Self-Hatred vs. Self-Love- An Interview with Eric Walberg by Gilad Atzmon

https://i2.wp.com/mycatbirdseat.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Eric_Walberg.jpgTwo weeks ago I published a review of Eric Walberg’s invaluable new book Postmodern Imperialism: Geopolitics and the Great Games. I was left with a few questions which Eric was kind enough to address.

Gilad Atzmon: Hello Eric; thanks for finding the time to talk. I would like to begin if I may, with a few short questions: firstly, what is self-hatred?

Eric Walberg: Buddhism is based on the annihilation of the self. Islam – on the total submission of self. It’s at the heart of Christian beliefs too. (I don’t know about Judaism.) Self-hatred has respectable roots.

GA: I totally agree with you. However, I wonder, are you a self-hater? I ask because in your writing, you seem to be deeply familiar with that kind of intellectual adventure.

EW: In some way, I like Woody Allen’s riposte “I may be self-hating but not because I’m a Jew.” 
The self is constantly prompting us to do terrible things, so a bit of self-criticism is not such a bad trait.

GA: Considering the increasing power of Jewish lobbies, what do you think should be the role of the Jewish self-hater?

EW: I just saw “Sea Shepherd” about Paul Watson, an alpha male type, big ego, self-loving who channels his energy into a good cause. I’m not the heroic type, but channel my energy too. I like to think I complement people like Watson Just as the Zionists can so successfully change colours depending on their needs or shifting political winds, it is important that anti-Zionists mobilise all types – left, right, big egos, little egos, musicians, tin-ears, jocks, couch potatoes, etc

GA: If ‘anti Semites’ are those people that the Jews hate, and ‘anti-Semitism’ is a bunch of ideas that Jews cannot cope with, what should be the role of the Jewish ‘self hater’ in that regard?

EW: To fill in the gaps in the movement. To help unite people, not around their own egos, but around the movements and leaders who have the best chance of moving the campaign forward. I see this graphically in Egypt now, where suddenly there are 50 political parties and yet only one (united) counter-revolutionary force.

GA: This is a very good point you make here. Does the self-hater have a special role within the post-political era in which we live?

EW: I would call our era “postmodern” (yes, I’m shamelessly plugging my book here), meaning “the imperial system characterized by one superpower with no real enemy”. It is important that people understand that there still are “modern” states (which have their own political/ military policies, potentially imperial or anti-imperial) but that most states are “postmodern” (subservient to the US in foreign and even domestic policy). We must acknowledge that reality – our governments no longer represent the popular will (they never did very often, but can’t by definition now). We have entered a revolutionary period again, which a country like Egypt shows in spades. To throw off US-Israeli hegemony and the domestic neoliberalism that complements this requires subsuming our egos behind a movement that represents the popular will. No more “me” generation. “We must all become self-deniers now.”

GA: Isn’t it the self-hater who becomes conscious, in our current state of affairs of these postmodern conditions, by forming a critical and ethically oriented discourse that transcends itself beyond politics, or indeed, beyond any available discipline?

EW: Well put. What’s needed now is more than just ballot-box politics. It is exciting in Egypt to see how people have rediscovered their dignity, are delving into the heroic past of Nasserite socialism and anti-imperialism, now without the Islamist opposition (at least that’s how I see it at present). The Muslim Brotherhood can only be a credible force in the long run if its joins forces with the socialists to wrest back some of the ill-gotten gains of the super-rich. This is precisely what must happen throughout the neoliberal world.

GA: I must stop you here. When you say “credible” what do you refer to? Should the Muslim Brotherhood seek credibility? And whose credibility should they seek? As far as I can see they are credible enough amongst Egyptians, Arab people and beyond. I tend to believe that Islam rather than any 19th century Eurocentric ideology is the way forward for Arabs and other nations in the region.

EW: I agree in principle that there is no inherent need to adopt western policies, but the Arab world must nonetheless first extricate itself from its neocolonial status. Once you have capitalism, banks and lots of MBAs eager to try out their management techniques, and many more dispossessed, rootless would-be workers, you have to deal with this reality. Perhaps I’m old-fashioned, but I still see the Marxian critique of capital as the way forward. There was no capitalism in the seventh century. What I discovered in writing my book is that Marx ended up coming to much the same conclusion as Mohamed. Only Marx did so by providing the critique of capital. I think the MBAs in the Middle East can do with a dose of Marx before trying to build a non-exploitative society in line with the Quran.

GA: I am really happy with the above interpretation of Marx being, somehow, ‘footnotes’ to Mohamed. Yet, at this stage then, I wonder if someone could explain to me then, why Marxists — and Jewish Marxists in particular — are so threatened by Islam and Muslims. I guess that one answer is that they fail to fully understand and grasp their mentor. Another answer is that perhaps progressiveness is in itself just another form and manifestation of ‘chosen-ness’ i.e. self-love.

Anyhow, let’s move on now. Considering the unfolding realisation that Norway’s mass killer was possibly inspired by Jewish Zionist ideologists such as those of Daniel Pipes and Melanie Philips etc, what do you think should be the role of the ‘self-hater’ in exposing all these inter-connections and links?

EW: Basically, pointing out unpleasant truths, such as the emperor’s nakedness (rather than one’s own fine apparel). There was a nice piece by Arnaut at Israel Shamir’s site today. He makes the telling point that ‘peaceful’ Norway was bombing Serbia (Breivik mentions this as motivation) and is now bombing Libya. What do Norway’s leaders expect? Their sins (supporting Israeli-US empire) are coming back to haunt them. Project violence and you incite it against yourself.

GA: This is a good point indeed, to a certain extent we are consumed by blindness; we fail to see our own faults. I guess that self-love is a form of such an inherent blindness. Eric, what is self-loving?

EW: I prefer talking about self-acceptance. Self-acceptance means recognizing that “We all are sinners.” To quote the fundamentalist Christians, “You can love the sinner but not embrace the sin.”

GA: This is an astute interpretation of self-loving, but in fact I would argue that those who uphold such a view of themselves are far from being self-lovers. Self-loving refers to a unique form of excessive self approval.

EW: It sounds like a trick question. You can’t annihilate the self and love it at the same time. I’ll stick with my formulation. I don’t trust anyone who is isn’t at peace with himself or that is too egotistical.

G: This is reasonable observation, I similarly argue that ‘Jewish self haters’ do actually love themselves hating themselves; so, in practice, they are also ‘self lovers’ after all.

EW: Getting back to the sin business, after all these years, I see the wisdom in (strict, uncompromising) religion as a way of life necessary to promote social stability and harmony. You can be a Voltaire and merely see a set of religious beliefs as necessary to society, regardless of whether or not there is a God. That’s what good secular socialism/ Marxism is all about (as opposed to the bad kind). Mohamed and Marx came to largely the same conclusions (about usury, exploitation and compassion) from seemingly apposite directions.

GA: Interesting indeed, I would add Jesus to the list. However, I tend to distinguish between Marx and ‘Marxism’ (ideology/praxis); I have no problem with the former. The later though, within the Western discourse at least, is a pretty problematic power structure with very little regard for ethical issues, humanity and humanism. To a certain extent, it is a form of supremacy that adopts the Judaic binary template; it replaces the notion of Kosher with ‘progressiveness’. Both Jews and Marxists define what chosen-ness is all about and then locate themselves comfortably amongst the chosen. This disturbing mode of behaviour explains why many western Marxists fail to grasp the power of Islam as the leading anti-imperial force.

EW: You are right about Marxism vs. Marx. Perhaps Marx operated according to some Jewish memes, despite his rejection of Judaism. You no doubt know that Marx ended up saying about what was being touted as his doctrine, “If that’s Marxism, I’m not a Marxist.” But it’s the same with Jesus vs. Christianity or Mohamed and the Quran vs. Islamism. Still, we have to put the ideas into practice. I think you’ve been burned by too many armchair Marxists. I know (and respect) people that genuinely put Marx’s ideas into practice whether or not they call themselves Marxists, just as I know and respect people who put the ideas of Jesus or Mohamed into practice, whether or not they call themselves Christians or Muslims.

GA: I totally agree with the above, however, I do not like the notion of ‘Islamism’. I actually contend that it is a Zio-centric term set at the hub of the Western discourse in order to transform Israeli wars into a universalized call.

As far as I am concerned, Jewish chosen-ness could be explored as a different form of self-love. Would you agree?

EW: Perhaps in its benign manifestation, though I think from the start it has been a tribal/ racial thing, and looks like a dinosaur in our “postmodern” world. It’s a shame that Zionism has so discredited the concept of being a Jew. It will take years and a major cleansing operation to salvage anything beyond a preference for line dancing and gefiltefish.

GA: I actually think that the problem goes far beyond Zionism. For the sake of the matter, I am actually critical of any form of Jewish secular political setting for being racially exclusive. In fact, Early Zionism was initially an anti-Jewish movement. It was a unique moment of critical reflection, self-awareness and even collective self-hatred. It was an attempt to identify the causes behind Jewish cultural abnormalities. Zionism failed for many reasons such as being inherently plunderous. It was set to be celebrated on the expense of others (Palestinians). It is actually the triumph of Jewish ideology within the Zionist and Israeli reality that unveils the problematic nature of Jewish self-love, Jewish culture and collectivism. Zionism and Israel are there to remind us all what happens when tribalism goes wrong.

But Israel, Zionism and Jewish politics are not alone. Is not the Western discourse driven by enlightenment fetish, multiculturalism, and fake tolerance, a form of self-loving?

EW: This is part of the bad socialism/ Marxism. You don’t tolerate spoiled food. Relativism and faux tolerance of the other does not promote social harmony. We need a renewed moral base to our lives which at this point requires overthrowing the neoliberal order. In some ways, Islamophobes have a point, as only Muslims have maintained their moral and ethical roots. Secular Judaism and Christianity either need to self-destruct and rebuild, or disillusioned people from those traditions can embrace Islam. Breivik and his neocon friends know this deep down. But just as Communism was not an external threat neither is Islam. They both are only threats because they stood/ stand as a beacon of hope for the disillusioned.

GA: I actually do not agree with a few notions you raise here. I would argue that there is no such a thing as ‘secular Judaism’, what we really mean is ‘secular Jews’ which is an ethno-centric and racially supremacist form of affiliation. Also there is no such a thing as ‘secular Christianity’. Unlike Jews, Christians and Muslims who drop God adopt other forms of identification. However, I totally agree with your insight regarding Islam and Communism. I argue that we tend to project our vengeance on others. We did it with Communism and now we do it with Islam. I call it the war against terror within.
In your must-read new book Postmodern Imperialism you identify the role of Jewish ideology and Zionist politics at the centre of our current world affairs (Great Game III). Would you go as far as reiterating this idea locating Jewish self-love at the hub of contemporary Western thought?

EW: In the sense that “we are all Jews now”, i.e., all worshippers of Mammon, promoters of the ego/ self, yes. The obsession with money and glamour, the worship of the superrich, is a kind of projection of your self onto the dream version of reality as presented by the mass media. But there are many people who inherently find this distasteful, whether or not they can articulate why. Once the critique of Israel and “Judeo-Christian” cultural hegemony gains a foothold in mainstream thought (this really has to follow if BDS keeps growing and Israel is finally recognized for what it is), I think it’s possible to strengthen the strains in Western thought that reject this false self-love. Greens, socialists, real (paleo) conservatives, Christians, not to mention ex-Israelis and diaspora Jews who have a love of their moral and ethical selves and have the courage of their convictions… There’s good grounds for hope.

GA: Eric thanks for your time. I guess that the war for justice continues.

Gilad Atzmon’s latest book is The Wandering Who.

is now available on Amazon.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Mirror Mirror on the Wall, Who’s the Fairest One of All?

By Nahida

Mirror Mirror on the Wall, Who’s the Fairest One of All?

Is it not an oxymoron to call oneself “atheist Jew”?

Is it OK for a “progressive Jew” to be a supremacist?

Is it not schizophrenic, for those who call themselves “progressive Jews”, to be simultaneously, pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli?

Is there a problem with Jewish identity?

“Is it good for Palestinians” to rally behind some anti-zionist Jews even as we know that they act primarily for Jewish self-interest?

“Pearls of wisdom” appear to be not just the trade-mark or the speciality of extremist-settlers, violent zionists, or supremacist chabadists; it appears that some “Jewish-anti-zionist progressive supporters” have a significant share in this “wisdom” pie.

One of those “gurus” appears to be the “progressive anti-zionist Jew”, Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss runs the Mondoweiss website and describes it as: “a news website devoted to covering American foreign policy in the Middle East, chiefly from a progressive Jewish perspective

Philip Weiss poses as an anti-zionist progressive Jewish voice who want to expose zionism, and who poses as a “friend of Palestine”, yet he censors a faint Palestinian voice from his Jewish “progressive” website and even from the comment section.

As shocking as that maybe to activists who support Palestine, Philip Weiss described what it means to be Jewish to him using the very unsettling words:

Tribalism“, “Jewish Self-interest“, “Us-ness“, “Distinction to them“, “Sense of Difference“, and an “Elite Identity

Philip Weiss also admitted that his anti-zionist stance is “concerned with a Jewish self-interest”. Then he elaborated: “A theory of political life based on altruism or concern for victims purely is doomed to fail.”

In a slip of a tongue Weiss managed to expose himself to be anything but progressive. He threw away millennia of human progress and evolution, and took us back to the dark ages of tribalism, barbarism and clannish grievances.

In just a few words Weiss made redundant the sacrifices of Rachel Corie, Tom Hurndall and thousands if not millions more of other civilized human beings who rush to the rescue and help of their fellow human, when in danger or live under oppression, for no other reason than the desire to protect and foster life, for no other motivation but pure compassion, longing for justice and love of humanity.

I am certain that the thoughts of “tribal self-interest” of the type: “Is what I am doing here good for America and the American?” never crossed Rachel’s mind as she bravely stood in front of the bulldozer, and altruistically gave up her life, nor did the question “is it good for Britain?” cross the mind of Tom Hurndall as he embraced the little children to protect them from gunfire.

When they did what they did, Rachel and Tom did not act on “tribal self-interest”, but rather at the RISK of their own self-interest. In their great acts of sacrifice, there is nothing but pure selflessness and altruism.

Philip Weiss does not stop there, he comes again to enlighten us with his blatant tribal supremacist blather “We’re just smarter, that’s why“. I can’t help but ask: is the supremacy of the ultra Orthodox permeating the secular progressive world?

Am I getting too thick for my skin to accept such lies, Or, could it be simply the concept of “their chosen-ness” that we “gentiles” are allergic to and “fail” to fathom!

In his article Weiss brags on the smartness of Jews who through their networking manage to achieve what “gentile” fail to achieve.

I would like to remind Philip Weiss and all our anti-zionist Jewish supporters who operate within “Jewish self-interest” or “is it good for the Jews?” framework that Jewish self-interest is incompatible with the Palestinian aspiration of FULL LIBERATION.

In fact, the concepts of “Jewish self-interest”, “is it good for the Jews?” and the “elite identity” are incompatible with morality, humanity and civilization itself.

After decades of slow genocide, ethnic cleansing and barbaric brutality used against Palestinians to make them submit or leave, it is inconceivable to see “our Jewish supporters” insisting that Palestinians must share their land and their future with those who raped them. they insist that in any future solution, Jewish invaders must have equal rights to claim permanent residency, historical attachment and ownership of Palestine!

Those so called “Israelis”, whom the progressive anti-Zionist Jews are desperate to protect and to secure their “Jewish interest”, are occupiers, who serve in the IDF and support the occupation, and by the sheer fact of being there in Palestine they ARE the occupation. They constitute a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural foreign invaders.

They occupied the land by force, they raped the land by force, they stole the land by force, and they have been committing atrocities every single day for almost a century.

Can any sane and moral person equate invaders with the native owners of Palestine who have every moral and legal right to defend themselves, protect their culture and to RESIST the invasion and the takeover of their land and property?

Can any sane or moral person blame the Palestinians for not desiring to share their land with such barbaric invaders?

I have spent the last two years researching and trying to understand what motivates those mad settles, who invaded Palestine, to behave in such peculiar manner; where does all this arrogance they exhibit come from? and how can human beings become so blatantly sadistic as a group?

Why after over a century of their violence, we see no signs of remorse or repentance, only more and more extremism, more and more brutality?

What I found was more than horrific, a deep bottomless hole, filled with ugliness beyond description.

It appears to me that authentic Judaism has been totally hijacked by some dark self-worshiping Talmudists, who have managed to disfigure and distort the original teaching of prophets beyond recognition.

Furthermore, historical records show that occupiers who take over other people’s homelands would inevitably either get defeated and kicked out, or they form a bond with the land and its native people and get absorbed in.

Obviously, the Jewish-Zionist invaders failed in forming any bond with the land, nor with its people, so why is it that our Jewish supporters insist that we view the occupation of Palestine differently, in terms of the inevitable consequences for invaders who have committed generations-long crimes and who are evidently unfit and unable to bond and blend with the people, the land and the environment?

Why is that we have to accept a bizarre version of history, in which foreign invaders of multi-ethnicities claim to have been given the land of Palestine by God (even though that many of them don’t even believe in God)?

Why is it that we have to be accommodating and extra sensitive when dealing with the Jewish-Zionists?

Does the fact that they are Jewish has anything to do with it?

That leads us to the question of Jewish identity which has indeed become a taboo, along with any mention of the racist concepts that thrives within many Jewish communities.

If we are aspiring to establish a world build on equality and fair dealing for all, this taboo has to be broken; and the problematic issues within have to be faced and dealt with.

Such discussions are extremely important; it enables us to understand the motivations, the mental and psychological process that animates the occupiers of Palestine and the majority amongst the Jewish communities who support them.

Those who try to suppress or prevent such discussions whether they realize it or not, act as controlled opposition and gatekeepers, who want to divert the world’s attention from looking at the rot inside their communities, the root causes, and the ideology that produces such peculiar behaviour that has plagued our land and our recent history in Palestine and caused so much misery to millions of human beings in the Middle East.

As it is the case with all other moral issues that poses threat to establishing a just and peaceful society, rejecting racism is a necessity; starting from the concept of their chosen-ness amongst religious Jews, which includes their sense of superiority and distinction in terms of intellect, morality, spirituality, and exceptional suffering, and ending with the concept “Us-ness in distinction to them”, “Jews is: a sense of difference”, and of being part of an “elite identity”, with “great civilization”, amongst some secular progressive Jews.

If Jewish people are really serious about protecting their future and saving what is left of their religion, they should look in the mirror for once and start doing some soul-searching and inner-reflecting, they should start cleaning their own house before it’s too late for God’s sake.

No human would ever accept to be enslaved or looked down upon by some self-chosen, self appointed supremacists.

No human would tolerate to be viewed as sub-human with an animal soul by any other.

No human would succumb to some self-appointed “masters” who declare themselves divine, equipped with a divine right to rob, kill, lie and get away with it.

I for one, rebuke and reject the absurd concept of “chosen-ness” of the Jewish people.

I rebuke and reject their mantra of their “specialness”, exceptionalism, “elite-ism”, and their delusion of a “superior Jewish IQ”.

I rebuke and reject their claim that Jews are “smarter than others”.

I rebuke and reject the concept of the “uniqueness of the Jewish suffering”.

If believing that: Jews and non-Jews are equal in intellect, morality, spirituality and in their responsibility for their own actions; if believing that is a crime, then I am the first to be called a criminal.

If believing that the statement: “Jews are unique and special beings, with unique Divine souls” is a racist, chauvinistic and supremacist statement; then I plead guilty of racism.

If believing that “ALL mankind, Jews and non-Jews alike, are equal in humanity and in their accountability before the law”, is anti-Semitic, then call me anti-Semite.

If believing that no man is superior to another in intellect by the virtue of race or religion, is considered extremism, in this Orwellian world, then call me an extremist.

It cannot be that difficult to comprehend that bragging and propagating myths such as “Jews are just smarter than others“, makes the “gentiles” just a little uncomfortable.

Is it really hard to see that such blatant supremacy coming from a “progressive Jew” can only create negative feelings against the Jews?

Hence, the claims that anti-semitism has always existed and continue to exist due to the innate irrationality of the “gentiles”, or due to character defects in them, or because they are born with an irresistible tendency to hate, kill or oppress Jews need to revisited and re-examined.

Throwing sands in the eyes of the “gentiles” by focusing all the attention on the blurred and moribund catchword of “zionism”, rather than the ideology that has produced and still animates zionism, does not fly well with anti-racist people who are more interested in identifying, fighting and eliminating real causes of racism rather than blankly staring at the symptoms.

Deflecting the activists’ attention from identifying the culprits who have accumulated enormous level of financial power and political control that enabled them to be literally “above the law”, can only serve to protect the real ruling “elite” culprits, who have caused unimaginable devastation to the world in recent history.

“progressive” Jews ought to be running mad to expose those ruling “elite” rather than hysterically and irrationally throwing accusations and labels of anti-semitism at anyone who dares to ask such questions:
Who are the “ruling elite”? Who are the bankers? Who are the warlords? What is the common denominator between most of them?”

“progressive” Jews ought to pull their act together, take a look in the mirror, practice some self-reflection and ask themselves the painful questions:

Is it morally acceptable to consider themselves up and above the rest of humanity?

Can they not see the problematic inevitable consequences of fostering or concealing ideologies that are racist and supremacist ?

“Is it good for the Jews” to keep creating mental, emotional and intellectual walls of separation between the world and the “tribe”, in the name of “it is good for the Jews”?

Is it morally acceptable to think, talk and act for the self-interest of the tribe against the interest of the whole world?

Can they blame the world when it reaches a threshold and reacts to their racism, supremacy, exclusionary tribal mentality and the takeover of influential positions that serves their interest against the interest of the whole?

Gilad Atzmon: Self Reflection in Mondoweiss

I would like to draw your attention to an interesting thread on Mondoweiss, discussing my interview with Philip Weiss.

To read the Mondoweiss thread, click here.
It doesn’t take a genius to work out that Philip Weiss didn’t feel very comfortable with the publication of my interview with him In fact no one, including myself, felt comfortable with it , and some editors told me they were more than a little surprised that Weiss had agreed to my publishing it. But the truth of the matter is that Weiss gave me a green light after reading it all, and I salute him for his courage.

In the interview Weiss admitted that Jews — like himself – are, in his words, “concerned with a Jewish self-interest.” He was even honest enough to confess that, for him, a theory of political life based on “altruism or concern for victims purely is doomed to fail.”

I would guess that such a view is not shared by most gentile Palestinian Solidarity activists, who are actually primarily and altruistically concerned about the victims of Israeli barbarism.

In the interview Weiss also contends that “Jews is: a sense of difference…of elite identity”, and he sees “Jewish” as this “great civilization that he is part of”.

I guess that Weiss could see for himself that these views may shed him in a dubious light, but he did not regret, or wish to amend his views.

However, one should point out to Weiss thatJewish’ does not fit into the traditional notion of ‘Civilization’, and the concept of civil is totally foreign to Judaism, for Judaism completely rejects civil law. In fact, Zionism, which Weiss opposes, was a radical attempt to civilize Judaism via a concept of statehood and an introduction of civil law. As we know, even on that front Zionism totally failed, for Zionism could not transcend itself beyond Judaic exclusivism.

In the Mondoweiss thread you can read some very interesting insights about those issues, and, in spite of the all too familiar relentless attempts by Hasbara activists to derail the discussion, we still managed to engage in a fruitful exchange.

I am pretty convinced that Weiss came under a lot of pressure from his fellow Jewish (so called) ‘progressive’ activists to delete me, or to remove my posts, but so far, he has not surrendered, and again, I salute him for that.

Unfortunately, Nahida AKA the Exiled Palestinian was not as lucky as myself: yesterday I learned from her that soon after she joined in the online discussion, she was blocked by the site’s moderator.

I find it saddening that a site that claims to be dedicated to the “War of Ideas in the Middle East” blocks a prominent Palestinian voice.

I hope that this is a mistake and this issue will be resolved soon.

Gilad Atzmon: Jews & Their Self Interest-An Interview with Philip Weiss

Over a week ago I emailed to the well- known blogger Philip Weiss, an interesting post written by Nahida (AKA The Exiled Palestinian).

In her article, Jewish Voice For Peace? Really?? , Nahida expresses some sharp criticism of Jewish anti-Zionist groups, forcefully arguing that “Anti-Zionist Jewish organisations are trying to silence Palestine’s supporters, to frame the debate” and to “steer the course of the liberation” of her homeland.

Since Weiss runs the most popular Jewish progressive blog, offering an invaluable source of information regarding Israeli crimes, I thought he might be willing to address Nahida’s criticism, and to discuss it with his many progressive Jewish followers.

Weiss did not post Nahida’s article on his blog, but his discussion with me was brave and honest*, and to a certain extent he affirmed Nahida’s criticism, admitting that it was indeed ‘Jewish self-interest’ that he himself was ‘concerned with’.

Weiss had the following to say on the matter: “I believe all people act out of self-interest. And Jews who define themselves at some level as Jews — like myself for instance — are concerned with a Jewish self-interest. Which in my case is: an end to Zionism. A theory of political life based on altruism or concern for victims purely is doomed to fail.”

Openly and bluntly, Weiss confirmed what many of us have been saying for a very long time: it is not solely ‘altruism’ or concern for Palestinians victims that motivates some of the most prominent Jewish campaigners and organisations, but it is also, as Weiss freely admits, ‘Jewish self-interest.’

I confessed to Weiss that I was overwhelmed by his frankness. I think that Weiss may well be the first Jewish activist to admit , or even to define the Judeo-centric impetus behind the Jewish- progressive political discourse.

I decided to press it further, asking Weiss whether he considered himself to be ‘tribal’?

And once again, Weiss’ answer was brave and honest, though he did start to express some frustration. He answered, “Yes I do at some level. And what bugs me about stuff you send me (I guess that Weiss was referring to Nahida’s article) is that I end up in the end inevitably and predictably at some site trashing Jewish religion, to which I have very little connection, though yes I feel some core ‘Id’** and this makes me think in the end, that dialogue with you will not help ME because I am interested in frying different fish. While you seem out rather reductively to prove the degeneracy of a religion which I’m sure is deeply problematic, as Islam is and the Church of Pedophilia…( sic)”

However, I still do not grasp why Weiss thinks that I am interested to reductively ‘prove the degeneracy of a religion’ — I am not really interested in criticising the religion of Judaism, or any other religion for that matter: in fact, I am far more concerned with Jewish secularism and Jewish secular ideology.

However, it was at that stage that I realised that Weiss was a perfect candidate for an interview. He certainly embodies the Jewish-progressive school of thought: a unique mixture of righteousness, charming self-love, mixed together with some deep intolerance towards other people’s belief systems.
I went on to ask Weiss: “What does the word ‘Jewish’ mean for you?”

Weiss was short and precise in his response : “My mother, my father, my grandparents, a family feeling, us-ness, in distinction to the Them.”

I pressed Weiss further , asking him, “this ‘us-ness’ does it really extend beyond family and friends? Do you, for instance, feel ‘us-ness’ with an Iraqi Jew?”, I wondered.

‘I think identity is multi-factorial,’ Weiss replied, ‘I feel American before I feel Jewish. I think that’s the achievement of my life, to have flipped those identities, and Jewish is second. I see Jewish as this great civilization that I am part of. That transcends borders, and it’s not Zionist. Zionism is like Shabbetai Tzvi, It’s a big chapter in a long story. Jews will survive this one too. Jews is: a sense of difference, yes, inevitably of elite identity, that’s part of Jewish history and one I struggle with. Jewish is a Story, a myth…’

I liked the imaginative and poetic manner in which Weiss referred to his own identity. I appreciated his honesty, and I also accepted what seems to be a possible discrepancy between the universal consciousness and the tribal affiliation.

And yet, I really wanted to grasp how Weiss translated his sense of tribalism into a political, or ideological, awareness. I enquired further, to which he responded, ‘I’m against compartmentalized identity but I do think that people are tribal, it’s the nature of the species right now, and the deal is do we call on that or do we try and reduce it? I’m for reducing it but not denying its existence till everyone puts down their shield and that doesn’t seem bloody likely.

I had some “us-ness” from my family, a lot of it, but bridled at it. “Is it good for the Jews?” question bugged the hell out of me. But if Herzl, a Christmas tree Jew like me, was made Jewish by anti Semites, as he was, I was made Jewish by the Neocons. I thought, I’m Jewish too so f**k them with their tribalism.’

You can call it anything you like. you can reduce it to JVP is Jewish, or JVP has multiple dimension. I’m in the multidimensional human camp. My wife is not a Jew. She uses Ayurvedic typology, Jungian typology and Freudian (psychoanalysis) to understand people. She uses Astrology too sometimes. I dip around in all that too and I’m also Jewish and feel a real bond with Jews. Is it Ashkenazi and racist? I’m sure it is at some level. They’re the ones I grew up with. Do I transcend? I hope so.’

That is fairly impressive, I thought to myself : up to that point, Weiss had seemed to be coherent, a healthy amalgam of a self-reflective person who acknowledges his tribalism and roots, yet tries to transcend those aspects.

And yet, I was still slightly confused — I reminded Weiss that only two days earlier he had mentioned in our discussions that Jews like himself were “ concerned with a Jewish self-interest”. I then asked him whether he approved that Jewish anti-Zionist activism may as well be primarily concerned with Jewish interests?

I guess that at that stage, Weiss started to feel irritated or even trapped, for he somehow turned sour, saying : “Primarily concerned with Jewish interests seems a stupid trap to me.”

But, I reminded Weiss that “self-interest” and “Jewish self-interest” had been his own words, quoting to him his initial reaction to Nahida’s post — indeed, Weiss had actually said, “I believe all people act out of self-interest. and Jews ..like myself — are concerned with a Jewish self-interest.”

I suggested to Weiss that I can live with inconsistency — I also offered him the opportunity to feel free to change his words, or amend his narrative to suit his ‘new line’ ( in which he had stated that “primarily concerned with Jewish interests seems a stupid trap”).

I did feel , however, that Weiss should at least be made aware of the contradictions in his own words: after all, one can either argue that “Jews act out of Jewish self-interest” or, one can contend that to be “primarily concerned with Jewish interests is a stupid trap.”

Yet, one cannot have it both ways, and one cannot hold these two views simultaneously, unless an explanation is offered.

But I guess that I asked for too much : Weiss didn’t want to address the contradiction, saying, “( I ) Disown none of them,” explaining to me his opinion that “foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of a little mind.”

At that point, I felt that it would be the right time to disengage, and to leave Weiss alone, just before things got further out of control.

It seems to me that once again, I have failed to converse with a ‘progressive Jew.’ I guess that in spite of the openness Weiss showed initially, he, like mny others, cannot resolve the tension beyond the universal and the tribal.

And by now, I am increasingly certain that this gap cannot be bridged easily, if at all, for the tribal and universal are like water and oil.

I guess that the difficulties involved in resolving the tension between the universal and the tribal explains why so many progressive Jews prefer to operate in intellectual, ideological and political exclusive ‘Jews only’ cells where these questions are never raised, never asked, and never answered.

*Philip Weiss’ words are published here with his full agreement and concession
** Id- a slang name for a Jew, I guess that it comes from Yiddish. A Id-Yid is a Yiddish speaker.

Gilad Atzmon: John Galliano Must Be A Zionist

 

צילום: רויטרסTuesday, March 1, 2011 at 1:58PM Gilad Atzmon
Last Weekend the British press was very quick to tag John Galliano, one of the world’s leading fashion designers and Christian Dior’s chief designer, as a vile ‘anti Semite’.
The British and American  press reported that, in a Parisian bar, Galliano told a woman, whom he thought to be Jewish, that he ‘loves Hitler’ and that her parents should have been ‘gassed’. When the woman asked him ‘where are you from?’ Galliano replied: ‘Your ****hole’. I guess that Galliano referred to one of the woman’s orifices (probably the rectum, though I am not sure) rather than any Jewish sacred location around the world. The press also reported that Galliano unleashed some anti-Asian hate language towards a man in the bar, apparently the woman’s boyfriend.

I think that the conclusion is obvious. Galliano is not an ‘anti Semite’, he probably hates everyone equally at least as much as he loves himself. In case someone fails to see it, Galliano is actually a typical Zionist.  This is what Zionists are, they hate everyone equally, as much as they love themselves. They repel gentiles, the Germans, the Russians, the Poles, the Arabs the Muslims, The Palestinians, the Christians. You name it, they hate it. But at the same time they really love themselves. Galliano is an ordinary bigot, this is probably why the Zionists hate him so much. He reminds them of themselves.

Our press outlets reported also that Sidney Toledano, Christian Dior’s Chief Executive, suspended Galliano immediately.  For some reason, not a single press outlet except the Jewish Chronicle was kind enough to share with us the fact that Sidney Toledano was actually the bearer of the ancient Jewish Sepharadi Toledano family.

When I initially read about the Parisian bar ‘anti Semitic incident’ I was expecting Galliano to be a pretty scary skin head, I envisaged murderous eyes, Nazi tattoos, a baseball bat and a leather jacket.   But then a video of the event came out.  And I just couldn’t stop myself laughing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RCQupzwXS0A

In the video Galliano seems to be an eccentric fragile sparrow. He is certainly drunk and lonely. He is harassed by more than just one giggling woman who seems to be having a good time on his expense.  Unlike the so-called ‘deniers’ who question the gas chamber narrative, Galliano actually affirms it all.  I guess that some people happen to love Hitler when intoxicated.  I can certainly think of many others who worship Blair, Netanyahu or Stalin when sober. They are far more dangerous as far as I am concerned. 

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Silvia Cattori:An Interview with Gilad Atzmon-To Call A Spade A Spade

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Gilad Atzmon is an outstandingly charming man. He is often described by music critics as one of the finest contemporary jazz saxophonists. But Atzmon is more than just a musician: for those who follow events in the Middle East, he is considered to be one of the most credible voices amongst Israeli opponents. In the last decade he has relentlessly exposed and denounced barbarian Israeli policies. Just before his departure on a European Spring Tour, “The Tide Has Changed “, with his band the Orient House Ensemble, he spoke to Silvia Cattori.

Silvia Cattori: As a jazz musician, what brought you to use your pen as a weapon against the country where you were born and against your people?

Gilad Atzmon: For many years my music and writings were not integrated at all. I became a musician when I was seventeen and I took it up as a profession when I was twenty four. Though I was not involved with, or interested in politics when I lived in Israel, I was very much against Israel’s imperial wars. I identified somehow with the left, but later, when I started to grasp what the Israeli left was all about, I could not find myself in agreement with anything it claimed to believe in, and that is when I realised the crime that was taking place in Palestine.
For me the Oslo Accord was the end of it because I realised that Israel was not aiming towards reconciliation, or even integration in the region, and that it completely dismissed the Palestinian cause. I understood then that I had to leave Israel. It wasn’t even a political decision — I just didn’t want to be part of the Israeli crime anymore. In 1994 I moved to the UK and I studied philosophy.
In 2001, at the time of the second Intifada, I began to understand that Israel was the ultimate aggressor and was also the biggest threat to world peace. I realised the extent of the involvement and the role of world Jewry as I analysed the relationships between Israel and the Jewish State, between Israel and the Jewish people around the world, and between Jews and Jewishness.
I then realised that the Jewish left was not very different at all from the Israelileft”. I should make it clear here that I differentiate betweenLeft ideology”— a concept that is inspired by universal ethics and a genuine vision of equality – and the Jewish Left”, a tendency or grouping that is there solely to maintain tribal interests that have very little, if anything, to do with universalism, tolerance and equality.

Silvia Cattori: Would you argue that there is a discrepancy between Jews and left?

Gilad Atzmon: Not at all. I should explain here that I never talk about Jews as a people. I differentiate between Jews (the people) Judaism (the religion) and Jewishness (the culture). In my work, I am only elaborating on the third category, i.e. Jewishness. Also it should be understood that I differentiate between the tribal “Jewish Left”, and Leftists who simply happen to be Jewish. Indeed, I would be the first to admit that there are many great leftists and humanists who happen to be of Jewish origin. However those Jews who operate under a Jewish banner seem to me to be Zionist fig leafs: they are solely there to convey an image of Jewish pluralism”. In fact, when I grasped the full role of the Jewish left I realised that I may end up fighting alone against the strongest power around.

Silvia Cattori: Do you fight alone?

Gilad Atzmon: More or less alone. I like to fight alone; I take responsibility. Along the years, there have been a lot attempts to destroy the few of us who have stood up against Jewish power. I found myself in trouble for supporting people like Israel Shamir and Paul Eisen, for standing up for their right to think freely and to express their opinions and ideas openly. I remember one of those infamous Jewish Left activists telling me, listen Gilad, once you shun Shamir we will let you be”. My answer was simple: I was not about to bargain with intellectual integrity. For me, freedom of speech is an iron rule — I would never silence anyone.

Within the liberation movement and the solidarity movement, I do not actually believe that we have any intellectuals. And why we do not have intellectuals? Because in the name of Political Correctness”, we have managed to destroy every single English speaking creative mind within our movement.
What we see here may be an endemic problem with the Left. To speak in broad (or rather Germanic philosophical) terms,the Left is “forgetful of Being Instead of understanding what Being in the world is all about, it tries to suggest to us what being in the world ought to be.The Left” has adopted a preaching mode that has led to a severe form of alienation, and this is probably why “the Left” has failed to come to terms with, fully understand, and grasp the significance and power of Islam. And this is why the Left is totally irrelevant to the current revolution in the Middle East. As we know by now, the Left’s’ tolerance”, somehow evaporates when it comes to Islam and Muslims. I find it very problematic.

Silvia Cattori: Can you explain why the Left is irrelevant?

Gilad Atzmon: Let us look at the current events in the Arab and Muslim world: where is “the Left”? All those years they were trying to tell us, the “public will rise”, but where is the left now? Is it in Egypt?

Thirir Square -Cairo
Is it in Libya or Bahrain?
Banighazi Libya
We hear about the Muslim Brotherhood, the middle class, the young Arabs and Muslims – indeed, we are hearing about anything but the Left”. Did you see any interesting Left wing analysis of the regional emerging Intifada? Not really. Recently, I was searching for an analysis of the Egyptian uprising in a famous Socialist paper. I found one article — I then realised that the words “Islam” and “Muslim” did not appear in the article even once, yet the word “class” appeared no less than nineteen times. What we see here then, is actually an example of the ultimate form of detachment from humanity, humanism and the human condition.
But I take it further: where is ‘the Left’ in Europe? Where is “the Left” in America? Why can’t they stand up for the Muslims? Why can’t they bond with, or make allies with millions of Muslim immigrants, people who also happen to be amongst the new European working class? I will mention here what I consider to be a most crucial insight: It is an idea I borrowed from the French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan. Lacan contends that love can be realised as making love to oneself via the other. The “Left solidarity” with Palestine in my opinion can be similarly grasped as making love to ourselves at the expense of the Palestinians. We do not want them to be Muslims. We tell them to be democratic — as long as they don’t vote Hamas. We tell them to be progressive, “like us”. I just can’t make up my mind whether such an attitude is rude, or simply pathetic.
Recently I came across a critical Trotsky-ite take on my work. The argument against me was as follows: “Gilad is wrong because he manages to explain Zionism without colonialism; he explains the holocaust without fascism. He even explains the recession, the global economic disaster, without capitalism.”
I couldn’t agree more. We do not need “working class politics” anymore. The old 19Th century clichés can be dropped — and the sooner the better. In order to explain why our world is falling apart, we just have to be brave enough to say what we think, to admit what we see, to call a spade a spade.
Actually, I would love to see “the Left” resurrecting itself. Yet, for that to happen, it must first remind itself what equality and tolerance really mean, because for “the Left” to be meaningful again, it must first grasp the true meaning of “love your neighbour.”

Silvia Cattori: When we listen to your political comments we forget that you are primarily a musician.

Gilad Atzmon: The truth of the matter is that I am not actually interested in politics — I am not a member of any party and I do not care about, or seek any political power. I am not interested in the binary opposition between “left” and “right,” and I do not care about the banal dichotomy between “progressive” and “reactionary”. And let’s face it from a Marxist point of view I am associated with the most reactionary forces: I support Muslim Brotherhood, Hezbollah, and I support Hamas. What do you want more than that! I am the ultimate reactionary being and I am delighted and proud about it all.

Silvia Cattori: You are really a free spirit.

Gilad Atzmon: That is because I am not political. I am an artist and a musician; it is very simple.

Silvia Cattori: We can hardly imagine what would you be if you had stayed in Israel?

Gilad Atzmon: It would be impossible to imagine.

Silvia Cattori: Are you an exception among Israelis?

Gilad Atzmon: It is very interesting; when it comes to the Jewish left abroad, I know very few Jews whom I can trust on that level of commitment. They always go along with you, but then as soon as you question the tribal bond and their own role within the “Jewish universeyou will be stabbed in the back. Very rarely does one come across courageous Jews who are willing to engage in deep self-reflection: I refer here to people like Paul Eisen, Jeff Blankfort, Norman Finkelstein, Hajo Meyer and Evelyn Hecht Galinsky. In Israel however, it is different. You have quite a few people who are actually brave beyond belief. They are really putting their life on the line. These are the people who send us information about the army, about military secrets, about war crimes and names of war criminals. So there are quite a few Israelis who are doing incredible work.

Silvia Cattori: Is writing on political matters and composing music a way for you to contribute to a better world and to beauty? Is one inseparable from the other?

Gilad Atzmon: At the moment I am trying to establish a continuum between my music and my writing. I believe that unlike our politicians — whether they are right wing politicians, conservative politicians, left politicians, all of whom are seeking power — artists are searching for beauty. And I believe it is beauty that can unite people.

I will tell you something that I really plan to write about. For many years our so-called “political analysts” have been talking about Israel being a “settler state” and Zionism being a “colonial project”. But what kind of colonialism is it? Is it an accurate comparison?
For if Israel is a “settler state” – then what exactly is its “motherland”? In British and French colonial eras, the settler states maintained a very apparent tie with their “motherland”. In some cases in history the settler state broke from its motherland. Such an event is a rather noticeable one, and the Boston Tea Party is a good example of that. But, as far as we are aware, there is no Jewish motherland that is intrinsically linked to the alleged “Jewish settler state”.
The Jewish people are largely associated with the Jewish state”, and yet the “Jewish people” is not exactly a “material” autonomous sovereign entity. Moreover, native Hebraic Israeli Jews are not connected culturally or emotionally to any motherland except their own state.

Silvia Cattori: However, for some of the strongest advocates of the Palestinian rights, such as Ilan Pappe, Israel is a colonial State. They put forward this argument to challenge Israeli policies.

Gilad Atzmon: I am afraid that most activists and academics cannot tell the entire truth on this sensitive matter. Maybe no one can survive telling the truth. Indeed, we are daily terrorised by different measures from the thought police. I am convinced that most of the scholars who insist upon calling Israel a “settler state” are fully aware of the problems entangled with the “colonial paradigm”. They must be aware of the uniqueness of the Zionist project. It is indeed true that Zionism manifests some symptoms that are synonymous with colonialism — however that is not enough: Zionism is inherently a racially orientedhomecoming” project driven by spiritual enthusiasms that are actually phantasmic. It intrinsically lacks many of the “necessary” elements that we understand as comprising colonialism, and cannot be defined in solely materialist terms.

It seems to me that here, we come across a crucial problem of understanding and analysis within our movement, and within Western intellectual discourse in general. Our academics are suppressed, and scholarship is silenced, for within the tyranny of political correctness, our academics are forced to primarily consider the boundaries of the discourse — they first examine carefully what they are allowed to say – and then they fill in the empty spaces, formulating theories or narratives.
This pattern is unfortunately common. Yet, such an approach and method is foreign to my understanding of truth-seeking and true scholarship.
It is crucial to mention at this point that I do not claim to know the truth. I just say what I believe to be the truth. If I am wrong, I welcome people to point it out to me.
It appears to me that “the Left” mislead us and itself by depicting Zionism solely as a colonial project. The “Left” likes the colonial paradigm because it locates Zionism nicely within their ideology. It also leads us to believe that the colonial/post-colonial political model provides some answers and even operative solutions; following the colonial template, we first equate Israel with South Africa, and then we implement a counter-colonial strategy, such as the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions).
Yet, whilst I fully support all of those actions, they seem to be in some regards, not entirely effective at all. The BDS has not in fact, led to any metamorphic change within Israeli society. If anything, it has led to further intensified radicalisation within the right in Israel. Why has the BDS not worked yet? The answer is simple: It is because Israel is not at all entirely a colonial entity – as we historically understand that term – and it needs to be understood that its power and ties with the West are maintained by the strongest lobbies around the world.
So, if the Left wants to stop Israel for real, then it must openly question the notion of Jewish Power and its role within Western politics and media. But can the Left do it? I am not so sure.

Let us return now to further comparison of Israel with the colonial model — Israel is also markedly different, for example, from earlier colonial states such as South Africa, because Israel implements genocidal tactics. South Africa was indeed brutal — but it stopped short of throwing white phosphorous on its indigenous population. South Africa was a settler state, and was exploiting its indigenous population: but it wanted to keep them alive and oppressed. The Jewish state, on the other hand — would much prefer to wake up one morning to find out that all the Palestinians had disappeared, because Israel is driven by a Talmudic racist ideology. For those who have not realised it yet, the Zionism that presented itself initially as a secular project was, in fact, a crude attempt to transform the Bible into a land registry document, and an attempt to turn God into a nasty estate agent. It should be understood that Zionism follows a completely different political operative mode to any other settler state, and the colonial paradigm is simply incapable of fully addressing that.
But here is the good news: interestingly enough, it has been artists rather than “intellectuals who have been brave enough to speak out. At a certain stage they started to equate images of Palestine with those of the Jewish holocaust, and it was artists who were brave enough to juxtapose Palestinian kids with Jewish ones.

Silvia Cattori: Yes, but can we really compare the two?

Gilad Atzmon: Why not? We compare between two ideologies, between two racist ethnocentric precepts. It was the artists who came up with that simple and essential truth. It was the artists who dismantled the colonial paradigm in just a one swift move. Seemingly our artists are well ahead of our “intellectuals”.

Silvia Cattori: I would like further understand your objection to those who consider Israel a colonialist State. Already in the sixties, South Africa severed institutional relations with Great Britain and had withdrawn from the Commonwealth. Thus there was no more a “motherland” outside South Africa. And yet the Black population fought the “settlers” who had installed the apartheid. In that sense, can we not consider that there is a similarity with the present struggle of the Palestinians for their rights against Jewish settlers who settled on their land, and that this struggle is, in a way, a struggle against colonialism? It is true that white South Africans did not implement murderous tactics against the natives. Is it because you’re focusing on this point and emphasising the comparison with the Nazi holocaust that you put forward the uniqueness of the Zionist project, instead of colonialism?

Gilad Atzmon: The big question I try to raise here is: why can’t we practice coherent scholarship? The issues surrounding the appropriation of the colonial paradigm is obviously just one example. We are subject to a lethal tyranny of political correctness.

You are right suggesting that some settler states drift away from their respective motherlands; however, Israel didn’t drift away from any motherland because it has never had a motherland. Zionism was never a colonial project in that sense — The colonial paradigm is a spin.
The big question to ask is; why are “the Left” and Jewish anti-Zionists desperately clinging to the colonial paradigm? And here is my answer:

1. It is safe; it makes the criticism of the Jewish state look legitimate.
2. It conveys the hope of a resolution: If Israel is indeed, just a settler state like any of the other earlier historical examples it will eventually assimilate into the region and become a “normal” state.

Where is the problem in such an approach, you might ask? Well, it is pretty obvious — this entire discourse is actually completely irrelevant to the Zionist disease. It is like treating a patient who has bowel cancer with some strong diarrhea pills — just because the symptoms are slightly similar.
Disastrously enough, this is the level of our left-intellectual discourse at the present time.

Silvia Cattori: But those within the solidarity movement, who denounce “Israeli colonialism”, criticise Israeli racist agenda and support the right to return— aren’t they saying exactly the same thing as you are saying?

Gilad Atzmon: To start with, we are indeed part of the same movement, and I guess that we are driven by the same ethical intuitions.
However, there is a clear difference between us, because by employing the “colonial paradigm” their intention is to communicate the idea that the Jewish national project is entirely reminiscent of a 19Th century national trend. This is to say that, just like most other European settler nations, the Jews happened to celebrate their “national symptoms” — it is just that they did so after everyone else.
The “colonial paradigm” is then, invoked to also support the idea that Israel is an apartheid state, and pretty much like most other earlier colonial settings. My approach is totally different, because I would argue that Israel and Zionism is a unique project in history, and the relationship between Israel and the operation of the Jewish Lobbies in the West is also totally unique in history. I would even take it further, and say that whilst the Palestinians are indeed at the fore front of a battle for humanity, the fact is that we are all subject to Zionist global politics. According to my model, the credit crunch is in fact a Zionist “punch”. The war in Iraq is a Zionist war. I would argue forcefully that Zionism has a long time ago moved from the “promised land” narrative into the “promised planet” nightmare. I also argue that it would be impossible to bring peace to the world unless we confront the true meaning of contemporary Jewish ideology.
Interestingly enough, many of those who enthusiastically support the “colonial paradigm”, were also very quick to denounce the work of John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt on the Israeli Lobby. If Mearsheimer and Walt are correct, and I think that they are, then it is Jewish power which we have to confront.
And this is exactly what the “Jewish Left” and Jewish intelligentsia are there to prevent us from doing.

Silvia Cattori: Your views clearly oppose intellectuals such as Bernard-Henry Lévy who support Western expansionism and Israeli policies. For you Israel is the danger. Don’t you think that some people see there an element of provocation?

Gilad Atzmon: Provocation is not a bad thing. I wrote an article recently about Bernard-Henry Lévy. The man is lame beyond belief. We have more than a few “Bernard-Henri Levys” here in Britain too, Jews who portray a false image of scholarship. And as it happens, we intellectually smash them, one by one. We expose them for what they are. By the way, Norman Finkelstein did a great job with Dershowitz. We should not be scared about it all.

Also, I think that by the time people don’t have enough money to put petrol in the car let alone buy bread, they will start to look at who is to blame, and when that happens, the Israeli State and its relentless lobbies will emerge at the top of the list. I think that some people are starting to see it now, already. The change will be drastic. I guess that in retrospect, some people can look at my writing now, and admit that I was warning the Jewish lobbies for years.

Silvia Cattori: What differentiates Gilad Atzmon from those who say, “I am a Jewish anti-Zionist”; “We are Jews for peace”, etc, yet always highlighting their tribal identity?

Gilad Atzmon: It is very simple: for me, the fight for peace is a fight for a universal cause. For me, to support the Palestinians is an ethical necessity. And if it is a universal cause and an ethical necessity, I do not see any reason to fight it “as a Jew”, “as a man”, or “as a jazz artist”. When I come across those who call themselves “Jews for peace” and “Jews for justice”, I stand up and say what do you really mean by calling yourself a ‘Jew’? Are you religious? When a Torah Jew says he identifies as a Jew I know what he refers to. When Torah Jews say “we are religious Jews and we support Palestine in the name of our faith”, I say “go ahead, you have my support”.

But when secular Jews tell me that they work for Palestine in the name of their Jewish values, I must ask themWhat are your ‘Jewish secular values’”? I have studied and carefully considered the subject, and, as embarrassing as it may sound, there is no such thing as a Jewish secular value system”.
Those who refer to such ideas are either lying, misleading others, or even misleading themselves.

Silvia Cattori: If I understood well, those who identify themselves as “anti-Zionist Jews” or “Jews for peace” believe that this makes their voice louder than others’ voice.

Gilad Atzmon: For sure, and that is a valid point. But again, I still have some reservations, because if I say “I am a Jew for peace,” and I believe that this is enough to make my voice more important than yours, what it really means is that I am still consciously celebrating my chosen-ness. And isn’t that exactly the problem we have with Zionism?

So, fundamentally, Jewish anti-Zionism is still just another manifestation of Jewish tribal supremacy. It seems peculiar that peace activists, who claim to be universalist leftists, end up operating in racially oriented cells.

Silvia Cattori: Is this consciously a way to humiliate non Jewish people?

Gilad Atzmon: That is possible; but I do not think that Jews who succumb to Jewish tribal politics are really conscious of the effect it has on others.

Silvia Cattori: Israelis who describe themselves as ex-Israelis, ex-Jews, are very rare. Are you the only one?

Gilad Atzmon: I may as well be the only one. However, I do not really talk as an ex-Jew — I talk as Gilad Atzmon. I avoid collective banners. When you read me, you read what I think. You see it for what it is, and you either agree, or you don’t agree. I do not need flags or phantasmic identities to hide behind.

Silvia Cattori: Few famous artists have had the courage to stand up openly and firmly for victims of Israeli oppression. We know that, in general, well known people are afraid to be placed on the “anti-Semitic” list. Rogers Waters has dared to break the taboo. David Gilmour, Robert Wyatt, followed. What do you say to those who are still scared?

Gilad Atzmon: I believe that the only way to liberate ourselves is to begin to talk. The only way to fight is to express ourselves openly. I have taken that risk and if I can do it, then I think that everyone can do it. I have paid a price in that my career has suffered a little, and I make less money. But I can look at myself with pride.

Silvia Cattori: To those who would argue that your political positions are, let’s say, “borderline”, what do you answer?

Gilad Atzmon: I do not actually know what “borderline” means. For years I encountered endless attempts to silence me, but they all proved to be counter effective because if anything, the repressive measures taken against me brought many more people to read my materials, and encouraged more people to think things through for themselves. I was accused by Zionists and Jewish anti-Zionists of being racist and anti Semitic, but embarrassingly enough for them, not a single anti Semitic or racist argument has ever been found in my many papers. On the contrary, there is an anti racist attitude that stands at the very core of my criticism of Jewish identity politics and Jewish ideology. I have been writing now for ten years, and for all those years, I have had a note on my web site saying “If you find something racist or anti-Semitic in my writings, let me know. I will apologise and remove it immediately”. And not a single person has ever come up with anything.

As I mentioned before, I differentiate between Jews (the people), Judaism (the religion) and Jewishness (the ideology). I am against Jewish ideology — not against Jewish people or Judaism. If this makes me into a “borderline case”, then I will have to live with it.

Silvia Cattori: Your voice helps people to understand what Israel is all about. In general, covering this subject is not easy. However, should not journalists take more responsibilities in exposing the power games that devastate the Middle East? What have been the responsibilities in this regard of Western media?

Gilad Atzmon: I will be very honest with you; Western media has failed all the way. Western media has betrayed us. It has failed to understand that Palestine is not that far from our “Western haven”. The media have failed to see that we are all PalestiniansPalestinians are at the forefront of the battle against evil, but the rest of us are fighting in exactly the same battle, and we are all confronting the same enemy. What happened in America with the credit crunch and evolved into economic turmoil is the direct outcome of global Zionist politics.
America invests its tax payers’ money maintaining the Jewish State and it launched its people into a war to “save Israel”. Consequently, we are all facing a financial disaster, and as we speak, the Arab masses are rising: they demand liberation, and they want an immediate end to the Zio-political grip. What you see now in Egypt, Libya, Bahrain and Yemen is there to prepare us all, and we may well see the same thing unfolding soon in Berlin, Paris, London, Madrid, Barcelona, and New York City, because we all face the same enemy.

Silvia Cattori: I wonder whether your readers understand what you refer to when talking about Zionism and global Zionism.

Gilad Atzmon: That is indeed a very crucial point. You may find it hard to believe but even Israelis do not understand what Zionism is all about. Zionism is the belief that Jews (like all other people) should be entitled to celebrate their right for a national homeland, and this homeland is Zion (Palestine). Though this idea sounds almost innocent, it is entangled with very problematical ethical issues, because Zionism has morphed into political reality in the shape of a Jewish State, built entirely at the expense of the ethnically cleansed and abused Palestinian people. Moreover, along the years, the Jewish State has been utilising some very powerful lobbies and think tanks in our Western capitals; and these bodies promote global Zionist interests such as endless confrontation with Islam and the Muslim world.

While early Zionism presented itself as a promise to redeem all the Diaspora Jews by means of settlement in the so-called “promised land”, in the last three decades Zionism has changed its spots in some regards — The Jewish State actually prefers some of the Diaspora Jews to stay exactly where they are so they can mount pressure on their respective governments for the sake of what they interpret as their Jewish interests.
The role of Jewish lobbies such as of AIPAC, J-street (USA) and Conservative Friends of Israel (UK) is far more advantageous to Israel than any wave of Jewish immigration to Palestine could be. This transformation in Zionist thought signals a shift from the local to the global, and therefore, Zionism should no longer be solely perceived as a demand for a Jewish home in the “promised land” — Rather it must be grasped as a global operation, seeking a safe haven for the Jews within the context of “promised planet.”
The Israelis and their allies know very well why they promote Islamophobia. But what is Islamophobia? What, and who, does it serve? It serves Zio-centric Capitalist interests. Islamophobia is the true face of Hasbara (Israeli propaganda). It is there to make sure that Israel’s “survival war” is actually a Western war.
This is obviously misleading, and for the sake of Western interests, shunning Israel immediately would be the right thing to do.

Silvia Cattori: When do you see the emergence of Islamophobia and what was the cause?

Gilad Atzmon: That is a good question — historically, it probably first arose in the seventies, soon after the energy crisis. I think that by 1973, we could clearly detect the first signs of modern political and institutional anti-Muslim antipathy as the Western public began to realise the strategic role of the Middle East. The shift towards a “popular anti Muslim culture” was exacerbated further by the success of Salman Rushdie’s “Satanic Verses”, and I would argue that by 9.11. 2001, the Western public was primed for an outbreak of “Muslim bashing”. I will never forget Ehud Barak being interviewed on that day, spreading bile and Islamophobic accusations on every Western media outlet. For Israeli Hasbara agitators, 9/11 was proof of the “unified ethos” shared between Israel and the (Western) Goyim.
I would like to elaborate more on your question regarding Islamophobia. I realised some time ago that the general acceptability of certain minorities can always be measured by the popularity -or unpopularity- of its “self-haters”. The growing popularity of Muslim “self-haters” in the 1970-90’s era could have suggested that a wave of anti Islamic feelings was on its way to our shore. Similarly, the antagonism towards Jewish “self-haters” in the last decade confirms the success and influence of Jewish lobbies within media and politics. I guess that the rise of my popularity certainly indicates that the tide has indeed turned. We can firmly anticipate a tidal wave of resentment towards Israel.

Silvia Cattori: What is fascinating about you is your freedom of speech. You can’t stand the truth being “half told”. Isn’t it the case?

Gilad Atzmon: I think that is a good way to put it. I have developed a severe allergy to spins and deceitful narratives. As I said before I do not claim to know the truth; however, I am pretty effective in detecting lies, ploys and diversions. Being a philosopher I am also effective in raising questions and deconstructing inconsistencies. I am puzzled by the activists around us who believe that we can beat Zionism by sketching out some phantasmic narratives of resistance. I honestly believe that truth-seeking and total openness will prevail. If you want to grasp the growing popularity of my writing, I guess that this is what it is — instead of playing political games I really try to get to the bottom of it all. I try to understand what it is that drives and fuels Zionism, Israel, Jewish lobbying, neoconservative expansionist wars and even Jewish anti Zionism.

And I guess that by now, you realise that I identify Jewish Ideology — rather than Jews or Judaism — as the crux of these precepts and political views.


Silvia Cattori: Thank you.

Source: http://www.silviacattori.net/article1540.html

Gilad Atzmon: Julie Sabbath Goy Burchill

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Tuesday, November 2, 2010 at 11:18AM Gilad Atzmon

In her desperate attempt to smear Lauren Booth, Independent writer Julie Burchill, a devout Zionist, proves how deceiving British multiculturalism is.
Indeed the Zionification of this Kingdom has left this country in a disastrous ethical limbo.
“Last year I took the first steps towards converting to Judaism; also last year, I abandoned my attempt”, says Burchill.
But I guess that Burchill didn’t really have to convert — She is obviously far more Jewish than anyone I can think of.

Burchill can teach Rabbi Ovadia Yosef what self-love is all about. She can teach Paul Wolfowitz, David Aaronovitch and David Miliband what moral-interventionism stands for. She can give Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman a crash course in Hasbara. Burchill can lecture Zionist slander operators on how to spread venom.

But most significantly, she displays an astonishing command of Jewish humour. Burchill is indeed very funny. Jewish humour is a pretty simple concept : it is based on self-mockery mixed together with the absurd. Thus we have Woody Allen presenting himself as an alpha male Schwarzenegger type, and through self deprecation, Larry David would appear to challenge our tolerance of the ultimate form of Jewish rudeness. And then we have Julie Burchill presenting herself as a veteran Sex bomb – funny indeed. Jewish humour though, is, in practice, a camouflage: through comedy, funny Jews manage to live in peace with their symptoms. But sometimes, even the best of Jewish comedians fail to provide the goods, as Woody Allen and Larry David may have learned.

It is pretty astonishing to witness the amount of poison that pours out of Burchill against Booth, a fellow journalist who recently converted into Islam: it is even more astonishing to find such a level of islamophobia and personal attack on the pages of a respected British paper. In the past, I certainly saw this kind of vile personal slander on Jews only blogs.
But I have never seen anything similar on paper, let alone in a British paper.
I guess that the Zionification of Britain is beginning to take a heavy toll on our cultural and public life.

Would Booth have to go through such a slanderous campaign if she had converted into Judaism? I don’t think so. Would anyone in the British press dare remind us, for instance, that it is actually Judaism that calls on its followers to “pour their wrath on the Goyim?”

No one would remind us that the crimes that are committed on a daily basis by the Jewish state, are actually implied by certain interpretation of the Old Testament, namely the Zionist interpretation. British multiculturalism is indeed a funny concept, it basically means tolerance towards everyone except Muslims. I would prefer to spare you from reading Burchill’s personal attack on Booth (much of which reminds me of an old Jewish mother’s Passover dinner tantrum) but, I will review some of her argument, because it is apparent that the logic she employs is symptomatic of both Neocons and Zionists in Britain and in America. “There is one religion which proscribes its followers under threat of death from rejecting it, and that is Islam” says Burchill : Yet if there was any truth in such a statement, our streets would be soaking with the blood of ex-Muslims. This is obviously not the case. Whilst we are on the subject of proscription, restriction, revenge and forgiveness in religious precept and religious tradition, I am sure that Burchill learned in school about Jesus : whilst the man didn’t actually reject Judaism, he did suggest to his fellow Jews to love their neighbours. That was enough to nail him to the cross. I guess that Burchill doesn’t know that the word Yeshu- Jesus in Hebrew-is the abbreviation for the Hebrew phrase “may his name and memory be blotted out”. Seemingly, Rabbinical Jews are yet to forgive Jesus.

But maybe we should leave Jesus’ crucifixion aside. Many contemporary Jews rightly argue that they have nothing to do with this crime.

Yet, I do wonder whether Burchill has heard about Israeli PM Yitzchak Rabin, and the Talmudic Rabbinical ruling that led to his assassination.
Igal Amir, the young student who took Rabin’s life, had come to believe that Rabin was adin rodef’, meaning Talmudically, a ‘pursuer’ who endangered Jewish lives. Under din rodef, Amir would be justified in ‘removing’ Rabin from being a threat to Jews.
As far as Rabbinical Judaism is concerned, one doesn’t even have to reject Judaism in order to be murdered. It is enough that a Rabbi or a great Cohen tags a Jew as a ‘din rodef’ in order for another Jew to complete the job.

But let us return to Burchill’s ad hominem argument against Lauren Booth – next, she turns her attention to Booth’s work for Press T.V. “It’s hard to know where to start when describing the sheer ickiness of Booth,” says condescending Burchill. “That she works as a paid stooge for the murderous Iranian regime’s television channel has to come pretty near the top.” As tragic as it may be, it is actually Britain and the British (rather than Iran and Iranians) who are directly complicit in a colossal criminal war that has lead up to date to 1,421,933 fatalities in Iraq alone. It is pretty fascinating that ‘nearly converted’ Burchill would denounce the Iranian regime as murderous while it is evident that Britain was taken to the Iraq war by a government that was funded by the Zionist lobby, led by no other than fund raiser, Lord Cashpoint Levy.

In fact, more than ever, we need Press TV in the UK, for the Iranian TV channel is the only broadcast in Britain to deliver a full coverage of Israel’s colossal crimes. In case Burchill has managed to forget, at the eve of Operation Cast Lead, when the BBC was quick to follow IDF ‘instructions’ and evacuated its reporters from Gaza, it was Press TV that stayed behind and delivered live footage of the Israeli massacre. It was Press TV rather than BBC, SKY or ITN that broadcasted in real time UNRA shelter shelled with white phosphorous.

We need Press TV, and we need many more Lauren Booths to practise real journalism instead of Zionised comedy. We need Press TV and Lauren Booth exactly because the British press and people like Julie Burchill have so evidently failed. Burchill is not just a devout Zionist and a Neocon, she is also a sincere feminist. She doesn’t like Islam, and she doesn’t hide it either. She doesn’t approve of regimes that “uphold the punishment of death by stoning for adulteresses”.

For those who fail to remember, it was also so called ‘feminists’ who were the first to campaign against the Taliban in the mid 1990’s, just to prepare the ground for the American invasion. I am almost taken in by Burchill’s caring for Muslim women; yet, I wonder how come the ‘women’s right campaigner’ fails to show the same care for Palestinian women who are often enough bleeding to death in Israeli roadblocks. When it seems as if Burchill runs out of Necoon slogans, she then takes the gloves off and pulls the chicken out of the boiling soup : Booth ,according to Burchill, is so “jaded that she can only get a kick from self-denial.” But may I point out to Burchill here, that conversion is actually the exact opposite of ‘self-denial’. It is actually all about the ‘self’ being ‘spiritually awakened’ out of a state of denial, an experience that may be foreign to ‘nearly converted’ Burchill. However, Burchill’s feeble accusation of ‘self denial’ does ring a bell here; it does sound familiar: It is after all, common amongst Jews and within the Zionist fold to label their dissident voices as being ‘self haters’.

As I mentioned earlier on, Burchill didn’t have to convert: the Jewish philosophy and manners are apparently deeply engraved within her soul. It spills out in each of her sentences — and it is far from being attractive. But I guess that at a certain stage Burchill just couldn’t hold it together anymore. She wanted Lauren Booth to simply shut up. She suggested that Booth treats herself “to a full-face and – most essentially – mouth-covering burka”.

All of a sudden, Burchill, the liberal impostor, the one who just a few lines before was rallying for freedom of Muslims, gays and women, has revealed her true face: in Burchill’s world, women and homosexuals should be free — but Muslim converts better shut up. Can anyone explain this discrepancy? It is no wonder that Neo-conservatism and moral interventionism are such a disaster. There is not a single shred of truth, coherence or consistency in them. They are, in fact, simply a pretext for Zionist expansionism. This is unfortunately the true meaning of the current western brutality.

It obviously didn’t take me by complete surprise then, when I found out that Julie Burchill was also a supporter of the war in Iraq. But, as one would expect, Burchill’s poisonous outbursts are followed by some tender ‘light waves’ of self-love: Israel was named recently as “the eighth happiest country in the world – coming in above Britain and the US”, says the proud Zionist enthusiast.

And I am now more concerned than ever : If Israelis can be so pleased with themselves at a time when their army locks millions of Palestinians in concentration camps with no food or medical supplies, it really says a lot about the Jewish State, the Israelis — and it says a lot about Sabbath Goys like Julie Burchill. I am afraid that we are dealing here with a morbid psychotic ideological collective. I wish I knew how to help them — or at least how to save the rest of us.

Touching Left, Islam, Israeli Lobby, Chomsky and Many other Hot Topics

Discussion with Gilad Atzmon by Miriam Cotton
Introduction by Miriam Cotton

 
Gilad Atzmon is a world renowned saxophonist and musician with a deep political passion for humanist issues and concern for the fate of the Palestinian people. He has written extensively about the issue and been published widely. As a self-exiled, former Jewish Israeli and IDF soldier, Atzmon’s perspective within the raging public discourse on Palestine is relatively unique.

His views are bitterly opposed by some among anti-Zionist Jewish groups, who accuse him of anti-Semitism and of being a ‘self-hater’.

Atzmon fiercely resists the charge of anti-Semitism and insists that he is concerned with a proper and thorough examination of the ideology of what it is to be Jewish – in particular about how the notion of the Jews as ‘a chosen people’ has led, as he sees it, inexorably to the rise of Zionism and its present disproportionate influence on world affairs.

Atzmon also takes issue with the Western Left which he believes has failed either to recognize the true extent of Zionist influence (he singles Noam Chomsky out for criticism) and of not understanding how western Marxist/socialist ideologies are incompatible with Islamic societies and therefore can be of no use to them. These and other issues are discussed with him below. There are many things in what Atzmon says below that beg further question and comment but hopefully the exchange has served to illustrate his interpretation of the Palestinian situation and to provide an insight on a less frequently aired or understood perspective.
Miriam Cotton

MediaBite (Ireland) http://www.mediabite.org/about_us.html
June 21st 2010

MC: Following the murder and kidnap of unarmed aid activists in international waters by Israel, General Petraeus has said the situation [in Gaza] is no longer sustainable. Though he was in no sense condemning what Israel had done, do you think there may be a beginning of an end to unconditional US support for Israel?

GA: It is actually the other way around. It is Israel that ditches America. Israeli leadership realises that with America in the background the Jewish state won’t be able to pursue its next two lethal plans: Nakaba 2 and dismantling Iranian nuclear capacity. Israel realises that if it wants to maintain its Jews only state as a regional power, it must ethnically cleanse the rest of the Palestinians. Israel is also convinced that its only chance of surviving in the region is if it maintains a nuclear hegemony. The USA makes things difficult for the Jewish State at the moment; it tries to slow Israel down. I believe that it is Israel that is leading the conflict rather than being subject to it.

MC: But surely that assessment overlooks some important factors. Nobody can seriously doubt that the US obsession with the region is entirely to do with oil, gas and geo-strategic matters such as Russian and Chinese proximity to these resources, in particular.

GA: This is a good way to put it. However you may also wonder what American interests are, who defines these interests and who shapes them. As it happens, AIPAC (American Israeli Public Affairs Committee) has been pretty effective in shaping American interests; we also know that the Wolfowitz doctrine made it into Bush’s doctrine. For the last three decades Americans failed to see the clear discrepancy between cheap oil and alliance with Israel. They might start to understand it now.

MC: But the Bush family was/is an oil dynasty too – with ties to as many if not more Arabic vested interests as to the Israelis – there are many more non-AIPAC, US vested interests like these than are in AIPAC. Everything the US has done there since the beginning of its so-called ‘war on terror’ – and long beforehand – has been aimed at securing the Middle East and about energy and other resources.

GA: This is all true. It is also true that AIPAC won’t necessarily interfere with unrelated political matters unless it involves Zionist, Israeli or Jewish interests. However, the Jewish lobby in America and in the UK has managed to shape the English speaking Empire’s vision of its needs and interests. From an American perspective, instead of admitting that American soldiers were actually sent to fight war for Israel, they were told instead that they were sent to die in the name of moral interventionism and democracy. They were actually told that they were ‘liberating the Iraqi people’. How wonderful! The oil and Israeli interests were presented as side issues. As we know, oil prices didn’t drop after 2003. And yet, Sadam Hussein, the bitterest enemy of Israel was removed. In the long run this plan didn’t work for Israel either. Iran had become the unchallenged Muslim leading power. Inshalah it also becomes a nuclear super power soon. This would obviously deter the Israelis from accomplishing its endless imperial aspirations.

MC: There is no other country in the Middle East in which the US and its allies could position the vast military threat that Israel has been made into if they are to achieve their ambitions for the region. The realisation of Zionist ambitions for Israel was and still is a secondary consideration for the US, despite the relatively powerful Israeli lobby.

GA: I am not so sure at all. I actually think that the Zionist Lobby has managed to destroy the American empire. I argue that the Credit Crunch is in fact a Zio-Punch. I argue that Greenspan created an economy boom to divert attention from Wolfowitz’ wars. The Zionists in fact have managed to bring down every super power they cling to. Britain, France and now America. You have to allow yourself to admit that the ‘War on Terror’ was actually a Zionist led war against Islam, a battle that was there to serve Israeli interests.

MC: Israel has been funded and encouraged to develop a nuclear arsenal of several hundred warheads, while the Iranians who do not even have one, but who control a lot of oil, are deemed to be a threat to world peace. Frankly, in these circumstances the Iranians and others would be justified in thinking they need some means of defending themselves against the only real threat at present- and against those who are in fact being the most provocative as well as doing the vast majority of the killing: US-Israel.

GA: This is indeed a very valid point. From an Iranian perspective, nuclear military capacity is a defensive means. The Iranians are constantly under a nuclear threat and so are the rest of the countries in the region and beyond.

MC: Britain and America don’t fight any wars that they don’t want to fight – not even justifiable wars, unless there is a percentage in it for them.

GA: Are you sure about this, or is that something we all prefer to believe? As it happens both in Britain and America the political parties are funded heavily by Jewish pro Israeli lobbies. Haim Saban, the multi-billionaire Israeli fund raiser for the American Democratic Party said last year that the best way to influence America is through political funding, the media and think tanks. There you go. Even the vision of ‘American interests’ can be no more than false interests when they have been manipulated into an alignment with what are really Israeli interests. At the end of the day, it is far cheaper to by a western politician than buying a tank. It is far cheaper to recruit a ‘new friend of Israel’ than flying an F15 for one hour.

MC: Israel is essentially a creation of the British and other European powers – and the oil was firmly at the front of their minds even way back then.

GA: This is another myth that people like Chomsky want us to believe in. In fact the Balfour Declaration was there to pull America into the war. It was there to push Jewish German and Russian bankers to change their allegiance from Germany to Britain so they could fund the new American war. Amos Alon presents an embarrassing chapter in Jewish history in his monumental book The Pity of It All. In fact it worked for the British. Two months after the Declaration, America was in the war. This wasn’t about oil. It was another war funded by a Jewish political lobby.

MC: As with many other violent regimes that the US has propped up, the US doesn’t care one jot what Israel gets up to with its own people so long as the commercial plan is proceeding towards its goal. The ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians is just one of the incidental costs that has to be paid to keep the US’s bulldog in the region onside. Official US and UK statements after the attack on the aid flotilla were deplorable, with Obama for example declaring the deaths merely ‘regrettable’. This was a clear signal to Turkey: do that again and this is what we will give you. Get in line.

GA: America is talking in many voices at the moment. It is confused or may even be lost in terms of foreign policy. Partially because there is a conflict between the American interests and the lobbies that gave the democrats the keys to the white house, namely AIPAC.

MC: US-Israel can no longer get away so easily as it once did with propagandising the Palestinians’ cause as a nation consisting entirely of terrorists nor cover up the increasingly blatant horrors that are being visited on them. What General Petraeus was signaling, it seems, is that a new strategy is needed – one that is less horrifying to world opinion so that they can all get on with business without attracting so much negative attention to the details.

GA: I think that General Petraeus together with his military advisers are realising that America is about to lose its grip in the Arab and Muslim world. At the end of the day, if I need your oil, I had better make friends with you rather than being caught in bed with your biggest enemy.

MC: They obviously didn’t feel that way about Iraq. They have secured what they wanted there so far and next up is Iran. At the same time, it’s clear that the US has created a monster, Israel, in the Middle East that will prove much more difficult to rein in than was wanted or even envisaged in some respects.

GA: I agree with most of what you say. However, contemporary liberal democracy decisions are made by elected politicians that are bought by different kinds of ‘friends of Israel’. In America it is AIPAC and major Jewish fund-raisers such as Haim Saban whom I mentioned before, in Britain we had Lord ‘cash machine’ Levy and now the CFI (Conservative Friends of Israel). These pressure groups and individuals are there to suppress ethical reaction within the political system and beyond. However, following the last massacres in Gaza and on the Mavi Marmara, we saw a tidal wave of mass resentment towards Israel and its supportive Jewish lobbies. This is something that could lead eventually towards a cosmic shift also within politics.

MC: A different question – in the Irish version of the Sunday Times on the 6th of June there was an extraordinary article by one of Ireland’s foremost journalists, Matt Cooper, which was headlined ‘Israel presents a test of diplomatic skills’, I kid you not. Cooper begins the piece by acknowledging the atrocity committed by Israel on the Mavi Marmara but subsequently works his way around to recommending what he calls a ‘nuanced’ way forward that is devoid of morality or of even basic humanity. The murders and all the previous Israeli slaughters that he has just condemned are benched – presumably in the interest of what he calls ‘balanced’ opinion later on in the same piece. ‘Diplomacy’ and Ireland’s ‘economic interests’ are invoked so as to finesse the horrific truths of what is really happening to the Palestinians out of the equation or at least into the margins. We are invited to understand the feelings of successive Israeli governments and by implication to compromise with their murderous intransigence after all. He rehearses the same jaded myth that Israel is surrounded by hostility, while ignoring the terror that it has since its incarnation routinely threatened and inflicted on its neighbours and on the Palestinians with all the might of the US military at its disposal – and says nothing at all of the huge cache of nuclear weapons which it has threatened to use against Iran, which has no nuclear weapons.

GA: It is indeed very interesting. Today we learned that Israel insists to probe its own crime. This is maybe the latest phase in Israeli manifested lunacy, arrogance or ignorance. The murderer tells the authorities, it is ok I can look into my own acts, leave it with me. ‘My parents and my cousin can review my acts.’ This is indeed a way to challenge world diplomacy. Will Israel get away with it this time? I hope not. But if it does, it is there to prove to us all again that kosher lobbies are corrupting our ethical perspectives. Considering the fatal danger of a total war invoked by Israel, our leaders do not have much time at their disposal. Israel is the ultimate danger to world peace. It must be confronted with the ultimate measures now.

MC: I don’t agree that any sort of preemptive physical attack on Israel would be justified, if that is what you are referring to.

GA: I obviously do not refer to violence here but to some extreme measures of economic embargo, sanctions and cultural boycotts.

MC: To get back to the media, I’m asking what you think about the role the mainstream media has played in promoting the Israeli perspective. Senior journalists throughout the West especially, mostly talk in a register of language and from within a frame of reference that is essentially back to front on this and many other issues: the victims of outrageous Israeli aggression and illegality are described as terrorists for resisting while the most outrageous pronouncements and behaviours are ‘nuanced’ into an Orwellian inversion of meaning and truth – Matt Cooper-style. Unprovoked aggression is redefined as defensive action to protect ‘economic interests’ above all.

GA: As I mentioned before, Haim Saban states that influence is achieved through ‘political funding, media and think tanks’. You are concerned with media and ideology here. There is no doubt that in the English speaking empire we are facing a battle against a foreign ideology that was very successful in defining our needs, desires and notion of justice. It was also very successful in setting our notion of fear and terror. The neo-cons that were spreading the deceitful ideology of ‘moral interventionism’ via politics and media were largely Zionists with leftist roots. It is actually this ideology that signifies the horrifying shift of Zionism from the limited discourse of ‘promised land’ into global politics – namely ‘promised planet’.
You may want to ask yourself why their ideology was successful for a while, why did we let these people drag us into an illegal war and make us complicit in the murder of more than one million Iraqis. You may want to ask yourself how did the Wolfowitz Doctrine make it into American policy? I guess that ‘moral interventionism’ and ‘war against terror’ look nice on paper. It means that ‘we’ are kosher and the ‘other’ is evil. It took the West and humanity some time to realise that, in fact, we were serving an evil ideology and Zionist interests. It may also take us some time to realise that it is us who have become the darkest force around.

MC: Would you agree, that the complicit mainstream media narrative – which, as Chomsky has so clearly identified always runs in tandem with powerful economic perspectives – has been more powerful on Israel’s behalf than ten AIPACs could ever have been?

GA: Not at all because as Saban makes it plainly clear, there is a continuum between the fund raiser, the think tank and the media. In terms of British politics there is an obvious ideological continuum between the Political Friend of Israel (Lord cash machine Levy) the advocates for the war within the media (Aaronovitch, Cohen) and the British neo-con think tank ( Euston Manifesto ).

MC: One of the major reasons the mainstream orthodoxy is being challenged now is because of the advent of the far more democratic, alternative media?

GA: I don’t think so. It is challenged because there is a growing fatigue for Zionist politics, a growing realisation that tribal politics left a deadly stain on British and American foreign affairs. Also, following the second Lebanon war, the Gaza massacre and the latest assault on the Mavi Marmara, there is a greater realisation that Israel is a murderous state driven by morbid enthusiasm. But there is another reason that must be stated. For very many years, the Left blocked any attempt of elaboration on global Zionism and Jewish power. As it happens, aside from the recent weakening of the Zionist cause, the Left lost power within the solidarity discourse. To a certain extent the two political phenomena are linked. As we know, The Left has unfortunately failed to garner the emerging power of Islam and its immense power within the discourse of liberation.

As a result, the Left has been left behind. It is pretty much irrelevant to the discourse. For the Left to bounce back it must learn to think ethically and make a political bond with Islamic movements and migrant communities in the West.

MC: There are a number of things in what you are saying that I would challenge. Firstly, and ironically, somewhat like the Zionists themselves, you place them front and centre of everything that is happening. To disregard the motives and influence of the many other non-Zionist groups who are equally involved with them is similar to the disregard the Zionists show for others.

GA: There is actually again a continuum that you fail to detect between the sense of chosensess that is inherent to Zionism and any other Jewish political discourse and the Zionist political practice which is relentlessly exercised around the world. Zionists do not try to control everything, I guess that they do not care much about tobacco for the time being (this is probably why we cannot smoke freely anymore) but they do care about Western foreign affairs and would use any possible means to shape them. Look at the pressure Zionist groups mount on the American administration with regard to Turkey, Iran, sanctions, attacking the Mavi Marmara and so on.

MC: Not to defend what the US/UK/EU are doing, but to define their role as you do is almost to infantilise them – it is seriously to underestimate how powerful, dangerous and manipulative they are in their own right.

GA: To be honest, they are not as clever as people seem to think.

MC: Nobody sensible thinks they are being clever about any of this, but that they are capable of uncontrolled greed backed up with equally uncontrolled violence.

GA: Actually Israeli violence is far from being ‘uncontrolled’. It is deadly and premeditated. This is the true notion of Israel’s power of deterrence. Back to your question. In fact they do it all in the open. David Miliband, who is also listed as an Israeli propaganda author, was acting against British universal jurisdiction just to allow Israeli war criminals to visit the UK. How do you explain it? Was it very clever of him? Was it very clever of David Aaronovitch and Nick Cohen to advocate an illegal war while being also Jewish Chronicle (a UK Zionist outlet) writers? Was it a clever move to support a war that led to 1.5 million dead Iraqis? Is it very clever of Haim Saban to tell the American people ‘we the Jews influence your life through political funding, media, and think tanks’?
The answer is no, it is not clever at all. It is an infantile arrogance that is inherent to the chauvinist identity. The success of the Zionist agenda so far has a lot to do with the fact that they operate within tolerant discourses and people like yourself and Chomsky would go out of your way to defend them with foggy ideology. Unfortunately, this ideology doesn’t hold water anymore. As you may know Chomsky is totally discredited. His lame argument against Walt and Mearsheimer, which is similar to yours, puts a big question mark over his entire life time project. This may be a shame but the good news is that the resentment towards Zionism, Israel and relentless Jewish lobbying is becoming a mass phenomenon. It exceeds the political discourse. It is a spirit, it is public and it is refreshing. This may be good news because we always wanted to be there, the only concern is that no one really controls it anymore.

MC: Where have these questions implied a defense of Zionists or Zionism? Merely to say that they are not alone in this or that they do not control what is happening in the Middle East on their own is in no way a defense either of their ideology or of their actions.

GA: To start with it is not a personal debate but and ideological one. However, I guess that failing to confront extensive Jewish lobbying is to provide Zionism with a body shield. You are talking about other American interests. What is so unique about AIPAC, David Miliband and CFI is the fact that right out in the open they promote the interests of a foreign government. Would a Muslim lobby get away with it? Could Iran or Pakistan get away with it? Would Chomsky rush to defend them as well? I really wonder.

MC: Chomsky has been a forthright critic of Israel’s – was only recently prevented by the Israeli government from attending an engagement. He has made some puzzling statements but again, I think you ignore overwhelming evidence that contradicts what you say about him.

GA: I have a lot of respect for what Chomsky did along the years. However, as American activist Jeff Blankfort pointed out recently, Chomsky has been dismissing the power of the pro-Israel lobby. He opposed the BDS movement and made some efforts to “dissuade people from using the term ‘apartheid’ to describe Israel’s control over Palestinian society”.
Chomsky also opposes the Palestinian right of return and a one-state solution. Chomsky is in fact a liberal Zionist as well as a kibbutz enthusiast. This is enough to explain why his voice has been pushed to the margin within the Palestinian solidarity discourse. Considering his contribution on other fields of thought, it is a shame indeed.

MC: There is a lot that could and should be said in response to that but this discussion is not about Chomsky. AIPAC may be feted in Washington and London for now but it will go the way of all those who collaborate with the US in due course. As has been noted many times, US foreign policy makers think nothing of caricaturing former friends as villains when they stop being useful. The Israel-as-lone-defender-of-democracy-in- the-Middle-East myth has been forcefully sold for a long time, it’s true, but seldom if ever have the economic and strategic spoils of war been so great.

GA: Why was it useful? Is it because it is true? Not really. Israel has never been a democracy – it is a racially exclusive society that managed to set up a ‘Jews only democracy’. Americans are clever enough to understand it. They went through a civil rights struggle not that long ago and in fact they still do. The deceitful image of Jewish democracy was there to create a phantasmic continuum between the USA and the Jewish State. It is obviously far more complicated to explain to the masses how exactly supporting a hawkish Jewish state in a sea of oil would make oil cheaper.

MC: Isn’t your fundamental mistake in this respect that you are confusing or ignoring much of the quite independent and equally violent avarice of the other vested interests with the extent of AIPAC’s influence, which everyone knows is undoubtedly strong.

GA: With due respect and without claiming to be free of errors, I do not think that you are pointing to any mistake in my reading of the situation. If anything, all I can see is you being reluctant to admit that we had been pulled by an extensive institutional and very dangerous lobby for more than a while. In fact, I know that you and others are holding this position because you want to believe that you are true humanists. I respect it. Indeed one of the most crucial questions we have to confront here is how to say what we think about Israel and its Jewish lobbies and still be humanists. I believe that the answer is to admit that we are confronted with an ideology that dismisses our notion of humanism, kindness and compassion. To a certain degree we are confronted here with a deep challenge: ‘how shall we perform kindness to the unkind.

This is why it is so important for me to maintain that the massacre on the Mavi Marmara was no less than killing Christ again. Regardless of the historicity of Jesus and regardless of the fact that there is NO continuum between the ancient Israelites and the contemporary Israelis, we see here a broad daylight assault on goodness and kindness. This deadly attempt was supported by the Israeli people, it was committed by their popular army and it is still supported by world Jewry except some sporadic Jews such as the Torah Jews who oppose it and obviously are highly respected for it. How do we confront it? Call for what it is. This must be our approach because as far as I can see, the Israelis and their lobbyists interpret your silence or reluctance to use the right language as weakness. If we want to help Israelis we may as well make it clear to them that we actually see through them.

MC: It is important to understand Zionist ideology and to challenge and expose what is inhumane in it. Mainstream western media has been criminally complicit in its refusal to do that. But if the Zionists never existed, the US and its EU allies would be in the Middle East right now, or at some other time, doing exactly what they are doing – as they have done for centuries in many other parts of the world that the Zionists had nothing to do with. Also there are many Jewish people in Israel who have been courageously protesting the treatment of the Palestinians by their own government for a long time and who were very vocal after the Mavi Marmara.

GA: “Many” is just slightly over the top. A Palestinian spokeswomen in London was asked in the late 1990’s what she thought of all those ‘good Jews’, those who support the Palestinians. Her answer was shockingly simple yet revealing. She said, “I admire all these beautiful and kind people, all fifteen of them”. In fact I follow their discourse and I cannot count more than eight of them. I am far from being impressed by the ‘Jews for this’ and ‘Jews for that’. I regard it as a Zionist fig leaf operation. Especially when it comes from Marxist Jews. If they are indeed Marxist, why don’t they just join the working class and fight Zionism along side the rest of us?
I will now go back to your question. What would have happened if Israel didn’t exist? Since we are dealing here with a hypothetical assumption you may have to agree that USA/UK/EU could have also used very different tactics. Britain and America in the past used diplomacy also. If you read the history of Zionism, from the very beginning Herzl was capitalizing on super- power interests in the region. This is even before oil was an issue. So you can equally argue that the way things evolved was inevitable due to the nature of Zionist political philosophy of bonding with influential powers. Israel Shahak would argue that this is the heritage of the Talmud. I argue that this is the exact meaning of the Biblical Story of Esther. In my paper From Purim to AIPAC I explore the continuum between the Bible and contemporary Jewish political lobbying.

MC: At the crudest level of all, Israel may have 500 nukes courtesy of the US, but the US arsenal and its overall military capability is many multiples of Israel’s. No contest.

GA: This is pretty irrelevant, I am afraid. America is or at least was a super power. It was engaged in a cold war. This may explain rather than justify why it has so many bombs. However Israel engaged in a territorial battle with its so called ‘enemies’. One must wonder why it needs atomic bombs at all. If Israel cares about Sderot and Ashkelon as much as it says, it would never nuke Gaza. The answer is pretty devastating. Israel possesses all those bombs because it insists on keeping the rest of the world in a constant threat. In case anyone fails to see it, the rest of the world is what we call humanity. And this is the crux of the matter. We are dealing here with a lethal collective that is driven by deadly psychosis against humanity and humanism.

MC: The Zionists have no monopoly on deadly psychosis towards other groups of people. The native American Indians have told the world a thing or two about the centuries-long psychosis of the Christian settlers there – the misery that led to mass suicides among many other horrors. It’s surely fundamentally anti humanist – racist/discriminatory even – to single any one group of people out as being uniquely evil?

GA: To start with we both agree that the Zionists didn’t invent evil. In fact Zionism is an attempt to exercise some colonial barbarism in a world that has moved on from that kind of political philosophy. In short Zionists are guilty of committing colonial crimes 100 years too late. However, you make one crucial mistake here. You say “It’s surely fundamentally anti humanist to single any one group of people out as being uniquely evil.” You maybe right, but Zionism is not at all a group of people, it is actually an ideology. In fact it is a racist, anti humanist ideology that must be confronted. Similarly, those who follow this ideology are succumbing to an inhuman philosophy and must be exposed, named and shamed. As you will notice in my writing, I never criticize Jews as Jews or Judaism as a religion. I concentrate on Jewish ideology, namely Jewishness that has a very particular supremacist interpretation of the Judaic core. In my writing I have managed to trace Jewishness in every modern Jewish political setting whether it is right wing Zionism, the pseudo- socialist Bund or the radical Matzpen. However, I must mention that Torah Jews are free of that fault. They draw their inspiration from the Torah and present a very unique form of tribal humanism.

MC: You say the left has failed to embrace the ’emerging power of Islam’. Left wing groups within Islam itself do not seem to be meeting with a good reception by and large.

GA: I don’t understand what you mean by Left groups within Islam. Islam is in itself a philosophy that promotes equality; it doesn’t need Left ideology and cannot integrate such an atheist precept. I guess that what you are referring to is Left groups within the Arab or Muslim world. Indeed, the entire left philosophy is Euro-centric and related to the industrial revolution. These ideas are completely irrelevant to the Near East and its understanding of struggle for liberation.

MC: Outside of Islam, the left can only offer solidarity and encouragement.

GA: I guess that what you are taking about is producing badges, scarves and caps with Palestinian flags. This is indeed nice. I always quote Lacan in that reference. Lacan says that making love is in practice making love to yourself through the other. In that sense, the Left’s notion of solidarity is in practice ‘making love to yourself at the expense of the oppressed’. I am not impressed with this concept at all.

MC: That may be true of certain types of activism but it is unfair to caricature much Left solidarity with the Palestinians like that. The Freedom Flotilla was about a lot more than producing badges and scarves. There are many journalists and activists who have made serious and effective efforts to support the Palestinians from within the left – some who have even given their lives to keeping up vital communication. And besides, the badges and scarves have served a purpose too by making sure we are not allowed to forget.

GA: As it happens I was in Athens and in Nicosia when the Flotilla left. I was working closely with the Freedom Mission, I gave talks and interviews. I was also in touch with activists in Istanbul. I can tell you that the Freedom Mission to Gaza is indeed a very refreshing move within the solidarity movement. The so-called Leftists within this movement certainly are not frightened by Islam or Hamas. They certainly respect the Palestinian democratic choice. I admire them for that and wish I could have been with them on board.

 
MC: To return to the Left and Islam, however justified Iran may be to perceive Israel as the real Middle Eastern threat; trade unionists are having a pretty hard time in Iran right now, for example. What is it that you think the left can or should be doing?

GA: To start with I do not talk about the Left in Iran, Iraq or Palestine. I am talking about the Left here, in Europe. The first thing to do is to accept the notion of otherness. For instance: to stand up for Hamas as a democratically elected body; to stand up for Hezbullah which presents Israel with fierce resistance; to support an Iranian nuclear project as a necessary defensive means; to support the Muslim right to love their Allah and to fight for freedom in his name. These things are rather basic and elementary. The left must also realise that Muslim migrant communities in the West are the first sufferers of cultural, social, racial and political oppression. If the Left wants to maintain ideological and ethical relevance it must join forces with these ethnic groups. It is also possible that the Western Left has already missed the train; this would mean that it belongs to history.

MC: I really cannot agree with some of what you say here. The Left is generally very aware of the need to respect cultural differences in Islam and has done more than any political grouping on either the centre or right to forge links and to challenge the discrimination suffered by migrant groups. As with Christianity, Judaism and other religions Islam has its faults.

GA: If this is the case, how do you explain the fact that the Left was so slow to accept Hamas? How many leftists support the Iraqi resistance? And what about the Taliban? Do you support any of those? I cannot agree with your statement about Islam and other religions.. You are here employing a typical liberal supremacist approach. You set yourself in an imaginary elitist position above and beyond your subject of criticism. If you want to criticize a body of thought you can only do it by means of deconstruction, by tracing inconsistency within. In order to do it you must first achieve a reasonable familiarity. This is by the way, what I try to do with Zionism and Jewish identity. I am obviously familiar enough to deconstruct different form of Jewish discourses. I am less familiar with the Judaic discourse and leave it out.

MC: There is nothing supremacist in the question – I explicitly say that all religions have their faults – but let me be clearer: women and homosexuals have been oppressed by most if not all religions to a greater or lesser extent. To criticize Islam for the same oppression in no way implies either that the problem is unique to it or that matters are perfect elsewhere.

GA: Miriam you are implying here that while Christianity and Jewish identity ‘moved on’, Islam was ‘left behind’. To be honest with you, I must admit that the dichotomy between the ‘Progressive’ and the ‘Reactionary’ is another symptom of Judaic binary opposition within the left discourse. Progressiveness is just another word for Choseness.

 
MC: Oppression is oppression the same as occupation is occupation.

GA: I obviously do not agree. Oppression is very complicated to define. Occupation, on the other hand, can be defined in positive terms such as territorial and legal.

MC: There is still much oppression of women and of homosexuals which cannot be explained away as mere cultural difference. Criticisng these things should not be a cultural taboo any more than criticising Zionism should be an anti-Semitic taboo.

GA: Sorry, I do not agree with you at all. There is a clear differentiation between the liberal Western discourse that celebrates individualism and the Eastern tribal discourse that values family, the community and culture. You tend to believe that you uphold some higher ethical system that allows you to pass judgment on other cultural assets that are foreign to you. You are obviously not alone. This is the nature of popular culture within the post Enlightenment discourse. I would argue instead that true tolerance is the capacity to accept even when you fail to understand. I myself obviously treat women and gays with total respect and fight for their equality within my environment. However, rather than criticising certain Islamic cultures I try to grasp its political and religious attitude towards different groups. I suggest everyone who claims to care about solidarity should do the same.

But before we move on, please let me address your last point.

As long as you argue that ‘X attitude towards Y is oppressive from a liberal perspective’, you may be correct, your argument could be valid and consistent. However, once you claim that ‘X attitude towards Y is oppressive categorically’ you produce an argument that is no different from a Neocon or moral interventionist. You basically claim to be better and more ethical than X.
These Issues are not simple. I can provide a solution but I guess that I have managed to formulate the complexity.

MC: How then is this different to your intolerance for what Zionists too would argue is their culture and belief in choseness and all that that has led to?

GA: This is very simple indeed. Zionist crimes are committed on the expense of others.

 MC: You say you are a humanist. There is no humanist argument to justify the mutilation of girls’ genitalia and the lifelong misery that it causes to women.

GA: How do you know? Can’t you see that in order to make such a statement valid you have to set yourself beyond and above the human discourse? However, I obviously understand your point of view from a Western perspective. I am very suspicious of any call for moral interventionism. And just let me correct you. I do not carry the humanist flag. I am looking for the notion of humanism. As far as I can tell it is a dynamic notion. Like ethics it must be reshaped and revised all the time.

 
MC: I realise that not all Muslims endorse FGM. But these things are as sick as each other. Again, there are comparable evils in most if not all religions, societies and cultures – this is not to single Islam out.

GA: I am happy that you mentioned it because as far as I am aware, and I am not exactly an expert on the subject, FGM is not at all prescribed by Islam. However, just to mention that I do not remember coming across Left or Liberal criticism of similar Jewish ancient blood ritual that involves blood sucking and chopping of male infant sexual organ (Brit Mila). As it happens Jewish parents, both secular religious let a Rabbi circumcise and suck the blood of their sons when they are just 8 days old. How do you explain the fact that such a barbarian ritual takes place in our midst? Why doesn’t it provoke outrage? Why you yourself do not protest against it?

 
MC: It is not possible for a genuine humanist to look the other way wherever inhumanity is occurring, whoever is responsible for it. You are applying a double standard in this, I think. You defend FGM on cultural grounds but describe a comparable Jewish ritual as barbaric.

GA: It is rather obvious that when I refer to a Jewish blood ritual, I am criticising it from a western point of view by means of deconstruction. I live in the West, I tend to understand western ideology and culture and I am capable of pointing to a clear discrepancy between the human rights of a child and blood ritual. However, I am far less convinced that Western liberals possess the capacity to pass an ethical judgment regarding cultures that are remote to Western values and way of life. And yet one question remains – why is the liberal mind so concerned with FGM that is carried out in Africa, and not all troubled by a similar Jewish blood ritual that is practiced in our midst.

MC: To move on to the next question, however. That Muslims – or anyone anywhere – should be free to fight for freedom from violent invasion and occupation is axiomatic for most people, though not for pacifists of course. Invoking God for the purpose has never been anything other than a disaster, has it?

GA: Really? Here is where you tend to express your intolerance towards other’s belief. The greatest symphonies and architecture were actually created in the context of a dialogue with God. Islamic resistance that defeats Israel and Western imperialism whether it is in Iraq, Afghanistan, Gaza or South Lebanon is inspired by Allah. Why are you so disrespectful to God? In fact, I believe that you are failing to detect the importance of Islam within the context of Arabic and international resistance. It is peculiar but tragically rather common amongst leftists. As I said earlier on, this explains why left lost its relevance.

MC: There are a lot of unfounded assumptions in what you say but we will have to leave it there. This has been an interesting debate. We will have to agree to differ on a number of things. Thank you for the conversation.

GA: I too enjoyed it enormously and I really hope that the difference between us will lead to a further debate and many more realizations.

The roots of Israeli exceptionalism

Via The Corner Report

 June 27th, 2010 by admin

Aggression immersed in victimhood is a striking reality of the Israeli discourse [GETTY]

When an advisor to Shimon Peres, the Israeli president, tried to attack Helen Thomas’ remarks in which she said Israelis should “go home … [to] Poland, Germany …” all he did is remind her that some of his relatives were killed in Poland and Germany more than half a century ago, as if that is a good reason to starve the Palestinians to death and to kill humanitarian activists in international waters today.

After all, the Israeli politician was just confirming what Thomas said: you belong there; not here.

By Mohamed El-Moctar El-Shinqiti

An American academic once told me: “Many people in the Islamic world think America does not believe in human rights, but they are wrong; America believes in human rights indeed, the problem is the American definition of human.”

In other words: the American definition of ‘human’ is not a universal one. This is not purely an American characteristic; every culture faces the challenge of broadening its cultural limits and universalising its moral norms.

But among all human cultures and ideologies, the Israeli case is unique in its double standard.

Criminality wrapped in self-righteousness and aggression immersed in victimhood are a few striking characteristics of the Israeli reality and discourse.


Israel uses past atrocities as a moral justification for present brutalities [GETTY]

The Israeli personality

The duality of “Israel’s insistent emphasis upon its isolation and uniqueness, its claim to be both victim and hero,” as Tony Judt wrote in Haaretz a few years ago, reflects the fragility and self-centeredness of the Israeli personality. This is not, unfortunately, exclusive to Israel’s political elite, but rather it extends to their Zionist supporters worldwide, including those, such as novelist Elie Wiesel and philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy, who portray themselves in humanistic and aesthetic images.

I was profoundly moved by the graphic description of the atrocities committed during the Holocaust in Elie Wiesel’s Night, which depicts his and his father’s experience of a terrifying process that violates human life and degrades human dignity.

But I was struck by the tone of self-righteousness and self-justification in Wiesel’s fictional Dawn, particularly when he writes: “The commandment thou shalt not kill was given from the summit of one of the mountains here in Palestine, and we were the only ones to obey it. But that’s all over … in the days and weeks and months to come, you will have only one purpose: to kill those who have made us killers.”
When the Jewish South African judge, Richard Goldstone, exposed Israeli war crimes in Gaza, Wiesel called that “a crime against the Jewish people”. But this is simply an immoral use of past atrocities as a moral justification for present brutalities and oppression.

Moreover, one cannot but entertain two questions here: Firstly, what kind of moral claim does Wiesel, who was born of a Romanian father and a Hungarian mother, have over the divine call at Mount Sinai in the heart of a Middle Eastern desert? And secondly, by which moral or legal norm are the Palestinians of today responsible for the wrongdoings of the Germans of yesterday?

Self-serving myths

The worst of this hypocritical language, however, can be found in Bernard-Henri Lévy’s article about Israel’s aggression against the Gaza Freedom Flotilla published in Haaretz on June 8, 2010.

Lévy presents himself in self-glorifying terms as being “someone who takes pride in having helped to conceive, with others, this kind of symbolic action ‏(the boat for Vietnam; the march for the survival of Cambodia in 1979)…”. But when it comes to Gaza’s plight, Lévy simply dismisses the tragedy by denying the existence of the Israeli blockade and attacking easy targets, such as “the fascislamist government of Ismail Haniya” and “the Islamist gang who took power by force three years ago”.

Thus, he shamelessly dismisses the grand effort of the multiethnic, multinational and religiously diverse group of humanistic leaders and activists on the Freedom Flotilla.

Moreover, Lévy lacks the objectivity to address the fascizionist – to borrow from his own terminology – gangs who aggressively invaded Palestinian land over six decades ago, and uprooted a whole population forcing them into the new Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps – Gaza and the West Bank.
Indeed, for those who put their selfish desires above the moral principles of justice and compassion, their self-serving myths are better in their eyes than the ugly truth.

Jewish humanistic intellectuals, such as Professor Tony Judt and musician Gilad Atzmon deplore Israel’s self-indulgence and lack of maturity. Judt writes: “Israel still comports itself like an adolescent: consumed by a brittle confidence in its own uniqueness; certain that no one ‘understands’ it and everyone is ‘against’ it; full of wounded self-esteem, quick to take offence and quick to give it … that it can do as it wishes, that its actions carry no consequences, and that it is immortal.”

Atzmon writes: “We are dealing here with a uniquely and seriously disturbed immature nation. We are dealing with a self-loving narcissistic child …. The more the Israelis love themselves and their delusional phantasmic innocence, the more they are frightened that people out there may be as sadistic as they themselves proved to be. This behavioural mode is called projection …. Jews have a very good reason to be frightened. Their national state is a racist genocidal entity.”

‘Holocaustianity’

What is most disappointing, however, is not the Zionist self-righteousness and narcissism; rather it is the Western acceptance and support of this attitude – an attitude that is better understood when placed in a historical context.

The main theoretical basis of the acceptance of Israeli exceptionalism in Western culture is the diversion, mainly within the Protestant branch of Christianity, of the Christian incarnation of God in the person of Jesus to a new incarnation of God in the Jews as a people – the Chosen People.

This tendency started with Martin Luther (1483-1546) who subdued Christianity theologically and morally to the Jewish factor in his small epistle That Jesus Christ was Born a Jew. Luther wrote in that epistle: “When we are inclined to boast of our position, we should remember that we are but Gentiles, while the Jews are of the lineage of Christ. We are aliens and in-laws; they are blood relatives, cousins, and brothers of our Lord.”

Through this Luther – who was paradoxically a staunch anti-Semite – inadvertently opened a theological window, that would centuries later allow the ‘cult of Israel’, as it has been dubbed by the American writer Grace Halsell, to replace Christianity in most Protestant denominations, especially among American Baptists. After all, what they are doing is no more than a literal implementation of Luther’s deification of the Jews.

Professor Yvonne Haddad of Georgetown University’s Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding calls this heresy ‘Holocaustianity’. And within this new heresy lie the roots of the Israeli exceptionalism.


Israel is becoming a moral burden for those who value social justice [GETTY]

Trivialising the Holocaust

Professor Judt writes that: “What Israel lost by its continuing occupation of Arab lands it gained through its close identification with the recovered memory of Europe’s dead Jews.” But he knows well that the memory of the dead is the worse moral justification for murdering innocents: “In the eyes of a watching world, the fact that the great-grandmother of an Israeli soldier died in Treblinka is no excuse for his own abusive treatment of a Palestinian woman waiting to cross a checkpoint. ‘Remember Auschwitz’ is not an acceptable response.”

But that is exactly the kind of moral justification we have from the Israelis today.

When an advisor to Shimon Peres, the Israeli president, tried to attack Helen Thomas’ remarks in which she said Israelis should “go home … [to] Poland, Germany …” all he did is remind her that some of his relatives were killed in Poland and Germany more than half a century ago, as if that is a good reason to starve the Palestinians to death and to kill humanitarian activists in international waters today.

After all, the Israeli politician was just confirming what Thomas said: you belong there; not here.
This is how the Holocaust memory, a memory of a human tragedy by any and every measure, is trivialised by Israeli criminality.

A moral burden

Many political thinkers and politicians have recently realised that Israel is becoming a liability and a strategic burden for the US. It has always been a strategic burden. But the problem is much deeper. Israel is becoming a moral burden on all those who have an ethical conscience, including Jews who value human dignity and social justice.

Even those who spent their lives advancing the Zionist cause are today realising the moral paradox of their life’s achievement. Henry Siegman, a German-born American writer who served as the executive director of the American Jewish Congress from 1978 to 1994, wrote in Haaretz on June 11, 2010: “A million and a half civilians have been forced to live in an open-air prison in inhuman conditions for over three years now, but unlike the Hitler years, they are not Jews but Palestinians. Their jailers, incredibly, are survivors of the Holocaust, or their descendants.”

All decent human beings must support the oppressed Palestinian against the Israeli oppressor.
The oppressed Arabs of Palestine (Muslims and Christians) are rendering through their suffering a great service to the entire body of humanity, by exposing the most self-centered and supremacist ideology in our world – an ideology that is wrapped today in a bloody sacredness.

Mohamed El-Moctar El-Shinqiti is an author in political history and history of religion. He is a research coordinator at Qatar Foundation.

Source: Al Jazeera

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Jewish Accessories by Gilad Atzmon

Wednesday

17Mar2010

Ladies and Gentlemen welcome to the wonderful word of modern Jewish accessories.
If you want to know what contemporary Jewish identity is, you may like to check out what products are available for Jewish consumption
.

They Love it from Behind
Nationalist Jews do love it from behind, at least as far as their cars are concerned.
Here is a list of Jewish stickers to put on your car’s bumper. It includes “Blue and White Forever”, “I Support the IDF”, “Fight Terror Support Israel”. The sticker is there to identify the tribal and political affiliation of the owners of dusty Volvos ahead of you.

Heart and Balls


In order to maintain the tribe, a special care should be taken to protect the Jewish heart and the kosher genes.
Titan Anti Terrorist Vest is the perfect solution. It will shield your heart and guard the Jewish Testicals.

Instead of Nazi Memorabilia

Considering the hazards of purchasing Nazi memorabilia, the IDF accessory shop may be a perfect solution. The IDF’s new Helmet seems to be a genuine copy of the Nazi one. For Just $320 you can buy yourself a modern Jewish helmet, one that ‘covers the ears’ so that you can’t hear the cry of Palestinian babies or Lebanese orphans.

Jewish Dogs

Here is some good news for Jewish dogs. We do not have to circumcise you anymore…. From now on we can provide Jewish dogs with a kosher ‘dog collar’


Pin for the Kidnapped

Gilad Shalit is not just a ‘human being’ as his campaign suggests, he is actually a human being with a pin. The Jewish military accessory shop identified a hole in the market. For just $10 you can decorate yourself with a sexy pin that expresses a solidarity with a human being as well as soldier who served as a guard in a concentration camp. What a bargain.

For Music Lovers

The Israeli military shop offers the best WMD boots for Glastonbury Festival and other UK wet and muddy summer events. It gives “total protection for at least 6 hours”. I wonder what happens then…

Dubai don’t worry Mossad is Behind you

As we learn time after time, some Jews out there are taking pride of their killing squads.



A perfect gift for a ‘Jewish Humanist’ and ‘Jewish anti Zionists’

As we all know there are at least two dozen Jewish humanists who are totally devastated and repulsed by the crimes that are committed by the Jewish state in the name of the Jewish people. Those brilliant and kind Jews cannot close their eyes in the night. The Jewish military accessory shop thought about them and their sleepless nights.

It made just for them a Teddy Bear, a kosher cuddly toy for Jewish Marxist, progressive and alike.

“Soft, fluffy and lovable – furry teddy bear with Israel sweater. Cute memento… from Israel with love!”

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