A Window into Jewish Guilt

 

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It has become an institutional Jewish habit to examine how much Jews are hated by their host nations and how fearful Jews are of their neighbours. Jewish press outlets reported yesterday that “9 out of 10 US Jews worry about anti-Semitism.”

I, for one, can’t think of another people who invest so much energy in measuring their unpopularity. Despite the scale of Islamophobia and anti-Black racism, we are not subjected to a constant barrage of ‘statistics’ to ‘warn us’ of how hated Blacks are or how unsafe Muslims feel.

The American Jewish Committee’s (AJC) statistics suggest that  “most Jews think that the situation is getting worse.” I find their statistics unlikely but I guess any mathematically inclined person would agree that if 9 out of 10 are fearful, then the situation can’t get much ‘worse’ as 10 out of 10 would constitute only a minor increase (11%).

Assume, for a moment, that the AJC’s statistics reflect reality and that the  overwhelming majority (90%) of 1,200 Jewish respondents, from all political and religious positions, regard Jew-hatred as a serious problem with potentially disastrous consequences.

We might wonder who are the ‘naughty’ one out of ten Jews who, unlike their  brethren, are not scared of their American neighbours. I suspect these are the so-called ‘self-haters,’ that infamous bunch of horrid humanist Jews who support Palestine and are disgusted by the manifold of recent Jewish #MeToo scandals and  paedophilia/organised crime networks.  This small minority (10%) of  disobedient Jews might be disturbed by the opioid scandal that left 400.000 Americans dead, they probably know who were the prime actors in this saga of class genocide. They are likely troubled by a range of  financial crimes from Madoff to Israeli banks evading US taxes, to the Israeli binary options companies that defraud American citizens. These universalist Jewish outcasts are often vocal critics of their people, their culture and their politics. They may denounce AIPAC and the ADL, Soros and even JVP for acting as the controlled opposition. The AJC’s statistics point to the possible existence of  a comic scenario in which 9 out of 10 Jews are intimidated by the 1 out of 10 Jews who speak out.

There is a less humorous, more serious interpretation of the  AJC’s findings. It is possible that the large number of Jews who worry about anti-Semitism indicates that Jews at large are aware of the worrying traits associated with their politics, culture, identity, lobbying and Israeli criminality.

Jews may feel that they are stained as a group by problematic characters such as Weisntein, Epstein and Maxwell. They may feel polluted by Israeli politics and the intensive Zionist lobbying that plunders billions of American taxpayers dollars every year. As the White House seems to turn its back on the Neocons’ immoral interventionism, some Jews may be discomfited by the fact that the Neocon war mongering doctrine has been largely a Jewish project. As Haartez writer Ari Shavit wrote back in 2003: “The war in Iraq was conceived by 25 neoconservative intellectuals, most of them Jewish…” Maybe some Jews now understand that the Zionist shift from a ‘promised land’ to the Neocon ‘promised planet’ doesn’t reflect well on the Jews as a group.

I am trying to point out the possibility that the overwhelming fear of ‘anti-Semitism,’ documented however poorly by the AJC, might well be the  expression of guilt. American Jews may feel communal guilt over the disastrous politics and culture of some sections of their corrupted elite. They might even feel guilty as Americans about the brutal sacrifice of one of America’s prime values, that of  freedom of speech as guaranteed by the 1st Amendment, on the altar of  ‘antisemitsm.’ .

 Obviously, I would welcome AJC’s further investigation of this. It would be interesting to learn about the correlation between the Jewish fear of anti Semitsm and Jewish guilt. It would also be fascinating to find out how Jewish anxiety translates into self-reflection. In that regard, I suggest that instead of blaming the American people, Jews try introspection.  US Jews may want to follow the early Zionists, such as Theodor Herzl, who turned guilt into self-examination. Herzl was deeply disturbed by anti Semitism but this didn’t stop him from digging into its causes. “The wealthy Jews control the world, in their hands lies the fate of governments and nations,” Herzl wrote. He continued, “They set governments one against the other. When the wealthy Jews play, the nations and the rulers dance. One way or the other, they get rich.” Herzl, like other early Zionists, believed that Jews could be emancipated from their conditions and even be loved globally by means of a cultural, ideological and spiritual metamorphosis with the aspiration of ‘homecoming.’ Herzl and his fellow early Zionists were clearly wrong in their proposed remedy for the Jewish question, but were absolutely spot on in their adherence to self-reflection and harsh self-criticism.

American Jews have much to learn from Herzl and other early Zionists. They should  ask themselves how their American ‘Golden Medina’  their  Jewish land of opportunities, has turned into a ‘threatening’ realm. What happened, what has changed in the last few years? Was it the constant cries over  anti-Semitism and the desperate and institutional attempts to silence critics that turned their Golden Medina into a daunting space?

Gilad Atzmon rebuts Elias Davidsson’s Hasbara rant

December 27, 2017  /  Gilad Atzmon

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For the last several years I have repeatedly pointed out that when it comes to Palestine, the discourse of the oppressed is shaped by the sensitivities of the oppressor.  No one demonstrates this thought process better than German Jewish activist Elias Davidsson. The tribal operator ended his slanderous article about me in the German New Left Rubikon magazine:

“As a longtime anti-Zionist, I will not allow our fight for a just peace in Palestine to be disintegrated by psychopathic anti-Semites, nor will I regard people as comrades spreading the horrible theories of a Jewish world conspiracy. This theory has already resulted in millions of bodies.”

Ask yourself who comprises ‘our’ what ‘fight’ he is referring to. Indeed, I have never accused the Jews of a conspiracy. I argue, as forcefully as I can,  that there are NO Jewish conspiracies. Self–identified Jews don’t hide a thing, they act in the open.  Jewish Power, accordingly, is the power to silence criticism of Jewish power. This is exactly what Davidsson is attempting to do. And so he implements the Hasbara guidebook.

Elias Davidsson is an elder wannabe musician.  I suppose that in the last few years he has been unable to restrain his envy. His vicious attacks on yours truly have provided him his moment of fame in his waning years.

Until 2011 Davidsson regularly begged me to publish his unreadable rants. They were never up to standard and I rejected most of them. In 2011 I did publish a piece by Elias Davidsson in which the boy declared himself a “radical anti-Semite.’

A few months later, my book The Wandering Who? was published. The book was a world wide best-seller. Apparently Davidsson couldn’t take it. Although the book was endorsed by some of the greatest humanists and scholars, Davidsson declared the book a ‘neo-nazi text.’ Why? Because, like Hitler, I referred to a ‘Jewish organismus.’ If the tribal had just a few extra grey cells in his skull he would have comprehended that Hitler’s organismus was set to incriminate the Jews as a collective while my use of the term Jewish organismus was as a possible vindication of the Jews as a collective.

Here are my words,

“it is of course possible that there is no decision-making process at all. It is more than likely that ‘Jews’ do not have a centre or headquarters. It is more than likely that they aren’t aware of their particular role within the entire system, the way an organ is not aware of its role within the complexity of the organism.” (The Wandering Who pg. 21)

Basically, the concept is that the finger that pulls the trigger is not necessarily responsible for the dead body in the room.

I thought at the time that Davidsson was uniquely duplicitous, agonized with envy or just too stupid for my time. I ignored him.

I didn’t hear from Davidsson for a few years, but last week he has popped out again. In his Rubikon piece Davisson performs every Hasbara spin technique from duplicity to outright fabrication.

“Atzmon is primarily concerned with the freedom to question the Holocaust, not the general right to freedom of expression,” says the son of David. Is this true? Have I ever excluded any other intellectual domain? A week ago, at the Babylon theatre in Berlin, I spoke out against all history laws. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=48&v=-0YOJKGuNzQ

I specifically mentioned the Nakba Law and the Armenian Genocide law. However, it is the primacy of Jewish suffering embedded in the core of the Holocaust religion and the laws surrounding it that bothers me the most.

Davidsson continues:  “Atzmon is not on the side of the victims, but just trying to play down the crime.”  Is this true? Is stripping the holocaust of its religious status and treating it as a universal lesson in ethics equal to  ‘playing down the crime’? Quite the opposite. It changes the narrative from that of a Jewish/German anecdote into a vivid dynamic and universal lesson that can be applied to Palestine, Syria and Iraq.

And then we are referred yet again to that same snippet of revisionist advocacy from The Wandering Who? Davidsson calls this paragraph   “classic Holocaust Denial.”

“I think that 65 years after the liberation of Auschwitz, we must be entitled to start asking questions. We should ask for historical evidence and arguments rather than follow a religious narrative that is sustained by political pressure and laws. 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. The Holocaust, like every other historical narrative, must be analysed properly. 65 years after the liberation of Auschwitz we should be able to ask – why? Why were the Jews hated?” (The Wandering Who p 175)

In the eyes of the deranged Davidsson a call for  ‘disclosure’ and openness about the past that moves beyond Jewish victimhood shows a ‘neo Nazi’ inclination.  Of course, it doesn’t. Worse, the duplicitous Davidsson cut my paragraph in the middle.

Here is the rest of the text which he chose to omit:

“65 years after the liberation of Auschwitz we should be able to ask – why? Why were the Jews hated?  Why did European people stand up against their neighbours? Why are the Jews hated in the Middle East, surely they had a chance to open a new page in their troubled history? If they genuinely planned to do so, as the early Zionists claimed, why did they fail? Why did America tighten its immigration laws amid the growing danger to European Jews? We should also ask what purpose Holocaust denial laws serve? What is the Holocaust religion there to conceal? As long as we fail to ask questions, we will be subjected to Zionist lobbies and their plots. We will continue killing in the name of Jewish suffering. We will maintain our complicity in Western imperialist crimes

It is clear why Davidsson omitted the rest of the paragraph. It is about him and his tribal agenda.  “As long as we fail to ask questions…We will continue killing in the name of Jewish suffering.” Elias Davidsson attacks me and falsifies my words because he wants to sustain the primacy of Jewish suffering.

According to this miserable man I am motivated by “personal and pathological hatred of ‘Jews’, including Jewish activists who act  for Palestinians rights,[ …] therefore, he (Atzmon) describes himself. as a ‘self-hating Jew.’

When scholars refer to a pathology they point at forensic evidence that substantiates their verdict. Davidsson fails to offer any evidence of my ‘pathology.’  I will help the elder Zionist to refine his argument. The fact that I occasionally define myself as “a self hater” suggests that I hate myself rather than others. Consistent with Otto Weininger’s brutal realisation that in art, understanding of the self is understanding of the world, I dig into myself as an act of disclosure.

Like his friend Ludwig Watzal who was caught plagiarising quotes originally fabricated by Dershowitz, Davidsson is misquoting me and even put words in my mouth in a deliberate attempt to deceive.  Davidson builds his entire zigzag narrative on a nine year old discussion on American TV.  “Asked if any Jews had died by the Nazis, Atzmon says: ‘that is a completely irrelevant question.. Because I’m not a historian,’”

What I actually say in the video is that my concern with the holocaust is not about numbers, “even if it were, 2.5 million it is quite enough”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KXAwYIU9yRs&t=1m10s

…we are talking about huge numbers here. In my work, I want to move beyond numbers and to grasp why, what is it in the Jews that makes Jewish history a chain of disasters? Why is antisemitsm rising again? And the crucial question is why Elias Davisson, supposedly, a ‘truth seeker’ is so fearful of me asking these questions? Why does Davidsson feel the need to lie and to omit certain lines? What kind of people engage in such duplicitous behaviour? The answer is simple. The fear of truthfulness is a Jerusalemite symptom. Jerusalem replaces reason with a strict regime of correctness.

Then the ignoramus argues that “ethnic cleansing” of Jews from Nazi Germany is “Atzmon’s invention.”   ”On the contrary,” Davidsson says,  “German Jews had to apply for emigration in the Third Reich. Not all could emigrate.”

Maybe the German speaking Davidsson should explain to us what the notions judenrein and judenfrei meant to the Nazi regime. One may well wonder how this nonsense passed the Rubikon’s editorial standards. David Cesarani’s  Final Solution provides  an incredible account of the Nazi’s ethnic cleansing of German and Austrian Jews. You would expect Davidsson to grasp that ‘applying for immigration’ was a bureaucratic procedure. And this is exactly why we need history to be subject to revision.

The notion of ethnic cleansing wasn’t around when Raul Hilberg wrote ‘The Destruction of European Jews,’  the only source Davidsson cites.  It wasn’t until Kosovo in the late 1990s that the term ‘ethnic cleansing’ made it into our vocabulary. It was in the late 1990s and early 2000s that the new notion of ethnic cleansing helped us to re-shape our understanding of the Nakba in 1948 and of Nazi atrocities. I guess it is too much to expect Davidsson and the Rubikon editorial to grasp this nuanced intellectual evolutionary process.

In his attempt to discuss the death march, Davidsson is again out of his depth and quoting Raul Hilberg isn’t very helpful. Here is the death march dilemma as I see it: if the Nazis wanted the Jews out of their Reich or dead, why did they march thousands of them back to the Reich at the end of the war?

This is an historical dilemma that is begging for an answer,  it juxtaposes two conflicting historical narratives. I accept that silencing me is the preferred solution for the Jerusalemite, but if I may advise the elder Davidsson, it won’t remove the dilemma. At best it will only delay the discussion.

And finally the unthinkable happens, Davidsson manages to  depart from the Holocaust.  He lands on ‘Christ killing.’ “Atzmon said that the Israeli attack on the Gaza humanitarian flotilla ‘was [ideologically] a repetition of the killing of Jesus Christ.’” According to Davidsson this is a “propagandist” attempt  to “curry favour with Christian anti-Semites.” I will help the spin merchant to grasp some elementary basics.  Christ killing is a symbol of the murder of innocence and goodness. In my eyes, and I am hardly alone in this thought, a lot of Israeli brutality falls into this category. The crude attack on the Mavi Marmara was a prototypical case of an assault on goodness. Unlike Davidsson, I operate on my own. I am not affiliated with anyone, whether Christian, Socialist or Nazi. I am searching for that which unite us as humans. I am searching for the conditions that make humanism a possibility.  I am committed to one thing; that which I believe to be true at the time I utter it. I do accept that for Davidsson and his ilk such an approach is a fatal threat. I wish I knew how to help them out.

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Being in Time – A Post Political Manifesto,

Amazon.co.uk , Amazon.com and  here (gilad.co.uk).

Israel’s New Cultural War of Aggression

MAY 8, 2017

A few weeks ago my book Palestine’s Horizon: Toward a Just Peace was published by Pluto in Britain. I was in London and Scotland at the time to do a series of university talks to help launch the book. Its appearance happened to coincide with the release of a jointly authored report commissioned by the UN Social and Economic Commission of West Asia, giving my appearances a prominence they would not otherwise have had. The report concluded that the evidence relating to Israeli practices toward the Palestinian people amounted to ‘apartheid,’ as defined in international law.

There was a strong pushback by Zionist militants threatening disruption. These threats were sufficiently intimidating to academic administrators, that my talks at the University of East London and at Middlesex University were cancelled on grounds of ‘health and security.’ Perhaps, these administrative decisions partly reflected the awareness that an earlier talk of mine at LSE had indeed been sufficiently disrupted during the discussion period that university security personnel had to remove two persons in the audience who shouted epithets, unfurled an Israeli flag, stood up and refused to sit down when politely asked by the moderator.

In all my years of speaking on various topics around the world, I had never previously had events cancelled, although quite frequently there was similar pressure exerted on university administrations, but usually threatening financial reprisals if I was allowed to speak. What happened in Britain is part of an increasingly nasty effort of pro-Israeli activists to shut down debate by engaging in disruptive behavior, threats to security, and by smearing speakers regarded as critics of Israel as ‘anti-Semites,’ and in my case as a ‘self-hating,’ even a self-loathing Jew.

falkpalestine

Returning to the United States I encountered a new tactic. The very same persons who disrupted in London, evidently together with some likeminded comrades, wrote viciously derogatory reviews of my book on the Amazon website in the U.S. and UK, giving the book the lowest rate possible rating, This worried my publisher who indicated that how a book is rated on Amazon affects sales very directly. I wrote a message on my Facebook timeline that my book was being attacked in this way, and encouraged Facebook friends to submit reviews, which had the effect of temporarily elevating my ratings. In turn, the ultra-Zionists went back to work with one or two line screeds that made no effort whatsoever to engage the argument of the book. In this sense, there was a qualitative difference as the positive reviews were more thoughtful and substantive. This was a new kind of negative experience for me. Despite publishing many books over the course during this digital age I had never before had a book attacked in this online manner obviously seeking to discourage potential buyers and to demean me as an author. In effect, this campaign is an innovative version of digital book burning, and while not as vivid visually as a bonfire, its vindictive intentions are the same.

These two experiences, the London cancellations and the Amazon harassments, led me to reflect more broadly on what was going on. More significant, by far, than my experience are determined, well-financed efforts to punish the UN for its efforts to call attention to Israeli violations of human rights and international law, to criminalize participation in the BDS campaign, and to redefine and deploy anti-Semitism so that its disavowal and prevention extends to anti-Zionism and even to academic and analytic criticism of Israel’s policies and practices, which is how I am situated within this expanding zone of opprobrium. Israel has been acting against human rights NGOs within its own borders, denying entry to BDS supporters, and even virtually prohibiting foreign tourists from visiting the West Bank or Gaza. In a remarkable display of unity all 100 U.S. senators recently overcame the polarized atmosphere in Washington to join in sending an arrogant letter to the new UN Secretary General, António Guterres, demanding a more friendly, blue washing, approach to Israel at the UN and threatening financial consequences if their outrageous views were not heeded.

Israel’s most ardent and powerful backers are transforming the debate on Israel/Palestine policy into a cultural war of aggression. This new kind of war has been launched with the encouragement and backing of the Israeli government, given ideological support by such extremist pressure groups as UN Watch, GO Monitor, AIPAC, and a host of others. This cultural war is implemented at street levels by flame throwing militants that resort to symbolic forms of violence. The adverse consequences for academic freedom and freedom of thought in a democratic society should not be underestimated. A very negative precedent is being set in several Western countries. Leading governments are collaborating with extremists to shut down constructive debate on a sensitive policy issue affecting the lives and wellbeing of a long oppressed people.

There are two further dimensions of these developments worth pondering: (1) In recent years Israel has been losing the Legitimacy War being waged by the Palestinians, what Israeli think tanks call ‘the delegitimation project,’ and these UN bashing and personal smears are the desperate moves of a defeated adversary in relation to the moral and legal dimensions of the Palestinian struggle for rights. In effect, the Israeli government and its support groups have given up almost all efforts to respond substantively, and concentrate their remaining ammunition on wounding messengers who bear witness and doing their best to weaken the authority and capabilities of the UN so as to discredit substantive initiatives; (2) while this pathetic spectacle sucks the oxygen from responses of righteous indignation, attention is diverted from the prolonged ordeal of suffering that has long been imposed on the Palestinian people as a result of Israel’s unlawful practices and policies, as well as its crimes against humanity, in the form of apartheid, collective punishment, ethnic cleansing, and many others. The real institutional scandal is not that the UN is obsessed with Israel but rather that it is blocked from taking action that might exert sufficient pressure on Israel to induce the dismantling of apartheid structures relied upon to subjugate, displace, and dispossess the Palestinian people over the course of more than 70 years with no end in sight.

Richard Falk is Albert G. Milbank Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University and Visiting Distinguished Professor in Global and International Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

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Renouncing Jewishness: Shlomo Sand and Gilad Atzmon

July 31, 2016  /  Gilad Atzmon

GA: A very interesting piece of writing by Eric Walberg. Along the years I have learned a lot from Walberg, one of the very few creative thinkers left within the Left.

Source: http://ericwalberg.com/

Renouncing Jewishness: Shlomo Sand and Gilad Atzmon

By Eric Walberg

For years now, I’ve known there was something wrong when my well-meaning anti-Zionist Jewish friends found it necessary to join Jewish anti-Zionist groups opposing Israel. In the US, Jewish Voice for Peace, in Canada, Not in Our Name; in Britain, Jews Against Zionism — every country has its group, usually more than one. “I am a Jewish witness against Israel,” I would be told. Sounds good, even brave. Sand’s latest deconstruction of Jewishness and Israel, How I Stopped Being a Jew (2014), makes it clear why my suspicions were well founded.

Barely 100 pages, it is a page-turner, a precis of his earlier more scholarly works, arguing that the romantic, heroic age of Jewish nationalism, as embodied in the creation of a Jewish state, is coming to an end. Israel will not disappear, but it is an anachronism, an embarrassment in the postmodern age. A reminder of the horrors of Nazism, but not as the Zionist crafters of the “holocaust industry”, or “holocaust religion”, would have it. The Zionist project is exposed by Norman Finkelstein, Noam Chomsky, Gilad Atzmon, Israel Shamir and many more Jewish critics as reenacting the same policies of yesteryear. A flawed answer that is doomed, “an insidious form of racism“.

For the Israeli Sand, the Jewish “national” identity is a fraud (an Israeli identity is fine); the only viable Jewish identity is a religious one, and as a nonbeliever, he logically concludes,  “Cogito, ergo non sum.”

Gilad Atzmon takes Sand’s logic further. He tore up his Israeli passport, becoming an ex-Israeli as well as an ex-Jew. 

What’s so wrong with a secular, ethnic Jewish identity? Well, it can be based on only one of two things: persecution (being “forced” into being a Jew whether one likes it or not, as in the Nazi’s racial laws) or being “born” into the Jewish people. The former is no longer an issue and the latter is full of holes, and based on a dangerous myth.

When was the Jewish People invented?

Sand’s answer is simple:

“At a certain stage in the 19th century, intellectuals of Jewish origin in Germany, influenced by the folk character of German nationalism, took upon themselves the task of inventing a people ‘retrospectively’, out of a thirst to create a modern Jewish people.”

For Jews, this required a homeland, and the westernized Jewish elite were able to provide this. As the West suffered one mortal blow after another (WWI&II), Zionism took on a new meaning. Voila! Israel.

But the exile legend is a myth. Sand is a historian and couldn’t find any texts supporting it. The Romans did not exile peoples.

“Judaic society was not dispersed and was not exiled.”

Jews continued to live in the Holy Land through thick and thin, freer under Muslim rule than Christian, but even the latter never “ethnically cleansed” them. Most converted to Christianity or Islam. Voila! The (Christian, Muslim) Palestinians. However, a tiny core stuck stubbornly to the original monotheism, nurtured by the Babylonian exile in the 6th century BC (the only bona fide exile–from which they returned, the earlier Egyptian exile legend being crafted much later, when the Torah was written down and collected in the 3rd century BC).

Jews are not a race but rather a collective of many ethnic groups who were hijacked by a late 19th century ‘national’ movement. There is no racial or ethnic basis for being Jewish any more than there is for being Christian or Muslim. The great majority of those who today consider themselves Jewish are descended from converts in Central Asia, eastern Europe and north Africa, not from ancient Hebrews expelled from the Holy Land by the Romans. They are not ethnic “Semites”, of near eastern origin, or ethnic anything else.

Atzmon is a noted jazz musician, and deconstructs a popular 1970s Israeli pop song by Shlomo Artzi: All of a sudden a man wakes up in the morning. He feels he is people and to

Scene from Shoval’s ‘Youth’ (2016)

everyone he comes across he says shalom.Artzi’s youth suggests Jews suddenly became “people” thanks to the state of Israel, conflating being Jewish with being Israeli, suggesting only Israelis can really feel free as Jews. What Artzi ignores is that feeling proud to be an Israeli is only for those Israelis who have “Jew” stamped in their passport, and, among them, only those who are blind to the bloody colonial basis for this privilege. Hardly a recipe for a healthy feeling.

Can a liar tell the truth?

Israel is a “democratic and Jewish state” according to Israeli law. The “Jewish” nature was first defined in the Declaration of Independence of 1948. The “democratic” character was added by the Knesset in 1985. This is a contradiction in terms, as Jewish by definition determines the state according to race, making it undemocratic for those in the state not Jewish. In cartesian lingo, both ‘A’ and ‘not A’ are true.

This flawed logic now lies at the heart of what it means to call oneself a secular Jew, either Israeli or ‘diaspora’. Sand joins other ex-Jews, Gilad Atzmon, Israel Shamir, and Will Self, who have renounced Jewishness, either as secularists, or as converts to Christianity, shedding a contradictory, now empty, signifier.  Given what Israel has become, “democratic” and “Jewish” are no longer compatible. Sand rejects the faux Jewish nationalism served up by Zionism, which excludes non-Jews from the narrative, and is left with nothing except himself, his books, his sense of right and wrong. A lonely world.

Atzmon takes Sand’s attack on identity politics a step further, arguing in The Wandering Who that secular Jewish anti-Zionism feeds into the Zionist narrative, the do-gooder counterpoint to the more sinister role of the diaspora, taking Sand’s concerns to an even more uncomfortable conclusion: The Jewish Diaspora is there to mobilize lobbies by recruiting international support. The Neocons transform the American army into an Israeli mission force. Anti-Zionists of Jewish descent (and this may even include proud self-haters such as myself) are there to portray an image of ideological plurality and ethical concern.*

Sand dismisses both religion and nationalism as the basis for his identity. Atzmon argues both are legitimate, though they both are perverted in the case of the Israeli state. Nationalism is an authentic “bond with one’s soil, heritage, culture, language”, a cathartic experience, not at all “empty” as a signifier.  Though nationalism may well be an invention, it is still “an intrinsically authentic fulfilling experience”. It can be misused, is often suicidal, but nonetheless, “it sometimes manages to integrate man, soil and sacrifice into a state of spiritual unification.”

What is especially moving about ex-Jews like Sand, and ex-Israel ex-Jews like Atzmon, is that they are trapped by their own Israeli heritage, whether or not they emigrate. Reading Sand’s book in Hebrew, writes Atzmon,

“is for me, an ex-Jew and ex-Israeli, a truly authentic experience that brings me closer to my roots, my forgotten homeland and its fading landscape, my mother tongue or shall I simply say my Being.”

He is confronted not by some “‘identity’ or politics but rather the Israeliness, that concrete nationalist discourse that matured into Hebraic poetry, patriotism, ideology, jargon, a dream and a tragedy to follow.” Israel’s present state has “robbed him of that Israeliness which was once to him a home.”

Hollow identity

Most still yearn to keep a diaspora Jewish identity alive. Judith Butler’s Parting Ways: Jewishness and the Critique of Zionism (2013) is by a liberal-leaning Jew who feels she must salvage her Jewishness from Israel’s nationalism and occupation policies. “A new Jewish identity might emerge that connects Tel Aviv with New York’s Upper West Side, Berlin, Paris, London and Buenos Aires — and all of them on an equal footing,” writes Carlo Strener in hisreview.

For Sand and Atzmon, there is no “new Jewish identity” possible, because there is no diaspora. French Jews are French. Canadian ones are Canadian. It’s fine to be a believing ‘person of the Book’, and even an Israeli, speaking Israeli (really a new language) and being a citizen of a well-behaved multi-ethnic nation state, based on universal norms, like France or Canada. But everyone eats matzo balls already.

Assimilation is not like extermination, despite Golda Meir’s cries of “Wolf!” Non-religious Jewishness will continue to evaporate, along with Christian and Muslim identities for those who abandon their faith. There is no shame in calling oneself an ex-Christian or ex-Muslim. 

Occam’s Razor: less is more

Anti-Zionists “rightly see [Zionist] policies as threatening the renewal of Judeophobia” that identifies all Jews as a “certain race-people, and confuses them with Zionists.”** Yes, but, as Atzmon argues, this “confusion” is part of the agenda, pushing Jews outside of Israel to support Israel unthinkingly and accept the resultant resentment they experience as “anti-Semitism”.

And even if they protest–as Jews–they inadvertently support the “Zionist world conspiracy”:

If those who call themselves anti-Zionist Jews without having lived in Israel, and without knowing its language or having experienced its culture, claim a particular right, different from that of non-Jews, to make accusations against Israel, how can one criticize overt pro-Zionists for granting themselves the privilege of actively intervening in decisions regarding

Codepink’s Medea Benjamin

the future and fate of Israel?* 

The Jewish signifier undermines the anti-Zionist one. Slots muddy things. Medea Benjamin, a “one percenter, a nice little Jewish girl” founded the now legendary peace group Codepink. QAIA (Queers against Israeli apartheid) folded when its organizers realized by highlighting their ‘gay’ signifier, they were doing more harm than good. The queers don’t have the luxury of renouncing their queerness, but thoughtful Jews like Benjamin similarly downplay their own tribalism, and Sand and Atzmon have renounced it, as the honorable way out of their Catch-22.

xxx

* Gilad Atzmon, The Wandering Who?, Zero Books, 2011, p70.
** Shlomo Sand, How I Stopped being a Jew, Verso, 2014, p94–95.

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.

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

March 12, 2015  /  Gilad Atzmon

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

http://falastinews.com/

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

By Shawn Robinson

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

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

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

Gilad Atzmon Video

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Getting back to the Atzmon issue of free speech.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To deny a voice is to censor the message.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

lattuf 8

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

lattuf 9

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maybe ask Dr. Steven Salaita?

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You decide.

*****

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

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

 

Sources on Freedom of Expression (UK):

Arab Press Freedom Watch

ARTICLE 19, Global Campaign for Free Expression

Committee to Protect Journalists

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

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

Index on Censorship

International Federation of Journalists

International Freedom of Expression Exchange

International PEN

International Press Institute

OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media

 

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

Jacob Cohen “Documenterview”: the Sayanim, Dieudonné and the French dissident movement

I have been contacted today by the producers of a most interesting and unique documentary entitled Jacob Cohen “Documenterview” who informed me that their video was now available on YouTube in a seven-part series you can see here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLzHtFW-mC6vGh07g8RK7sUITTYsQYBlN0

When I asked them to make the video available in one file, they told me that they would do that, but that in the meantime I could use a special embed code which makes all the seven series available in one window.  Since I do not want to wait, this is what I will do today, but I will let you know when the full documentary becomes available in one file.

Jacob Cohen: “A Law Against Israel is Impossible to Enact in Morocco”Jacob Cohen is an extremely interesting person.  This French Jew, born in Morocco, is the author of several very interesting books.  This ex-Freemason and ex-Zionist, Cohen is the first person to write a full book dedicated to the topic of the voluntary Jewish collaborators of Israel known as “Sayan” (plural: “Sayanim”): Le Printemps des Sayanim which, needless to say, is not available in English.  And since the English language Wikipedia does not offer any info about Cohen, the best I can do is to give you a link to a Google-translation of his French Wikipedia entry.  Here is a link to his blog (in French): http://jacobdemeknes.blogspot.com/

This documentary also discusses the “Dieudonné” phenomenon and the general problem of the struggle of the French people against the Zionist-controlled nomenklatura. At a time when Berhard-Henri Levi travels to Kiev to declare his full support for the Nazi junta in power, it is very timely to get an insight into what is really happening in France as told by a extremely well-informed ex-insider.

The full series is long (4,5 hours) but I nevertheless highly recommend it to everybody.

The Saker

PS: for my previous articles about Dieudonné, Soral and the French anti-Zionist dissident movement please see here:

http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.com/2009/05/israel-lobby-commits-maje-blunder-in.html

http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.com/2009/06/dieudonnes-anti-zionist-campaign-in.html

http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.com/2013/11/is-new-revolution-quietly-brewing-in.html

http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.com/2014/01/state-repression-in-france-only-makes.html

http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.com/2014/01/quenelle-warfare-in-france-report-from.html

 

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!

GILAD ATZMON EXPLAINS THE JEWS

More or less, i would say…

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!

THE KOSHER PINÓQUIO – DERSHOWITZ ON ATZMON AND FINKELSTEIN

Atzmon, a hard leftist, describes himself as a proud self-hating Jew and admits that his ideas derive from a notorious anti-Semite.

He denies that the Holocaust is historically proven, but believes that Jews may well have killed Christian children to use their blood to bake Passover Matzah. And he thinks it’s “rational” to burn down synagogues.

Finkelstein believes in an international Jewish conspiracy that includes Steven Spielberg, Leon Uris, Eli Wiesel and Andrew Lloyd Webber! Some of the Soviet Union’s leading anti-Semitic propagandists were Jews.

HATE ME, PLEASE

By Gilad Atzmon

Ynet reviewed today the work of Dr. Adam Ferziger, an expert in the study of modern Jewish denominations. The Israeli academic contends that due to assimilation “the absolute majority of American Jewry won’t be Jews anymore”.According to Dr. Ferziger, Americans are just not anti-Semitic enough to maintain traditional Jewish identity. Jews have integrated so well “that most Americans don’t see being a Jew as a negative thing, but actually consider it an advantage”.

Seemingly, without being hated Jews are “getting lost”.

Ferziger continues, “Anti-Semitic phenomena are rare, especially in the upper class of the American population, and at the end of the day its open arms were what determined the assimilation trend and helped speed it up”. The take-home message is pretty clear. Jews cannot sustain their identity unless confronted by indignation in their surrounding environment. In short, it is anti-Semitism that sustains Jewish existence.

The Christmas tree is, apparently, also a significant threat, according to Ferziger. “Surveys conducted in recent years revealed a growth in the number of Jewish families that put up a Christmas tree in their home and mark Christmas as a sort of American holiday…. Yet they do not feel a contradiction between being Jewish and using holiday symbols which they see as more universal than religious”. I guess that universalism in general poses a critical threat to the tribally oriented mind.

But the Jewish genius once again found a solution. Instead of fighting assimilation, the American Jewish establishment actually adopted a “flexible accommodation”:  “In most Reform and Conservative communities there is an acceptance of the reality of mixed marriages, and there is a desire to find solutions… In as early as 1983, the Reform recognized children as Jewish, and they are wanted in the synagogue. But the innovation is that after a great internal conflict in many places, it was decided that the non-Jewish parent would also be invited to be a full-fledged member of the community” .

The conclusion is obvious. The Jewish community in America is actually expanding and rapidly. “The prevalent perception in America is that synagogue membership is a sort of  “Jewish citizenship”. You pay taxes, visit the synagogue several times a year, and use its services when there’s a bar mitzvah or a wedding”.

The contemporary American Jewish leadership has managed to extend the notion of Jewish ethnocentrism – “the synagogue affiliation is a Jewish-American statement that you belong to the Jewish collective”. And indeed, “recent studies have proved explicitly that an affiliation with a synagogue holds significant power”.

Rather than disappearing, what we see in practice, actually, is a surge of Jewish collectivism and power.

It may be true that traditional Jewish blood-related tradition is in decline in the USA, but Jewish spiritual collectivism is far from being defeated. It is actually expanding rapidly. Once they find a Jewish partner, every goy can join the Chosen as long as their synagogue tax duties are paid.

This commodification and privatization of Judaism is hardly surprising. However, the thought that all these new Jews will have to be hated in order to maintain their newly acquired exceptionalist “religious” identity may entail some gross violence ahead.

Beware!

KEVIN BARRETT: IN WHICH I APPLY FOR JEWISH STATUS

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2013 AT 11:44PM GILAD ATZMON

How come Gilad's on the S.H.I.T. list and I'm not?!
How come Gilad’s on the S.H.I.T. list and I’m not?!
The Palestinians are second-class citizens in their own homeland.
I’m starting to understand how they feel.
If I were Jewish, I would dominate the media, largely control the US Congress, and completely own Hollywood. If I were Jewish, nobody could criticize me – or my tribal settler colony in Occupied Palestine – without being labeled anti-Semitic and forced to wear a “never work in this town again” yellow star.
If I were Jewish, I could make sure that anybody who questions MY holocaust gets locked up the second they set foot in Europe, while I remain free to question all the other holocausts. I could extort my share of the billions of dollars generated by the “no business like Shoah business” – one of the most lucrative rackets on earth, so beautifully described in Norman Finkelstein’s The Holocaust Industry.
If I were Jewish, I would be a member of a group that earns – on the average – nearly twice the annual income of non-Jewish Americans.
But most importantly of all, if I were Jewish, I could join the hundreds of brave and brilliant people on Masada2000′s S.H.I.T. listof the “Self-Hating and Israel-Threatening.” The generous folks at Masada2000 have kindly compiled a list of incredibly cool people who have the vision to see through the toxic smog of Zionist BS that we breathe every day, and the guts to stand up and speak out.
One small catch: To be a S.H.I.T. list honoree, you have to be Jewish.
JEEEEZ! That’s SO unfair! If there is one career path in which goys should be allowed to compete with Jews on a level playing field, it’s the profession of being an “anti-Semitic Israel hater”! When even THAT field is taken over by the doyens of Jewish superiority, us goys might as well throw in the towel.
So I’m officially throwing in the towel. All you neo-Nazi storm-troopers who have been sending me hate emails and calling me a crypto-Jew because I don’t like Hitler and have nothing against Jewish people are really going to have a field day.
Rather than be locked out of the S.H.I.T. list due to my ethnicity, I have begun the process of applying for Jewish ethnic status. Here is my letter to Masada2000, emailed to them at: masada2000org@yahoo.com
Dear S.H.I.T. listers,
I heard about your S.H.I.T. list when someone emailed me the entry about my friend Gilad Atzmon, who is a musical and philosophical genius and a force of nature.
So I started looking over your list, and discovered that it is an honor roll of brave and brilliant people who have questioned the lies of Zionism.
Since I have done some Zionist-lie-questioning myself, I scrolled down to the B’s to see whether I had made the grade. Imagine my chagrin when I discovered that there were other Barretts on the list, but I was not among them!
Upon further perusal, I realized you have to be Jewish to make the list. So my question is: Could I “convert” ethnically rather than religiously? I’m pretty comfortable with my Islamic faith, and have no interest in converting to the Jewish religion. But since at least half of today’s “Jews” are not religious, but still consider themselves Jewish, perhaps I could join them by changing my ethnicity from Irish-American to Jewish? I do eat bagels fairly often, and use words like “chutzpah” and “putz” occasionally, especially when referring to Larry Silverstein. Is there some kind of ceremony in which a Rabbi could hand me a bagel smeared with lox, cream cheese, and thin-slice onion, and maybe a kosher pickle for good measure, and I could take a big bite out of it and be pronounced ethnically Jewish?
I would also be happy to take an exam explaining such nuances of Jewish ethnic culture as the difference between “schlemiel” and “schlimazel.”  (Correct answer: The Zionists who botched the 9/11 false-flag op were schlemiels, while the Americans who failed to notice and lost their country are schlimazels.)
By the way, I also enjoy matzo ball soup, though I always feel kind of sorry for the matzos.
Anyway, please let me know how to go about ethnic conversion so I can become eligible for your S.H.I.T. list.
Best
Kevin Barrett
PS If I convert to the Jewish ethnicity but not the religion, will I automatically become a citizen of Israel? And would that work for the Palestinian Muslims and Christians? Biting a bagel would be a small price for them to pay for first-class citizen status in their own homeland.
Disclaimer: If Lou Reed can sing about wanting to be black, I assume it’s OK for me to write about applying for Jewish ethnic status.

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

Source
                        

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

How Shlomo Sand Ceased to be a Jew – or Did He?

By Gilad Atzmon

Sand’s latest book, How I Ceased To Be A Jew, (translated from Hebrew) is a tragic testimony made by a morally awakened Israeli Jew who comes to realise that his spiritual, cultural and political existence is contaminated with Judeo-centric exclusivism and is fuelled by ethno-centric racism. Shlomo Sand decides to stop being a Jew – but has he succeeded?

Sand, as we all know, is a wonderful writer; witty, innovative, poetic and fluent, his voice is personal, at times funny, occasionally sarcastic and always genuinely pessimistic.

Sand’s writing is scholarly, deep, reflective and imaginative; however, his scholarship is pretty much limited to French liberal thinking and early post-modernist theory. The outcome is disappointing at times. How I Ceased To Be A Jew is a ‘politically correct’ text, saturated with endless caveats inserted to disassociate the author from any possible affiliation with anyone who may be viewed as an opponent of Jewish power, critical of Jewish identity politics or a challenger of the mainstream historicity of the Holocaust.

“I don’t write for anti-Semites, I regard them as totally ignorant or people who suffer from an incurable disease,” (p. 21) writes the author who claims to be humanist, universalist and far removed from Jewish exclusivism.* It all sounds very Jewish to me. When it comes to the Holocaust, Sand uses the same tactic and somehow manages to lose all wit and scholarly fashion. The Nazis are “beasts”, their rise to power metaphorically described as a “beast awakening from its lair.” I would expect a leading historian and ex-Jew to have moved on beyond these kinds of banal clichés.

cease

Sand writes about identity politics and is certainly sensitive to the complexities of this subject. He argues forcefully that nationalism is an ‘invention’, yet, for some reason he attributes some forensic qualities to identity and the politics involved. Perhaps Sand fails to realise that identity politics is actually a form of identification – it is there to replace authenticity. For example, Zionism was born as an attempt to replace Judaic authentic orientation with an imaginary sense of national belonging – Israeli identity is a collection of signifiers set to make the Jew believe that he or she has a past, present and future. Identity is basically a set of symbolic identifiers that evoke a sense of collectivism. If you pierce your right ear, you become a club member, if you sport a kaffiyeh you become a solidarity activist, if you manage to utter a few Israeli sound-bites you may become a Zionist. All these identities lack any authentic depth.

Little Britain, a BBC comedy show, provides us with an invaluable insight into this. Daffyd Thomas (The Only Gay in the Village) exhibits a wide range of gay symbolic identifiers without ever once being engaged in a single homosexual intercourse. So Daffyd, while identifying as gay – politically, socially and culturally – saves himself of the elementary authentic experience as a homosexual.

Sand understands that Jewish identity politics is hollow, but he may fail to grasp that all identity politics are hollow. On the contrary, nationalism, which he clearly despises — the bond with one’s soil, heritage, culture, language, landscape, poetry is actually a cathartic experience. Though nationalism may well be an invention as Sand and others insist, it is still an intrinsically authentic fulfilling experience. As we all know, patriotic national feelings are often suicidal – and there’s a reason for this – because just sometimes it manages to integrate man, soil and sacrifice into a state of spiritual unification.

On a lighter note, reading Sand’s poetic writing in Hebrew is for me, an ex-Jew and ex-Israeli, a truly authentic experience that brings me closer to my roots, my forgotten homeland and its fading landscape, my mother tongue or shall I simply say my Being. The medium that connect me to Sand’s prose is not ‘identity’ or politics but rather the Israeliness, that concrete nationalist discourse that matured into Hebraic poetry, patriotism, ideology, jargon, a dream and a tragedy to follow. Somehow I believe that Sand himself understands this point as he refers to those exact kind of feelings in the end of the book. I also believe that Sand’s pessimistic inclination is rooted in his realisation of himself being robbed of that Israeliness which was once to him a home.

Sand realises that the Zionist journey has come to an end and that ‘Israeli secularism’ is doomed. From an ethical and universal perspective Israel is at a dead end. Yet, he still fails to grasp that Israel is only part of the problem. More and more thinkers are now regarding Israel as a mere symptom of Jewish identity politics. More and more, commentators are becoming aware of a tribal ideological and spiritual continuum between Israel, Zionism, the so-called Jewish anti Zionists and the Left in general. It is no longer a secret that, like Zionists, Jewish ‘anti Zionists’ invest most of their political energy chasing the so-called ‘anti Semites’ – those who analyze Israeli and Zionist politics within the context of Jewish culture and philosophy.

Nevertheless, moral awakening is a slow journey rather than a swift gestalt switch and it is interesting how Sand’s encounters with Jewish anti-Zionists led him to adopt a similar criticism to the ones I express in The Wandering Who.

“There are a few who define themselves as secular Jews, they attempt to protest, either collectively or alone, against (Israeli) segregation and occupation. Rightly, they grasp that these policies threaten to bring along Judeo-phobia that may identify all Jews as a separate race and confuse between Jews and Zionists.” However, Sand continues, “their wish to be a part of a Jewish ethnic identity while not being able to fill it with positive cultural content, makes their tactic, in the best case, short lived that lacks weight and political future, and in the worse case, support indirectly the sense of (Judeo) tribalism.” (p. 145)

Sand clearly detects here an element of intellectual dishonesty inherent to the Jewish ‘Left’ in general and anti-Zionists in particular. He continues, “if those who consider themselves Jewish anti Zionists, in spite of the fact that they’ve never been in Israel, are unfamiliar with the (Hebrew) language and foreign to the (Israeli) culture, insist upon the right to criticise Israel, shouldn’t the pro-Zionists enjoy a (similar) unique privilege in determining the future of Israel?” (p. 146). Sand is obviously correct here, yet his point could be pushed even further: if the Jewish anti-Zionists enjoy a privilege due to their ‘unique’ ethnic origin, they actually affirm that Israel is the Jewish State and in fact their own very State. When a bunch of righteous Jews criticise the Jewish State ‘as Jews’ and in the name of their Jewishness, they paradoxically assert that Israel is indeed the Jewish State while simultaneously asserting their own choseness and privilege as Jews.

It is unsurprising that Sand is impressed with the contribution of Jewish progressive and radical thinkers. He presents a list of Jewish thinkers who “made an effort to drift away from (Jewish) egocentric ethical legacy in an attempt to adopt a universal morality” (p. 114). Sand mentions names such as Karl Marx, Leon Trotsky, Rosa Luxemburg, Lion Blum, Noam Chomsky and a few others. “As distant these people and others were from religious heritage, as close was their affinity to humanist perception and the strong will to change the living conditions of all people rather than their own.” (p. 115).

Unlike Sand, I am less convinced of the pure universalist motivation behind these progressive Tikkun Olam (fixing the world) heroes. Unlike Sand, I am convinced that the ‘progressive’ is but a secular extension of Jewish tribal ‘chosesness’. After all, if you are a ‘progressive’, someone else must be a ‘reactionary’. In other words, progressiveness is in itself a non-universal intolerant discourse.

Drifting away from Jewishness towards true and genuine universalism can be realised as the emergence of a unique critical sensitivity towards every possible aspect of Jewish tribal operation. Such an act involves a certain amount of self-loathing rather than merely ‘despising’ the ‘Jews around you’. Sand is not there yet. Instead of hating himself, he actually perfects his argument against his Jewish neighbours. In practice, he is still engaged in an internal tribal debate.

Jewish identity politics is an emerging critical topic and I take some credit for such a development. Two years ago, my The Wandering Who was published, which opened a Pandora box. I unleashed a critical assault on identity politics in general and also exposed the deceitful nature that is intrinsic to Jewish-Left thinking. Following the publication of the book, all hell broke loose, Zionists, together with their Jewish anti-Zionist siblings joined forces in a desperate attempt to stop the book and to censor my thoughts — but they failed — the book became a best seller, translated into many languages and endorsed by some of the most important humanists and academics around. Most importantly, it made Jews and their politics (not just Israel or Zionism) subject to intellectual and philosophical scrutiny.

A few months ago, Judith Butler attempted to rescue Jewish humanism and progressive identity. But her text, Parting Ways – Jewishness and the Critique of Zionism, was pretty problematic and intellectually dishonest. Consequently it received no serious attention. If anything, it conveys a clear lack of humanist as well universalist thinking at the heart of the Jewish Left discourse. Sand’s new book is another attempt to deal with the topic, but unlike Butler, Sand deserves our full attention. Sand is a man in transition (a quality I myself modestly share with him). Sand is honest, a superb writer, closely familiar with Jewish historicity and, though he may be slightly mistaken on some issues, his text provides us with a unique glimpse into the authentic journey of a pessimistic yet poetic Jewish soul in search of meaning.

The Wandering Who? A Study Of Jewish Identity Politics, available on Amazon.com  & Amazon.co.uk

*Exclusivism, intolerance, negative dialectic, righteousness, tribal inclination etc’. This topic is central to my new book. I will elaborate in depth in the near future.

Another Anti-Semite, A Self-hating-Jew or simply a Truth-teller?

Make up your mind after listening
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‘When and How Was the Land of Israel Invented?’

Remember the ‘self-hating’ Jewish historian and author, Professor Shlomo Sand (Tel Aviv University), who pulled the rug underneath Zionist Jews in his 2009 book, ‘The Invention of the Jewish People’. Well, the good-old professor has just published a new anti-Semitic book, entitled ‘When and How Was the Land of Israel Invented?‘.

Dr. Sand proves once again that only a Jew can say such things and get away with the murder. His 2009 book had united the Israel-Firsters like Anita Shapira, Hillel Halkin, Jeffrey Goldberg, etc. They all condemned Shlomo Sand for challenging the Zionist myth about Jewish people.

Last year, the Zionist propagandists chased Gilad Atzmon for his book, The Wandering Who?.

In the past, Arthur Koestler’s book, ‘The Thirteen Tribe’, French philosopher Roger Garaudy’s book, ‘The Founding Myths of Israeli Politics, and professor Gilbert Achcar’s (University of London) book, The Arabs and the Holocaust: The Arab-Israeli War of Narratives, have similar message – that’s the Jews have no religious or historical right to occupy Palestine.

Zionism plundered the religious term ‘Land of Israel’ (Eretz Yisrael) and turned it into a geopolitical term. The Land of Israel is not the homeland of the Jews. It becomes a homeland at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th – only upon the emergence of the Zionist movement,” claims Dr. Sand.
Dr. Sand in his book, The Invention of the Jewish People, claimed that the vast majority of Western Jews are not from the Israelite (Hebrew) tribes – but people of different nationalities who converted to Judaism during 8th-10th century AC. This made Zionists claim over Palestine being promised to them by biblical God – void and null.
Zionists’ anti-Arab campaign usually ignors the fact that while 150,000 German Jews were actively took part in Nazi Army – 233,000 of the 550,000 Free French troops landing on the Mediterranean coast in Nazi-occupied France in November 1944 were North African Muslims.
Annette Herskovits, PhD, a Holocaust survivor and author, in her recent article, entitled, ‘Nazism, Zionism, and the Arab World‘ (Dissident Voice, May 21, 2012) has debunked several of Israel Hasbara (propaganda) myths about Holocaust, Zionism, Israel and the Arab Muslims.
As someone whose mother and father were murdered in Auschwitz, and who herself survived the Nazis’ barbarous nationalism thanks to the courage of a group of Catholics, Protestants, Communists, and Jews, I find the idea that defending the “Jewish state” supersedes all other human obligations both immoral and senseless. Nothing, not even the Holocaust, justifies Israel’s treatment of Palestinians or the continuing efforts of pro-Israel zealots to show Arabs and Muslims as less than human. Israel and its unconditional supporters are on a path leading to catastrophe not only for Palestinians, but in the not very long run, for Israel itself,” wrote Annette.

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 this Blog!

Hafez Aladdeen is an Israeli Patriot

The Dictator-A Film Review by Gilad Atzmon

On the face of it, Baron Cohen’s The Dictator is a horrid film. It is vulgar, it isn’t funny and if it has five good jokes in it, they appear in the two minute official trailer. In short, save your time and money – unless of course, you are interested in Jewish identity politics and neurosis.

Similar to Cohen’s previous work, The Dictator is, once again, a glimpse into Cohen’s own tribal morbidity. After all, the person and the spirit behind this embarrassing comedy is a proud self-loving character who never misses an opportunity to express his intimate affinity to his people, their unique comic talent and their beloved Jewish state. But let’s face it, Cohen isn’t alone, after all, he has created The Dictator together with a Hollywood studio. So, it’s reasonable to say that what we see here is just one more Hollywood-orchestrated effort to vilify the Arab, the Muslim and the Orient.

I guess that Arab rulers, regimes and politics are an ideal subject for a satirical take, still, one may wonder what exactly does Sacha Baron Cohen know about the Arab World? As far as the film can tell, not much. Instead, Cohen projects his own Zionist and tribal symptoms onto the people of Arabia and their leaders.

In the film, Cohen plays General Hafez Aladeen, the Arab ruler of the oil-rich North African rogue state Wadiya. On the face of it, he is the satirical version of Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi, but in reality, Aladeen’s actions are no less than a vast amplification of the crimes committed by Israel and its war criminals such as Shimon Peres, Ehud Olmert and Tzipi Livni.

When Baron Cohen ridicules the Arab Dictators who obsessively seek WMD and nuclear weapons he should bear in mind that it is actually his beloved Jewish state that has, since the 1950s, been pushing the entire region into a nuclear race. It is his Israeli brothers and sisters who express every too often their lethal enthusiasm to destroy Iran and other regional entities. When Baron Cohen mocks the Arab rulers who murder their opponents and kill kids, women and elders, he once again projects Israeli symptoms because it is actually the Jewish state that so often engages in systematic mass murder and war crimes on a colossal scale.

Someone should remind Cohen that the pictures of white phosphorus pouring over UN shelters were taken in Gaza, not in Saddam’s Baghdad, Homs (Sirya) or imaginary Wadiya.  When Sacha Baron Cohen presents the Arab leader as a savage rapist he may want to remind himself that Moshe Katzav, who was, until recently, the President of the Jewish State is now locked behind bars after being sentenced for rape. It is therefore far from coincidence that when Cohen attempts to bond with his protagonist Dictator Aladeen, he actually speaks in his mother tongue, Hebrew. 
Cohen speaks Hebrew because Aladeen is not an Arab dictator, he is actually an Israeli patriot like Cohen himself.

But let’s try to transcend ourselves beyond Baron Cohen’s projections and confess: as much as Cohen’s new film is lame, Cohen, himself is far from being a fool. In fact, he has managed to bring to light a few interesting and astute political insights. For example, towards the end of the film Dictator Aladeen produces a remarkable speech at the UN in favour of dictatorship. In front of the delegations, Aladeen draws a pretty profound list of unintended parallels between the USA and dictatorship. Delivering a sharp political criticism by means of comedy deserves respect.

Another provocative insight is delivered through the character of Zoey (Anna Farris), a devout feminist and a human right activist. Zoey runs a multi-ethnic eco-friendly grocery store in Brooklyn. She is the ultimate solidarity campaigner and this time she rallies against Aladeen and his regime.  While Zoey invades the street demonstrating against Aladeen’s brutality, Aladeen’s Chief of Staff Tamir (Ben Kingsley) plots against his ruler inside the UN building. He sells out his country’s assets to oil tycoons and world leaders. The cinematic meaning of it all is clear- the bond between the so-called Left and the imperial powers has been established.  Zoey, the lefty progressive seems to work towards the exact same goal as the leading corrupted capitalist expansionist forces. They all want to bring the Aladeen regime to an end. I guess that many of those who monitor solidarity activism and discourse would agree with Cohen’s readings. After all, it was feminists and women’s rights groups that, in the 1990s, prepared the ground for the War against Terror and the invasion of Afghanistan. The Left was also very reluctant to support the democratically elected Hamas. I guess that a Leftist, thrown into a room together with Dershowitz and Bin Laden, would probably attempt to bond first with Dershowitz.

But Zoey isn’t just a progressive solidarity and human right activists. As the plot progresses, Aladeen and Zoey fall for each other. Towards the end of the film ‘solidarity activist’ Zoey and Dictator Aladeen get married. This is when Dictator Aladeen and the rest of us find out that Zoey is actually a Jew. From a cinematic perspective, the Jew, the human right campaigner and the solidarity activist leader are all one. This amusing reading is unfortunately consistent with the reality of the solidarity movement.  Those who monitor Jewish Left activism detect a relentless effort among some Jewish campaigners to tribally hijack and even Zionize the discourse of solidarity, human rights and marginal politics. However, from a Judaic perspective, Zoey, the new wife of Dictator Aladeen is nothing short of an incarnation of Biblical Queen Esther. Like Esther, Zoey has managed to infiltrate into the corridors of a lucrative foreign power.

I guess that with AIPAC controlling American foreign policy and 80% of Tory MPs being CFI (Conservative Friends of Israel) members, a Jewish queen of a fictional Wadiya is almost exotic.

The Wandering Who? A Study Of Jewish Identity Politics
The book can be  ordered  on Amazon.com  or Amazon.co.uk



Previous reviews of Baron Cohen’s films:
Some Things To Keep In Mind While Watching Borat by Gilad Atzmon

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 this Blog!

The Zionist Scenario: Now And In The Future

By Lawrence Davidson

May 15, 2012 “Information Clearing House” — Over the past month Palestinian leaders have begun to publicly acknowledge that continuing actions by the Israeli government, and corresponding inaction by the “international community,” have destroyed any reasonable hope of a viable and independent Palestinian state. 

Qurei to Livni: “I would vote for you”
Listen to Ahmed Qurei, who held high office in the Palestinian Authority under Yasser Arafat:

“It is probably no longer possible to create the kind of state that we want. Now we must choose between two stark choices: either we settle for a worthless state made of hapless ghettoes and miserable slums…or struggle for one unitary and democratic state where Jews and Arabs can live equally in all of Mandate Palestine…” 

Among many Palestinian Islamic leaders, hope for the future now exists only in the form of a Quranic prophecy, which tells of Islam’s divinely inspired victory over the Jews in Palestine as punishment for the unholy behavior of the Israeli state. This might be compared to the Christian Zionist’s prophecy of the triumph of Israel presaging the second coming of Christ. 
Either way it goes, a unitary secular and democratic state or God’s intervention, Israel as a “Jewish State” is seen as terminal. Of course, that is not how the politically minded Zionists, led by Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud party, see it. Netanyahu has recently formed a “unity” government with the major opposition party, Kadima, and by doing so appears to have secured his political leadership for some time to come. So, what sort of scenario do these Zionists seek to realize now and in the future? 

Part II – The Zionist Scenario:

How do Zionist leaders see the future? As far as I understand the situation, here is their projected scenario: 
1. The Zionist leadership sees victory (Israel’s sovereign possession of all the land of Palestine from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River – some even covet Jordan) as inevitable. It is just a matter of time. This assessment is based on power relations. On the one hand, the Israelis have vast military superiority over the Palestinians and have defeated all the Arab forces sent against them. On the other, they have the United States and a good portion of Europe in their political pockets. So how can they lose? 
2. Victory means ethnically cleansing the land of most of the Palestinians–a process that is on-going. Every effort is being made to force as many as possible into exile. This is being done by an on-going policy of making life as miserable as possible for all non-Jewish natives of Israeli controlled territory. For instance, it is public knowledge in Israel (if not the U.S.) that “police brutality against Palestinians has been routine for decades.” Those who, despite all, refuse to leave, are being territorially restricted and economically marginalized. It is often speculated that the model for the latter situation is the Indian reservations in the U.S. as they existed circa 1870. And indeed, for Zionists this model can be more easily rationalized than the ghettos of old Europe.
2a. In the process of this ethnic cleansing, the number of Palestinians who die is irrelevant to the Zionist leadership. The Palestinians, like the American Indians, are seen as hardly human. If the Zionists could make them all disappear without serious international repercussions they would do so. 
3. All this having been accomplished, Zionist leaders plan to simply maintain the status quo and wait. They believe that, just as was the case of the American Indians, the world will eventually forget the fate of the Palestinians, and this forgetting will seal Israel’s dominion over the land. At least from the Zionist point of view, that is the end of the story. 
By the way, Zionists are not the only ones betting on this sort of scenario. The Chinese in Tibet, and the Sinhalese in Sri Lanka, are also counting on the world forgetting their victims. And, in each case they might be right. However, it is the Zionists who are running the greatest risks pursuing this strategy of conquest. Why is that the case? 

Part III – Problems For The Zionist Scenario 

1. Israel is not a great power like China, and does not occupy a half-forgotten spot on the globe like Sri Lanka. It is very much on the map as far as vast numbers of people are concerned, both supporters and opponents. Of course, Israel continues to enjoy the patronage and protection of a great power, the U.S. But, as unlikely as it might seem at present, this can change.
2. It is not the 18th and 19th centuries anymore and outright colonial domination is no longer in favor. The only way Israel can commit crimes with impunity is by: (a) playing the holocaust card and (b) sustaining the political clout of its lobbies. The first practice is rapidly wearing thin almost everywhere one looks. The second, on the other hand, is the key to their patronage and protection. Yet counter lobbies are even now evolving, and an increasingly vocal international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement is on-going. The past 95 years of solid Western backing of Zionist political goals (counting from the Balfour Declaration) does not make the future a sure thing for the Israelis and their ideological supporters.
3. As they conquer Palestine they destroy Judaism. Here is the greatest irony: ultimate success of the Zionist strategy marks the ultimate corruption of official, organized Judaism. This is so because such success seals the devil’s bargain that ties the organized aspect of this religion to the racist and anti-human goals of Zionist ideology. With the death knell of the Palestinian state comes the death knell of official Judaism.
 
3a. Do you want to know why anti-Semitism appears to be on the rise? Because the Zionists have changed the definition of the term. The traditional definition tells us that anti-Semitism is hatred for Jews as Jews. The new, Zionist inspired definition, includes opposition to anything the “Jewish state” of Israel does. Oppose the political goals of Zionism and you allegedly oppose Jews and Judaism. Ergo, you’re an anti-Semite. 
3b. This assertion on the part of Zionists is, of course, a modern innovation. Yet it gains popularity based on the premise laid down by Joseph Goebbels that “if you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” Nonetheless, the truth is that Zionism and Israel have never been synonymous with Judaism. All Jews are not and never have been Zionists and all Zionists have never been just Jews. That being the case, the claim by Zionists that Israel and its government represent Jewry en masse is false. Yet the lie is stated over and again. The Jews who object to this false claim are now labeled “self-hating Jews.” This too is nonsense. 

Part IV – What of Palestinian Resistance? 

The most striking thing about the list of obstacles given above is that Palestinian resistance in places like the West Bank, Gaza and Israel proper, is not on it. Why? Again, it has to do with power relations. When, during the Second World War, resistance manifested itself against Nazi occupation, the cost was remarkably high. Partisans might shoot a German soldier, but then the German Army would shoot 50 civilians as punishment. Nonetheless, the Germans lost the war and most of the Nazis from that time have been hunted down and given their own punishment. 
The Israelis have employed the Nazi strategy of disproportionate revenge and collective punishment from the very inception of the Israeli state. If anything, the kill ratio they exact from the Palestinians is even higher than the Nazi average. But the same powers that once brought low the Nazis now either support or turn a blind eye to the savagery of the Israelis.
Under these circumstances the Palestinians have indeed been worn down. In Gaza they are confined to the world’s largest open air prison and in the West Bank most of their leaders are either in prison or have been turned into collaborators. It has gotten to the point where the most effective act of resistance they can muster is the threat that over a thousand of them, locked away in Israeli prisons without charge or trial, will starve themselves to death. 

Part V – Conclusion 

The death knell of the two state solution and its corresponding corruption of official Judaism is not the end of the story. But, the final chapter can no longer be written by the Palestinians alone. The West began the present horror in the “Holy Land” when it sought to pay for the sin of European anti-Semitism by allowing the destruction of the Palestinian people. Ultimately, it is only with help from the West that the situation can be put right. However, as long as they are under the corrupting influence of Zionism, most governments will not seek to do so. So this corrective effort has to be undertaken by a movement of civil society – Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. And the Jews of the world better hope and pray for its success. For it is not just the fate of the Palestinians that rides on the outcome. It is the fate of the Jews as well.
Lawrence Davidson is professor of history at West Chester University in West Chester PA. His academic work is focused on the history of American foreign relations with the Middle East. He also teaches courses in the history of science and modern European intellectual history. http://www.tothepointanalyses.com/

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

Talk review by Tom Mayer

DateFriday, March 2, 2012 at 10:15PM AuthorGilad Atzmon

GiladAddGA: An interesting review of my yesterday’s talk at CU Bouldr. Tom Mayer offers an interpretation of my work from an American Jewish secular perspective.

Tom Mayer’s comment:

The talk by ex-Israeli jazz musician and cultural critic Gilad Atzmon was ewas highly biographical, punctuated by brief saxophone solos, and not particularly systematic. Gilad’s talk was, however, studded with telling if controversial insights about Israel and Jews.

Gilad has been accused by some of antisemitism, and listening to his talk I tried to divine why such charges might be made. Of course I am entirely aware of the cynical and dishonest use of antisemitism accusations to discredit critics of Israeli oppression. Indeed, I have often been accused of being a self-hating Jew.

Gilad strongly criticizes Jewishness and the Jewish state. His criticism, however, does not derive from hatred for Jews or a desire to end Jewish presence in the Middle East. His criticism is rather a lament for deep self-destructiveness that he detects in Jewish and Israeli culture, and a forlorn effort to stimulate change before catastrophe strikes.

Gilad is fond of making rather shocking declarations. Apartheid, he points out is not an apt description of what most Israeli’s desire. They do not want to segregate the Palestinians, they want to be rid of them. In this fervent desire to be rid of the Palestinians, Atzmon claims that the Israeli’s resemble the Nazis.

Gilad’s critique of Jewishness is summarized by a passage towards the end of his book The Wandering Who? (2011.) He repeated this passage almost word for word in his talk last night: “Israel is the Jewish state and Jewishness is an ethno-centric ideology driven by exclusiveness, exceptionalism, racial supremacy and a deep inherent inclination toward segregation. For Israel and Israeli’s to become people like other people, all traces of Jewish ideological superiority must be eliminated first.” (p. 188)

Gilad Atzmon grew up in an exceedingly right wing, even semi-fascist, Israeli family that apparently despised egalitarianism. His grandfather, as he mentions with some backhanded pride, was a leader of the pre-1948 terrorist Irgun, which engaged in repeated acts of violence including extensive ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.
By contrast, I grew up in a secular socialist family that participated in the abortive anti-Nazi underground in Hitler’s Germany. My sense of being Jewish was entirely different than Gilad Atzmon’s. For me it meant commitment to universal ideals, respect for reason, belief in the essential equality of human beings, openness to different cultures, and a duty to make the world better. There was, to be sure, a certain sense of exceptionalism, but it was an exceptional dedication to the ideals just mentioned.

I do not like to trade on being Jewish. I am an atheist, a lifelong radical, and I feel a sense of identity with other radicals not particularly with Jews. However, I must admit that the values I associated with being Jewish have energized my lifelong opposition to the racism and imperial wars of the USA. They continue to motivate my sharp critique of Israel and the notion of a Jewish state.

Peace and Justice,
Tom Maye 

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 this Blog!

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