Archive for the ‘The Wandering Who’ Category

Gilad Atzmon Who?

April 11, 2013

A few words by GA: This is one of the most interesting articless on my work as a musician/writer and a public person. I spent two fascinating days with Ariadna in Buenos Aires. Reading this article helped me to understand my own work and the way it is perceived by others.

By Ariadna Theokopoulos

http://www.boldfacenews.com/gilad-atzmon-who/

One of the best international jazz musicians of today, philosopher, humanist thinker and author, Gilad Atzmon has been challenging all of us (and primarily Jews) for several years now to examine what defines Jewish Identity Politics (JIP), its core supremacist beliefs, and the many issues that arise from it: its strategies, the various disguises of racism, concealment and suppression of free speech.
The response has never been lukewarm: he has been hailed by some of the most distinguished intellectuals and academicians as “brilliant,” “original” and “profound” or he has been denounced with uniformly unsubstantiated accusations as being a “racist” and/or a “self-hating Jew.”
Since none of those charges carried any credibility, new ones will probably be manufactured in the attempt to silence him.

What is certain is that nobody has yet found him boring or inconsequential.

I have recently returned from a trip to Argentina where I had traveled to meet GA, who had been invited there upon the publication of The Wandering Who in Spanish (La Identidad Errante) by Editorial Canaán in Buenos Aires.

Copies of his book were available in bookstores already.

Buenos Aires is a reading town: it is hard to walk more than four blocks in any direction without finding a bookstore. Gilad marveled at seeing philosophy books displayed in the window of one. (I do not know about the UK but in the US only a bookstore manager bent on bankruptcy would display philosophy books instead of the usual shop window fare, something like “Quick Guide to Having Great Sex While Eating, Shopping and Investing Smartly.”)

He was generous with his time: I ended up spending a couple of full days with him, talking for many hours on end, accompanying him to radio interviews, to a talk he gave to history professors, an engagement in a jazz club, browsing through musical instruments stores and simply walking and enjoying together the unique and stunning beauty of Buenos Aires.

His reception was enthusiastic everywhere we went, although “la identitad politica Judia” is nowhere near as familiar a term as JIP has become in Europe and North America. Here, in South America in general, he does not (or not yet) benefit from the unintentional but helpful marketing support he has received from zionists and “anti-zionist zionists.”

I observed his interactions with people and watched their reactions to his ideas and his music, and most of all talked with him in a desultory fashion on a wide range of topics from the politics of marginal identities to sexual identity (“Sex and Character”), the difficulties of translating German philosophy in other languages, pro-Palestinian activism and its new ‘dietary laws,’ the beauty of national cultures and music, his nostalgic love of his native land, Palestine, his itinerant life style (he had flown to Buenos Aires straight from Japan), people we both know, and even about what constitutes a perfect pizza.

Turning the tables on him, so to speak, and using his own premise, it seems fair to ask:

If GA, a born Israeli Jew (who occasionally refers to himself as a Hebrew-speaking Palestinian), musician, philosopher, humanist thinker and finally a man, insists on critically examining JIP, then we have a right to try to find out who is GA, the itinerant saxophone player and story teller and what is his identity? Gilad Atzmon Who?

For each of us personal identity is made up of many strands of qualifiers with which we identify: idiosyncratic personal identity, sexual identity, professional identity, allegiance to a family, to one’s ethnic group, religion, national identity, universal human family. One of them will always be primary. After all, we know that some men rendered impotent in battle prefer to die than live without their ‘sexual identity,’ while others turned paraplegic but with their intellectual functions intact wish to live, religious zealots would rather kill and die rather than not prevail over their “enemies,” and so on.

It is reasonable to make the assumption that one’s primary identity, that which one chooses as a defining descriptor above others (e.g., “As a Jew, I think that….”) is the allegiance in whose perceived service one is willing to make the most sacrifices, often to the detriment of other “identities. “

Using that assumption, Gilad’s primary identity is without a doubt that of an artist.
What follows is like Magritte’s pipe

 
It is not Gilad. It is only my impression and rendition of him.

The Musician

jazzclub2
At Jazz & Pop in Buenos Aires

That he is a consummate jazz player and a talented composer needs no elaboration at this point. His music has been acclaimed worldwide and not just by those who ever listened to him live or bought his CDs. When I returned to Montevideo I went to my favorite neighborhood caffe to give a gift to the owner – a copy of La Identidad Errante. He looked at it, read the author’s name and said: “I know this guy. I listen to him on youtube.”

“Songs of the Metropolis” was discussed in both of the radio interviews to which I accompanied him. They played Buenos Aires and he explained his admiration for Astor Piazzolla whose music is beautifully evoked by his song.

Gilad also expressed his delight in the Argentineans’ proud attachment to and nurturing of their musical heritage and traditions. Indeed, everywhere we went we could hear tango tunes pouring out of stores, cabs and caffes. In fact, walking in La Boca we passed by an impromptu street scene of ordinary people dancing tango, which I felt worth capturing:

laBoca

Pride in the tango can be fierce and the controversy about whether the great Gardel was really a Uruguayan or an Argentinean is a cause of rancor between the two neighboring nations. In this light, Gilad’s expression of sincere and deep admiration for Piazzolla alone could make him an honorary Argentinean citizen.

The format of the two radio shows was pretty much the same: a presentation of the artist by the interviewer as musician and writer, a discussion of Songs of the Metropolis, a few intelligent questions about the transformative effect of Gilad’s early acquaintance with jazz and its stellar black performers on his thinking and ethical view of the world, including his “discovery” of Palestinians and their national tragedy, and the message of The Wandering Who. They played Buenos Aires, Tel Aviv and Scarborough and at the end gave the listeners information about his upcoming shows and about the availability of his book in Spanish in local bookstores.

I have no way to gauge the reception of the radio interviews by listeners but later I recognized some of the radio station staff among the audience in the jazz club.

The show was memorable. The jazz club was packed and Gilad seemed, if anything, energized by lack of sleep and the jetlag and totally connected with the audience.

Women seem to be thronging around him at his shows and talks, a fact he dismisses and attributes only to his fame. That is entirely plausible for some of them. It is perhaps the “triangular desire” that Rene Girard describes in Mensonge Romantique et Verité Romanesque, “mediated desire” or “desire according to others.” In other words he is “vetted” as charismatic by the arbiters of fame. Others may find him attractive because—no offense to Gilad—almost any man can become attractive when he plays his saxophone with abandon. Bill Clinton, although he never seems to have advanced beyond the saxophone version of Chopsticks surely knows that. There is perhaps something about the sight of a man passionately immersed in his playing (not the tuba though) that makes some women wish to grab some of that intense concentration and try to have it turn on themselves. John Berger thinks that “to be passionately desired is perhaps the closest one can get in this life to feeling immortal” (“ser deseado con pasión es tal vez lo mas parecido que se pueda alcanzar en esta vida a sentarse inmortal”—El Cuaderno de Bento). Nevertheless his incessant talking about his beautiful wife, with evident admiration, must be a killer to the hopes of even the most determined female stalkers or the fakers wishing to test his “male chauvinism.”

The audience was electrified by his performance (with the somewhat self-effacing Juampi Juarez trio) and brought to an ovation by his scatting, pouring forth from somewhere deep, almost in a frenzied trance.

The Story Teller

It was his scatting also that made me think that, indissolubly linked to his identity as a musician, he has a twin primary identity as the Story Teller, in the mold of Mario Vargas Llosa’s main character in the eponymous novel.

In the Amazonian jungle, among the natives, Llosa narrates, there was a Story Teller, a man whose life mission was to roam from one isolated group/tribe to another and another, all across the vast and almost impenetrable jungle to sing the truth and to record and revise history. Given the difficulties and perils of the trek he only got to visit each community once a year.

Upon his arrival all gathered to hear him sing the Story that told them about themselves and others like them, from the beginnings of creation to present day events, like news of births and deaths and impending perils in all the places he had been visiting since his last meeting with them.

The Story was never quite the same from one visit to the next not only because it was growing with more additions of news and events but also because the memory of the past was changing and enriched by new learning.

The Story reminded them that they were not alone although they were isolated and only rarely got to really know any of the other tribes, with whom they became acquainted mostly from his Story. Nevertheless, it was clear from his Story that the others were very much like them.

To be the Story Teller was a function of great responsibility but also great personal sacrifice: enduring the life of a lone wanderer.

Llosa eventually reveals that the Story Teller was a Peruvian Jew who had abandoned his “tribe” and the larger urban culture he belonged to, and chose to live among the real people of the land, the old inhabitants pushed deep into the jungle by the “civilization” of the invading colonists. When they honored him by appointing him Story Teller, he became their singer of history, keeper of truth and teacher.

His recital, in the form of a sung epic, also contained a refrain, much like an invocation, a repetition that, when uttered fast over and over unraveled words and became only sound, like scatting.
In his own way, combining music with his Story and carrying the compact universal message to all as he wanders all over the world, Gilad Atzmon is also the Story Teller.
 

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!

Gilad in Palestine!

February 16, 2013

 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 4:36PM

Gilad Atzmon

GA: Dear friends, after 20 years away, I am returning to Palestine to launch my new book, though only in a cyber form.


You are cordially invited to A conversation with Gilad Atzmon,

author of The Wandering Who? A Study of Jewish Identity Politics

Sunday, 17 February 2013

18h00

Presented via Skype

Pasha Room, American Colony Hotel-Jerusalem

The Bookshop
at the American Colony Hotel-Jerusalem
Tel: 02- 627 9731
http://facebook.com/Bookshop1

About The Wandering Who?

Jewish identity is tied up with some of today’s most difficult and contentious issues. The purpose of The Wandering Who? A Study of Jewish Identity Politics, is to open up many of these issues for discussion. It examines Jewish identity politics and Jewish contemporary ideology using both popular culture and scholarly texts. Since Israel defines itself openly as the “Jewish State”, we should ask what the notions of Judaism, Jewishness, Jewish culture and Jewish ideology stand for. Atzmon analyses secular Jewish political and cultural discourse, both Zionist and anti Zionist. He looks at the Jewish political attitude towards history and time, the role of the holocaust, anti-gentile ideologies, Jewish pressure groups, Zionist lobbying and more.

About the author

Gilad Atzmon is an internationally-acclaimed jazz saxophonist and composer, a member of the English rock and roll band The Blockheads, and fronts the Orient House Ensemble. His two novels, A Guide to the Perplexed and My One and Only Love, as well as his political and cultural essays, are published widely in many languages. The Wandering Who? has been translated into ten languages. Atzmon lives in London.

Praise for The Wandering Who?

“Fascinating and provocative.” Professor John J. Mearsheimer

“In his inimitable deadpan style, Atzmon identifies the abscess in the Jewish wisdom tooth ‘ exilic tribalism’ and pulls it out. Ouch!”‌ Eric Walberg, Al Aharam Weekly

“Gilad Atzmon decided to open Pandora’s Box, and ignite a debate that has been frustratingly dormant for too long. His experiences are most authentic, views are hard-hitting, and, at times, provocative. It must be read and discussed.”‌ Ramzy Baroud, Palestine Chronicle

“A transformative story told with unflinching integrity that all (especially Jews) who care about real peace, as well as their own identity, should not only read, but reflect upon and discuss widely.” Professor Richard Falk

“Gilad Atzmon’s book, The Wandering Who? is as witty and thought-provoking as its title. But it is also an important book, presenting conclusions about Jews, Jewishness and Judaism which some will find shocking but which are essential to an understanding of Jewish identity politics and the role they play on the world stage.” Karl Sabbagh

“Gilad’s book constitutes an excellent critique of Identity Politics in general and Jewish Identity Politics in particular from a humanistic perspective. These hysterical attacks upon Gilad only reveal the weaknesses, insecurities, double-standards and hidden agendas of those who attack him. Gilad’s humanism and plea for humanism shine through every page of this book” obviously influenced by his Jazz. A Love Supreme!â€‌ Professor Francis A. Boyle

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 Wandering Who – Part 1 – 7

February 12, 2013

The Wandering Who – Part 7


The Wandering Who – Part 6

The Wandering Who – Part 5

The Wandering Who – Part 4

The Wandering Who – Part 3

The Wandering Who – Part 2

The Wandering Who – Part 1


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!

J-BIG Vs. P-small

February 6, 2013

By Gilad Atzmon

A poorly-written but still revealing briefing was published a few days ago by J-BIG. J-BIG may sound like an Israeli penis enlargement clinic but is in fact an acronym for Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods  –  a Jews Only political organisation set up to promote Jewish interests amongst Palestinian solidarity in general and the BDS movement in particular. The briefing was apparently published in order to “help BDS campaigners to defy the accusation of antisemitsm” and to explain “how the charge of antisemitism applies (actually) to Zionism itself.”

It doesn’t take long for an intelligent person to grasp that Zionism is fuelled by anti-Semitsm. In fact, early Zionists were candid enough on occasions to admit that the enemies of the Jews may actually have a point.

Here are some comments made by Early Zionists about their fellow Jews.

‘The Jew is a caricature of a normal, natural human being, both physically and spiritually.’ (Our Shomer ‘Weltanschauung’, Hashomer Hatzair, December 1936, p.26. As cited by Lenni Brenner

The fact is undeniable that the Jews, collectively, are unhealthy and neurotic..’ Ben Frommer, The Significance of a Jewish State, Jewish Call, Shanghai, May 1935, p.10. As cited by Lenni Brenner

‘The enterprising spirit of the Jew is irrepressible. He refuses to remain a proletarian. He will grab at the first opportunity to advance to a higher rung in the social ladder.’ (The Economic Development of the Jewish People, Ber Borochov, 1916

So in this regard, early Zionism, could actually be seen as a unique moment of Jewish self-reflection. It’s certainly true, and J-BIG are correct in suggesting that Zionism, and later on Israel, both invested heavily in anti Semitism, transforming it into the very raison d’être of the Jewish national project.

But what about these so-called ‘anti’ Zionist Jews and J-BIG? Do they not also invest in ‘anti Semitism’ and in most cases even invent its existence simply to justify their own existence? In fact, our J-BIG ‘anti’ Zionist Jews are even more sinister than their Zionist twins because J-BIG  are clearly making a huge effort to transform the entire Palestinian solidarity discourse into a new front in their eternal battle against anti Semitism. It’s as if anti-Semitism is a Palestinian issue. And why do they do it? Probably  because primarily they are concerned, not with Palestine, but with their own tribal interests. So, as much as they love to keep the  ‘J’ big, they also happen to keep the ‘P’ somehow smaller or at least secondary.

It takes our J-BIG agitators about 1000 words of mangled logic and convoluted reasoning before they get to the point and reveal their true motivation. “Some misguided supporters of the Palestinians have attributed their oppression to an international Jewish conspiracy, to ‘Jewish power’, to ‘a Jewish spirit’, etc.”

Here we go again. In spite of the fact that Israel defines itself as the ‘Jewish State’, despite the fact that its airplanes are decorated with Jewish symbols and its murderous actions are supported by powerful Jewish lobbies around the world, our Jewish ‘anti’ Zionists  still insist that we do not address the core of the problem. They want us to oppose Israel while avoiding the crucial fact that Israel defines itself as the ‘Jewish State’. In effect, they want us to fight Israel but with both hands tied behind our back. And why? Is it because they are concerned with some universal ethical issues? I don’t think so. No, the real reason is that, knowingly or unknowingly, they are actually committed to a tribal cause and I think we all know which tribe we’re talking about.

Whether we like it or not, Israel is openly driven by a dynamic force which it interprets (rightly or wrongly) as the true “Jewish spirit” and whether we like it or not, Israel’s supporters around the world utilise every possible aspect of Jewish power. And this is no conspiracy. Everything is done right out in the open for all to see. Even the Jewish lobbying within the Palestinian solidarity movement is pretty much in the open, as proved by the J-BIG pamphlet. Philip Weiss, the man behind the Jewish progressive blog Mondoweiss was even honest enough to admit to me a year ago that his support of Palestine is “motivated by Jewish self interests.”

So, I guess that the most crucial question here is what exactly are those ‘Jewish self-interests’ and how do they relate to ethics in general and to the Palestinian plight in particular?

Unfortunately, our ‘progressive’ J-BIG agitators have managed to drag some Palestinian academics and activists to fight their battles for them and, once again, they openly brag about the fact that “leading Palestinian commentators and activists reject such ‘support’ as damaging the Palestinian cause. Ali Abunimah, Joseph Massad, Omar Barghouti and Rafeef Ziadeh were among dozens who denounced any who point to the ‘Jewish’ character of the oppression of Palestinians.
Clearly, without mentioning my name, our ‘progressive J-BIG refer here specifically to the call by Palestinian blogger Ali Abunimah and others to disavow yours truly.

Since I am found to be at the centre of this campaign I should mention that by now enough prominent Palestinians activists, humanists and academics have stood up for me and my writings – something J-BIG  fails to mention. Furthermore, I actually welcome the debate on those crucial matters and I am more than happy to be at its very centre. This week, Counterpunch published Blake Alcott’s detailed analytical study of the call for my disavowal. Alcott established beyond doubt that what some of our leading Palestinians were led to sign was a very problematic text. What led a bunch of devoted Palestinian academics and activists to join a Jewish campaign without even engaging in some elementary research? What led Abunmiah & Co to disavowal a fellow intellectual turning their back to the notion of intellectual integrity and freedom of expression? I think we should be told.

Interestingly enough, my latest book The Wandering Who attempts to provide an answer. It elaborates on the Jewish political nature of Israel and its lobbies but it also points at the destructive role of those lobbies within the left, the Anti War Campaign and the Palestinian solidarity movement. Again, I don’t speak about any conspiracy. As far as I am aware, this is all taking place before our very eyes. Abunimah & co kept silent about this affair for almost a year and they probably know why.  I guess that they are still searching for something that may look remotely like an argument or even an excuse. After all, It is slightly unusual for Palestinians and Arabs to adopt the most vile Talmudic Herem culture. As Palestinian poet Nahida Izzat suggests, it demands an explanation

Here is my message to J-BIG, Abunimah and anyone who is willing to listen. It would be impossible to grasp the success of Israel and Zionism without scrutinizing the role of Jewish culture, ideology and the significant impact of the Sabbath Goy within the American Administration but also in Palestine. After all, many of us do realise by now that, at least,  from a Jewish political perspective,  the Palestinians are merely Goyim du jour. Nothing really new, yet very painful if you happen to be a Palestinian. 


undefinedThe Wandering Who? A Study Of Jewish Identity Politics  and Jewish Left’s  spin in particular  Amazon.com  or Amazon.co.uk

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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!
 

More on the Gilad Atzmon controversy – and why it matters…

February 4, 2013

By Alison Weir

http://alisonweir.org/

I’d rather be researching and writing articles on Palestine-Israel; analyzing media coverage ; placing advertisements and billboards around the country; creating fact-sheets, cards, booklets and other materials on the topic; updating the websites (e.g. here and here and here) we’ve created to get the facts out; creating new initiatives; and numerous other productive activities for justice and peace.

However, I feel I need to briefly take time out to provide information about the Gilad Atzmon controversy, since I feel the attacks on him are enormously unfair, they continue to occasionally interfere with productive efforts, are sometimes used to try to block my presentations (more on this later), and because an important new article on the topic has just come out.
Gilad Atzmon, an Israeli who moved to London about 20 years ago, is a superb jazz musician who has written several books, and blogs about Israel-Palestine.

His most recent book, and the center of the controversy, is The Wandering Who: A Study of Jewish Identity Politics, in which he draws on his background in philosophy (he has a Masters degree in the subject) to explore the Jewish connection to the Jewish state.

Some activists found this topic impermissible and began to launch attacks on Atzmon, which largely seemed geared at preventing others from reading his work for themselves.

In February 2012 a public letter denouncing him was launched with 33 signatories, none of them Palestinian. (One signatory, listed first, is Lebanese; the full list is below).

The letter was circulated widely and reposted various places; eventually accruing 173 names. This time a handful were Palestinian.

(At least one prominent US activist, not Palestinian, didn’t sign the letter publicly, but privately attempts to block Atzmon’s events in the US.)

In March a second public letter denouncing Atzmon was published – this one with a particularly defamatory headline and somewhat militaristic terminology: “Granting No Quarter: A Call for the Disavowal of the Racism and Antisemitism of Gilad Atzmon.

It contained a grand total of 23 signatories. All were Palestinian, most of them living in the US.
Some of the individuals who signed these letters later admitted they had never read Atzmon’s book. (In fact, given how busy we all are, I would guess few of them did.)

Many others – including both Palestinian and Jewish activists, authors, and scholars – refused to sign it.

In fact, many prominent and widely respected individuals – such as Richard Falk, Mazin Qumsiyeh, Ramzy Baroud, lauren Booth, David Rovics, Sameh Habeeb, Sheldon Richman, Nahida Izzat, and Cynthia McKinney – openly praised it. (See more here.)

I myself wrote a mild commentary saying that I respected people on both sides of the controversy but came down on the side of free speech and against “thought police.” I also posted a commentary by another person.

Because of this, some solidarity activists now openly attack Richard Falk and others because of their stand on Atzmon, and there are apparently a few who attack me because of my comments.
One person emailed the sponsors of one of my talks in London, falsifying what Atzmon says and I had written, in an attempt to persuade the organizers to cancel the event.

Other individuals, endeavoring to block my talks and prevent If Americans Knew tables at conferences and events, have claimed that I tried “to tell Palestinians what to do” because I had commented on this controversy, even though 23 signatories hardly represents all Palestinians, and even though many other Palestinians also disagreed with the letter these individuals had signed.
Now there is a new development. An individual named Blake Alcott has written a thorough analysis of Atzmon’s writings and of the attacks against him, published on CounterPunch and Redress. (I will also post it below.) As Redress Editor Nureddin Sabir 
writes:

“Blake Alcott debunks the ‘anti-Semitism’ slur levelled at musician and writer Gilad Atzmon by US academic Ali Abunimah, and explains that Atzmon ‘illuminates the ‘pro-Semitic’ racist ideology fatal to Palestinians’.”

To reiterate what I wrote in my first post on this controversy:

I respect and like people on both sides of this controversy, including a number of people who signed the letters attacking Atzmon.

Even though I disagree with the decision some made to sign these letters, I still feel we are allies in an urgent cause and hope we will continue to work together to bring the change that is so desperately needed. Let us set aside attacks on Atzmon and others, let us not let others exploit this issue to block presentations by those who differ on this issue, and let us turn our full focus, time, and efforts to our life-and-death struggle against the continued oppression of millions of men, women, and children in Palestine and beyond.

To read more:

The wandering who- Gilad Atzmon

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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!

Counter Ouch

February 4, 2013
http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/02/01/the-case-of-gilad-atzmon/

Today Counterpunch and Redressonline published this incredible analysis by Blake Alcott.
It proves beyond doubt that Ali Abunimah & Co. never read my work or understood any of my ideas.

I guess that some of our Palestinian activists may have to self-reflect. Those who believe in one democratic state would be well advised to engage debate and endorse the notions of tolerance, pluralism and integrity.

Let us all leave Talmudic Herem to Israel and its sayanim.


To Shun or Bury the Hatchet?

The Case of Gilad Atzmon

by BLAKE ALCOTT
Panel at Cooper Union NYC led by Anne-Marie Slaughter, 28 September 2006:
Tony Judt: I just… I’d just like to say one very quick thing about [the difficulty of getting anything critical of Israel into the mainstream media]. When I submitted an article about the Israeli Lobby debate — that Mearsheimer and Walt kicked off — to a very well known American, North American, newspaper [NY Times], I was asked by the editorial directors would I mind telling them whether I’m Jewish or not. They felt it was something they would like to know before they published it.
Martin Indyk: But they published it.
TJ: I told them I was Jewish. (Audience laughs.)

This review of Gilad Atzmon’s book The Wandering Who? A Study of Jewish Identity Politics and the anti-Atzmon essay by Ali Abunimah and some 20 co-signatories called Granting No Quarter: A Call for the Disavowal of the Racism and Antisemitism of Gilad Atzmon is an effort to unite the movement for one secular, democratic state (ODS) in historic Palestine of which both Atzmon and Abunimah are adherents. Edward Said wrote,

The absence of a collective end to which all are committed has crippled Palestinian efforts not just in the official realm, but even among private associations, where personality conflicts, outright fights, and disgraceful backbiting hamper our every step.

In his last years Said put such a “collective end” into words – for coexistence between Jews and Arabs in one state – and now, at the end of a decade that has witnessed outstanding articles, books and conferences articulating this vision, a chasm opens up. If our effort is not to be crippled both sides must bury the hatchet.

Abunimah, Omar Barghouti, Rafeef Ziadah and other signatories, as well as other ODS supporters known to me who have disavowed Atzmon, have made enormous contributions to justice for Palestinians. Their accusations are worth examining, which requires examining The Wandering Who? and some of Atzmon’s blogs and videos with an eye out for the racism, ‘antisemitism’ and Holocaust denial of which Granting accuses him. I haven’t read everything, of course, and there are certainly mistakes in my judgment, so I welcome any feedback and debate.

The call for disavowal accuses Atzmon of 5 trespasses:

(1) He claims to speak for Palestinians.
(2) He denies that Zionism is settler-colonialist.
(3) He believes that to self-identify as a Jew is to be a Zionist.
(4) He denies the Holocaust.
(5) He is an ‘antisemite’, a racist.

Two general observations: First, Granting’s accusations are formulated indirectly, not ‘in so many words’; but a reading of the short document shows that these are what it boils down to. Second, Granting itself does not include any proof or evidence for the accusations; there are no examinations of Atzmon’s texts, even out of context. Neither are there explicit definitions of the terms ‘racist’ and ‘antisemitic’ that would by rights accompany such severe accusations. For such more detailed definitions and arguments I have searched the web in vain, but of course the web is large, and if I have missed something I hope somebody tells me. I’m restricting my analysis almost entirely to Wandering on the assumption that evidence for the accusations would be there, if anywhere.

Strictly speaking there is thus no case, only claims. Atzmon is innocent till proven guilty. It is unfair, difficult and inefficient to put the burden of proof on the accused. Nevertheless, I’ve read the book carefully and ended up writing a defense of it that includes several criticisms, quoting Atzmon at length along the way. Please also see the favourable reviews by Mazin Qumsiyeh and John Mearsheimer, and a less favourable one by Elias Davidson. I ignore denunciations of Atzmon by Alan Dershowitz, Tony Greenstein and Jeffrey Goldberg because they consist of associative thinking and are based on often-unreferenced quotations out of context. Preceding Granting, in late February 2012, was a similar critique of Wandering that actually contains 12 quotations from Atzmon.

The five accusations

(1) Guiding the Palestinian struggle

Granting claims that Atzmon “for many years now… has taken on the self-appointed task of defining for the Palestinian movement the nature of our struggle, and the philosophy underpinning it.” Since I am sure the Granting signatories do not reject all ideas of all outsiders, this leaves it unclear what counts as acceptable opinion and support. It is moreover legitimate for Atzmon and other Israeli citizens to advocate visions of the future of their country – necessarily including Palestinians.

Granting’s concern becomes clearer through the further statementthat “As Palestinians, it is our collective responsibility, whether we are in Palestine or in exile, to assert our guidance of our grassroots liberation struggle.” Atzmon has in fact elsewhere agreed with this:

It is our duty (as human beings) to show our support to the Palestinian people but we are not allowed to tell them what to do. We are not allowed to tell them what is right or wrong, we can only offer ourselves as soldiers…

Ignoring the absurdity of the idea of ‘telling Palestinians what to do’, roles between the oppressed and those in solidarity with them must always be negotiated. In this case however I know that there is almost total agreement between Atzmon and the “principles” of the movement guided by the signatories: Right of Return, equality not apartheid within Israel, liberation of the West Bank and Gaza, and perhaps even a preference for one over two states.

(2) Settler-colonialism

Granting claims that “Zionism, to Atzmon, is not a settler-colonial project…” The text of Wandering does not support this claim. Atzmon in several places explicitly affirms that Zionism is settler-colonial. (pp 9, 88, 101, 165) In apparent contradiction, he does in one place write that it “is not a colonial movement with an interest in Palestine”. (p 19) In my reading this means it is not just a run-of-the-mill colonial movement out for economic or geopolitical gain: there is no mother country unless it is world Jewry, and Zionism’s only colony is Palestine, which was chosen over Argentina and Uganda for cultural and/or religious reasons. Atzmon elsewhere objects to the “misleading” colonialism paradigm because he regards Zionism as a unique racialist project, not motivated by material exploitation for the (non-existent) homeland.

Atzmon is basically asserting that the settler-colonialist paradigm is not sufficient to explain Zionism: Zionist events like the attack on the Mavi Marmara, dropping White Phosphorus on Gaza, slicing up the Holy Land with separation walls, and indeed the original expulsion of “the vast majority of the Palestinian indigenous population just three years after the liberation of Auschwitz… have nothing to do with the colonialist nature of the Jewish state…” (pp 181-182) To be sure, the term “nothing” overstates the case, but his claim is that more than colonialism is involved. I’m inclined to agree when I read for instance Netanyahu’s December 2012 statement that “We live in a Jewish state, and Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. The Western Wall is not occupied territory. We will build in Jerusalem because this is our right.”

(3) Jewish political identity

Granting interprets Atzmon’s complex sociological concept of Jewish-ness to mean that

Zionism…is…part and parcel of defining one’s self as a Jew. Therefore, he claims, one cannot self-describe as a Jew and also do work in solidarity with Palestine, because to identify as a Jew is to be a Zionist.

Now, to say that self-identifying as a Jew entails Zionism is prima facie absurd, and I do not find the claim in Wandering. I agree with Granting that Atzmon is wrong in his blanket criticism of anti-Zionist Jewish groups. I also find Atzmon at places abstruse on this issue of the relation between world Jewry, “Jewish ideology” and Zionism.

But confusion is abated when we realise that his definition of Zionism differs from the standard, broad ‘movement for a Jewish state in Palestine’. Rather: “I suggest that it makes far more sense to regard Zionism as a tribal Jewish preservation project [aiming at] the prevention of assimilation…[] Accordingly, Zionism should be seen as an amalgam of different philosophies specialising in different forms of tribal separatism, disengagement and segregation.” (p 70) Atzmon is thus talking only about a political self-identity, so Granting misrepresents him.

Atzmon sets up three non-exclusive basic categories: “Jews (the people), Judaism (the religion) and Jewish-ness (the ideology)… or identity politics, or political discourse”. (p 15) The book does not criticise Jews, the first category, does criticise a few aspects of Judaism, the second, and argues for 200 pages against the third, Jewish-ness, and against those who “put their Jewish-ness over and above all of their other traits.” (p 16)

I am confused as to whether Atzmon wants to say that politically identifying with Jewish-ness entails Zionism. In numerous places criticises or laughs at Jewish tribalism (pp 19, 32, 56, 113, 116, 164-165, 172, 181-184), writing that “to identify politically as a Jew and to wonder what is ‘good for the Jews’ is the true essence of Jewish tribal thinking...” (p 184) Zionism “united the tribe on many levels” (p 46) and “is grounded on a very specific realisation of the Jewish identity as a synthesis of racial awareness, religious awareness and nationalistic awareness”. But while Jewish-ness is an ethnically-based political ideology, Atzmon doesn’t show that non-Zionist Jewish political identities are inconceivable.

Granting’s signatories must have misread the sentence, “To be a Zionist means to accept that, more than anything else, one is primarily a Jew.” (p 19) This says that all Zionists are 3rd-category Jews, not the reverse. The context moreover is a specific discussion of sanayim, Mossad agents living abroad.

I do however fault Atzmon’s statement that “…considering the racist, expansionist Judeo-centric nature of the Jewish State, the Diaspora Jew finds himself or herself intrinsically associated with a bigoted, ethnocentric ideology and an endless list of crimes against humanity.” (p 48) What does “intrinsically” associated mean? Merely being “associated” (by others) with something bad is one thing; but when this is “intrinsic” it could mean that the bad thing is indeed “part and parcel” of being a Diaspora Jew.

(4) Holocaust denial

Atzmon throughout acknowledges the Holocaust, shoah or Judeocide, asserting however that it should be studied historically like other ethnic exterminations. (pp 43, 70, 130-131, 154, 175-176, 182, 185-186) And we need to see how the Holocaust is used in the destruction of the Palestinians – a position shared by Yeshayahu Leibowitz, Adi Ophir, Norman Finkelstein and Marc Ellis. (pp 148-152, 162) I do find imprecision in his statement that the “Holocaust… [is] not an historical narrative, for historical narratives do not need the protection of the law and politicians” (p149); to be consistent with everything he writes about the Holocaust this should read “not merely an historical narrative”.
Atzmon recalls,

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. They were part of our lives. The dark numbers tattooed on their white arms never faded away. It always had a chilling effect. Yet I must mention that I can hardly recall a single Holocaust survivor who ever attempted to manipulate me emotionally.” (pp 185-186)

Further, “It is the Holocaust that eventually made me a devoted supporter of Palestinian rights, resistance and the Palestinian right of return.” (p 186)
An earlier blog reads,

[T]he form of Holocaust denial that really bothers me is the denial of the on-going Palestinian Holocaust. This Holocaust is documented and covered daily by the western media. The turning of residential Palestinian cities into concentration camps; the deliberate starvation of the Palestinian population; the withholding of medical aid from Palestinian civilians; the wall that tears the holy land into isolated cantons and Bantustans; the continuous bombardment of civilians by the IAF are known to us all. This Holocaust is committed by the Jewish state with the support of world Jewry.

This accusation by Granting is absurd.

(5) Racism and ‘antisemitism’

Atzmon writes nothing against Jews by origin, i.e. against anybody based on their genetic heritage or ‘race’; yet this would be the precondition for justifying the allegation of ‘antisemitism’/racism because ‘semitic’ refers to an ethnos or race. I trust moreover that ‘some of his best friends are Jewish’, and he vows:

I will present a harsh criticism of Jewish politics and identity. Yet… there will not be a single reference to Jews as ethnicity or race… This book doesn’t deal with Jews as a people or ethnicity. If anything, my studies of the issue suggest that Jews do not form any kind of racial continuum…[] I also refrain from criticisng Judaism. Instead, I confront different interpretations of the Judaic code. I deal with Jewish Ideology, Jewish identity politics, and the Jewish political discourse. I ask what being a Jew entails. (p 15; also pp 147-148)

Again, his first two categories – religious Jews and Jews by origin – are “harmless and innocent”. (p 16) No one is calling for harm to Jews. (p 131)

Atzmon does once lambaste Judaism for tribalism because it so closely adheres to an ethnic rather than religious concept of itself (p 113) and sees a continuum between the Bible and Zionism (pp 120-122). But he says clearly,

I am against racism and in fact in my writing you won’t find a single racial reference. Moreover, when I write about Jewish identity I analyse it in ideological and philosophical terms. For me Jewishness is a mind set. Nothing to do with the quality of one’s blood or the religion of one’s mother.

He does unfortunately make several statements that refer to “Jews” where “Jewish-ness” or “Zionist” would be more accurate and consistent with the whole book. He for instance writes of “European and American Jews” who have assimilated and cast aside their “Jewish identity”, where he means their Jewish political identity or identification with the “tribe”. (pp 64-65) He rightly says that all Jewish Zionists sign up to the Jewish-ness ideology, but he should avoid any ambiguity suggesting that all Jews adhere to Jewish-ness.

Blurring occurs when he omits the qualifier ‘political’ in writing of “the Jew within”, “the Jewish understanding of the past” or occasionally of “Jewish identity”. (pp 95, 173, 135) He does however usually precisely include it, for example in writing that one “can hardly endorse a universal philosophy while being identified politically as a Jew.” (p 39; also pp 102, 138, 145, 174) Imprecision burdens as well the statement that “Jewish people… can never be like ‘other people’, for those who demand to be seen as equal must feel inherently and categorically different.” (p 52) I also miss clear definitions for the phrases “the Jewish condition” (p 184) and “the wider Jewish problem”. (p 15)

Atzmon’s use of the phrase “Jewish lobbyists” (pp 152, 171) has been challenged, clarity speaking for “Israel lobby” or “Zionist lobby”. It is however at least mitigating that most Jewish Zionist lobbyists themselves refer to themselves and their organisations as ‘Jewish’, and that Zionists themselves appropriate Jewish identities to oppress Palestinian Arabs – for instance with the Holocaust (pp 130-134) or Judaic symbols on fighter planes (p 140). As Zionist Michael Bar-Zohar puts it, “If you’re attacking Israel, this means you are attacking Jews.” But why should one language-rule be valid for pro-Israel lobbies and another for its critics? (pp 149-151)

Granting in addition accuses Atzmon of ‘”allying” himself with “conspiracy theories, far-right, orientalist, and racist arguments, associations and entities”, but offers no evidence, nor even a definition of what “allying” would look like. I urge Atzmon to make his language less ambiguous, but given that he is criticising what he sees as the dominant Jewish political culture, not Jews in general, his book in fact supports Granting’s position that “our struggle was never, and will never be, with Jews, or Judaism, no matter how much Zionism insists that our enemies are the Jews. Rather, our struggle is with Zionism.”

Anti-Jewish-ness

Benny Morris, in an interview with Jewish Chronicle and Guardian Zionist Jonathan Freedland, defends himself against Freedland’s suggestion that his critical, negative claims about Arab culture “could be seen as” racist by rejoining that he [like Atzmon] is speaking of a dominant political culture, not Arabs as a genetically defined ethnic group. Morris’s ambiguities are between statements that ‘all Arabs’ or ‘a majority of Arabs’ or ‘Arabs’ or ‘Arab culture(s)’ place relatively low value on human life, but it seems the generalising nature of sociological analysis always entails a degree of conflation between (1) the dominant norms of the group and (2) all members of the group. Nietzsche walked the same tightrope in his Kulturkritik of Christianity. But the issue is the quality of Morris’s or Atzmon’s or Nietzsche’s empirical evidence and cultural analysis – a well-known academic field – not whether any such investigation is racist. It is not, since there is no appeal to ethnic causality which is the criterion for both positive (e.g. ‘philosemitic’) and negative (e.g. ‘antisemitic’) racism.
The advertisement for Wandering claims: “Since Israel defines itself openly as the ‘Jewish State’, we should ask what the notions of ‘Judaism’, ‘Jewishness’, ‘Jewish culture’ and ‘Jewish ideology’ stand for.” The Jewish state and its behaviour is an explicandum of the first order, costing as it does Palestinian lives and livelihoods. He quotes Israel’s first president: “‘There are no English, French, German or American Jews, but only Jews living in England, France, Germany or America.’ In just a few words, Weizmann managed to categorically define the essence of Jewish-ness.” (p 16) With this concept he hopes to correct and add to our understanding of Zionism.
Atzmon told Ha’aretz:

The Israelis can put an end to the conflict in two fucking minutes. Netanyahu gets up tomorrow morning, returns to the Palestinians the lands that belong to them, their fields and houses, and that’s it. The refugees will come home and the Jews will also finally be liberated: They will be free in their country and will be able to be like all the nations, get on with their lives and even salvage the bad reputation they have brought on themselves in the past 2,000 years. But for Netanyahu and the Israelis to do that, they have to undergo de-Judaization and accept the fact that they are like all peoples and are not the chosen people. So, in my analysis this is not a political, sociopolitical or socioeconomic issue but something basic that has to do with Jewish identity.

The anti-Zionist as well as the pro-Zionist discourse cannot be separated from the Jewish discourse.
At a One Democratic State conference in Stuttgart in 2010, attended by both Atzmon and Abunimah, the latter argued that this ‘culture’ category is useless:

I think that to use language that blames a particular culture – [Atzmon] was talking about Jewish culture – is wrong [applause] because such arguments could be made about anyone. We could blame German culture for the history of Germany, we could blame British culture for the history of British imperialism, we could blame Afrikaner culture for apartheid in South Africa. And this really doesn’t explain anything at all. (emphasis added)

Atzmon counters that this is

what historians, sociologists, anthropologists, intellectuals are doing when they try to understand historical and political development. The historians and sociologists who look into the Nazi era, don’t they look into German culture, into German philosophy, into the work of Wagner, both as a writer and as a composer, into the work of Hegel, and the German spirit, into Christian antisemitism, and the impact of the Protestant church, don’t they look into a Martin Luther, and his infamous book about the Jews and their lives? Don’t they look into German Early Romanticism? We are in the 21st century. We understand very well that culture, politics, history, heritage, religions, are all bonded together.

Abunimah’s position is of course untenable, while at the same time it remains to be seen whether Atzmon’s concept of ‘Jewish-ness’ really earns its keep.

Perhaps “Jewish-ness” is not strictly necessary to refute Zionism and support ODS. However, on the principle of ‘know thine enemy’ it may assist us in fighting Zionism and negotiating with Israel – were it ever to come to the table. I moreover submit that analysing the hoary topic of ‘what it is to be a Jew’ is of much interest to many Jews who are now doubting their support of the Jewish state. It seems to me that the issue can contribute to both an intra-Jewish discussion and to the discussion of how to stop the Jewish state’s murderous ethnic cleansing. Why should it do only one or the other?

One Granting signatory, Omar Barghouti, has sought in terms similar to Atzmon’s to explain Zionist crimes against Palestinians, the “relative-humanization” of Palestinians, and how Zionists live with it. His explanatory concept is ‘Jewish fundamentalism’, relying partly on the thought of Israel Shahak to find cold-bloodedness and justification for Jewish ethnic superiority in some “tenets of Jewish Law”. The Midianite genocide and certain Torah passages provide precedents for what is happening today. Atzmon likewise relates Israeli behaviour to Biblical precedents (pp 120-122, 157-162), yet in the main looks at secular Jewish culture, whereas Barghouti is perhaps focusing only on religious Jewish culture. Or, if it is not Atzmon’s anti-Jewish-ness that Barghouti finds racist, antisemitic and Holocaust-denying, what is it?

As for the content of Jewish-ness – in the broadest terms merely “Judeo-centric political discourse” (pp 88, 55, 145, 197) – Atzmon characterises it as (1) exclusivist, (2) based on the uniqueness of Jewish suffering, (3) supremacist and (4) uncannily paralleling some Old Testament stories. (pp 121, 160, 188) He writes for instance that

assimilation has never been presented as a Jewish political call. It was rather individual Jews who welcomed and enjoyed European liberal tendencies. The Jewish political call was inspired by different means of tribal, cultural or even racially-orientated segregation. (p 32)

As evidence that it is more “tribal” than many other groups Atzmon points to a relatively high resistance to assimilation, strong halachic marriage rules (procreative isolation), and high hurdles for conversion to Judaism. (pp 19, 32, 56, 113, 116, 164-165, 172) The bridge to Zionism, in Atzmon’s view, seems to be that a combination of exile, cohesion and chosenness, together with feelings of unique suffering, led to both a strong desire for an ethnically-defined rather than secular-democratic state and a sense of righteousness (and thoroughness) in its establishment at the expense of indigenous people.

I don’t know much about either Judaism or Jewishness, but I think Atzmon’s evidence for the trait of supremacy is inadequate. (see pp 2, 101, 181-182) True, Zionist acts are racially supremacist, but the book does not give a rigorous proof that feelings of ethnic superiority inhere in the Jewish political culture. But this is a question of content; that he writes about it is certainly kosher.

We should perhaps not forget that Hess, Jabotinsky, Weizmann and all Israeli politicians have tied the state as closely as possible to Jewish history and culture. (pp 16-17, 139) The Law of Return, the Jewish National Fund, Jews-only settlements and roads, the very concept of Eretz Israel, and Israel’s Declaration of Independence are racist. Negative Kulturkritik is not.

Atzmon unexpectedly even has a good word for Jewish-ness in seeing its “complexity” and the “duality of tribalism and universalism… at the very heart of the collective secular Jewish identity…” (pp 148, 162, 56) “Secular collective Jewish identity” is made up of bothelements, “Athens” and “Jerusalem”. (pp 56, 57, 78) In conciliatory mode he ambivalently asserts that while there is no such thing as a “Jewish humanist heritage’… there are some remote patches of humanism in Jewish culture, [which however] are certainly far from being universal.” (p 113) By reference to the ethnic particularism of Jewish-ness he suggests an answer to the question “How is it that… Israel and its lobbies are so blind to any form of ethical or universal thinking?” (p 177, emphasis added)

Another writer seeking connection between “Jewish resources” and a universal, egalitarian ethics is Judith Butler, whose new book Parting Ways: Jewishness and the Critique of Zionism promises a rewarding look at this topic which should be debated, not silenced by the charge of ‘antisemitism’ or denying the legitimacy of cultural explanations in principle.

Imagine an exam question: “Is the following statement antisemitic?:

The reopening of the tunnel [beneath al-Haram al-Sharif] seems… an act of arrogant triumphalism, a sort of rubbing of Palestinian and Muslim noses in the dirt. This had the added effect of pouring fuel on the smoldering sectarian competition that has been the city’s long-standing bane. I do not think there is any doubt that this Lukud assertion of what is unmistakably Jewish power over Muslim holy places was intended to show the world… that Judaism can do what it wants.

Atzmon speaks of “Jewish nationalism, Jewish lobbying and Jewish power” (p 145), interpreted perhaps by Granting with the somewhat vague phrase “attacking Jewish identities”. But cannot one speak of a political ideology that sees itself as Jewish using the term ‘Jewish’ with its bundle of ethnic, religious, and political meanings?

Taboos

Atzmon asks several taboo questions.

I think that 65 years after the liberation of Auschwitz, we must be entitled to start asking questions… 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… 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 geniunely planned to do so, as the early Zionists claimed, why did they fail? (pp 175-176)

People who place such questions out of bounds “are doomed to think that anti-Semitism is an ‘irrational social phenomenon that ‘erupts out of nowhere’. Accordingly they must believe that the Goyim are potentially mad.” (p 182) It is a matter of simple logic that to ask why Jews were hated in Europe is not to presuppose that there were good reasons.
Another excerpt:

It took me many years to understand that the Holocaust, the core belief of the contemporary Jewish faith, was not at all an historical narrative [for] historical narratives do not need the protection of the law and political lobbies. It took me years to grasp that my great-grandmother wasn’t made into a ‘soap’ or a ‘lampshade’ as I was taught in Israel. She probably perished of exhaustion, typhus or maybe even by mass shooting… The fate of my great-grandmother was not so different from hundreds of thousands of German civilians who died in deliberate, indiscriminate bombing, just because they were Germans. Similarly, people in Hiroshima died just because they were Japanese… [As devastating as it was], at a certain moment in time, a horrible chapter was given an exceptional meta-historical status. (pp 175, 149)

The “Holocaust religion” freezes a certain narrative in law while Holocaust research follows normal historiographic rules; the claim of its uniqueness is ‘philosemitic’, and its severity is used to justify, with the logic of two wrongs’ making a right, the ethnic cleansing of people having nothing to do with the Holocaust. (pp 148-153)
Evil questions came naturally to Atzmon:

[At age 14 he] asked the emotional tour guide if she could explain the fact that so many Europeans loathed the Jews so much and in so many places at once. I was thrown out of school for a week. (p 184)
“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.” (p 176)

Ben White has similarly asked, “Is it possible to understand the rise in anti-semitism?” This requires defining both ‘antisemitic’ and ‘understand’. One poll question asked people if they “can understand very well that some people are unpleasant towards Jews”. While White is not anti-Semitic and not unpleasant towards Jews, he “can… understand why some are.” First, Israel subscribes to the racial supremacy of Jews, and Zionists “equate their colonial project with Judaism”, and although reacting to this racism and injustice with “attacks on Jews or Jewish property [is] misguided”, it can be understood politically. Second, since the Western media are overwhelmingly pro-Israel, some people believe, again “misguidedly”, the idea of a “Jewish conspiracy”. We must live with the ambiguity of the word ‘understand’.

Similarly, when Atzmon calls violence against non-combatants who are Jewish by origin “rational”, we must acknowledge the ambiguity of the term ‘rational’, which doesn’t mean ‘morally justified’. Atzmon defends his statement that burning down a synagogue can be “a rational act” by explaining that by “rational” he means that “any form of anti-Jewish activity may be seen as political retaliation. This does not make it right.” One can ask why such violence occurs, just as we can ask why the Jewish state commits and condones violence against innocent Palestinians and the destruction of olive trees and water cisterns. It can be Israeli racism, but it could also be ‘rational’ behaviour for Israel’s security. Antisemitism expert Antony Lerman, also, has noted that many acts against Jews in Europe were tied to Israel’s unjust behaviour – they were political, not irrational in the sense of arbitrary, or necessarily motivated solely by hate of Jews.

Another hot topic that might can approach solely in terms of Zionism, not Jewish-ness, is that of the economic, political and media power of Zionists who are also Jews in part motivated by allegiance to their ethnic group. Atzmon covers this briefly (169-172), his Exhibit A being the ardently pro-Zionist Jewish Chronicle’s listing of the relatively large number of Jews in the UK Parliament (all hard or soft Zionists). Exhibit B is billionaire Haim Saban who says, according to a New Yorker portrait, “I’m a one-issue guy, and my issue is Israel… [The Arab] terrorists give me a potch in the panim…”;he openly seeks influence in “political parties,… think tanks… and media outlets…”, has tried to buy the LA Times and NY Times to push his agenda, and “harbors a wariness of Arabs that may stem from growing up as a Jew in Egypt.”

To declare out of bounds the subject of Jewish, as opposed to merely Zionist, influence in politics, finance and media is to claim that support for Zionism by many powerful people has nothing at all to do with the fact that they are Jewish, or rather, that they politically identify as Jews. Xstrata boss Mick Davis’s charity ‘United Jewish Israel Appeal’ (‘Powering young people in the UK and Israel’, ‘Strengthening Jewish identity and the connection to Israel’), is merely pro-Israel; in spite of its name, its slogans and its activities furthering Judaisation in “the Galil” and the Negev, it has nothing to do with Jewishness, no ethno-cultural content whatsoever. The Anti-Defamation League in the US, on this view, is merely a group protecting Jews from ‘antisemitism’, only coincidentally pro-Israel. Everybody knows this is fiction, and the subject appears taboo for critics but not for supporters of Zionism.

Again, one can strip Herzl’s movement for a Judenstaat to its settler-colonialist bones, but given an interest in promoting pro-Palestinian public opinion, one can look at this subject soberly, with no ‘antisemitic’ intent. Whether Jewish-ness and Zionism connect here, and whether this makes any difference in understanding Zionist oppression of Palestinians, are open questions, and I for one look for ‘Zionist’ rather than ‘Jewish’ publicists. But why should this be taboo? At any rate, on this subject Atzmon delivers a one-liner: “As I have said earlier, I do not believe in Jewish conspiracies: everything done in the open.” (p 76) But his real view is that “In fact the opposite [than a conspiracy] is the case. It isn’t a plot and certainly not a conspiracy for it was all in the open. It is actually an accident.” (pp 30, 21)

To be avoided is the situation where only supporters of Israel can point to ethnic-ideological connections while critics of Israel cannot. If we want to understand the entity committing the Palestinicide, the only line to be drawn is at hate speech based on ethnic, racial and religious criteria.

My objections

The ambiguity of ‘Jewish’
As shown above, some of Atzmon’s statements fail to distinguish clearly between his 2nd and 3rd categories – between Jews by biological origin and those whose priority is their (Jewish) cultural identity – and could thus be read as ‘antisemitic’. I find however no evidence of hate of, distaste for, or even criticism of, ‘Jews’. Complicating judgment of these statements is the fact that when they are ‘philosemitic’ they are not, in our mainstream discourse, seen as objectionable. (p 51) Not only ‘Jewish humour’, but quotidian political analysis routinely refers to ‘Jewish’ – not ‘Zionist’ or ‘Israeli’ – identity.

One Israeli analyst for instance correlates Israeli “right” and “left” stances with “where on our scale of identity we place Jewish identity”, quoting Netanyahu saying, “The leftists have forgotten what it is to be Jewish.” Still, I believe Atzmon should avoid sentences that use the unqualified terms ‘Jews’ or ‘Jewish’ when the subject is identity politics. The statement “I grasped that Israel and Zionism were just parts of the wider Jewish problem” (p 15) is understood by those familiar with a long intra-Jewish discourse, but not by the wider world. It takes a lot of context to de-fuse a statement like, “With contempt, I am actually elaborating on the Jew in me” – the context coming three paragraphs later, namely that “Jewish-ness isn’t at all a racial category…” (pp 94-95)

Tribal supremacy

As already touched on, while the Jewish supremacy of the Jewish state’s Zionism is obvious, Wandering does not demonstrate to my satisfaction that Jewish-ness is supremacist. Now if Jewish political culture (‘Jewish-ness’) is Zionism, the claim is tautologically true, but Atzmon maintains throughout that they are different. To be sure, adherence to any ethnically- or religiously-defined group arguably implies a belief that the group is a bit better than rival groups: upholding türklük, or saying ‘I am a Christian’ says something about Kurds, and perhaps Islam, as well. But Atzmon’s claim is not only open to empirical examination, it is not a claim about (all) Jews as an ethnicity, and therefore not racist. Nevertheless, because this claim is so central to building the bridge between Jewish-ness and Zionism it deserves more argument.

Jews Against Zionism

Atzmon criticises groups that mix ethnic Jewish identity with the non-ethnic political goals of socialism and anti-Zionism; they put their Jewish-ness above the content of their political stance in addition to excluding non-Jews. (pp 62, 71-76, 86-87, 102-105) Groups such as British Jewish Socialists, Jews for Boycott of Israeli Goods, Jews for Justice for Palestinians, or Jewish Voice for Peace remain, he says, within the discourse of ethnicism rather than universal humanism:

Even saying ‘I do not agree with Israel although I am a Jew’ is to fall into the trap. Having fallen into the trap, one cannot leave the clan behind – one can hardly endorse a universal philosophy while being identified politically as a Jew. (pp 38-39)

He gives an instance of the conflicting loyalties of Jews who oppose Zionism or support socialism as Jews by relating a Jewish Chronicle interview with two founding members of British Jewish Socialists who want also to belong to the Jewish ethnic group or nation.

I do differentiate between ‘the leftist who happens to be jewish’ – an innocent category inspired by humanism, and ‘the Jewish leftist’, which seems to me to be a contradiction in terms, for the left aims to universally transcend itself beyond ethnicity, religion or race. Clearly ‘Jewish left’ is there to maintain a Jewish tribal ethnocentric identity at the heart of working class philosophy. (pp 116-117)

The Marxist European Bund also mixed pro-socialist and pro-Jewish goals (pp 56, 116, 181), but I am not aware of what substantial differentiae would set Jewish socialism off from other brands.
It is however Atzmon’s attack on Jewish anti-Zionists that prompts the passage in Granting stating,

We will not allow a false sense of expediency to drive us into alliance with those who attack, malign, or otherwise attempt to target our political fraternity with all liberation struggles and movements for justice.

Yes, Atzmon targets that part of the pro-Palestinian movement defining itself as ‘Jewish’, believing that in the long run the cause is best served if we shed our ethnic political identities. He is asking whether, when the message is that “not all Jews are Zionists” (p 102), the main goal is to protect the good name of Jews, to retain some Jewish-ness, or to further the Palestinian cause. I believe Atzmon is here too severe in his critique, firstly because many such Jews fighting for Palestinian rights have impeccable motives, and secondly because there is a gain for Palestinians when a message to world opinion is that criticism of Israel does not entail being against Jews as Jews.

I am not aware that investigations into both ‘Jewishness’ and ‘Jewish ethics’ in connection with Zionism have revealed any difference in content between ‘Jewish’ anti-Zionism and ethno-religiously neutral anti-Zionism (i.e. universal ethics). I also accept the common observation that “Anti-Zionist (or Israel-critical) organizing, then, plays a crucial role in establishing a new secular Jewish identity, a field dominated by Zionism in Western nations for decades.” But again, the groups often identify themselves as Jewish for public-relations reasons, and indeed, why shouldn’t some such activists promote both anti-Zionism and the good name of their Jewish ethnos?

The social-marketing desirability of de-coupling Jewishness from criticism of Israel, which Atzmon misses or rejects (p 102), is expressed by the group ‘Jews for Justice for Palestinians’ (which notabene supports the two-state solution and is thus not anti-Zionist):

As well as organising to ensure that Jewish opinions critical of Israeli policy are heard in Britain, we extend support to Palestinians trapped in the spiral of violence and repression. We believe that such actions are important in countering antisemitism and the claim that opposition to Israel’s destructive policies is itself antisemitic.

While in the long or even medium run it is good to eliminate ethnocentricity from politics, there is perhaps now still some benefit for the Palestinian cause in having explicitly Jewish allies.

Finally, it slanders the many sincere anti-Zionist Jews organised as Jews to claim that they “hate the Goyim” (p 55), that they are (only) there “to keep the debate within the family” (p 102). While I sympathise with Atzmon’s attempt to “untangle the knot” (p 15) of religion, ethnicity and Jewish identity politics, and agree we should first and foremost explicitly embrace universal ethics, he here overstates his case. It also seems merely polemical to claim that “when it comes to ‘action’ against the so-called ‘enemies of the Jewish people’, Zionists and ‘Jewish anti-Zionists’ act as one people – because they are one people.” (p 102) Philosophical analysis of what Zionism has to do with Jewish-ness is still a nascent field, and I urge Atzmon to criticise but not ridicule all organised ‘anti-Zionist Jews’.

Alan Greenspan

Atzmon offers a cogent argument that Alan Greenspan’s economic policies were disastrous, but asserts that Greenspan, by creating an economic boom, “found a… way to facilitate or at least divert… attention from the wars perpetrated by the largely Jewish neo-conservatives in Afghanistan and Iraq.” (pp 27-30) He however neither offers evidence that Greenspan intended the boom to enable the expensive warmongering, nor criticises him for Zionism. He merely calls him a “rich Jew”. (p 27) This not only feeds the ‘antisemitic’ picture of the unscrupulous Jewish money-grubber but is based on Greenspan’s being a Jew by origin, not any purported Jewish political identity or culture. I also happen to know that the foreign-policy views of Greenspan are much closer to those of Ron Paul, and that in 1969 he paid for the bail and lawyer of my best friend who had refused to be drafted to go fight in Vietnam. Atzmon’s digression on Greenspan is harmful or at least pointless in the battle for justice for Palestinians.

An objection to Granting

The anti-colonialist ‘self-determination’ discourse must today compete with the individual-rights discourse. While Atzmon adheres strictly to the latter and sees the dangers in the self-determination of groups (pp 52, 105-106), Granting refers to the Arab-Palestinian “homeland” and the “self-determination… of the Palestinian people” (emphasis added); the text speaks of “our native lands”. The “our” can refer to those comprising the large majority of those who have lived there during the last dozen-plus centuries and happened to be ‘Arabs’ or ‘Semites’ and overwhelmingly Moslem; or it can be ethnicist, meaning Arab Semites, perhaps describing the signatories. Here perhaps we have contrasting visions of the one-state vision broadly shared by Atzmon, Barghouti and Abunimah, the latter seeing the constitution more in terms of bi-nationalism rather than the state’s absolute blindness towards ethnicity and religion. Yet why would this would be a reason to “disavow” Atzmon?

The signatories speak of “the struggle for Palestine and its national movement” and of theirs as “the Palestinian movement”. They also claim some rights in “defining for the Palestinian movement the nature of our struggle” and “the philosophy underpinning it”. Some sectarian as well as secular anti-Zionist Palestinians might disagree with this but, recalling the very first accusation against Atzmon (above), the point is that unless one excludes Israeli Jews from voting in the future secular, democratic state, Atzmon can speak not only universally but for himself as a citizen. I agree that one state is a bigger ask for the Palestinians than for the Israeli Jews, who as colonists are being invited to remain. But even outsiders like myself have the right to support any part of the ‘Palestinian movement’ we agree with. These questions about homelands and leadership deserve discussion rather than disavowal.

Granting speaks as well of Atzmon’s “obsession with ‘Jewishness’”, but this would surely be only Atzmon’s problem. The call moreover characterises Atzmon’s “attacks on anyone who disagrees with his [alleged] obsession with ‘Jewishness’” as “vicious”. However, in Wandering he aims no criticism at critics of his concept of Jewish-ness, and while I find sarcasm that occasionally goes too far, “vicious” is a crass mis-characterisation.

Other takes on Jewishness

How does Atzmon’s anti-Jewish-ness compare with other types of pro- or anti-Jewishness? Witness a Jewish-critical statement of Meron Benvenisti:

I would say that what characterizes us collectively is ethnic hatred, ethnic recoil, ethnic contempt and ethnic patronizing.

He balances this generalising take on the Jewish “collective” with the caveat that “I would not categorize us all as racists”, exactly paralleling Atzmon’s distinction between 2nd– and 3rd-category Jews; he attests racism only of a “large segment” of Jewish Israeli society. Benvenisti by the way also makes the statement that he is “proud to be a white sabra [native-born Israeli Jew]”. Is Benvenisti an anti-Jewish racist, a pro-Jewish one, or neither?

Philo-Jewishness statements likewise may or may not be ‘philosemitic’. In a Guardian interview Arnold Wesker utters, “A reverence for the power of the intellect is for me a definition of Jewishness:…” Now, a definition has a genus and one or more differentiae, so what distinguishes “Jewishness” as a type of sociological reification is a reverence for the power of the intellect. The inescapable corollary is that other ethnic (religious? cultural?) groups have no, or less, such reverence. It is perhaps evidence of this purported reverence that a website proudly lists Jewish Nobel laureates.
What are we to make of the observation of one of these Nobel laureates, Saul Bellow, on a trip to Jerusalem, that “a few Arab hens are scratching up dust and pecking”? That “Jewish claims in Jerusalem are legitimate”? That Israelis have a tough life “all because [they] wished to lead Jewish lives in a Jewish state”? That “When the Jews decided, through Zionism, to ‘go political’, they didn’t know what they were getting into”? That (according to A.B. Yehoshua) “Perhaps there is something exceptional in all our Jewishness [which] to us… is clear and we can feel it…”? That Bellow’s one academic colleague who criticised Zionism “went out to jog on a boiling Chicago afternoon and died of heart failure”? Bellow, who believes in “the moral meaning of Israel’s existence” and that it “stands for something in Western history”, uses ethnic, political and culture concepts interchangeably. Is Bellow an anti-Arab racist, a pro-Jewish one, or neither?

Many Jews-by-origin reject Zionism but retain Jewishness. Paul Knepper writes of Michael Polanyi:

In making the case for a Jewish state as the solution to anti-Semitism, Zionists had thrown up an array of mistaken identities, defining Jewishness in political, religious, and cultural terms. Polanyi rejected this as inward-looking, even reactionary; he pursued an outward-looking understanding based on the relationship of Jews to non-Jews. Polanyi saw assimilated Jews [like himself] not as running away or denying Jewish identity, but instead, as pursuing a truer and more significant expression of Jewishness.

Atzmon agrees with the first sentence but argues against finding identity in what one is not, and abandons the quest for Jewish-ness as such. (pp 31-36, 58-63, passim)

Eric Hobsbawm, the unobservant Jew who called himself a “non-Jewish Jew” and “not a Jewish historian [but an] historian who happened to be Jewish” (also Atzmon, pp 16-18), similarly saw a need to retain some “Jewishness”, even if it consisted merely of not being ashamed to be Jewish. He said of his friend Isaiah Berlin in contrast, “His Jewish identity implied identity with Israel because he believed that the Jews should be a nation.”

I have read only the introduction to Judith Butler’s Parting Ways, where she outlines the Jewishness of her formation and many of the ethical sources she draws on but acknowledges the paradox – perhaps contradiction – of holding values that are simultaneously universal and Jewish. (pp 26, 18) As the jacket of her book states,

Jewish ethics not only demand a critique of Zionism, but must transcend its exclusive Jewishness in order to realize the ethical and political ideals of living together in radical democracy.

She is a proponent of one secular, democratic state in Palestine searching for “a different Jewishness… [and] the departure from Jewishness as an exclusionary framework for thinking both ethics and politics.” (p 2) Her book promises [recalling Polanyi, above] “to locate Jewishness in the moment of its encounter with the non-Jewish, in the dispersal of the self that follows from that encounter [mainly with Edward Said and Mahmoud Darwish].” (p 26)

Conclusions

Within Israel’s left, Atzmon’s ideas and formulations ruffle few feathers. As Ha’aretz journalist Yaron Frid says, lamenting Israel’s loss of Atzmon, “The score, for now: 1-0, Palestine leading.” In Israel Atzmon’s mother commented, “[The book] is not at all anti-Semitic. Gilad has a problem with Jewishness, he talks about three categories of Jews, but you have to read everything to understand – rather than bring quotations and take them out of context… I am very proud of my son.” (ibid.) But a mother would say that, wouldn’t she?

Atzmon insists that the desire for a Jewish nation arises out of Jewish suffering’s experienced specialness and asks what is then left of Jewish-ness when identification with (the uniqueness of) Jewish suffering is overcome. He asserts that Israel is not just another colonial power, but one driven by a distinctly Jewish ideology, and he convinced me that we must understand this Jewish-ness to understand for instance AIPAC, or to see that the West Bank to be given up by Israel in some phantasmagoric two-state settlement is not the West Bank, but Judea and Samaria. Yes, talking about a culture as opposed to some number of that culture’s members holds risks of conflation and ambiguity, and some of Atzmon’s discussion is an intra-Jewish one. But his book undoubtedly illuminates the ‘prosemitic’ racist ideology fatal to Palestinians. Perceptions differ, of course, but I do not see how anyone can read the whole book, with open ears, and find Atzmon ‘antisemitic’ or racist.
Granting’s signatories write that they “stand with all and any movements that call for justice, human dignity, equality, and social, economic, cultural and political rights.” I urge them to re-read (or read) Wandering, present a definition of ‘antisemitic’ racism, and based on textual evidence debate whether Atzmon’s words fulfill it. Because Jew-hatred has been so trivialised by Zionists, accusations of ‘antisemitism’ must be especially well-argued. For the ODS movement unity at any cost is not essential, but we need our energies to help transform Israel into a normal country respecting all humans’ rights. Unless racism is proven, one should bury the hatchet.

Blake Alcott is an ecological economist living in Cambridge, England. He can be reached at: blakeley@bluewin.ch.

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Gilad Atzmon With Zeinab Assaffar On Al Mayadeen TV

January 21, 2013

Gilad Atzmon With Zeinab Assaffar On Al Mayadeen TV
This is probably the clearest interview I have given about my thoughts, The Wandering Who, Israel. Judaism, Zionism, Jewishness, Palestine, AZZ, identity vs. identification, the ‘left’,  One State Solution  and more.
Part 1

http://youtu.be/yKHXEUChKn0
Part 2

http://youtu.be/HGPrd3JtAXs

The Wandering Who? A Study Of Jewish Identity Politics, the lobby, the power and Jewish ‘progressive’  spin in particular 

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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!

Watch Human Right Watch – A Tribute to Prof Richard Falk

December 23, 2012

By Gilad Atzmon

This week we learned that Human Rights Watch (HRW) has expelled from its ranks top U.N. official Professor Richard Falk.

The juicy details have been kindly supplied by Israeli Hasbara outlet UN Watch blog.“We commend Human Rights Watch and its director Kenneth Roth for doing the right thing, and finally removing this enemy of human rights from their important organization,” said Hillel Neuer, a rabid Israeli supporter as well as Executive Director of UN Watch. “A man who supports the Hamas terrorist organization, and who was just condemned by the British Foreign Office for his cover endorsement of a virulently antisemitic book, has no place in an organization dedicated to human rights,”

Hasbara stooge that he is, Neuer using every Zionist trick in the book, misinforms and misleads his readers. First of all, Hamas is not a ‘terrorist organisation’, it is a democratically elected government and the book to which Neuer refers is obviously mine – ‘The Wandering Who’ – which, was endorsed by Richard Falk and some of the most important humanists and scholars of our time– a book which has been a best-seller for six months in both Britain and the USA, has been translated into 10 languages and is available in seven editions in countries that all strictly legislate against any form of racial incitement as well Holocaust denial. The fact is that the Zionists and their ‘Progressive’ twins will have to accept that The Wandering Who is, after all, strictly kosher.

So, Professor Falk did indeed endorse my book and, like all my other endorsers, did not cave into pressure. This is should indeed concern all Zionist and their agents.

 “A transformative story told with unflinching integrity that all (especially Jews) who care about real peace, as well as their own identity, should not only read, but reflect upon and discuss widely.” Professor Richard Falk on The Wandering Who

But the problem is not the tribally oriented UN Watch and its Zionist Executive Director. After all, they only do what we expect Zionists to do – lie, harass, abuse, and, if necessary, fabricate evidence. No, far more interesting is the behaviour of the allegedly ‘progressive’ ‘Human Right Watch’ and its director Kenneth Roth.

On the face of it, HRW is an independent, Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) ‘dedicated to defending and protecting human rights’. But it takes no more than a few seconds of research to find out that the primary donor of the HRW is liberal-Zionist George Soros and his Open Society Foundation – the same Soros and ‘Open’ society that supports most Palestinian NGOs including BDS which may perhaps explain why the BDS in Ramallah was so eager to compromise on that most precious Palestinian right i.e. The Right of Return. Nor will it surprise you to learn that the same Soros who funded HRW has been dedicated to ‘exposing’ of Hamas’ failures on human rights issues? Is this not what you would expect from a liberal Zionist spin meister?

In my new satirical work, A Glossary of Zionist Power which I am now completing, I include entries for Soros and his Open Society. In the book, Soros is a ‘Jew who supports a lot of good causes that are also very good for the Jews’ and The Open Society Foundation ‘is dedicated to the transformation of deprived people into Guardian readers’. Surely I will now have to add an entry for the HRW and Roth. Both are nothing short of ‘Zionist fig-leaves’ and, like all Jewish progressive outlets that are dedicated to Jewish tribal and ethno centric campaigning, HRW is there to monitor, control and even stifle any criticism of Israel if it should ever get too close to the bone, i.e. touching on the Jewish character of the Jewish state,

Prof’ Falk had little chance of surviving within such a tribal milieu and the reason is pretty simple. Unlike Zionist Neuer, Liberal Zionist Soros, and ‘Anti-Zionist Zionist’ Roth, Prof’ Falk actually represents the ultimate success of the Zionist project. Early Zionism promised to transform the Jews into ‘people like all other people’. Zionism vowed to bring to life a Jew who transcends the tribal, a Jew who think universally and ethically. Early Zionists also believed that such a transformation could be achieved only in Palestine. Of course, they were wrong but no one can ignore the fact that the greatest and most prolific Jewish universalists are actually Israelis (Prof’ Yishayahu Leibovitch, Prof Israel Shahak, Nurit & Miko Peled, Gideon Levy, Amira Hass, Uri Avneri, Ilan Pappe, Israel Shamir and many, many more). But Prof’ Falk and a few others have managed to achieve a similar goal in the Diaspora. Those Jews whom we most admire and whose integrity we most trust such as Prof’ Norton Mezvinsky, Prof’ Norman Finkelstein, Prof’ Falk  – all have something in common – they do not operate within Jews-only political cells. Unlike JVP, IJAN, HRW and Mondweiss, all of whom are dedicated primarily to promoting Jewish interests, they are dedicated to universal values.
So I argue that Prof’ Falk provides us with a glimpse into the possibility of true Jewish emancipation – the capacity to break out of the mental, intellectual and non-ethical ghetto. Moreover, this latest tale of HRW’s Herem (Kosher expulsion) of one of the greatest humanists of our generation is actually an educational event.

For many years, many of us saw Zionism and Israel as the mother and father of contemporary evil, but now, many of us have come to realise that Jewish progressive politics is every bit as sinister but, unlike Zionism that is only tainted with deception, the Jewish progressive discourse is inherently dishonest – it speaks universal but it thinks tribal.

While our disagreements with Israel and Zionism are clear, the Modus operandi adopted by AZZs and their relentless attempt to dominate the progressive discourse while, at the same time, stifling freedom of expression leave more and more humanists suspicious of any form of Jewish politics – be it right, left or centre.

I like to think that my Wandering Who was the first attempt to discuss these issues openly. I wrote it because I, too, am a wanderer who decided, instead of dwelling on someone else’s land, to leave my homeland. Perhaps Prof’ Falk endorsed my work, because, like myself, he too is a wanderer. He self-reflects, examining his identity and his notion of justice from a transcendental point of view. Like myself, he is an artist, a poet, a man who searches, against all the odds, for beauty, peace and truth. On the other hand, George Soros’ Open Society Foundation which contributed $100 million to HRW just to silence ethically and aesthetically driven souls such as Prof’ Falk and others.


The Wandering Who? A Study Of Jewish Identity Politics in general and Jewish progressive spin in particular Amazon.com  or Amazon.co.uk

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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!

IF I WERE AN ISRAELI / AN ADVICE TO ISRAELIS

December 21, 2012


The truth is that some sort of indispensable amnesia has stricken the people who believe in Israel and in the right of existence of Israel be they Israelis or Zionists in general ,. This kind of amnesia seems very suitable , other wise Israelis would have to pack and leave like few Israelis did who were born and raised and occupied Palestine , but realized suddenly the big hoax that all this was . My advise is that all Israelis learn the Truth ,the truth about Israel , about the fictitious state of Israel , the artificial illegitimate state established on usurped Arab land after chasing and slaughtering and besieging the original population that is taking place right now . Let them learn the truth from people who know , let them learn what Gilad Atzmon has to say or Mordechai Vanunu and others as well . People who share their experience and reach the conclusion that made them improve their life and their psyche and be released from this load of bloody history and heavy responsibility of taking part in this shameful portion of human history. I advise all Israelis and Zionists to ponder and think about the truth of Israel , there is not too much time left because Israel’s allies are close to going over their policies and choices again in the region . Already they are criticizing Sykes/Picot as being a clumsy partition of the area, and Sykes /Picot is the mother of Israel , and Europe and the US are finding that maintaining this off spring called Israel is proving too costly. No one can afford Israel .

If I were an Israeli I will do what has to be done , I will take the decision not to be part anymore of this bloodshed and bloodbath and oppression and extermination and injustice and slaughter , I will think it over and ponder and look for other alternatives, I will communicate my worries to those who are close to me and try to come up together with a mature sensible decision .I will try to start as a fresh human being a new life for myself and for those who are dear to me. I will no more be credulous and made to believe the lies of Netenyahu, Peres and company, they have no exit from the situation while I do.

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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!

The Chosenites-Stop Everything and Watch This Horrid Expose

December 16, 2012


DateSaturday, December 15, 2012 at 12:46AM AuthorGilad Atzmon

By Gilad Atzmon

Update: Youtube deleted the video today but I was just informed that it is now available on Vimeo.
The following video is a hard-hitting attempt to expose the link between Israeli barbarism and Jewish cultural and religious teaching. As we all know our Jewish ‘anti’ Zionists (JVP, IJAN, Mondoweiss etc’) insist that Zionism should be regarded as an anomaly within the wide context of Jewish culture and religion. They are clearly spinning – Israel is the Jewish State, it kills and slaughter in the name of the Jews, its airplanes and tanks are decorated with Jewish symbols, its crimes are, unfortunately, consistent with some bloodthirsty Old Testament and Talmudic verses. As I mention before, some Orthodox Jews interpret those vile verses differently. However, Israel clearly transforms Deuteronomy into a murderous practical reality.

This film points at the deeply non-ethical core that is embedded within cultural, secular and nationalist Jewish discourse. This is a very disturbing film but I believe that it is essential to watch and discuss these matters in an open manner. More than anyone else, Jews should watch these images and self-reflect. Zionism is clearly a problem, but it isn’t ‘the problem’.
 
As I pointed out in my latest book, The Wandering Who, time is ripe for us to address issues to do with Jewish culture and its influence within the West. Time is ripe to speak about Jewishness and Jewish secularism. Time is ripe to expose the matrix of Jewish power and lobbying within politics and media. When you watch this sickening images bear in mind that 80% of the British Tory MPs are members of the Conservative Friends of Israel. Try to ask yourself what is it that they love so much about the Jewish State?

http://vimeo.com/55650631
The Chosenites from Mally Obrian on Vimeo.

p.s. I guess that the editor behind this film is not familiar enough with Jewish dietary laws. There are no kosher pigs and pigs are not slaughtered in Jewish slaughter houses.


The Wandering Who? A Study Of Jewish Identity Politics, power and collective psychosis
Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk

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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!