how popular Corbyn is in Britain despite the relentless and duplicitous campaign against him. Salazar may understand that many people see Israel as the ultimate evil.  She may even believe that Trump won the election because he was “dog whistling” by pointing at Soros, the Fed, Goldman Sachs, etc.  But it goes further. Salazar is living in NYC and she may well sense or even share her neighbours’ renewed anger every year when the list of “NYC 100 Worst Landlords” is published. Perhaps Salazar believes that the only chance to survive in American politics in the current climate is to become a Jew. To oppose Israel as a Jew, to oppose NYC slumlords as a Jew, to oppose AIPAC as a Jew. Perhaps Salazar believes that the only way to emancipate America from what may seem to some as Jewish hegemony, is to become a Jew. If you can’t beat them, join them.

Here is the bad news for Salazar, it is not going to work. The Jews have rejected the young Latina. Apparently she isn’t racially qualified.

The Jewishpress writes today. “There are, at least, three reasons why many of us (Jews) find her vaguely annoying. These are:1) Her apparently untrue claims to be Jewish. 2) Her antisemitic anti-Zionism. 3) Her anti-democratic socialism.”

But it isn’t only the Zionists who reject the young Latin Jewish candidate, the so-called ‘Jewish Progressives’ do not really want her either.  The Jewish ‘progressive’ Forward isn’t pleased with Salazar either. Mijal Bitton writes “… the Salazar dustup revealed a fundamental and seldom explored paradox in the liberal discourse on identity: the tension between essential and exclusive identity politics predicated on group experiences on the one hand, and notions of identity that validate choice and malleability in how individuals self-identify on the other.”

Not surprisingly, Bitton, like most Identitarians, doesn’t understand the crux of ID politics. The so called ‘paradox’ she refers to is actually inherent in the dialectic tension that forms the core of the Identitarian discourse.

Identitarianism doesn’t reveal ‘what people are,’ instead it tells what people ‘identify as.’ John identifying himself ‘as a gay’ doesn’t necessarily mean that John is a homosexual. It only reveals that John likes to see himself and to be seen by others ‘as gay.’ This essential understanding of the misleading nature of the Identitarianism was explored by the comic ‘Daffyd Thomas – The only Gay in the village.’ Thomas identifies as ‘a gay.’ He adopts gay symbolic identifiers, he speaks as one, he demands the attention and the privilege of one, but at the same time he is totally removed from the sexuality that has traditionally been the crux of ‘being’ gay.

In an attempt to resolve Salazar’s Jewish identity complex, Bitton argues that Salazar’s defenders have two arguments: “The first defends her on the grounds that she represents a hybrid identity distinctly Latin/Sephardi/non-white, and as such inaccessible and misunderstood by her white, Ashkenazi, American critics. The second defends her on the grounds that Jewish identity, like Salazar’s, is malleable and does not fit into one mold.”

Both arguments can be summed into a single intellectually duplicitous doctrine that is set to block criticism of any given Identitarian discourse. It attributes blindness to the Other.  But isn’t this exactly what Jewish institutions are doing routinely? Just a month ago, in a letter to the Labour Party ruling Body, British Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis wrote “It is astonishing that the Labour Party presumes that it is more qualified than…the Jewish community to define antisemitism.” Essentially, the Chief Rabbi is complaining that a bunch of Goyim in the Labour party see themselves as qualified to decide what antisemitsm is for the Labour party.

So, while the British Chief Rabbi claims that ‘antisemitsm’ is a Jew -protected discourse, Bitton complains that Salazar’s identity as Latina, Sephardi, or as a Jew of Color, intrudes on protected property; “it can only be understood, and interrogated, by the small number of those born into similar identities.”

In fact, Salazar has been copying Rabbi Mirvis’ tactics. This doesn’t only confirm that she is a Jew, it may qualify her to become Brooklyn’s chief Rabbi.

Bitton says of Salazar defenders that, “According to them, Salazar’s minority group identity confers upon her certain inalienable rights of representation inaccessible to others, but she can also legitimately choose to be Jewish in her own individual way.”

This may seem a contradiction to some. But this is exactly the primary rule of Jewish ID politics. Jewish identification is largely a racially exclusive club. But those who manage to fit in are totally free to choose their own way; they can be orthodox, conservative, reform, secular, atheist, self loving, self hating, Zionists, anti or even AZZ (anti Zionist Zionists). The members of the Jewish Identitarian club are welcome to select any combination of the above while knowing that any criticism from an outsider can be dismissed as a form of ‘antisemitsm.’ But candidate Salazar can’t take part in this Identitarian exercise. Why? Because she isn’t racially qualified.

Whether Bitton understands it or not, her futile attempt to deconstruct Salazar reveals that the Jewish Identitarian concept is, in practice, an exercise in Jewish racial classification. There is no difference between Salazar’s identitarian choice and JVP or other Jewish progressive schools of thought. None of the Jewish progressive schools is asked to clear its contradictions. The JVPs are not asked to source the so called ‘Jewish values’ that stand at the core of their ‘Jewish activism.’ The only difference is that Salazar isn’t racially Jewish. Her mother’s blood is not of the right kind. She is, accordingly, rejected.

Bitton herself seems to grasp that her attempt at deconstruction of Salazar achieves little.  Bitton ends her Forward article by admitting that “Salazar’s story demands that we (Jews, presumably) explore the way in which we approach identity. Is it malleable, individual and pro-choice, or it is essential, exclusive and inherited? And if it can be both, then those who choose a selective approach to identity must demonstrate moral consistency in their rhetoric.”

I guess that the answer is really simple. Jewish identity is both malleable and racially exclusive. It is elastic enough to fit different Jewish tribal interests. Salazar, I believe, would face no problem from whatsoever in becoming a ‘Jew’ if she were a supporter of Israel and an enemy of BDS. Israeli patriots are noticeably racially tolerant of Goyim who support the Jewish national project as many Russians immigrants to Israeli could happily attest.

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To understand ID politics and Jewish ID politics in particular read

The Wandering Who? & Being in Time

 

Is it Zionism or Jewishness? You decide

July 30, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

Greenstein vs. Atzmon – a radio debate moderated by Tony Gosling

In the early 2000s I realised that if Israel defines itself as the Jewish State, we must first ask who are the Jews, what is Zionism, what is Jewishness and how these notions relate to each other and affect Israeli politics, Jewish political lobbying, Jewish pressure groups and so on.

No one in Israel has ever criticized my argument. Israelis are naturally intimately familiar with the above notions. Israelis know that Jewishness and Jewish culture are at the core of Israeli politics. But the Jewish so-called  ‘anti’ Zionists were rather upset by my observation. It interfered with their delusional and largely deceptive dichotomies between Jews and Zionists, Zionism and Judaism, Israel and the Diaspora etc. Rather than saying that Jews and Zionism are opposites (Jewish anti Zionists) or that they are identical (messianic Zionism), I have been arguing that we are dealing with a complex continuum that can only be realised within the context of Jewishness and Jewish ID politics. Israel is what it is because Jewishness is driven by choseness – a Judeo-centric expetionalist doctrine.

Since 2005 Tony Greenstein has been my arch anti Zionist nemesis. He worked day and night trying to stop my concerts, my talks. He contacted venues and festivals and the many humanists who praised and endorsed my work. I offered Tony many times to share a platform with me so we could discuss that which we disagree upon. It never happened. Even when Tony was willing to do it, his ‘comrades,’ according to him, begged him not to do so.

Things clearly changed recently for Tony.  He was expelled from the Labour Party. He was a victim of the Zionist witch-hunt. He was accused of anti semitsm and had a chance to taste his own poison. Tony didn’t have any excuse. He had to face the man he vowed to eradicate yet failed.

In this radio program moderated by the great Tony Gosling, Tony Greenstein and myself debate what I believe to be the most crucial question  to do with Israel and Zionism. Is it Zionism or actually Jewish ideology that drives the barbarism of the state that calls itself  “the Jewish State”?

 

Al Mayadeen’s Nakba Special featuring Gilad Atzmon

May 15, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reOKhDG6X78&t=3m28s

The English part starts around 3;29 min/sec.

In this interview with Al Mayadeen’s Zeinab Al Saffar  I elaborated on The Right of Return, the racism that is inherent to the Jewish State, the Jewish solidarity spin and the inevitable future – One Palestine from the river to the sea.

Six years ago 20 Palestinians called for my disavowal as I was touring America raising funds for The March to Jerusalem.  At the time some Palestinians were happy to serve their ‘solidarity meisters.’  But recent events  reveal how wrong they were. Their people are actually more determined than ever.

The Right of Return is the core of the Palestinian plight. It puts Gaza in context, it brings Israeli crude racism to light. It unites the Palestinians, it unites the rest of us behind them.

This interview was filmed in Maroun al Ras, Southern Lebanon

If they want to burn it, you want to read it!

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