Identity Politics, Racism and Confusion

April 17, 2016  /  Gilad Atzmon

 

Introduction by Gilad Atzmon: Ian Donovan seems to be the last thinking man in the Left. I occasionally disagree with some of his ideas. However, unlike most of the people who associate themselves with that political decaying club, Donovan seems to engage in a consistent and rigorous analysis. The following is a good review of the Jews/Left current state of affairs.

 

 

Source: https://socialistfight.com/2016/04/17/identity-politics-racism-and-confusion/

By Ian Donovan

The idea that Tony Greenstein, the Jewish leftist in Brighton recently suspended from the Labour Party apparently for ‘anti-semitism’, has to prove that he is not ‘anti-semitic’ should be just absurd. It is a sign of the irrationality and demented character of the political atmosphere in and around the Labour Party, with the party leadership under extreme pressure from Zionist witchhunters, that a long time Jewish left-wing activist like Greenstein should feel obliged to ‘prove’ he is not an anti-Jewish racist.

One wonders how many black members of the Labour Party face suspension expulsion for anti-black racism, or how many of Chinese heritage face suspension for anti-Chinese bigotry? If there were such, it would make the Labour Party into the butt of stand-up comedy, not of serious political controversy. The fact that this can even be conceived in Labour is only due to the irrational nonsense peddled by Zionist racists within and without the Labour Party, that those who fail to support the Zionist project are motivated by anti-semitism (anti-Jewish racism), and that those Jews who do this are ‘self-hating Jews’. But in the absence of oppression, allegations of ‘self-hatred’ (which if it existed would simply stem from internalised oppression) are themselves a racist slur, denying the right of people of Jewish origin to choose a non-Zionist form of Jewish identity, or even to reject Jewish identity altogether, as ways to oppose the virulently racist form of ‘Jewishness’ embodied in political Zionism.

The latter accusation shows the far right, racist character of Zionism even in the Labourite context, as the ‘self-hater’ epithet, also sometimes rendered as ‘Jewish anti-semite’, is identical to the epithet ‘race traitor’ used by the white far right in the main imperialist countries. It really shows that Zionists constitute a far-right fifth column in the Labour Party, as an agency of a racist state whose followers would be quite prepared to act as instigators of the same kind of fascist-like repression against workers organisations that Israel does against Palestinians in the Middle East if they felt it necessary.

We in Socialist Fight are ourselves facing blood libels from Zionists; our Marxist analysis of the Jewish question and Zionism today has been portrayed as akin to Nazism by bourgeois commentators and some on the so-called ‘far left’ have either joined in with this rubbish, or vacillated wildly in the face of the pressure from the bourgeoisie and the Zionists. We continue to demand all the socialist and Marxist left in and around the Labour Party engage in a principled United Front to defend each other from the right-wing and the Zionists, in which all tendencies stand together on the principle that ‘an injury to one is an injury to all’, while retaining full freedom of debate.

A Jewish supporter of Socialist Fight provided us with a pretty sharp commentary on the nonsense being thrown at SF and others by all kinds of Zionists and capitulators to it. She wrote

“It seems to me although you are not Anti-Semitic (not all Jews are Semitic although I am) most of your critics are whether in a blatant or covert way. Do they actually know that Israel is an artificial concept? I have been called a self-hating Jew many times on what evidence I do not know. However once again I would like to say you are defined a Jew if:

“1. You have a Jewish mother. This does not make you a Semite as a considerable amount of East Europeans converted to the Jewish religion.
2. If you convert this of course does not make you a Semite.

“As many Muslims are Semitic surely that makes the Zionists anti-Semitic. So using Zionist logic I, a Semite who supports my Palestinian cousins who are also Semite, am anti-Semitic. However Zionists of all stripes who may and often are not Semites but support the state of Israel in whatever they do legal or illegal cannot be anti-Semitic. THIS DOES NOT MAKE SENSE.”

 

If it is absurd for Tony Greenstein to have to prove he is not anti-semitic, it is just as absurd for the Israeli-Jewish-born Jazz Saxophonist Gilad Atzmon to have to prove such either. Neither of them would have to prove any such thing in a rational world, since both of them have similar ethnic origins – they are both Jewish by birth. Its only in the world of the Zionist-dominated body politic that we live under that people of Jewish origin have to prove that they are not anti-semitic, i.e. that they do not hate their own people purely for the ethnic origins that they share. In fact, by sleight of hand, the Zionists have expanded the definition of ‘anti-semitism’ so that you do not have to hate people of Jewish origin in general to be so accused. It’s enough to express disgust at Zionist crimes, or attempt to analyse the way Zionists organise politically to stamp on opposition to those crimes, to be accused of ‘anti-semitism’ today. This does have the effect of devaluing the meaning of the term.

Tony Greenstein, in trying to prove that he is not anti-semitic, i.e. that he is not a witch to the Labour Zionist witchhunters, has flip-flopped (not for the first time) over the long contentious issue of Gilad Atzmon, Previously, in the course of some uncharacteristically fraternal debates with Socialist Fight, where he repeated his usual nonsense about ‘anti-semitism’, he had in a sly but somewhat ‘soft’ tweet intimated that he did not consider either ourselves or Atzmon to be Jew-haters in a personal sense. At the time he was trying to reconcile the obvious fact that Socialist Fight comrades are active and militant anti-racists with the elements of genuine anti-Zionism that we share with Atzmon – the willingness to analyse, criticise and expose the international dimension of Zionism. He believes that to believe that Zionism is a Jewish bourgeois international movement is to be ‘anti-semitic’, yet we are obviously not racists at all; anyone who knows us or is not blinded by class or race prejudices can see that. So he looked for a way to resolve this contradiction in his own ideology and came up with this in the course of a Twitter exchange with me:

 

He was obviously getting carried away by the objective need in this situation for a United Front of those anti-Zionist socialists under the gun of the Zionists, feeling the pressure enough to deviate somewhat from his previously virulent hostility to Socialist Fight, and Gerry Downing and myself in particular. Which is why he tweeted this at me as part of a reasonably political exchange.

Unfortunately, this tangled him up in some pretty acute contradictions given his decade-long campaign to ostracise Atzmon from the left, but also to vilify anyone else in the left who did not join in his anathema. The sophistry involved with Enoch Powell in the above tweet is pretty transparent. Blacks and Asians who have suffered from racial abuse and violence from Powell supporters would probably regard the idea that Powell was not personally racist as absurd and somewhat offensive. Tony is not stupid, he knows that this is a fig-leaf that no-one honest will take seriously (see my deconstruction of this in my recent article Zionism’s International Dimension: Revolutionary Strategy).

But Greenstein does not have a settled position on Atzmon, just a gut antipathy that does not have a coherent theory behind it. This is why his writings are so full of bluster and contradiction when this comes up. He has now received help from the Zionist blogger BobFromBrockley, who helpfully provided him with a tweet Atzmon sent in 2014, in response to some Zionist twitter warrior.

 

According to Bob from Brockley, this tweet is suppposed to prove that Atzmon is a racial anti-semite, that he hates all Jews for racist reasons, which is really the implied meaning of any allegation of anti-semitism.

But though it looks bad at first sight, and is certainly a foolish and self-defamatory thing to tweet, something does not add up about the allegation that it represents ‘racist’ anti-semitism. The obvious point is the phrase ‘I am not a Jew anymore’. No ‘racial’ anti-semite could ever say that or believe that. It would as absurd as to say ‘I am not a black person’ any more. That is not the way the world works. You cannot change your ethnic origin any more than you can change your skin colour. Nor is there any suggestion that this is about the Jewish religion, Atzmon is not markedly either religious or anti-religious and is not hostile to anti-Zionist religious Jews. In fact, he has more regard for them than he does for many anti-Zionist secular Jews.

Twitter is a notoriously difficult medium to communicate nuance. It does appear that this tweet was simply a response in a heated exchange to a noxious Zionist troll who was subsequently suspended from Twitter for threatening violence against George Galloway. Who of course had been beaten badly by an ultra-Zionist thug only a few months earlier. I doubt that would bother Bob From Brockley much. But I am sure it would bother Tony Greenstein.

 

The tweets of OnePoundOne are no longer available, as his account was suspended as a result of these threats. But it seems obvious that if such a odious person as this had malevolently purported to appeal to Atzmon as a “fellow Jew”, he would likely have received a pungent response like this. All this really means is that Twitter is extraordinarily easy to quote out of context.

I commented on what is behind this kind of verbiage from Atzmon a while ago on the Socialist Unity blog, when I wrote:

“He divides Jews into three categories: religious Jews, people simply of Jewish origin, and people who regard their Jewishness as a political identity. These are not mutually exclusive, but they are separate and separable strands. He says his materials are actually only criticisms of the third strand or category.”

“He does tend to use ‘Jew’, ‘Jewish’ and ‘Jewishness’ too freely as shorthand for the third strand, which causes confusion and makes it easy to misunderstand him and/or quote him out of context. He seems to enjoy the heated arguments that result from such things, which is a flaw in my opinion, and sometimes generates more heat than light.”
(http://socialistunity.com/campaign-demonisation-george-galloway-constitutes-incitement/#comment-700318)

This was another example of the left’s inability to deal with Atzmon and people like him, and to get their heads around the fact that thanks to the sheer barbarism of Israel’s crimes, there are now people of Jewish origin who are so disgusted by being involuntarily associated with them that they express extreme disgust at being born and brought up Jewish. This thread was supposedly defending George Galloway from his Zionist tormentors on Question Time. I was excluded from SU by Socialist Unity’s erratic honcho Andy Newman for agreeing with Galloway’s defence of and sympathetic interview with Atzmon on Sputnik. The irony of this is incredible. If Galloway had posted comments defending his defence of Atzmon in a thread supposedly defending Galloway, he would logically have been excluded too!

One might wish Gilad Atzmon would be more careful in his use of language. But from his standpoint, since he is of Jewish origin anyway, he does not see the need.

Atzmon shares much with Shlomo Sand on the substance of this, though not in style. Sand wrote last year:

“How, in these conditions, can individuals who are not religious believers but simply humanists, democrats and liberals, and endowed with a minimum of honesty, continue to define themselves as Jews? In these conditions, can the descendants of the persecuted let themselves be embraced in the tribe of new secular Jews who see Israel as their exclusive property? Is not the very act of defining yourself as a Jew an act of affiliation to a privileged caste which creates intolerable injustices around itself?” (How I Stopped Being a Jew, 2015 p87)”

 

Atzmon’s version of this is somewhat similar, as revealed recently in an article criticising the politics of Michael Rosen, another leftist of Jewish origin who insists on ‘self-identifying’ as Jewish in a political, not merely an ethnic sense. Rosen produced a short posting on ‘anti-semitism’ in the Labour Party, demanding a ‘strong united left’ to ‘protect’ Jews from anti-semitism:

“Anti-semites would identify me as Jewish. (I self-identify that way too, but let’s leave that to one side for the moment).

“Given that’s what anti-semites do, on occasions I have to ask myself, who I would turn to for assistance in the case of unwarranted attacks, persecution, harassment or pogroms?” (cited athttp://www.gilad.co.uk/writings/2016/4/9/michael-rosen-and-the-kosher-san)

Atzmon’s response is pungent, but it does clarify exactly what he rejects about “Jewishness” on the one hand, and what he does not and cannot reject:

“According to Rosen, anti Semites will identify him as Jewish, then in the same line, he writes that he “self-identif[ies] that way too.”  So according to Rosen, the anti Semites are actually correct in identifying Rosen as what he is, that is, a Jew

“But Rosen then claims that those who identify him as what he declares himself to be are anti Semites. I wonder, since Rosen identifies himself as a Jew, how does he know that he isn’t himself an anti Semite? Are there some criteria?

“Rosen’s Jewishness is an odd entitlement. He is entitled to identify as a Jew while the rest of us are advised that identifying him as such turns us into ‘hate mongers.’

“In my writing I delve into Jewish Pre TSD. Jews are often tormented by a phantasmic traumatic event set in the future. No one exemplifies this  mental condition better than the Jewish poet. ‘I have to ask myself, who would I turn to for assistance in the case of unwarranted attacks, persecution, harassment or pogroms?’ What persecution, what pogroms, Mr. Rosen? You are one of Britain most beloved children’s poets. You are not a Syrian refugee, no one calls to kick you out of the country.  You are not the oppressed. Why do you feel the need to prepare for a pogrom? Is it guilt on your part? Are you hiding something?

“Let me tell you, Mr. Rosen, none of my Jewish friends are afraid of pogroms or ‘unwarranted attacks.’ In the eyes of the so called ‘anti Semites’ I should be seen as a Jew, my kids are also ethnically Jewish and yet, the fear that you describe in your statement is totally foreign to us. We are free of fear. We enjoy our lives, we listen to music, we love each other and pray for peace. What we don’t do is imagine the next pogrom. Is it because we do not identify politically as Jews?” (http://www.gilad.co.uk/writings/2016/4/9/michael-rosen-and-the-kosher-san)

 

rosen.jpg

This is very clarificatory about the substance of the debate between Atzmon and his left-wing, non-Zionist Jewish critics is about. It is not about ‘race’ or anything like it. It is rather about whether a progressive, non-Zionist non-religious Jewish identity is possible or even desirable. The heated conflict between Atzmon and his critics is mainly because he answers”No” to that question. It is a heresy hunt, in other words.

It is perfectly natural for those concerned with humanism and the like to find detestable something that ‘creates intolerable injustices around itself” in Sand’s words. Whether this is the correct political response is a subject for debate according to the norms of democracy that are part of the best traditions of the workers movement. What people like BobFromBrockley, who support the kind of ‘intolerable injustices’ Sand is talking about, have to say about this is less clear. Such people are hostile to workers democracy for opponents of Zionism. Greenstein, and people like him, who want to keep one foot in each camp over such democratic questions, are sooner or later going to have to make a choice.

We as Marxists do not take a definitive position on this. In our view, there is nothing inherently either good or bad about Jewish identity. Just as there is nothing inherently good or bad about being gay or lesbian, or identifying with any national or ethnic group. What we are for is freedom to choose, and opposing all discrimination and oppression not only against those who embody or embrace a particular identity, but also against those who reject such, provided they do not seek to violate the rights of others. This is separate from the question of Zionism, which is a racist project that oppresses the Palestinians and must be opposed down the line. The heresy hunt against Atzmon and the attempt to bully the left into ostracising him and those who are influenced by him is something we oppose tooth and nail because of our commitment to workers democracy and the right to free inquiry into questions of identity and related matters.

God’s Chosen People? — Guest Column by Stephen Lensman

God’s Chosen People? 

October 25, 2015

Stephen Lendman is a Jew. What you read below are the words of a Jew who has a moral conscience and cannot tolerate the horrendous crimes that the government of the state of Israel—supported to the hilt by the American neocons who have dominated every US government since Clinton—commits on Palestinians.

Many Jews have a moral conscience. Jews are the most outspoken critics of the Zionist Israeli government that is worshipped by brainwashed American gentiles. The government of Israel calls its Jewish critics “self-hating Jews” and works to eliminate them, with much success, from Western university and media employment.

The American Congress, the mythical “voice of the people,” is in fact the voice of the crazed rightwing Israeli government. The idiots in Congress actually send each year to the Israeli government the billions of our taxpayer dollars that the Israeli government uses to buy the elections and the votes of the US Conress.

You can tell who the honest members of the House and Senate are. They are the few who do not vote as the Israel Lobby orders. Usually, such representatives elected by Americans don’t last long in the job.

Bloody Friday in Palestine

by Stephen Lendman

Israel’s killing machine raged on Friday, continuing into Saturday. The Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) said Israeli forces wounded over 290 Palestinians yesterday alone, many seriously – 48 from live fire, 44 using rubber-coated steel bullets.

Hundreds suffered from toxic tear gas inhalation. Maan News said “Israeli forces used Palestine TV reporter and cameraman Sira Sarhan and Hadi al-Dibs as human shields…forcing them at gunpoint to remain in front of their Jeep and tell protesters to stop throwing rocks.”

French journalist David Perrotin was brutally assaulted by Jewish Defense League Zionist zealots outside AFP’s Paris headquarters. He was beaten with batons.

Lunatics involved tried storming AFP’s building, waving Israeli flags, throwing eggs, chanting: “We’re coming to get you.”

One agitator raved: “We are here to show support for Israel in our war against the Arabs. Journalists working for organizations like AFP support the Islamic terrorists and that’s why we have to fight back.” Friday night, Perrotin twittered he’s OK. He thanked everyone expressing support.

On October 21, Luay Faisal Ali Abeid stood on his third floor balcony, displaying no weapon, threatening no one. No clashes were ongoing in the area around his home.

An Israeli soldier opened fire at him without just cause, a rubber-coated steel bullet fracturing his skull and nose, striking his left eye. Surgeons couldn’t save it. They had to operate to remove it.

On Saturday, an Israeli security guard murdered a Palestinian teenager in cold blood. He was unarmed threatening no one.

Palestinian medical workers said Israel prevented help from reaching him. He was shot at least five times. Overnight Friday into Saturday morning, dozens of Palestinians were kidnapped – in East Jerusalem, Jenin, Abu Dis, Qabatia and Bethlehem.

Western and Israeli media reports are entirely one-sided. Palestinians are wrongfully portrayed as knife-wielding terrorists. Most reports are fabricated. The few legitimate ones are blown way out of proportion.

Rampaging Israeli forces and extremist settlers are considered noble defenders. Al Monitor said “(t)he Obama administration is cutting aid to the Palestinians by $80 million in what congressional sources describe as a ‘message’ to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.”

It’s being reduced from $370 million to $290 million for the fiscal year ending September 30 – following criticism from congressional members, blaming Palestinians for vicious Israeli incitement and premeditated persecution over the past three weeks.

Zionist zealot Rep. Eliot Engel (D. NY) said “(w)e need to dial up pressure on Palestinian officials to repudiate this violence.” On October 22, House Foreign Affairs Committee members voted unanimously to punish Palestinians for Israeli high crimes.

Practically the entire Congress one-sidedly supports Israel, no matter how outrageous its crimes – nothing worse than cold-blooded murder, defenseless Palestinians outrageously blamed.

AIPAC demands an end to “Palestinian incitement…Palestinian terrorists are attacking Israelis,” it rants.

“Palestinian leaders…exacerbated tensions,” instead of accurately saying it’s the other way around, Israel entirely responsible, being rewarded by Washington with hundreds of millions more in military aid – supporting its killing machine to spill more blood.

“Palestinians must renew direct peace talks with Israel (to achieve) a real and lasting peace,” claims AIPAC – ignoring reality on the ground.

Israel and Washington deplore peace and stability, thrive on endless violence, at all times blame victims for their viciousness.

So-called peace initiatives are dead on arrival every time. They’re a waste of time, Palestinians always wrongfully blamed for failure.

Daily NYT reports provide cover for Israeli high crimes. Not a word on horrific Friday’s Israeli-instigated violence on defenseless Palestinians explained above.

Instead headlined “Jewish Man Stabbed in Israel by Palestinians as Violence Continues,” blaming them for an ongoing “wave of violence.”

The entire article highlights claims about Jewish victims, Palestinian terrorists, attackers, assailants. The latest Times propaganda piece cited Israel saying a “Palestinian stabber (was) shot dead.”

No Israelis were harmed. No weapons were found. Another accusation repeats the same Big Lie about violent Palestinians, poor Israeli victims. It’s hard believing this stuff gets printed – maliciously and willfully turning truth on its head.

Sources are always government or military officials, past or current ones, mostly unnamed, repeating the same old Big Lie, long ago discredited by legitimate news reports and analysts.

Israeli state terror, fully supported by Washington and rogue allies, bears full responsibility for ongoing, earlier and certain future violence against defenseless Palestinian victims.

The Times and other media scoundrels never report what everyone needs to know. Israel’s war on Palestinians continues with no resolution in prospect.

Just as the New York Times lies through its teeth about Palestinians, the New York Times lies through its teeth about Russia. Lendman holds the presstitutes accountable.

NYT Big Lie Claims Russia Bombing Syrian Hospitals

by Stephen Lendman

On October 20, The Times tried justifying the Pentagon’s latest Afghan war crime, willfully bombing a Doctors Without Borders (MSF) hospital without just cause – premeditated Times deception suggesting otherwise, ignoring indisputable facts.

The death toll keeps rising, 26 according to MSF as of October 23 – 37 others injured, many severely. Numbers of known fatalities “may not be final numbers,” said MSF.

“All that now remains of the three operating theaters, the ER and outpatient departments, and the intensive care unit are collapsed roofs, blackened walls, floors thick with dust, and twisted pieces of metal that were once beds or trolleys,” it explained painfully.

Its outrage remains unchanged. The Times report tried whitewashing deliberate mass murder. Its lies and will distortions never quit.

On October 22, it claimed precision Russian airstrikes on ISIS and other takfiri targets struck “(a)t least seven hospitals or medical facilities in Syria,” another vicious Big Lie, same old Times reporting, systematically suppressing hard truths, substituting made up rubbish.

Its source for this and other anti-Syrian propaganda – the London-based, Western financed con man Rami Abdul Rahman Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), reporting only what his backers tell him to say, a pack of lies they want proliferated by willing major media scoundrels.

On Friday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova blasted anti-Russian propaganda, phony reports about its Syrian operations, saying:

“There are so-called mass media reports which allege that Russian aircraft bombed a field hospital in the Idlib Governorate in northwestern Syria and reportedly killed 13 people.”

Journalists don’t write these type reports, she explained. They publish anti-Russian propaganda prepared for them, claiming it’s real news.

She blasted SOHR, saying “(a)s we all understand, it is very ‘convenient’ to cover and observe what is happening in Syria without leaving London and without the ability to collect information in the field.”

Russia’s campaign scrupulously avoids striking civilians, while “terrorist groups (keep getting) reinforcements of people (and) equipment from abroad…”

“These facts raise a question as to whether parties involved in the Syrian conflict are really interested in a peaceful settlement, and how this goal is reconciled with financial and technical support for anti-government armed groups, including those who directly cooperate with terrorists.”

Daily anti-Russian propaganda rages. Fabricated rubbish substitutes for hard truths. Only fools and liars believe it.

In a few short weeks, Russia’s anti-terrorism campaign in Syria continues showing remarkable effectiveness – ISIS and other takfiris getting systematically battered. Not a shred of evidence suggests it’s bombing hospitals or other civilian sites. Reports claiming otherwise are willful lies.

Moscow’s formidable weapons and air power have Pentagon commanders trembling, likely not eager to pick a fight it knows it can’t win.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Counterpunch – On Gilad Atzmon’s “The Definitive Israeli Lexicon”

May 26, 2015  /  Gilad Atzmon

From A to Zion

On Gilad Atzmon’s “The Definitive Israeli Lexicon”

by EUGENE SCHULMAN

http://www.counterpunch.org

Infamous for his earlier book, “The Wandering Who?: A Study in Jewish Identity Politics” (2011), Gilad Atzmon has collaborated with Italian cartoonist and interior designer, Enzo Apicella to produce “The Definitive Israeli Lexicon, A to Zion”.

Since the publication of “The Wandering Who?” Atzmon has been vilified and dragged through the mud of slander by the Jewish/Israeli establishment, accused of anti-Semitism and being a self-hating Jew.  Born in Israel of Jewish parents, and having served in the IDF, Atzmon became disenchanted, to say the least, with Israel and its policies in Palestine and against the Palestinian people.  He moved to England to follow a career in jazz music as a talented saxophone player, and put himself through university where he studied philosophy and earned a masters degree.

Atzmon has been on the road playing concerts and lecturing on the meaning of his book for a number of years, and despite the criticisms of it, it still sells widely and has had an enormous influence on public opinion of Judaism and Israeli policies.  The same public who were moved by Walt and Mearsheimer’s book, “The Israeli Lobby”, are moved by Atzmon.

The book under review is, on the surface, of a much different nature.  “A to Zion” is intended to be a book of humor, attacking the shibboleths of Zionism.  But, as we know, Jewish humor is directed at itself and is often self deprecating.  Atzmon uses it often in his lectures and conferences.  And in his travels he has picked up a lot of this humor and translates it in this book as jabs against Zionism.  A short aphoristic book of only a hundred or so pages, it is designed to alphabetically define certain aspects of Zionism and Zionist personalities in one-liner jabs.  Interspersed throughout are delicious cartoons by Apicella, a cartoonist I have never encountered before this book.  His drawings are clever enough to be editorial cartoons in any newspaper.  They probably are in Italy.

Here are just a few of the one liners that grab attention:

* Aliya – Jewish immigration to Israel; initially it was supposed to solve the Jewish question.  In practice, it just moved it to a new location.

* Bar Mitzvah – the moment when the male Jew accepts that his foreskin is not going to grow back.

* Humour, Jewish – diverts attention from the problematic symptoms by means of self-deprecation.

* Zionism – a false promise to take the Jews away and to give the goyim a break.

Please, run out and buy a copy of this book.  It will knock a hole in all your prejudices.

A short video on The Definitive Israeli Lexicon.

 

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Buy it now before it is banned!!!

Eugene Schulman lives in Geneva, Switzerland.

 

The Israeli Humanitarian Enthusiasm – A Dialectical Perspective

April 30, 2015  /  Gilad Atzmon

By Gilad Atzmon

The Times Of Israel reported today “Israel’s aid team to Nepal larger than any other country’s’

Video:

http://www.wibbitz.com/watch/?id=b529016edd6484075bfdd2012ac903dfd

We are familiar with this pattern. Israel is always fast to send its medical aid and rescue teams to remote destinations as soon as the news about a natural disaster hits CNN. Yet, peculiarly, it is the same Israel that inflicts tragedies that easily match the worst natural disasters on its next door neighbours.

How can we reconcile this clear discrepancy between Israel’s humanitarian enthusiasm and the collective lethal ambitions Israeli society inflicts on its Arab neighbours? Why are the Israelis so intent on displaying a global image of ‘caring’ while behaving in a  murderous and heartless manner towards their neighbours?

Jewish identity politics can be seen as a dialectic struggle between self-hatred and self-love. Self-hatred refers to the acceptance that something is intrinsically wrong within the ‘Jewishness.’ This was the view shared by most early Zionists who agreed amongst themselves, at least, that the Jewish Diaspora identity was corrupted, capitalistic and morbid. They wrongly believed that ‘homecoming’ would save the Jews from themselves. Self-love, on the other hand, is the ability to fight one’s symptoms and convey an image of goodness.

Sending the biggest aid mission to Nepal and suffocating Nepalese survivors in Stars Of David is an indication that Israel has a lot of guilt to manage. And its remedy is an act of humanitarian virtue.

The Jewish State can be seen as a dialectic struggle between good and evil. But if Israeli existence is of a dialectic nature, it may well suggest that at least, politically and metaphysically, it cannot be resolved, it can only evolve.

This leaves the Israelis doomed to bounce between Gaza and Nepal or shall we say, evil and virtue, till they are redeemed from this impossible struggle Jews inflicted on themselves by their awkward nationalist project.

Jewish Power, Political Correctness And The ‘Left’

Jewish Power is the capacity to silence criticism of Jewish Power

JEWISH LIGHT BULB JOKES

memorial lamp

In the light of the darkness in Gaza, here is a collection of Jewish Light Bulb Jokes
Q: How many Orthodox Jews does it take to change a light bulb?
A: What is a light bulb?Q: How many secular assimilated Jews does it take to change a light bulb?
A: My grandmother, who lived in a Shtetl changed lightbulbs. Today, we get a Goy to do it.

Q: How many Israelis does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: 26: 18 to surround the building,  6 to storm the room and kill the terrorists, one to forcibly expel the old bulb, and another one to screw the new one in and forever.

Q: How many progressive Jews does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Vhy, we don’t need any! we’ll form Jewish Voices for Light Bulbs (JVLB) and use it to keep the rest of humanity forever in the dark.

Q: How many Reform Jews does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Change it? Who wants to change it? We just want to improve it!

Q: How many Lubabavitchers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: None, it never died.

Q: How many Marxist Jews does it take to change a light bulb?
A: None, after the revolution the proletariat will do it for us.

Q: What does it take for a Jewish mother to change a light bulb?
A: Never mind, I’ll sit in the dark.Q: What does it take for a Talmudic Jew to change a light bulb
A: First you’ll have to tell me why changing a light bulb is good for the Jews.

Q How many solidarity Jews does it take to change a light bulb?
A: None, they will plea  George Soros’ Open Society Institute  to pay an Electronic Palestinian to denounce  the old one and endorse the new one.

Q: How many Hasbara Jews does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Wrong question, the real question is why the Arabs want to throw us into the sea?

Q: How many Gazans does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Who needs a light bulb?Q: How many self hating Jews does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Forget about the light bulb, Every Self Hater, is himself/herself a light bulb

Update:
dcstreettechnology added on VT
Q: How many Zionist does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Zero,  they just screw the world around the light bulb!
The Wandering Who? A Study Of Jewish Identity Politics – available on Amazon.com  Amazon.co.uk

Mearsheimer responds to Goldberg’s latest smear

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Just a few minutes ago, I saw this piece expressing unequivocal support from Professor John J.  Mearsheimer clearly one of the most distinguished scholars in our discourse and beyond.

For years I have been subjected to smear campaigns. I obviously survived them all because those who read me grasped the humanist intent in my work. In the following article, professor  Mearsheimer exposes the banality and crudeness of the Zionist tactics. He shows how Goldberg & Co forge sentences, take words out of context and attribute misleading meanings.

I am afraid to advise my detractors that I am not alone at all. The Tide Has Changed.

http://walt.foreignpolicy.com/

Ever since John Mearsheimer and I began writing about the Israel lobby, some of our critics have leveled various personal charges against us. These attacks rarely addressed the substance of what we wrote — a tacit concession that both facts and logic were on our side — but instead accused us of being anti-Semites and conspiracy theorists. They used these false charges to try to discredit and/or marginalize us, and to distract people from the important issues of U.S. Middle East policy that we had raised.

The latest example of this tactic is a recent blog post from Jeffrey Goldberg, where he accused my co-author of endorsing a book by an alleged Holocaust denier and Nazi sympathizer. Goldberg has well-established record of making things up about us, and this latest episode is consistent with his usual approach. I asked Professor Mearsheimer if he wanted to respond to Goldberg’s sally, and he sent the following reply.

John Mearsheimer writes:

In a certain sense, it is hard not to be impressed by the energy and imagination that Jeffrey Goldberg devotes to smearing Steve Walt and me. Although he clearly disagrees with our views about U.S.-Israel relations and the role of the Israel lobby, he does not bother to engage what we actually wrote in any meaningful way. Indeed, given what he writes about us, I am not even sure he has read our book or related articles. Instead of challenging the arguments and evidence that we presented, his modus operandi is to misrepresent and distort our views, in a transparent attempt to portray us as rabid anti-Semites.

His latest effort along these lines comes in a recent blog post, where he seizes on a dust jacket blurb I wrote for a new book by Gilad Atzmon titled The Wandering Who? A Study of Jewish Identity Politics. Here is what I said in my blurb:

Gilad Atzmon has written a fascinating and provocative book on Jewish identity in the modern world. He shows how assimilation and liberalism are making it increasingly difficult for Jews in the Diaspora to maintain a powerful sense of their ‘Jewishness.’ Panicked Jewish leaders, he argues, have turned to Zionism (blind loyalty to Israel) and scaremongering (the threat of another Holocaust) to keep the tribe united and distinct from the surrounding goyim. As Atzmon’s own case demonstrates, this strategy is not working and is causing many Jews great anguish. The Wandering Who? should be widely read by Jews and non-Jews alike. 

 The book, as my blurb makes clear, is an extended meditation on Jewish identity in the Diaspora and how it relates to the Holocaust, Israel, and Zionism. There is no question that the book is provocative, both in terms of its central argument and the overly hot language that Atzmon sometimes uses. But it is also filled with interesting insights that make the reader think long and hard about an important subject. Of course, I do not agree with everything that he says in the book — what blurber does? — but I found it thought provoking and likely to be of considerable interest to Jews and non-Jews, which is what I said in my brief comment.

Goldberg maintains that Atzmon is a categorically reprehensible person, and accuses him of being a Holocaust denier and an apologist for Hitler. These are two of the most devastating charges that can be leveled against anyone. According to Goldberg, the mere fact that I blurbed Atzmon’s book is decisive evidence that I share Atzmon’s supposedly odious views. This indictment of me is captured in the title of Goldberg’s piece: “John Mearsheimer Endorses a Hitler Apologist and Holocaust Revisionist.”

This charge is so ludicrous that it is hard to know where to start my response. But let me begin by noting that I have taught countless University of Chicago students over the years about the Holocaust and about Hitler’s role in it. Nobody who has been in my classes would ever accuse me of being sympathetic to Holocaust deniers or making excuses for what Hitler did to European Jews. Not surprisingly, those loathsome charges have never been leveled against me until Goldberg did so last week.

Equally important, Gilad Atzmon is neither a Holocaust denier nor an apologist for Hitler. Consider the following excerpt from The Wandering Who?

As much as I was a sceptic youngster, I was also horrified by the Holocaust. In the 1970s Holocaust survivors were part of our social landscape. They were our neighbours, we met them in our family gatherings, in the classroom, in politics, in the corner shop. The dark numbers tattooed on their white arms never faded away. It always had a chilling effect. . . . It was actually the internalization of the meaning of the Holocaust that transformed me into a strong opponent of Israel and Jewish-ness. It is the Holocaust that eventually made me a devoted supporter of Palestinian rights, resistance and the Palestinian right of return” (pp. 185-186).

It seems unequivocally clear to me from those sentences that Atzmon firmly believes that the Holocaust occurred and was a horrific tragedy. I cannot find evidence in his book or in his other writings that indicate he “traffics in Holocaust denial.”

The real issue for Atzmon — and this is reflected in the excerpt from his blog post that Goldberg quotes from — is how the Holocaust is interpreted and used by the Jewish establishment. Atzmon has three complaints. He believes that it is used to justify Israel’s brutal treatment of the Palestinians and to fend off criticism of Israel. This is an argument made by many other writers, including former Knesset speaker Avraham Burg, historian Peter Novick, and political scientist Norman Finkelstein. Atzmon also rejects the claim that the Holocaust is exceptional, which is a position that other respected scholars have held. There have been other genocides in world history, after all, and this whole issue was actively debated in the negotiations that led to the building of the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC. Whatever one thinks of Atzmon’s position on this subject, it is hardly beyond the pale.

Finally, Atzmon is angry about the fact that it is difficult to raise certain questions about the causes and the conduct of the Holocaust without being personally attacked. These are all defensible if controversial positions to hold, which is not to say one has to agree with any of them. But in no way is he questioning that the Holocaust happened or denying its importance. In fact, his view is clear from one of Atzmon’s sentences that Goldberg quotes: “We should strip the holocaust of its Judeo-centric exceptional status and treat it as an historical chapter that belongs to a certain time and place.” Note that Atzmon is talking about “the holocaust” in a way that makes it clear he has no doubts about its occurrence, and the passage from The Wandering Who? cited above makes it clear that he has no doubts about its importance or its tragic dimensions; he merely believes it should be seen in a different way. Again, one need not agree with Atzmon to recognize that Goldberg has badly misrepresented his position.

There is also no evidence that I could find in The Wandering Who? to support Goldberg’s claim that Atzmon is an apologist for Hitler or that he believes “Jews persecuted Hitler” and in so doing helped trigger the Holocaust. There is actually little discussion of Hitler in Atzmon’s book, and the only discussion of interactions between Hitler and the Jews concerns the efforts of German Zionists to work out a modus vivendi with the Nazis. (pp. 162-165) This is why Goldberg is forced to go to one of Atzmon’s blog posts to make the case that he is an apologist for Hitler.

Before I examine the substance of that charge, there is an important issue that needs to be addressed directly. Goldberg’s indictment of Atzmon does not rely on anything that he wrote in The Wandering Who? Indeed, Goldberg’s blog post is silent on whether he has actually read the book. If he did read it, he apparently could not find any evidence to support his indictment of Atzmon. Instead, he relied exclusively on evidence culled from Atzmon’s own blog postings. That is why Goldberg’s assault on me steers clear of criticizing Atzmon’s book, which is what I blurbed. In short, he falsely accuses me of lending support to a Holocaust denier and defender of Hitler on the basis of writings that I did not read and did not comment upon.

This tactic puts me in a difficult position. I was asked to review Atzmon’s book and see whether I would be willing to blurb it. This is something I do frequently, and in every case I focus on the book at hand and not on the personality of the author or their other writings. In other words, I did not read any of Atzmon’s blog postings before I wrote my blurb. And just for the record, I have not met him and did not communicate with him before I was asked to review The Wandering Who? I read only the book and wrote a blurb that deals with it alone.

Goldberg, however, has shifted the focus onto what Atzmon has written on his blog. I discuss a couple of examples below, but I will not defend his blog output in detail for two reasons. First, I do not know what Atzmon may have said in all of his past blog posts and other writings or in the various talks that he has given over the years. Second, what he says in those places is not relevant to what I did, which was simply to read and react to his book.

Let me now turn to the specific claim that Atzmon is an “apologist for Hitler.” Again, I am somewhat reluctant to do this, because this charge forces me to defend what Atzmon said in one of his blog posts. But given the prominence of the charge in Goldberg’s indictment of Atzmon (and me), I cannot let it pass.

Plus, I see that Walter Russell Mead, who is also fond of smearing Steve Walt and me, has put this charge up in bright lights on his own blog. Picking up on Goldberg’s original post, Mead describes Atzmon’s argument this way: “poor Adolf Hitler’s actions against German Jews only came after US Jews called a boycott on German goods following Hitler’s appointment as German Chancellor. Gosh — if it weren’t for those pushy, aggressive Jews and their annoying boycotts, the Holocaust might not have happened!”

It is hard to imagine any sane person making such an argument, and Atzmon never does. Goldberg refers to a blog post that Atzmon wrote on March 25, 2010, written in response to news at the time that AIPAC had “decided to mount pressure” on President Obama. After describing what was happening with Obama, Atzmon notes that this kind of behavior is hardly unprecedented. In his words, “Jewish lobbies certainly do not hold back when it comes to pressuring states, world leaders and even superpowers.” There is no question that this statement is accurate and not even all that controversial; Tom Friedman said as much in the New York Times a couple of weeks ago.

In the second half of this post, Atzmon says that AIPAC’s behavior reminds him of the March 1933 Jewish boycott of German goods, which preceded Hitler’s decision on March 28, 1933 to boycott Jewish stores and goods. His basic point is that the Jewish boycott had negative consequences, which it did. In Atzmon’s narrative — and this is a very important theme in his book — Jews are not simply passive victims of other people’s actions. On the contrary, he believes Jews have considerable agency and their actions are not always wise. One can agree or disagree with his views about the wisdom of the Jewish boycott — and I happen to think he’s wrong about it — but he is not arguing that the Jews were “persecuting Hitler” and that this alleged “persecution” led to the Holocaust. In fact, he says nothing about the Holocaust in his post and he certainly does not justify in any way the murder of six million Jews.

Let me make one additional point about Goldberg’s mining of Atzmon’s blog posts. Goldberg ends his attack on me with the following quotation from a Feb. 19 blog post by Atzmon: “I believe that from [a] certain ideological perspective, Israel is actually far worse than Nazi Germany.” That quotation certainly makes Atzmon look like he has lost his mind and that nothing he has written could be trusted. But Goldberg has misrepresented what Atzmon really said, which is one of his standard tactics. Specifically, he quotes only part of a sentence from Atzmon’s blog post; but when you look at the entire sentence, you see that Atzmon is making a different, and far more nuanced point. The entire sentence reads: “Indeed, I believe that from [a] certain ideological perspective, Israel is actually far worse than Nazi Germany, for unlike Nazi Germany, Israel is a democracy and that implies that Israeli citizens are complicit in Israeli atrocities.” This is not an argument I would make, but what Atzmon is saying is quite different from the way Goldberg portrays it.

Finally, let me address the charge that Atzmon himself is an anti-Semite and a self-hating Jew. The implication of this accusation, of course, is that I must be an anti-Semite too (I can’t be a self-hating Jew) because I agreed to blurb Atzmon’s book. I do not believe that Atzmon is an anti-Semite, although that charge is thrown around so carelessly these days that it has regrettably lost much of its meaning. If one believes that anyone who criticizes Israel is an anti-Semite, then Atzmon clearly fits in that category. But that definition is foolish — no country is perfect or above criticism-and not worth taking seriously.

The more important and interesting issue is whether Atzmon is a self-hating Jew. Here the answer is unequivocally yes. He openly describes himself in this way and he sees himself as part of a long dissident tradition that includes famous figures such as Marx and Spinoza. What is going on here?
The key to understanding Atzmon is that he rejects the claim that Jews are the “Chosen People.” His main target, as he makes clear at the start of the book, is not with Judaism per se or with people who “happen to be of Jewish origin.” Rather, his problem is with “those who put their Jewish-ness over and above all of their other traits.” Or to use other words of his: “I will present a harsh criticism of Jewish politics and identity … This book doesn’t deal with Jews as a people or ethnicity.” (pp. 15-16)
In other words, Atzmon is a universalist who does not like the particularism that characterizes Zionism and which has a rich tradition among Jews and any number of other groups. He is the kind of person who intensely dislikes nationalism of any sort. Princeton professor Richard Falk captures this point nicely in his own blurb for the book, where he writes: “Atzmon has written an absorbing and moving account of his journey from hard-core Israeli nationalist to a de-Zionized patriot of humanity.”

Atzmon’s basic point is that Jews often talk in universalistic terms, but many of them think and act in particularistic terms. One might say they talk like liberals but act like nationalists. Atzmon will have none of this, which is why he labels himself a self-hating Jew. He fervently believes that Jews are not the “Chosen People” and that they should not privilege their “Jewish-ness” over their other human traits. Moreover, he believes that one must choose between Athens and Jerusalem, as they “can never be blended together into a lucid and coherent worldview.” (p. 86) One can argue that his perspective is dead wrong, or maintain that it is a lovely idea in principle but just not the way the real world works. But it is hardly an illegitimate or ignoble way of thinking about humanity.

To take this matter a step further, Atzmon’s book is really all about Jewish identity. He notes that “the disappearance of the ghetto and its maternal qualities” in the wake of the French Revolution caused “an identity crisis within the largely assimilated Jewish society.” (p. 104) He believes that this crisis, about which there is an extensive literature, is still at the center of Jewish life today. In effect,
Atzmon is telling the story of how he wrestled with his own identity over time and what he thinks is wrong with how most Jews self-identify today. It is in this context that he discusses what he calls the “Holocaust religion,” Zionism, and Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. Again, to be perfectly clear, he has no animus toward Judaism as a religion or with individuals who are Jewish by birth. Rather, his target is the tribalism that he believes is common to most Jews, and I might add, to most other peoples as well. Atzmon focuses on Jews for the obvious reason that he is Jewish and is trying to make sense of his own identity.

In sum, Goldberg’s charge that Atzman is a Holocaust denier or an apologist for Hitler is baseless. Nor is Atzmon an anti-Semite. He has controversial views for sure and he sometimes employs overly provocative language. But there is no question in my mind that he has written a fascinating book that, as I said in my blurb, “should be widely read by Jews and non-Jews alike.” Regarding Goldberg’s insinuation that I have any sympathy for Holocaust denial and am an anti-Semite, it is just another attempt in his longstanding effort to smear Steve Walt and me.

Reader Comments (1)

Thanks Gilad for at last publiching this book. I must admit that I have been waiting some years for it to come. The first time I met your writings (on the webb) was I think in 2003, when I was making research on the roots of Zionism, writing on my first article on the subject about Moses Hess and Karl Marx. I was then a member of a jewish peacegroup in Sweden, and most of us were marxists from 68 or some younger leftish. A few of us also recognized us as anti-zionists.

At that time I thought that the best way to confront the politics of Israel and Zionism would be “from within”, because it would develop the debate inside the jewish group and at the same time get more credibility to the arguments outside the jewish group. But I was wrong. In a big debate at the university of Stockholm, I claimed that when it comes to the borders of Israel, I personally would not mind if they are the UN participation plan, the 67 line, the river Jordan, the river Eufrat or for that case the whole world, if only all inhabitants will have the same rights.

That statement became the end of my membership in the jewish peacegroup, and the beginning of my travel from jewish tribalism (and maxism) to humanism. (And later to be an official “anti-semite”, “Holocaust denier” and “conspiracy-theorist”).

At that time I thought I was alone with my identity problems. Sweden is a small country. When I realized I was not alone, I got the energy to start writing, which I almost never had done before (I simply and humbly want to thank you Gilad for that, and I guess I am not alone in this). But at the same time I felt there was something more than just leaving the jewish tribal thinking, as it includes so many tabous and unspeakable matters that have a grip on the open discurse of today. Tribal thinking is by no means only jewish, but it just happens to be the case that jewish ideology today is “on the top of the foodchain”, when gipsy tribal ideologi is not. At this point I realized what it is all about: The liberation of human thoughts. I remember that was one of the first comment I wrote to you, So let this be a comment to the readers of your book. It is not just about “The wandering who?”, it is about the liberation of human thinking, and I want to beleave that it is in this way the book will be remembered by genreations to come.
Peace
Lasse

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