At a demonstration in south Tel Aviv demanding the immediately expulsion of all non-Jewish African asylum-seekers, a lone Israeli woman who does not agree with the rest of the crowd is shouted down with ferocity and told that she deserves to be raped
Introduction by Gilad Atzmon: A very interesting review of The Wandering Who by Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh in the current Holy Land Studies Journal. The entire review can be read on Dr. Qumsiyeh’s website: http://www.qumsiyeh.org/giladatzmon/
“I see in Atzmon writings a number of memes that are seeping into the common discourse. A meme is a persuasive idea that spreads in a population like a useful gene spreads in a population. Some of those memes include:
-The now well-established fact that Jews are not a racial group but an ideological religious belief that spread many centuries ago among people of diverse background (this meme came from studies of the Khazars and others by authors like Arthur Koestler, Kevin Alan Brooks, Shlomo Sand, and now Atzmon)
-The idea of a conflict between chauvinistic nationalism and universal humanism.
-The weird mix of religious heritage/belief with tribal notions in Jewish political discourse
-The distorted recruitment of archaeological and other studies to support the political ideology of a connection between Jews of today and Israelites of the bible
-The recruitment of the ideology of suffering as a quasi-religious belief that is no longer subject to normal historical examinations (and in fact shielded from such historical examination via laws)”
To read more: http://www.qumsiyeh.org/giladatzmon/
By Gilad Atzmon
The European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy was criticised yesterday for comparing the killing of three children and a rabbi in a shooting attack in France to the situation in Gaza.
At the “Palestine refugees in the changing Middle East” conference in Brussels, Baroness Ashton, described the murders in Toulouse as a “terrible tragedy”, but she then added: “When we see what is happening in Gaza and in different parts of the world – we remember young people and children who lose their lives.”
Seemingly some prominent Jewish and Israeli leaders couldn’t agree less. For them Jewish suffering exceeds all other suffering and Palestinian’s in particular.
The London Jewish Chronicle quoted some of the outraged critics. “Even when read in context, Ashton’s words are beyond unacceptable,” said Oliver Worth, the British chairman of the World Union of Jewish Students. He said they were “truly outrageous and revolting” and called for her to resign because she had “lost all credibility”. And yet, Mr Worth fails to explain why is it “outrageous and revolting” to equate Jewish suffering with Palestinian one.
“Baroness Ashton’s remarks were both crass and wholly inappropriate,” said the chief executives of the Board of Deputies, yet he also fails to provide any reasoning.
“There is absolutely no equivalence between the situation in Gaza and the cold and callous murder of Rabbi Jonathan Sandler and the three children,” said Stefan Kerner, director of public affairs for the Zionist Federation. And I wonder why there is no ‘equivalence’, is it because the Jews are yet to withdraw from Toulouse? Or may be Mr Kerner actually expects the French to withdraw from Toulouse and to leave it to Rabbi Sandler and a few other Jews. I obviously find it really difficult to follow the Zionist logic anymore.
The Rabbi added: “For a person in Baroness Ashton’s position to even consider her comments appropriate is disgraceful. She should withdraw her statement immediately and apologise unreservedly for the offence that she has caused.” And I wonder why is it offensive to Jews when someone equates their grief with Goyim’s suffering. Does the Rabbi really believe that Jewish suffering is somehow superior?
Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s Foreign Minister, said he viewed her remarks as “inappropriate”. He said he hoped that she “re – examines and retracts them”. And I wonder, what kind of a retraction would please the Israeli Government. Do they really expect Baroness Ashton to accept that Jewish suffering is the ultimate form of human grief?
Israeli war criminal as well as Opposition leader Tzipi Livni also, attempted to offer some reasoning. She described Ashton’s remark as “reprehensible, infuriating, and wrong” to draw any link “between the murder of children in Toulouse and the massacre Assad is leading in Syria and the situation in Gaza”. Livni may be right for a change, the crime committed in Gaza by the Jewish State in the name of the Jewish People is indeed unique in the history of brutality. Also the fact that 94% of the Israeli Jewish population supported IDF genocdial tactics at the time of operation Cast Lead is also very unique. Israel’s war crimes are indeed uniquely cruel and beyond comparison.
But Livni didn’t just stop there, she tried to qualify her statement. “A hate crime or a leader murdering his people is not like a country fighting terror, even if civilians are hurt.” According to Lvini, the Baroness had failed to make “the appropriate moral distinction”. To start with we do not know yet what led to the tragic event in Toulouse. However, the fact that Israel defines the Palestinians as “terrorists” is yet to provide the Jewish State with an moral excuse to slay the indigenous people of the land and to abuse every possible human right.
I guess that we are all becoming impervious to Jewish political logic. But maybe this is another symptom of the Zionification of our reality. From now on we are expected to obey.
Antisemitic who ?
Who or what could have prompted Ali-Abuminah to write such a counter-productive diatribe against the beneficial works of Atzmon ?
Palestinians boycotting and in effect censoring a hard-hitting, courageous fellow traveler is a disgraceful act and poor strategy. It has come as a rude shock to many of us genuine campaigners for Palestine.
I’m pretty sure Mr. Abunimah didn’t read Atzmon’s book.
Does he not know that Atzmon’s book has been clearly blessed, endorsed and reviewed by illustrious authors and researchers, and alternative media stalwarts, long time ‘Friends of Palestine’ the likes of Messrs. John Mearsheimer, James Petras, William A Cook, Jeff Gates, Paul Balles, Alan Hart, Kim Petersen , Richard Falk, and scores of others as no other book ?
Do the signatories on the anti-Atzmon condemnation paper have a problem with all of the above mentioned writers?
Do their work get space on Ali Abunimah’s Electronic intifada blog ?
Does Abunimah & Co. even realize that these respectable committed campaigners have spent a life time writing volumes to spread awareness about the Palestinian struggle through their writing and activism and many of them have wound up uterly frustrated and penniless precisely due to the lack of any unity, organization or support from diaspora Paletinians? Shame on you!
‘Gilad Atzmon has written an absorbing and moving account of his journey from hard core Israeli nationalist to a de-Zionized patriot of humanity and passionate advocate of justice for the Palestinian people. It is 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, Albert G. Milbank Professor of International Law Emeritus, Princeton University, author of over 20 books, and UN Special Rapporteur for Occupied Palestinian Territories.
‘Gilad Atzmon has written a fascinating and provocative book on Jewish identity in the modern world. He shows how assimilation and liberalism are making it increasingly difficult for Jews in the Diaspora to maintain a powerful sense of their ‘Jewishness.’ Panicked Jewish leaders, he argues, have turned to Zionism (blind loyalty to Israel) and scaremongering (the threat of another Holocaust) to keep the tribe united and distinct from the surrounding goyim. As Atzmon’s own case demonstrates, this strategy is not working and is causing many Jews great anguish. The Wandering Who? should be widely read by Jews and non-Jews alike.’
John J. Mearsheimer is the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago
‘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 is a journalist, television producer and the author of several books including A Rum Affair, Power Into Art, Dr Riemann’s Zeros and Palestine: A Personal History. He is currently the publisher of Hesperus Press
‘Gilad Atzmon‘s The Wandering Who? is a series of brilliant illuminations and critical reflections on Jewish ethnocentrism and the hypocrisy of those who speak in the name of universal values and act tribal. Relying on autobiographical and existential experiences, as well as intimate observations of everyday life, both informed by profound psychological insights, Atzmon does what many critics of Israel fail to do; he uncovers the links between Jewish identity politics in the Diaspora with their ardent support for the oppressive policies of the Israeli state.
Atzmon provides deep insights into “neo-ghetto” politics. He has the courage – so profoundly lacking among western intellectuals – to speak truth to the power of highly placed and affluent Zionists who shape the agendas of war and peace in the English-speaking world. With wit and imagination, Atzmon’s passionate confrontation with neo-conservative power grabbers and liberal yea sayers sets this book apart for its original understanding of the dangers of closed minds with hands on the levers of power.
This book is more than a “study of Jewish identity politics” insofar as we are dealing with a matrix of power that affects all who cherish self-determination and personal freedom in the face of imperial and colonial dictates.’
Professor James Petras, Bartle Professor of Sociology at Binghamton University, New York, author of more than 62 books including The Power of Israel in the United States.
‘Atzmon’s insight into the organism created by the Zionist movement is explosive. The Wandering Who? tears the veil off of Israel’s apparent civility, its apparent friendship with the United States, and its expressed solicitude for Western powers, exposing beneath the assassin ready to slay any and all that interfere with its tribal focused ends.’
Professor William A. Cook, Professor of English at the University of La Verne in southern California, and author of The Rape Of Palestine.
‘The Wandering Who? features Gilad Atzmon at his delightful and insightful best: engaging, provocative and persuasive.’
Jeff Gates, author of Guilt By Association: How Deception and Self-Deceit Took America to War
‘The Wandering Who? is a pioneering work that deserves to be read and Gilad Atzmon is brave to write this book!’
Dr. Samir Abed-Rabbo, author and Professor Emeritus in the field of international law. He is director of the Center for Arabic and Islamic Studies in Brattleboro, Vermont and the former Dean of The Jerusalem School for Law and Diplomacy.
It is a scholarly and truly monumental work, deeply profound and, of course, controversial.
Alan Hart, British Journalist and former covert diplomat in Middle East, ITN’s News at 10, BBC’s Panorama
Kudos to the publishers ‘Zer0 Book’ for pretty much outlining the problem:
Contemporary culture has eliminated both the concept of the public and the figure of the intellectual. Former public spaces– both physical and cultural — are now either derelict or colonized by advertising. A cretinous anti-intellectualism presides, cheerled by expensively educated hacks in the pay of multinational corporations who reassure their bored readers that there is no need to rouse themselves from their inter-passive stupor. The informal censorship internalized and propagated by the cultural workers of late capitalism generates a banal conformity that the propaganda chiefs of Stalinism could only ever have dreamt of imposing.
Zero Books knows that another kind of discourse — intellectual without being academic, popular without being populist — is not only possible: it is already flourishing to the regions beyond the striplit malls of so-called mass media and the neurotically bureaucratic halls of the academy. Zer0 is committed to the idea of publishing as a making public of the intellectual. It is convinced that in the unthinking, blandly consensual culture in which we live, critical and engaged theoretical reflection is more important than ever before.
We have the potential on the Internet, for this “other kind of discourse.” intellectual without being academic, popular without being populist but only if we can keep it free from government interference and regulation and Zionist infiltrators! Which is not only possible but essential if we are to ever have or regain a reliable exchange of factual and honest ideas, knowledge and information which has not been twisted to the degree that the truth is no longer evident in order to fit some marketing or political objectives.
That means that the lie will have equal opportunity to ride First Class as well as the Truth. But… given any sort of government or economic controls or Zionist influences, then the Lie will supersede the Truth, and the forces of market and politics will prevail, and Truth, knowledge and real information will fade from the pages of history.
Earlaiman a frequent commentator on these pages astutely observes that most of the signatories on the anti-Atzmon condemnation paper are located in foreign (non Palestine) nations where they probably feel fat and secure in their high and lofty offices, pulpits and lectures.
These folks and those like them justify fully a former US Military strategic analyst Dr. Alan Sabrosky’s, criticism of the Palestinian movement’s “leadership” in the first of a series of his articles last summer, that so upset some within the Palestinian movement.
When the ship is sinking, blame someone who criticizes the organizers of the voyage. Never, ever, blame yourselves or the people who took you onto the rocks.
But then, what else can one expect from the same people who have led Palestine and Palestinians for 60 years from one triumph to another….?
These people are either fools, or dupes of the Israelis, or simply too terrified of what the Israelis can or will do to them, or some combination thereof.
I don’t always agree with Atzmon, and many people don’t agree with me, but so what? Reasonable people can disagree.
Each and every one of us has his or her own foibles and hobby-horses, and whether we give rein to them occasionally or not, as long as the principal thrust of most of our work is directed at our main chance — which is countering that of the Zionists — we all need to exercise patience and charity, let the occasional transgression (as one or more of us may see it) pass unremarked, and continue the good fight. Internal dissension and a needlessly purist worldview just help our common enemy.
Issue with Atzmon in this instance is that he has gored accurately some exceptionally sacred (in a secular sense) Israeli/Jewish oxen, hence the response from the Palestinian variant of “Uncle Toms & Aunt Jemimas.”
Tim King goes directly to the heart of the matter when he identifies the difference… “…knowing right from wrong and acting on it.”
It is really that simple!
by Gilad Atzmon
Ali Abunimah & Co tend to present themselves as advocates of “One Democratic State in Palestine.” This leaves me puzzled: what kind of democracy do they have in mind, exactly? For by calling for my “disavowal,” they prove beyond a doubt that they cannot tolerate even some elementary cultural criticism—criticism that is endorsed and praised by some of the most respected thinkers within our movement and beyond.
In fact, I am pretty delighted with the outraged reactions to my thoughts. I guess it enables us to map the discourse and its boundaries—and means that those boundaries are now official. Not only has my latest book, The Wandering Who?, rocked the boat, but it also has managed to unite Alan Dershowitz and Abe Foxman with Ali Abunimah and Max Blumenthal. That is pretty encouraging: it means that peace may prevail after all.
However, I also have some bad news for my would-be silencers, Palestinian and Jewish alike. I do not have any plans to slow down or drift away. I am a jazz musician and an independent thinker. I am basically a free agent—I say what I think and think what I say. The popularity of my writing among Palestinians, solidarity activists and truth seekers is the direct outcome of my sincere approach to the subject matter.
Whether my detractors accept it or not, the strength of my arguments is grounded on the transparent truthful nature of my premises. Until now, not one of my opponents has been able to point out a single discrepancy within my argument or the facts I cite. For instance, I contend that since Israel defines itself as the Jewish State—its tanks and planes decorated with Jewish symbols—it is our duty to ask: Who are the Jews? What is Judaism? And what is Jewishness all about?
The fact that some activists shy away from asking those questions doesn’t mean that the rest of us also should behave cowardly.
In case my detractors—be they Zionists, Anti-Zionist Zionists or Palestinians—fail to realize it, Palestine is not alone anymore, and is no longer an isolated, remote discourse. Even as I write, AIPAC is publicly and relentlessly pushing America into a new global conflict. In Britain, 80 percent of Tory MPs are members of the Conservative Friends of Israel. What we are witnessing here is a clear Zionist shift from the discourse of a “promised land” to one of a “promised planet.” I’m convinced that calling a spade a spade could actually save the world, including Americans, Brits, Iranians and Palestinians. But it also can save the Jews from the grave potential consequences inflicted on them by the Jewish lobbies.
Sadly, Ali Abunimah has misrepresented my thoughts. Clearly there is no racism, anti-Semitism or Holocaust denial in my writing. As determined as my detractors are to find it, they have failed to identify a single bit of evidence of such tendencies in my work. Ali Abunimah says on my behalf that “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.” What a ludicrous interpretation of my writing, in which I go out of my way to define the issue in categorical terms. What I am obviously opposing is Jewish racial exclusivity. If Israel is in the wrong for being a Jews-only State, I argue, then its Jewish critics better fight it using an inclusive, universalist ideology and practice.
I am indeed critical of Jewish identity politics, Jewish culture and Jewish ideology. I am also critical of the Jewish cultural attitude toward history. I am critical of Jewishness and any form of Jewish exclusive political activism. And yet, I wonder, why should any person who seeks justice and peace object to my approach? Is Jewish culture or identity politics beyond criticism? Are Jews chosen after all.
I am sorry to disappoint my Palestinian and Jewish opposition league, but it seems as if their terminology is faulty and misleading: Zionism is not colonialism, for colonialism is defined as a material exchange between a Mother State and a Settler State. The fact that there is no Jewish Mother State suggests that Zionism doesn’t fit the colonial model.
Nor is Israel an Apartheid State, for Apartheid is defined by the exploitation of the indigenous residents. Yet the Jewish State prefers that the Palestinians simply and completely disappear. In other words, we are dealing here with a unique racially driven expansionist philosophy not very different from the Nazis’ Lebensraum.
Israel is not Zionism, and vice versa. Israel is the outcome of the Zionist project. If Zionism is a promise to establish a “Jewish National Home in Palestine,” Israel is its post-revolutionary product. Indeed, Israelis are barely familiar with Zionist thought and ideology. From their perspective, anti-Zionist ranting is a remote Diaspora discourse.
Shalom does not mean peace, reconciliation or harmony. Its accurate English translation is “security for the Jews.” Israeli culture lacks a clear notion of “peace” as we know it—i.e., harmony and reconciliation.
I suggest that my detractors spend some time and think this through, so they can understand that the issues involving this conflict and its resolution go far beyond mere political discourse.
I would like to take this opportunity to advise my opponents that their campaign is counterproductive. Those who are interested in my ideas realize that we are living in a post-political and post-ideological era. Like myself, they are interested in an ethical argument. They are not “party members,” and they are not taking “orders” from any sectarian group or ideology. Instead they listen to their hearts. Those pro-Palestinian organizations sponsoring my current U.S. book tour realize very well that my work galvanizes a demarcation line between truth and its enemies.
In spite of the relentless slander campaign against my writing, it has not achieved a thing except to expose a rigorous intellectual intolerance in our midst. If my opposition is concerned with my thoughts, it will have to learn to debate. Before we can proceed, I guess, my detractors may have to actually read my book and decide exactly what they are against.
Most solidarity activists in this country would agree that the PSC (Palestine Solidarity Campaign) is potentially an invaluable institution. Yet, the National Office, under its current leadership, has made some serious mistakes.
The PSC’s task is not easy. We all operate in a Zionised environment and we’re subject to constant pressure and abuse. Moreover, it’s not always clear what we should do for Palestine. It is obvious that Palestinian resistance is more than just single political perception or a vision of conflict resolution. Palestine is basically a dynamic discourse of negation with Palestinians themselves divided on different issues to do with their struggle and their fate. Consequently, Palestinian solidarity is also far from being a rigid or monolithic discourse. Furthermore, the enemy also is far from being any obviously singular identity or monolithic political discourse. The Jewish national project is a varied discourse, driven by many conflicting thoughts such as Zionism, Israeli patriotism, Israeli escapism, Jewishness, Jewish messianic militancy, pseudo-peaceful propaganda, pre-traumatic stress and so on. So it makes sense that Palestinian solidarity must encompass many voices reflecting the immense complexity of the conflict and its possible resolution.
Initially, the PSC was an attempt provide an umbrella for diverse intellectual and political thoughts, ideas and tactics. However, because of internal political struggles and a relentless internal Jewish campaign, its national office has become a policing operation, engaged mainly in restricting the discourse and stifling freedom of speech, thought and expression. The organisation that was founded to fight for the rights of the expelled Palestinians, has itself, started to expel and abuse its most notable and dedicated activists and thinkers.
I believe that the PSC should never attempt to dominate the discourse. Anyway, it lacks both the political power and the intellectual capacity to do so. It should instead facilitate a wide debate that would transform this solidarity movement into a mass movement.
Instead of suggesting what is ‘right’ and who is ‘kosher’, the PSC should come up with a single, short, incisive but inclusive statement.
“WE ARE ALL PALESTINIANS”
Dominated by a Zionist power structure and ideology, with 80% of our leading party’s MPs being Conservative Friends of Israel (CFOI), our media editorials being controlled by BICOM, and our country having been involved in criminal wars to serve Israeli interests – we are indeed, all Palestinians. So, like Palestinians, we also need to be liberated.
Our solidarity with Palestine should start, right here at home. We could begin by exposing our local MP who is more than likely to be a CFOI, LFI or Lib Dem Friends of Israel member. It’s about time the British public grasped that we have far too many ‘Friends of Israel’ in our government but nowhere nearly enough friends of Britain.
We live in unique times. Yesterday’s ideologies and political institutions are crumbling. We are living in a post-ideological and post-political age. Thanks to the internet and the social networks, each one of us is an independent broadcasting outlet. Each one of us is capable of disseminating information at the speed of light – wider and faster than any institutional media corporation. People are now free to choose who they follow and what they believe. In sum, this technology offers us a unique opportunity to democratise the realm of thoughts, ideas and action. It’s a window of opportunity and we’d better make the most of it.
To some extent the PSC – just like the JC, the Guardian, the Trade Unions the parties – belongs to the old world, the world of stagnation and political power games. Perhaps this explains why the PSC leadership is so desperate for the approval of the JC, the Guardian and Parliament.
Instead, the PSC should communicate with the masses and proclaim far and wide that same, vital, humanist message:
WE ARE ALL PALESTINIANS
But, as ever, there’s some good news. The old Red Commissar is dead and so are the ‘liberal’ newspapers, radio and TV. Politics, as we knew it has become a meaningless activity. McCarthyism, witch-hunting and other Talmudic forms of excommunication and general abuse, they also belong to the past. Change is in the air and the PSC National Office had better get used to it – and fast. If it doesn’t, it will, quite simply and unfortunately, disappear.