Archive for the ‘Gilad Atzmon’ Category

The Case of Gilad Atzmon – counterpunch.org

Panel at Cooper Union NYC led by Anne-Marie Slaughter, 28 September 2006:

Tony Judt:I just Id 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 Im 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 Atzmons 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 Atzmons blogs and videos with an eye out for the racism, antisemitism and Holocaust denial of which Granting accuses him. I havent 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, Grantings 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 Atzmons 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. Im 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, Ive 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.

Grantings 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 Zionisms 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. Im inclined to agree when I read for instance Netanyahus 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 Atzmons complex sociological concept of Jewish-ness to mean that

Zionismispart and parcel of defining ones 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 doesnt show that non-Zionist Jewish political identities are inconceivable.

Grantings 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 Atzmons 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 doesnt 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 wont 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 ones blood or the religion of ones 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)

Atzmons 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 youre 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 Grantings 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 Freedlands 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. Morriss 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 Morriss or Atzmons or Nietzsches 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 Israels 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 Haaretz:

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 thats 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 doesnt 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, dont 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, dont they look into a Martin Luther, and his infamous book about the Jews and their lives? Dont 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.

Abunimahs position is of course untenable, while at the same time it remains to be seen whether Atzmons 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 states murderous ethnic cleansing. Why should it do only one or the other?

One Granting signatory, Omar Barghouti, has sought in terms similar to Atzmons 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 Atzmons 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 Atzmons 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 dont know much about either Judaism or Jewishness, but I think Atzmons 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 Israels 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 citys 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 wasnt 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 doesnt 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 Israels security. Antisemitism expert Antony Lerman, also, has noted that many acts against Jews in Europe were tied to Israels 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 Chronicles 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, Im 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 Daviss 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 Herzls 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 isnt 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 Atzmons 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 isnt at all a racial category (pp 94-95)

Tribal supremacy

As already touched on, while the Jewish supremacy of the Jewish states 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 trklk, or saying I am a Christian says something about Kurds, and perhaps Islam, as well. But Atzmons 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)

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The Case of Gilad Atzmon – counterpunch.org

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Opposition Will Not Name Hariri; New Stage Has Begun

Day When you Could Threaten Us Are Over

Any Hand Seeking to Detain Any of Our Mujahideen Will Be Cut

Iran’s Project is the Palestinian’s, Lebanon’s and Arab’s Project

Mideast Peace Talks Are “Born-Dead”

Our Freedom, Sovereignty Depend On Our Elements of Power

Videos: Hariri Assasination Evidence Expose

Israel behind Hariri’s Assassination

Israeli Hand That Attacks Army Will Be Cut Off

Lebanon Pushed into Sensitive Stage from STL Gate – video

Nasrallah on The Resistances Wounded Day -Video Unite, Back Turkey, Take Part in Freedom Flotilla 2 -Video

Nasralla: In Next War, Only Fleeing Israelis Will Be Safe.

Well hit back and we are capable of it,

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And More

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The Left Must Root Out Anti-Semitism In Its Ranks The Forward – Forward

In the last year, numerous anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists have appeared at left-leaning venues in New York City. As a monitor of far right politics, I keep track of this sort of thing, and Ive noticed a significant increase in the number of such events.

But unlike the other bigots energized in the Trump era, these anti-Semites are seeking audiences among the capital-L Left anarchists, Marxists, socialists, and participants in social movements such as Occupy Wall Street. But people inside the Left are increasingly speaking out, and if more continue to, the anti-Semites can be made unwelcome.

The most well-publicized incident was a September 2016 talk by Christopher Bollyn, a former editor at the Holocaust Denial publication Barnes Review, at the Brooklyn Commons. In April 2017, Gilad Atzmon who says hes a proud self-hating Jew, but that Jews are not quite ordinary human beings spoke at Theater 80 in Manhattans East Village.

And in May 2016, the annual Left Forum conference which draws thousands of participants included conspiracy theory panels. Amid the Bollyn controversy, it came out that some of the speakers were anti-Semites. Kevin Barrett, for example, doubts the facts of the Holocaust and claims that the U.S. has a Zionist dollar because the Federal Reserve is controlled by Jews, while Gearid Colmin says that refugees are fleeing to Europe on Rothschilds slaughterships, the slave-boats of Zionisms New World Order.

Some in the Jewish community assume that the Left or at least, the radical Left is virulently anti-Semitic. But that is a misconception. Some of this nebulousness revolves around the definition of anti-Semitism. If it includes calling for an end to Israels post-1967 Occupation, than the U.S. Left is certainly guilty. But, putting this aside, most avowed leftists do not identify as anti-Semitic, and generally criticize the wild conspiracy theories about Jews that have become increasingly common.

But even in those Left circles where one can find anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, two things are still off the table: You cant deny the Holocaust and you cant denounce all Jews. To get around the latter, a number of authors recycle anti-Semitic ideas but name a subset of Jews usually the Zionists as the agent of the conspiracy. But there are only about a half-dozen writers that traffic in this game who get any air time. None are household names, and of the numerous Left-wing websites, CounterPunch is the only prominent one to welcome this set.

The good news is that, although this has taken years, these anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists are being marginalized. Hard-line anti-Zionists have taken pains to denounce Atzmon. Jewish Voice for Peace has severed ties with Alison Weir, who uses anti-Semitic imagery and portrays Israel in the manner that anti-Semites have typically portrayed Jewish influence in world affairs. For instance, she singles out Zionists for playing a significant role in pushing the U.S. into World War I.

Both Bollyns and Atzmons New York City appearances were met with protests. (In both cases, private individuals owned the venues and refused to cancel the events.) And this year, the Left Forum my former employer cancelled Barretts panels after I and others presented them with documentation of his vile views.

Its almost always deeply frustrating to convince Leftists to sever these ties but often its achievable. Leftists know these people taint their movement, even though they are often hesitant to be drawn into what seem like endless controversies about anti-Semitism. There is almost always disbelief when you broach the topic, and a tendency to dismiss any documentation that comes from the normal watchdog organizations. And it can also make you the center of unwanted attention; Barrett is running a smear campaign against me in retaliation for exposing him. But Leftists usually change their mind once they understand that these unsavory alliances generate critical media attention.

Leftist Jews often come to me privately and complain about anti-Semitism theyve experienced, but feel cowed into being silent about it. But the more people speak out against this from within the Left, the less likely the antisemitic conspiracy theorists are to find a welcoming platform.

This weekend at the Left Forum there remains one anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist speaking, Alison Weir. So there is still room for improvement. But Barrett is holding his talks at a secret location outside the conference under the name the Left Out Forum on Sunday, June 4. Its a shame that he will draw an audience at all, but his talk is exactly where it should be: left out of the Left.

Spencer Sunshine is an Associate Fellow at Political Research Associates, and the lead author of the report Up in Arms: A Guide to Oregons Patriot Movement. Follow him on twitter: @transform6789.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the authors own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forward.

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Anti-Israel author Gilad Atzmon has book launch events cancelled – Jewish News

Anti-Israel author Gilad Atzmon has hit out at venues in Newcastle and Edinburgh for cancelling his book launch events at the last minute.

Israeli-born Atzmon had been due to speak about his new book Being in Time at The Cluny in Newcastle on Monday and at The Lighthouse in Edinburgh later this week, when he was told they venues were cancelling.

In a statement, the owner of The Lighthouse said: Gilad Atzmon has chosen to share a stage with holocaust deniers and has failed to distance himself from far-right individuals and groups who have used his own words to justify their anti-Semitism.

The owner also noted that the event coincided with the Jewish festival of Shavuot, and as a result many Jewish individuals who might have wanted to attend to challenge would not be able to do so.

Atzmon said the reasoning of the Edinburgh venue, which describes itself as a radical bookstore, was an insult to intelligence, adding: So radicals allow free speech, but only to those with whom they agree. This is not exactly a plan for popular resistance, more a guide to ghetto building.

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Being and Politics – Dissident Voice

Gilad Atzmon has a new book just out titled Being in Time: A Post-Political Manifesto. The title probably is influenced from a book, Being and Time, written by the German philosopher Martin Heidegger.

Atzmon has put forward his manifesto that attempts to synthesize various political, cultural, psychological, linguistic strands to explain why the western world finds itself in its current state of unfettered capitalism, crushed communism, the continuing Jewish occupation of and oppression in Palestine, supremacism, the West fighting Israels wars, and the discourse being manipulated (even within purportedly independent media).

In Being in Time, Atzmon pulls on many threads, including sexuality, psychoanalysis, the Frankfurt school, cultural Marxism, cognitive partitioning, political correctness, language, identity politics, leftism, rightism, and more.

Identity Politics

I continue to dissent from how Atzmon characterizes the Left, which he divides into the Old and New Left. Fine, there are divisions in the Left. There are certain core principles that leftists adhere to: pro-human rights for all humans, accepting of diversity, anti-war, pro-worker, anti-exploitation, etc. But what must also be realized is that many persons may pose as Left but are not leftist in orientation. People who do not embrace core leftist principles are not leftist, they are faux-leftists. To criticize the entirety of the Left because a fifth column has undermined a segment of the Left speaks to the level of infiltration, the gullibility of certain leftists, or the fragility of social conviction among some leftists.

The Left is not a monolith, and neither is the Right a monolith. Hence any criticism leveled at the entirety of a political orientation is only valid when the entirety of a political orientation espouses an identical platform.

Atzmon considers that identity politics characterizes liberalism and progressivism. (p 8) He names, for example, LGBTQ, feminists, Latinos, Blacks, and Jews as forming exclusive political alliances. However, a major plank of the Left is solidarity as it is widely understood that to bring about some greater form of socialism the masses must unite. Ergo, strict allegiance to identity politics is contrary to leftist principles. Atzmon further notes that patriotism is secondary among leftists. Jingoistic nationalism is an enemy of the working class, and it is certainly anathema to anarchists. Therefore, insofar as patriotic sentiment prejudices ones attachment with wider humanity, it serves to divide rather than unite peoples.

Yet rightists also engage in identity politics as Whites, militarists, religious sects, and anti-abortionists attest. In the case of the US politics, Amanda Marcotte of Salon writes, Democrats are always accused of playing identity politics. The reality is that Republicans do it far more.

Left-Right

I wonder what exactly Atzmon means by post-politics. I assume this refers to the fatigue he points to in the Brexit vote and election of Donald Trump, as well as the discarding of Left and Right politics.

He sees Left and Right as now indistinguishable and irrelevant. (p 9)

According to Atzmon, the Left is focused on what could be and the Right on what is. (p 13) Atzmon argues, The Right does not aim to change human social reality but rather to celebrate, and even to maximize it. (p 13)

But the Right has engineered this social reality through neoliberalism, imperialism, and militaristic violence, and the only ones really benefiting from this so-called maximization are the capitalist class. That the Democratic Party in the US, the Labour Party in the UK, the Liberal Party in Canada are in step with this engineering of social reality adduces that they are rightist parties.

The Left, continues Atzmon, yearns for equality, but for the Right, the human condition is diverse and multi-layered, with equality not just tolerated but accepted as part of the human condition, a natural part of our social, spiritual and material world. (p 13)

The imprecision of what constitutes a chunk of Atzmons manifesto is annoying. The Left yearns? This might be written in a less biased manner as a desire. But it is not simply a desire for an undefined equality. The Left calls for an equality of conditions, opportunities, and access to resources. Why not? Should an inequality of conditions, opportunities, and access to resources be accepted? Should one class of people be accorded privileges over the rest of humanity? Is this not supremacism which Atzmon deplores? And for most of the Left most (and for anarchists, likeliest all), respect for diversity is a valued principle. Diversity is recognized by the Right, specifically, pecuniary diversity. But American society historically has been considered a melting pot rather than a celebration of diversity.

Atzmon sets up the parameters for discussion,such that the post-political author can diss both Left and Right. He does not discuss in the Left-Right context as to what constitutes the human condition and whether the rightist perspective is indeed a natural part of our social, spiritual and material world. I find such a statement ahistorical. The economist Karl Polanyi presented a compelling historical perspective in his book The Great Transformation that elucidates how communitarian human society was changed.

Atzmon writes, For the Right ideologue, it is the will to survive and even to attain power that makes social interactions exciting. (p 13) The sentence strikes this reader as platitudinal. There is no example or substantiation provided. Which ideologue from whatever corner of the political continuum does not have a will to survive or seek exciting interactions?

Atzmon sums up the Left-Right schism as the tension between equality and reality. (p 13) If one cannot accept the definitions, and if the premises are faulty, then the logical structure collapses.

One flips the page and the Left is described as dreamy, illusory, unreal, phantasmal, utopian; thus, it did not appeal to the working class. Atzmon asserts, Social justice, equality and even revolution may really be nothing but the addictive rush of effecting change and this is perhaps why hard-core Leftist agitators often find it difficult to wake from their social fantasy. They simply refuse to admit that reality has slipped from their grasp, preferring to remain in their phantasmal universe, shielded by ghetto walls built of archaic terminology and political correctness. (p 14-15)

Atzmon is also abusive of the Right, seeing the Right ideologue as mired in biological determinism. (p 17)

Atzmon says he wants to push past political ideology. I am unaware of his professing any political leaning, so I guess he is, in a sense, already post-political. This strikes me as illusory since in western democracies the corporations still pull the strings of their politicians.

Atzmon applies the noun democracy recklessly. Without defining what is a democracy, through using the word (as so many people do), he inadvertently reifies something that does not exist in any meaningful sense.

Atzmon writes darkly, Symptomatic of the liberal democratic era was the belief that people could alter their circumstances. (p 19) Yet contemporary politicians still play on that sentiment, witness Barack Obama in the US and Justin Trudeau in Canada whose political campaigns appealed to such a belief. Does Atzmon think people cannot alter their circumstances?

Atzmon points to how the Labour Party under Blair became a neoliberal, warmongering party. He concludes, The difference between Left and Right had become meaningless? (p 24) I would describe this as the Left (to the extent the Labour Party was genuinely Left) being co-opted and disappeared by the Right a political coup.

Atzmon says the political -isms and free markets are empty. He does not specifically target anarch-ism, however. Besides mentioning anarchist professor Noam Chomsky, one supposes anarchism is too fringe for Atzmon, but also it is beyond much of the criticism he levels at the Left. And as for the notion of a free market, there never has been one. Polanyi wrote in The Great Transformation: The road to the free market was opened and kept open by an enormous increase in continuous, centrally organized and controlled interventionism. (p 146)

Why has the genuine Left never attained power and brought its vision to fruition? Rampant capitalism has allowed 1% to profit grotesquely relative to the 99%. The 1%-ers have the money and the power that money buys: media, corporations, resources, and government. With the government controlled by the 1%-ers that puts the state security apparatus also under their control and paid for the 99%-ers (because the rich all too often escape paying tax) to keep them in place. The police and military is, in essence, socialism exploited to protect capitalism. The few countries that have brought about Communism (Cuba, China, USSR, Viet Nam, etc) have found themselves under incessant militaristic and economic threat from capitalists who fear the example of successful socialism. This is missing from Atzmons analysis.

Atzmon even proposes that socialism can also be considered greedy because it promises that neither you nor anyone else will possess more than I. (p 25) Really? Where is this stated and by who? Anarchist economics does not propose such a premise.

Political correctness

Political correctness (PC). What is it? Atzmon calls it a tyrannical project. The attempted elimination of essentialism, categorization and generalization in opposition to human nature. (p 38) Basically, it is the avoidance of language that stigmatizes other groups. Who wants to be stigmatized? Nobody. I can agree that PC has been pushed to extremes. PC also does not distinguish between intention and denotation. Should it? I confess when younger that I, close friends, and colleagues would call each other gay. It was actually a term of affection we used for each other. No negative sentiments were felt toward any sexual orientations; in fact, many of us were frequently in the company of LGBTQ. But we were not PC.

Atzmon finds that self-censorship is an outcome of PC: Initially we dont say what we think; eventually we learn to say what we dont think. (p 39) Perhaps. But sometimes it is better to bite ones tongue and say nothing. I prefer to think of PC having encouraged a more respectful discourse, but PC should be criticized when it becomes excessive. There are plenty of non-PC examples among those who affiliate with the PC crowd, such as denigrating people who demonstrate for Palestinian human rights as anti-Semites probably the most abused anti-PC term. PC becomes a tool of indoctrination when not practiced with equanimity and sincerity.

Is PC a freedom of speech issue? In some cases, yes. For instance, why is it okay to label someone a holocaust denier when questioning the veracity of certain aspects of WWII history? No serious person denies that Jews were among those targeted by Nazis; and no serious person denies that Jews were among those people transported to and having died in concentration camps.

An inordinate focus on PC can be vexing; there are much bigger issues in the world than a focus on whether to call a female girl or woman. It seems simple enough to raise awareness of inappropriate use of language. Most people will come around to a polite request to avoid words that may offend.

Miscellania

Being in Time finally begins to hit its stride when focusing on manipulations to grab and maintain power. The author is unafraid to point a finger and criticize identitarian groupings that create and exploit divisions. The stride is bumpy though, as Atzmon discusses sexuality, LGBTQ, feminism, Left abandonment of the working class, psychoanalysis and the scientific method, Athens and Jerusalem, severe criticism of Marxism, etc. The depth and breadth of the manifesto is beyond a book review.

The scope of Being in Time even looks at a 1970s sitcom, All in the Family, which Atzmon sees as having succeeded in pushing the liberal agenda into every American living room. (p 109) Atzmon calls it a sophisticated cultural manipulation. (p 110)

Atzmon sees Hillary Clintons presidential campaign as an institutional failure embedded in progressive and liberal thought. (p 120) Describing the ardent neoliberal Clinton or her supporters as liberal or progressive is classic mislabeling.

Atzmon is razor sharp when discussing aspects of Jewishness identity and what the different aspects mean for being a Jew. However, when discussing the political spectrum, political ideology, and society, his definitions too often seem contrived to support his thesis.

In the final pages of Being in Time, Atzmon speaks from deep familiarity with the subject matter: capitalism, Mammonism, and tribalism. With a closing flourish, Atzmon poignantly dares to ask, And isnt it correctness, pure and simple, that stops us from mentioning that the protagonist [in George Orwells novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four, Brotherhood leader Emmanuel] Goldstein is, himself, Jewish? (p 208)

Final Comments

In the typical human perspective, Being proceeds in a linear fashion. But from a cultural, historical, linguistic, ethical, scientific perspective Being is clearly multi-faceted and not confined to linearity. Atzmon is fully aware of this, nonetheless his Being in Time tackles myriad issues in a rather binary fashion.

There are arguments presented in the book that I diverge from, but Being in Time presents points of view that deserve contemplation and a threshing out. Over all, it is a manifesto that I find unrefined; in dire need of definitions that are substantiated, not merely asserted; and (although I believe Atzmon would state this was beyond his remit) it would be fruitful if the book erected a promising structure, rather than simply tear down structures with little left standing. Being in Time comes across as an interesting foray to understanding and twining politics, power, and ontology that deserves deeper development. A dialectical approach might be most illuminating.

Alas, politics is not yet dead.

The Dream of a better world is not yet dead either. But one day the Dream must end because the Dream must be made a Reality. That is my simplistic two-sentence manifesto.

Kim Petersen is a former co-editor of Dissident Voice. He can be reached at: kimohp@gmail.com. Twitter: @kimpetersen. Read other articles by Kim.

This article was posted on Thursday, June 1st, 2017 at 3:12am and is filed under Book Review, Capitalism, Censorship, Communism/Marxism/Maoism, Language, Philosophy, Socialism, Solidarity.

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Letters to The Editor, Week of May 25, 2017 – The Villager

Letters to The Editor, Week of May 25, 2017
The Villager
Theatre 80 political panel (news article, thevillager.com, April 28) and Flirting with the Devil: Gilad Atzmon and the 'tyranny' of free speech (news article, May 4):. Thank you for your amusing coverage of the controversy over the recent panel at

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Corbyn appoints anti-Israel activist as campaign chief – Jewish Chronicle

Jeremy Corbyn has appointed the former chair of Stop the War to head his campaign team in the final few weeks of the election.

Andrew Murray, who was a member of the Communist Party for four decades but quit last year to join Mr Corbyns Labour, chaired Stop The War from 2001 to 2011, and then again from 2015-2016.

Stop the War has repeatedly attacked Israel, with numerous speakers at its events over the years denouncing the state. In 2009 one of the groups founders, John Rees, described Hamas and Hezbollah as resistance groups which are a legitimate part of [our] movement.

In a 2012 speech Mr Murray expressed solidarity with the heroic Palestinian people in Gaza, saying that Palestine stands today undefeated and unbowed despite the bloody aggression by one of the greatest military powers on earth, a reference to Israel.

We have a message for the Israeli embassy, the Israeli government every time you kill a Palestinian child, you are digging your own graves. Mr Murray made no reference to the Israeli children killed by Palestinians, or to the genocidal policies of Hamas, or to the thousands of rockets Hamas was firing into Israeli territory at the time.

He also called for the [UK] trade to drop the illusion that the Histadrut [the Israeli trade union movement] is a proper trade union, and break the links with the Israeli trade union movement.

In the last two years, Stop the War has deleted a number of articles from its website, including one titled Time to go to war with Israel as the only path to peace in the Middle East by Richard Falk, a former UN special envoy who has supported 9/11 conspiracy theories and praised the work of notorious antisemite Gilad Atzmon.

Another deleted piece, by Alison Weir, the founder of an antisemitic website called If Americans Knew, claimed that while some Israeli Olympians murdered in Munich in 1972 were accidentally killed by their Palestinian captors, German Special Forces killed the rest during an unnecessary rescue attempt, and that the Palestinians had no plans to kill the athletes. She also wrote that the athletes deaths should be placed in the context of Israels ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians.

A Labour party source told the Huffington Post that Corbyns Labour has gone full Trump. Andrew Murray is the hard-lefts Steve Bannon [Mr Trumps controversial White House adviser].

A senior LFI source said:

It is extremely depressing that Jeremy Corbyn thinks it is appropriate to appoint someone with such offensive and extreme views. Mr Murrays vitriolic anti-Israel opinions should have no place in the Labour Party.”

On Monday, a spokesperson for Mr Corbyn’s office said that “Andrew Murray has been seconded by UNITE [the trade union] to support, not head up, the campaign.”

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Censorship and Gatekeepers: When Left Progressives Mingle with Neocons – Center for Research on Globalization

The Left in the United States is fond of saying one thing in support of its programs, yet, generally does something entirely different. It also seems to have strange bedfellows. Here are a few examples:

The Left Forum brings together national and international politics, people, ideas, and activism for a just, equitable, free, sustainable world beyond capitalism.

Originally founded in the 1960s, the Left Forum is holding its annual meeting June 2-4, 2017. Its situation is symptomatic of the American Left and its self-created problems. Embroiled this year in a vicious controversy over speakers and panels, the Forum is struggling with censorship, religion, and political correctnessbut refuses to acknowledge its problems or explain its actions.

Given such statements and procedures, some people have questioned the Lefts attitude.

Gilad Atzmon, the Israeli Jew, musician, one-time soldier, and political writer, talks often about the Treacherous Left, the people more concerned with homosexual marriage than war, peace, or prosperity. In New York Citys East Village in early May 2017, Atzmon spoke on the

tyranny of political correctness, saying it was in fact worse than tyranny, because it is self-censorship. It is you who silence yourself.

Sarah Ferguson, author of an account in The Villager of his talk, asked

What is the relationship between the Left and Free Speech? And is some speech so beyond the pale, that its wrong to evenengage in debate?

Given the hostility shown Atzmon at that event, this was not a rhetorical question. Too many set themselves up as arbiters of free speech. In the words of Swiss publicist, Frank A. Meyer, the media have become moral executioners. He noted that anyone making forbidden inquiries about government-promoted policies is punished. He said they are denounced as racist, right-wing populists, in extreme cases as fascists. (Meyer, Frank A. Berlin-Anschlag Deutscher Winter 2016 (Berlin Attack German Winter 2016), Focus Online, December 25, 2016.)

And that is why the Left really is sinister, pun intended.

Look at the progressives who did not criticize Hillary Clintons wild charges that Russian influence cost her the election. Look at the Leftists who refused to challenge Barack H. Obamas destruction of Libya and Syria. Where were the howls of rage? Where were the incandescent editorials in major newspapers? The journalist Bob Parry lost several jobs at mainstream publications because he would not color his reporting to fit managements views (to protect their ties to government). No one from the Left protested. The liberal press, such as the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times savaged Gary Webb for publicizing CIA drug-dealing in support of Iran-Contra. Yet, no one from the sinister Gauche took to the streets, even after he committed suicide by shooting himself in the headtwice.

And where is Democracy Now with its perceived credibility? A supposed leftist, the TV shows host, Amy Goodman, is generously funded by globalist foundations. As a result, she is now a gatekeeper, promoting regime change in Syria. On May 3, 2017, Goodman interviewed Anand Gopal,former fellow at the New America Foundation. He claimed Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad [is] the cause of all sufferingin Syria. (Haiphong, Danny. Democracy Now Runs Interference for Imperialism in Syria, Global Research, May, 15, 2017.) In yet another article, Democracy Nows public face is contributing to the very violence being committed by Western-backed mercenaries against the Syrian people. (Tracy, James F. Progressive Journalisms Legacy of Deceit, Global Research, July 20, 2012.)

Mrs. Goodman will not touch a hot topic with a 10-foot pole or a 12-foot hungarian. This author sent her a copy of his book, Visas for Al Qaeda: CIA Handouts That Rocked The World, suggesting it might be of interest to her program. Dead silence. No one atDemocracy Now responded to follow-up letters, emails, and telephone calls. (Copies of his upcoming publication, Goodbye, Europe? Hello Chaos? Merkels Migrant Bomb will go elsewhere.)

On December 18, 2016, the CBS news show 60 Minutes promoted the Syrian White Helmets (who work only in terrorist-controlled areas). According to the program,

[T]he trained force of 3,000 rescue workers offer Syrian civilians their only hope.

Yet, the Left did not attack this fake news. (Cf. Global Research and 21st Century Wire for real news about the Helmets and their unsavory activities, connections, and background.)

The Left, as is clear from the foregoing, is controlled by gatekeepers. What are they? Who are they? What do they do? They control access.

Gatekeepers rarely challenge their own position as gatekeepers. They are simply right. They are more knowledgeable, more level-headed, more experienced, and more invested in the future of whatever movements they belong to. They know what is best and will enforce it for the greater good. They find themselves saying, That is not appropriate, or That is counterproductive, or Why do you have to make this about you when its about us? (Why Its Important To Challenge The Power Of Gatekeepers, TheEstablishment.com, July 7, 2016.)

Like the Left Forum, 60 Minutes, and Amy Goodman, Medea (given name Susan)Benjamin is another gatekeeper. She is well-heeled and well-connected.

during the 2004 Presidential campaign, Benjamins message and tone began to shift dramatically into what came to be known as the ABB movementAnybody But Bush. She and eighty fellow prominent leaders who once formed the one hundred-thirteen member Nader 2000 Citizens Committee put forth a petition urging anti-war Nader not to run, and instead threw their support behind pro-war Democratic Party candidate John Kerry Benjamin cajoled [the] Greens into neither nominating Nader nor giving him the official endorsement he and running mate Peter Camejo had publicly sought from the party. (Shaw, Charles. The Gatekeepers of the So-Called Left, Conspiracy Archive, May 16, 2005.)

Leftist gatekeepers appear to have connections with the Central Intelligence Agency. The liberal magazine Nation has ties to the Agency and its former director William Casey, founder of the Manhattan Institute, an alleged free market think tank.

But who funds the Gatekeepers? One organization is the Ford Foundation, with a raft of joint Foundation-CIA projects.

Investigative journalist Bob Feldman identifiesseveral alternative media outlets receiving Ford Foundation funding (based on their tax returns).

As Feldman points out, these outlets has systematically marginalized independent researchers who have systematically studiedthe JFK and other political assassinations. (Bramhall, Dr. Stuart Jeanne. Does the CIA Fund Both the Right and the Left ?, March 17, 2015, normanpilon.com).

Why does this happen? How does this happen? Is it because too many people are pig-stupid and badly educated? Is it because they put their trust in the wrong places? Heres an explanation from a reader of the German translation of Visas for Al Qaeda (Die CIA und de Terror, Kopp Verlag.):

People here have too much faith in AmericaI told my sister about your book. She is a medical doctor and not stupid, but as in many cases she does not have enough time to figure out on her own the political picture. She saw what I told her from your book as a conspiracy theory. Al-Assad is an inhuman dictator, the US helps democracy in the Near East, etc. It is almost hopeless.

In the end, its the influence of special interest groups. Their members worm their way into power in Leftist media, organizations, and factions. Working together for particular interests, they block alternative viewpoints, limiting the publics ability to know, to learn, to compare disparate ideas and viewpoints.

As the Washington Post now claims on its masthead,

Democracy Dies In Darkness.

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German holocaust denier Horst Mahler arrested in Hungary – International Business Times UK

Austria election: Holocaust survivor urges people not to vote for far-right party Storyful

Holocaust denier Horst Mahler has been arrested in Hungary after he fled an 11-year prison sentence in Germany.

The 81-year-old Third Reich sympathiser was detained in the city of Sopron, in the west of the country, Hungarian police confirmed in a statement online.

The arrest followed an online announcement in which Mahler said that he had requested Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban to grant him asylum as a “politically persecuted person”, according to German newspaper Mitteldeutsche Zeitung. He referred to Orban as “Fhrer”, Adolf Hitler’s title, and said that the Hungarian right-wing politician, whose tough stance on immigration has been criticised by Angela Merkel, would be sympathetic to his request.

“I trust in the freedom-loving Hungarian people and lay my fate in the hands of its government,” he wrote in his statement.

He said that the “persecution” had been prompted by his publication of a book entitled ‘The End of Wanderings Thoughts on Gilad Atzmon and the Jewish people’ which details the life of British-Israeli saxophonist Atzmon who has been accused of Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism.

Mahler was once a left-wing extremist and a founding member of the Red Army Faction, a terrorist group who carried out bombings, assassinations and bank robberies. In a dramatic shift, Mahler joined the extremist far-right National Democratic Party in 2000.

He was handed a six-year prison sentence in 2009 for repeatedly giving the Hitler salute, a punishable offense in Germany. He was also sentenced, by another court, for disputing the Holocaust and trivialising crimes committed by Nazis during the Second World War. He was released in 2015 after his leg required amputation due to a bad infection. He is believed to have fled to Germany in April 2017.

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May 15, 2017   Posted in: Gilad Atzmon  Comments Closed

The Case of Gilad Atzmon – counterpunch.org

Panel at Cooper Union NYC led by Anne-Marie Slaughter, 28 September 2006: Tony Judt:I just Id 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 Im 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 Atzmons 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 Atzmons blogs and videos with an eye out for the racism, antisemitism and Holocaust denial of which Granting accuses him. I havent 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, Grantings 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 Atzmons 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. Im 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, Ive 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. Grantings 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 Zionisms 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. Im inclined to agree when I read for instance Netanyahus 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 Atzmons complex sociological concept of Jewish-ness to mean that Zionismispart and parcel of defining ones 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 doesnt show that non-Zionist Jewish political identities are inconceivable. Grantings 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 Atzmons 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 doesnt 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 wont 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 ones blood or the religion of ones 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) Atzmons 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 youre 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 Grantings 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 Freedlands 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. Morriss 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 Morriss or Atzmons or Nietzsches 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 Israels 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 Haaretz: 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 thats 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 doesnt 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, dont 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, dont they look into a Martin Luther, and his infamous book about the Jews and their lives? Dont 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. Abunimahs position is of course untenable, while at the same time it remains to be seen whether Atzmons 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 states murderous ethnic cleansing. Why should it do only one or the other? One Granting signatory, Omar Barghouti, has sought in terms similar to Atzmons 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 Atzmons 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 Atzmons 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 dont know much about either Judaism or Jewishness, but I think Atzmons 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 Israels 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 citys 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 wasnt 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 doesnt 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 Israels security. Antisemitism expert Antony Lerman, also, has noted that many acts against Jews in Europe were tied to Israels 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 Chronicles 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, Im 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 Daviss 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 Herzls 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 isnt 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 Atzmons 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 isnt at all a racial category (pp 94-95) Tribal supremacy As already touched on, while the Jewish supremacy of the Jewish states 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 trklk, or saying I am a Christian says something about Kurds, and perhaps Islam, as well. But Atzmons 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)

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June 14, 2017   Posted in: Gilad Atzmon  Comments Closed

Gilad Atzmon on Muhammad and Friends (Nation of Islam)

A Must see: What if Hezbollah Was Defeated? Sayyed Nasrallah: All Options Open in Case of Israeli Attack Sayyed Nasrallah: March 14 Bets Are Falling, Syria to Pass Conspiracy The enemy is this American Administration and its tool not allyin the region, Israel, Sayyed Resistance Stronger than Ever Lebanon Will Protect Oil Wealth Opposition Will Not Name Hariri; New Stage Has Begun Day When you Could Threaten Us Are Over Any Hand Seeking to Detain Any of Our Mujahideen Will Be Cut Iran’s Project is the Palestinian’s, Lebanon’s and Arab’s Project Mideast Peace Talks Are “Born-Dead” Our Freedom, Sovereignty Depend On Our Elements of Power Videos: Hariri Assasination Evidence Expose Israel behind Hariri’s Assassination Israeli Hand That Attacks Army Will Be Cut Off Lebanon Pushed into Sensitive Stage from STL Gate – video Nasrallah on The Resistances Wounded Day -Video Unite, Back Turkey, Take Part in Freedom Flotilla 2 -Video Nasralla: In Next War, Only Fleeing Israelis Will Be Safe. Well hit back and we are capable of it, More And More

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June 14, 2017   Posted in: Gilad Atzmon  Comments Closed

The Left Must Root Out Anti-Semitism In Its Ranks The Forward – Forward

In the last year, numerous anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists have appeared at left-leaning venues in New York City. As a monitor of far right politics, I keep track of this sort of thing, and Ive noticed a significant increase in the number of such events. But unlike the other bigots energized in the Trump era, these anti-Semites are seeking audiences among the capital-L Left anarchists, Marxists, socialists, and participants in social movements such as Occupy Wall Street. But people inside the Left are increasingly speaking out, and if more continue to, the anti-Semites can be made unwelcome. The most well-publicized incident was a September 2016 talk by Christopher Bollyn, a former editor at the Holocaust Denial publication Barnes Review, at the Brooklyn Commons. In April 2017, Gilad Atzmon who says hes a proud self-hating Jew, but that Jews are not quite ordinary human beings spoke at Theater 80 in Manhattans East Village. And in May 2016, the annual Left Forum conference which draws thousands of participants included conspiracy theory panels. Amid the Bollyn controversy, it came out that some of the speakers were anti-Semites. Kevin Barrett, for example, doubts the facts of the Holocaust and claims that the U.S. has a Zionist dollar because the Federal Reserve is controlled by Jews, while Gearid Colmin says that refugees are fleeing to Europe on Rothschilds slaughterships, the slave-boats of Zionisms New World Order. Some in the Jewish community assume that the Left or at least, the radical Left is virulently anti-Semitic. But that is a misconception. Some of this nebulousness revolves around the definition of anti-Semitism. If it includes calling for an end to Israels post-1967 Occupation, than the U.S. Left is certainly guilty. But, putting this aside, most avowed leftists do not identify as anti-Semitic, and generally criticize the wild conspiracy theories about Jews that have become increasingly common. But even in those Left circles where one can find anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, two things are still off the table: You cant deny the Holocaust and you cant denounce all Jews. To get around the latter, a number of authors recycle anti-Semitic ideas but name a subset of Jews usually the Zionists as the agent of the conspiracy. But there are only about a half-dozen writers that traffic in this game who get any air time. None are household names, and of the numerous Left-wing websites, CounterPunch is the only prominent one to welcome this set. The good news is that, although this has taken years, these anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists are being marginalized. Hard-line anti-Zionists have taken pains to denounce Atzmon. Jewish Voice for Peace has severed ties with Alison Weir, who uses anti-Semitic imagery and portrays Israel in the manner that anti-Semites have typically portrayed Jewish influence in world affairs. For instance, she singles out Zionists for playing a significant role in pushing the U.S. into World War I. Both Bollyns and Atzmons New York City appearances were met with protests. (In both cases, private individuals owned the venues and refused to cancel the events.) And this year, the Left Forum my former employer cancelled Barretts panels after I and others presented them with documentation of his vile views. Its almost always deeply frustrating to convince Leftists to sever these ties but often its achievable. Leftists know these people taint their movement, even though they are often hesitant to be drawn into what seem like endless controversies about anti-Semitism. There is almost always disbelief when you broach the topic, and a tendency to dismiss any documentation that comes from the normal watchdog organizations. And it can also make you the center of unwanted attention; Barrett is running a smear campaign against me in retaliation for exposing him. But Leftists usually change their mind once they understand that these unsavory alliances generate critical media attention. Leftist Jews often come to me privately and complain about anti-Semitism theyve experienced, but feel cowed into being silent about it. But the more people speak out against this from within the Left, the less likely the antisemitic conspiracy theorists are to find a welcoming platform. This weekend at the Left Forum there remains one anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist speaking, Alison Weir. So there is still room for improvement. But Barrett is holding his talks at a secret location outside the conference under the name the Left Out Forum on Sunday, June 4. Its a shame that he will draw an audience at all, but his talk is exactly where it should be: left out of the Left. Spencer Sunshine is an Associate Fellow at Political Research Associates, and the lead author of the report Up in Arms: A Guide to Oregons Patriot Movement. Follow him on twitter: @transform6789. The views and opinions expressed in this article are the authors own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forward.

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June 3, 2017   Posted in: Gilad Atzmon  Comments Closed

Anti-Israel author Gilad Atzmon has book launch events cancelled – Jewish News

Anti-Israel author Gilad Atzmon has hit out at venues in Newcastle and Edinburgh for cancelling his book launch events at the last minute. Israeli-born Atzmon had been due to speak about his new book Being in Time at The Cluny in Newcastle on Monday and at The Lighthouse in Edinburgh later this week, when he was told they venues were cancelling. In a statement, the owner of The Lighthouse said: Gilad Atzmon has chosen to share a stage with holocaust deniers and has failed to distance himself from far-right individuals and groups who have used his own words to justify their anti-Semitism. The owner also noted that the event coincided with the Jewish festival of Shavuot, and as a result many Jewish individuals who might have wanted to attend to challenge would not be able to do so. Atzmon said the reasoning of the Edinburgh venue, which describes itself as a radical bookstore, was an insult to intelligence, adding: So radicals allow free speech, but only to those with whom they agree. This is not exactly a plan for popular resistance, more a guide to ghetto building.

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June 1, 2017   Posted in: Gilad Atzmon  Comments Closed

Being and Politics – Dissident Voice

Gilad Atzmon has a new book just out titled Being in Time: A Post-Political Manifesto. The title probably is influenced from a book, Being and Time, written by the German philosopher Martin Heidegger. Atzmon has put forward his manifesto that attempts to synthesize various political, cultural, psychological, linguistic strands to explain why the western world finds itself in its current state of unfettered capitalism, crushed communism, the continuing Jewish occupation of and oppression in Palestine, supremacism, the West fighting Israels wars, and the discourse being manipulated (even within purportedly independent media). In Being in Time, Atzmon pulls on many threads, including sexuality, psychoanalysis, the Frankfurt school, cultural Marxism, cognitive partitioning, political correctness, language, identity politics, leftism, rightism, and more. Identity Politics I continue to dissent from how Atzmon characterizes the Left, which he divides into the Old and New Left. Fine, there are divisions in the Left. There are certain core principles that leftists adhere to: pro-human rights for all humans, accepting of diversity, anti-war, pro-worker, anti-exploitation, etc. But what must also be realized is that many persons may pose as Left but are not leftist in orientation. People who do not embrace core leftist principles are not leftist, they are faux-leftists. To criticize the entirety of the Left because a fifth column has undermined a segment of the Left speaks to the level of infiltration, the gullibility of certain leftists, or the fragility of social conviction among some leftists. The Left is not a monolith, and neither is the Right a monolith. Hence any criticism leveled at the entirety of a political orientation is only valid when the entirety of a political orientation espouses an identical platform. Atzmon considers that identity politics characterizes liberalism and progressivism. (p 8) He names, for example, LGBTQ, feminists, Latinos, Blacks, and Jews as forming exclusive political alliances. However, a major plank of the Left is solidarity as it is widely understood that to bring about some greater form of socialism the masses must unite. Ergo, strict allegiance to identity politics is contrary to leftist principles. Atzmon further notes that patriotism is secondary among leftists. Jingoistic nationalism is an enemy of the working class, and it is certainly anathema to anarchists. Therefore, insofar as patriotic sentiment prejudices ones attachment with wider humanity, it serves to divide rather than unite peoples. Yet rightists also engage in identity politics as Whites, militarists, religious sects, and anti-abortionists attest. In the case of the US politics, Amanda Marcotte of Salon writes, Democrats are always accused of playing identity politics. The reality is that Republicans do it far more. Left-Right I wonder what exactly Atzmon means by post-politics. I assume this refers to the fatigue he points to in the Brexit vote and election of Donald Trump, as well as the discarding of Left and Right politics. He sees Left and Right as now indistinguishable and irrelevant. (p 9) According to Atzmon, the Left is focused on what could be and the Right on what is. (p 13) Atzmon argues, The Right does not aim to change human social reality but rather to celebrate, and even to maximize it. (p 13) But the Right has engineered this social reality through neoliberalism, imperialism, and militaristic violence, and the only ones really benefiting from this so-called maximization are the capitalist class. That the Democratic Party in the US, the Labour Party in the UK, the Liberal Party in Canada are in step with this engineering of social reality adduces that they are rightist parties. The Left, continues Atzmon, yearns for equality, but for the Right, the human condition is diverse and multi-layered, with equality not just tolerated but accepted as part of the human condition, a natural part of our social, spiritual and material world. (p 13) The imprecision of what constitutes a chunk of Atzmons manifesto is annoying. The Left yearns? This might be written in a less biased manner as a desire. But it is not simply a desire for an undefined equality. The Left calls for an equality of conditions, opportunities, and access to resources. Why not? Should an inequality of conditions, opportunities, and access to resources be accepted? Should one class of people be accorded privileges over the rest of humanity? Is this not supremacism which Atzmon deplores? And for most of the Left most (and for anarchists, likeliest all), respect for diversity is a valued principle. Diversity is recognized by the Right, specifically, pecuniary diversity. But American society historically has been considered a melting pot rather than a celebration of diversity. Atzmon sets up the parameters for discussion,such that the post-political author can diss both Left and Right. He does not discuss in the Left-Right context as to what constitutes the human condition and whether the rightist perspective is indeed a natural part of our social, spiritual and material world. I find such a statement ahistorical. The economist Karl Polanyi presented a compelling historical perspective in his book The Great Transformation that elucidates how communitarian human society was changed. Atzmon writes, For the Right ideologue, it is the will to survive and even to attain power that makes social interactions exciting. (p 13) The sentence strikes this reader as platitudinal. There is no example or substantiation provided. Which ideologue from whatever corner of the political continuum does not have a will to survive or seek exciting interactions? Atzmon sums up the Left-Right schism as the tension between equality and reality. (p 13) If one cannot accept the definitions, and if the premises are faulty, then the logical structure collapses. One flips the page and the Left is described as dreamy, illusory, unreal, phantasmal, utopian; thus, it did not appeal to the working class. Atzmon asserts, Social justice, equality and even revolution may really be nothing but the addictive rush of effecting change and this is perhaps why hard-core Leftist agitators often find it difficult to wake from their social fantasy. They simply refuse to admit that reality has slipped from their grasp, preferring to remain in their phantasmal universe, shielded by ghetto walls built of archaic terminology and political correctness. (p 14-15) Atzmon is also abusive of the Right, seeing the Right ideologue as mired in biological determinism. (p 17) Atzmon says he wants to push past political ideology. I am unaware of his professing any political leaning, so I guess he is, in a sense, already post-political. This strikes me as illusory since in western democracies the corporations still pull the strings of their politicians. Atzmon applies the noun democracy recklessly. Without defining what is a democracy, through using the word (as so many people do), he inadvertently reifies something that does not exist in any meaningful sense. Atzmon writes darkly, Symptomatic of the liberal democratic era was the belief that people could alter their circumstances. (p 19) Yet contemporary politicians still play on that sentiment, witness Barack Obama in the US and Justin Trudeau in Canada whose political campaigns appealed to such a belief. Does Atzmon think people cannot alter their circumstances? Atzmon points to how the Labour Party under Blair became a neoliberal, warmongering party. He concludes, The difference between Left and Right had become meaningless? (p 24) I would describe this as the Left (to the extent the Labour Party was genuinely Left) being co-opted and disappeared by the Right a political coup. Atzmon says the political -isms and free markets are empty. He does not specifically target anarch-ism, however. Besides mentioning anarchist professor Noam Chomsky, one supposes anarchism is too fringe for Atzmon, but also it is beyond much of the criticism he levels at the Left. And as for the notion of a free market, there never has been one. Polanyi wrote in The Great Transformation: The road to the free market was opened and kept open by an enormous increase in continuous, centrally organized and controlled interventionism. (p 146) Why has the genuine Left never attained power and brought its vision to fruition? Rampant capitalism has allowed 1% to profit grotesquely relative to the 99%. The 1%-ers have the money and the power that money buys: media, corporations, resources, and government. With the government controlled by the 1%-ers that puts the state security apparatus also under their control and paid for the 99%-ers (because the rich all too often escape paying tax) to keep them in place. The police and military is, in essence, socialism exploited to protect capitalism. The few countries that have brought about Communism (Cuba, China, USSR, Viet Nam, etc) have found themselves under incessant militaristic and economic threat from capitalists who fear the example of successful socialism. This is missing from Atzmons analysis. Atzmon even proposes that socialism can also be considered greedy because it promises that neither you nor anyone else will possess more than I. (p 25) Really? Where is this stated and by who? Anarchist economics does not propose such a premise. Political correctness Political correctness (PC). What is it? Atzmon calls it a tyrannical project. The attempted elimination of essentialism, categorization and generalization in opposition to human nature. (p 38) Basically, it is the avoidance of language that stigmatizes other groups. Who wants to be stigmatized? Nobody. I can agree that PC has been pushed to extremes. PC also does not distinguish between intention and denotation. Should it? I confess when younger that I, close friends, and colleagues would call each other gay. It was actually a term of affection we used for each other. No negative sentiments were felt toward any sexual orientations; in fact, many of us were frequently in the company of LGBTQ. But we were not PC. Atzmon finds that self-censorship is an outcome of PC: Initially we dont say what we think; eventually we learn to say what we dont think. (p 39) Perhaps. But sometimes it is better to bite ones tongue and say nothing. I prefer to think of PC having encouraged a more respectful discourse, but PC should be criticized when it becomes excessive. There are plenty of non-PC examples among those who affiliate with the PC crowd, such as denigrating people who demonstrate for Palestinian human rights as anti-Semites probably the most abused anti-PC term. PC becomes a tool of indoctrination when not practiced with equanimity and sincerity. Is PC a freedom of speech issue? In some cases, yes. For instance, why is it okay to label someone a holocaust denier when questioning the veracity of certain aspects of WWII history? No serious person denies that Jews were among those targeted by Nazis; and no serious person denies that Jews were among those people transported to and having died in concentration camps. An inordinate focus on PC can be vexing; there are much bigger issues in the world than a focus on whether to call a female girl or woman. It seems simple enough to raise awareness of inappropriate use of language. Most people will come around to a polite request to avoid words that may offend. Miscellania Being in Time finally begins to hit its stride when focusing on manipulations to grab and maintain power. The author is unafraid to point a finger and criticize identitarian groupings that create and exploit divisions. The stride is bumpy though, as Atzmon discusses sexuality, LGBTQ, feminism, Left abandonment of the working class, psychoanalysis and the scientific method, Athens and Jerusalem, severe criticism of Marxism, etc. The depth and breadth of the manifesto is beyond a book review. The scope of Being in Time even looks at a 1970s sitcom, All in the Family, which Atzmon sees as having succeeded in pushing the liberal agenda into every American living room. (p 109) Atzmon calls it a sophisticated cultural manipulation. (p 110) Atzmon sees Hillary Clintons presidential campaign as an institutional failure embedded in progressive and liberal thought. (p 120) Describing the ardent neoliberal Clinton or her supporters as liberal or progressive is classic mislabeling. Atzmon is razor sharp when discussing aspects of Jewishness identity and what the different aspects mean for being a Jew. However, when discussing the political spectrum, political ideology, and society, his definitions too often seem contrived to support his thesis. In the final pages of Being in Time, Atzmon speaks from deep familiarity with the subject matter: capitalism, Mammonism, and tribalism. With a closing flourish, Atzmon poignantly dares to ask, And isnt it correctness, pure and simple, that stops us from mentioning that the protagonist [in George Orwells novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four, Brotherhood leader Emmanuel] Goldstein is, himself, Jewish? (p 208) Final Comments In the typical human perspective, Being proceeds in a linear fashion. But from a cultural, historical, linguistic, ethical, scientific perspective Being is clearly multi-faceted and not confined to linearity. Atzmon is fully aware of this, nonetheless his Being in Time tackles myriad issues in a rather binary fashion. There are arguments presented in the book that I diverge from, but Being in Time presents points of view that deserve contemplation and a threshing out. Over all, it is a manifesto that I find unrefined; in dire need of definitions that are substantiated, not merely asserted; and (although I believe Atzmon would state this was beyond his remit) it would be fruitful if the book erected a promising structure, rather than simply tear down structures with little left standing. Being in Time comes across as an interesting foray to understanding and twining politics, power, and ontology that deserves deeper development. A dialectical approach might be most illuminating. Alas, politics is not yet dead. The Dream of a better world is not yet dead either. But one day the Dream must end because the Dream must be made a Reality. That is my simplistic two-sentence manifesto. Kim Petersen is a former co-editor of Dissident Voice. He can be reached at: kimohp@gmail.com. Twitter: @kimpetersen. Read other articles by Kim. This article was posted on Thursday, June 1st, 2017 at 3:12am and is filed under Book Review, Capitalism, Censorship, Communism/Marxism/Maoism, Language, Philosophy, Socialism, Solidarity.

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June 1, 2017   Posted in: Gilad Atzmon  Comments Closed

Letters to The Editor, Week of May 25, 2017 – The Villager

Letters to The Editor, Week of May 25, 2017 The Villager Theatre 80 political panel (news article, thevillager.com, April 28) and Flirting with the Devil: Gilad Atzmon and the 'tyranny' of free speech (news article, May 4):. Thank you for your amusing coverage of the controversy over the recent panel at …

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May 30, 2017   Posted in: Gilad Atzmon  Comments Closed

Corbyn appoints anti-Israel activist as campaign chief – Jewish Chronicle

Jeremy Corbyn has appointed the former chair of Stop the War to head his campaign team in the final few weeks of the election. Andrew Murray, who was a member of the Communist Party for four decades but quit last year to join Mr Corbyns Labour, chaired Stop The War from 2001 to 2011, and then again from 2015-2016. Stop the War has repeatedly attacked Israel, with numerous speakers at its events over the years denouncing the state. In 2009 one of the groups founders, John Rees, described Hamas and Hezbollah as resistance groups which are a legitimate part of [our] movement. In a 2012 speech Mr Murray expressed solidarity with the heroic Palestinian people in Gaza, saying that Palestine stands today undefeated and unbowed despite the bloody aggression by one of the greatest military powers on earth, a reference to Israel. We have a message for the Israeli embassy, the Israeli government every time you kill a Palestinian child, you are digging your own graves. Mr Murray made no reference to the Israeli children killed by Palestinians, or to the genocidal policies of Hamas, or to the thousands of rockets Hamas was firing into Israeli territory at the time. He also called for the [UK] trade to drop the illusion that the Histadrut [the Israeli trade union movement] is a proper trade union, and break the links with the Israeli trade union movement. In the last two years, Stop the War has deleted a number of articles from its website, including one titled Time to go to war with Israel as the only path to peace in the Middle East by Richard Falk, a former UN special envoy who has supported 9/11 conspiracy theories and praised the work of notorious antisemite Gilad Atzmon. Another deleted piece, by Alison Weir, the founder of an antisemitic website called If Americans Knew, claimed that while some Israeli Olympians murdered in Munich in 1972 were accidentally killed by their Palestinian captors, German Special Forces killed the rest during an unnecessary rescue attempt, and that the Palestinians had no plans to kill the athletes. She also wrote that the athletes deaths should be placed in the context of Israels ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. A Labour party source told the Huffington Post that Corbyns Labour has gone full Trump. Andrew Murray is the hard-lefts Steve Bannon [Mr Trumps controversial White House adviser]. A senior LFI source said: It is extremely depressing that Jeremy Corbyn thinks it is appropriate to appoint someone with such offensive and extreme views. Mr Murrays vitriolic anti-Israel opinions should have no place in the Labour Party.” On Monday, a spokesperson for Mr Corbyn’s office said that “Andrew Murray has been seconded by UNITE [the trade union] to support, not head up, the campaign.” See all our Election 2017 coverage here

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May 21, 2017   Posted in: Gilad Atzmon  Comments Closed

Censorship and Gatekeepers: When Left Progressives Mingle with Neocons – Center for Research on Globalization

The Left in the United States is fond of saying one thing in support of its programs, yet, generally does something entirely different. It also seems to have strange bedfellows. Here are a few examples: The Left Forum brings together national and international politics, people, ideas, and activism for a just, equitable, free, sustainable world beyond capitalism. Originally founded in the 1960s, the Left Forum is holding its annual meeting June 2-4, 2017. Its situation is symptomatic of the American Left and its self-created problems. Embroiled this year in a vicious controversy over speakers and panels, the Forum is struggling with censorship, religion, and political correctnessbut refuses to acknowledge its problems or explain its actions. Given such statements and procedures, some people have questioned the Lefts attitude. Gilad Atzmon, the Israeli Jew, musician, one-time soldier, and political writer, talks often about the Treacherous Left, the people more concerned with homosexual marriage than war, peace, or prosperity. In New York Citys East Village in early May 2017, Atzmon spoke on the tyranny of political correctness, saying it was in fact worse than tyranny, because it is self-censorship. It is you who silence yourself. Sarah Ferguson, author of an account in The Villager of his talk, asked What is the relationship between the Left and Free Speech? And is some speech so beyond the pale, that its wrong to evenengage in debate? Given the hostility shown Atzmon at that event, this was not a rhetorical question. Too many set themselves up as arbiters of free speech. In the words of Swiss publicist, Frank A. Meyer, the media have become moral executioners. He noted that anyone making forbidden inquiries about government-promoted policies is punished. He said they are denounced as racist, right-wing populists, in extreme cases as fascists. (Meyer, Frank A. Berlin-Anschlag Deutscher Winter 2016 (Berlin Attack German Winter 2016), Focus Online, December 25, 2016.) And that is why the Left really is sinister, pun intended. Look at the progressives who did not criticize Hillary Clintons wild charges that Russian influence cost her the election. Look at the Leftists who refused to challenge Barack H. Obamas destruction of Libya and Syria. Where were the howls of rage? Where were the incandescent editorials in major newspapers? The journalist Bob Parry lost several jobs at mainstream publications because he would not color his reporting to fit managements views (to protect their ties to government). No one from the Left protested. The liberal press, such as the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times savaged Gary Webb for publicizing CIA drug-dealing in support of Iran-Contra. Yet, no one from the sinister Gauche took to the streets, even after he committed suicide by shooting himself in the headtwice. And where is Democracy Now with its perceived credibility? A supposed leftist, the TV shows host, Amy Goodman, is generously funded by globalist foundations. As a result, she is now a gatekeeper, promoting regime change in Syria. On May 3, 2017, Goodman interviewed Anand Gopal,former fellow at the New America Foundation. He claimed Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad [is] the cause of all sufferingin Syria. (Haiphong, Danny. Democracy Now Runs Interference for Imperialism in Syria, Global Research, May, 15, 2017.) In yet another article, Democracy Nows public face is contributing to the very violence being committed by Western-backed mercenaries against the Syrian people. (Tracy, James F. Progressive Journalisms Legacy of Deceit, Global Research, July 20, 2012.) Mrs. Goodman will not touch a hot topic with a 10-foot pole or a 12-foot hungarian. This author sent her a copy of his book, Visas for Al Qaeda: CIA Handouts That Rocked The World, suggesting it might be of interest to her program. Dead silence. No one atDemocracy Now responded to follow-up letters, emails, and telephone calls. (Copies of his upcoming publication, Goodbye, Europe? Hello Chaos? Merkels Migrant Bomb will go elsewhere.) On December 18, 2016, the CBS news show 60 Minutes promoted the Syrian White Helmets (who work only in terrorist-controlled areas). According to the program, [T]he trained force of 3,000 rescue workers offer Syrian civilians their only hope. Yet, the Left did not attack this fake news. (Cf. Global Research and 21st Century Wire for real news about the Helmets and their unsavory activities, connections, and background.) The Left, as is clear from the foregoing, is controlled by gatekeepers. What are they? Who are they? What do they do? They control access. Gatekeepers rarely challenge their own position as gatekeepers. They are simply right. They are more knowledgeable, more level-headed, more experienced, and more invested in the future of whatever movements they belong to. They know what is best and will enforce it for the greater good. They find themselves saying, That is not appropriate, or That is counterproductive, or Why do you have to make this about you when its about us? (Why Its Important To Challenge The Power Of Gatekeepers, TheEstablishment.com, July 7, 2016.) Like the Left Forum, 60 Minutes, and Amy Goodman, Medea (given name Susan)Benjamin is another gatekeeper. She is well-heeled and well-connected. during the 2004 Presidential campaign, Benjamins message and tone began to shift dramatically into what came to be known as the ABB movementAnybody But Bush. She and eighty fellow prominent leaders who once formed the one hundred-thirteen member Nader 2000 Citizens Committee put forth a petition urging anti-war Nader not to run, and instead threw their support behind pro-war Democratic Party candidate John Kerry Benjamin cajoled [the] Greens into neither nominating Nader nor giving him the official endorsement he and running mate Peter Camejo had publicly sought from the party. (Shaw, Charles. The Gatekeepers of the So-Called Left, Conspiracy Archive, May 16, 2005.) Leftist gatekeepers appear to have connections with the Central Intelligence Agency. The liberal magazine Nation has ties to the Agency and its former director William Casey, founder of the Manhattan Institute, an alleged free market think tank. But who funds the Gatekeepers? One organization is the Ford Foundation, with a raft of joint Foundation-CIA projects. Investigative journalist Bob Feldman identifiesseveral alternative media outlets receiving Ford Foundation funding (based on their tax returns). As Feldman points out, these outlets has systematically marginalized independent researchers who have systematically studiedthe JFK and other political assassinations. (Bramhall, Dr. Stuart Jeanne. Does the CIA Fund Both the Right and the Left ?, March 17, 2015, normanpilon.com). Why does this happen? How does this happen? Is it because too many people are pig-stupid and badly educated? Is it because they put their trust in the wrong places? Heres an explanation from a reader of the German translation of Visas for Al Qaeda (Die CIA und de Terror, Kopp Verlag.): People here have too much faith in AmericaI told my sister about your book. She is a medical doctor and not stupid, but as in many cases she does not have enough time to figure out on her own the political picture. She saw what I told her from your book as a conspiracy theory. Al-Assad is an inhuman dictator, the US helps democracy in the Near East, etc. It is almost hopeless. In the end, its the influence of special interest groups. Their members worm their way into power in Leftist media, organizations, and factions. Working together for particular interests, they block alternative viewpoints, limiting the publics ability to know, to learn, to compare disparate ideas and viewpoints. As the Washington Post now claims on its masthead, Democracy Dies In Darkness.

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May 19, 2017   Posted in: Gilad Atzmon  Comments Closed

German holocaust denier Horst Mahler arrested in Hungary – International Business Times UK

Austria election: Holocaust survivor urges people not to vote for far-right party Storyful Holocaust denier Horst Mahler has been arrested in Hungary after he fled an 11-year prison sentence in Germany. The 81-year-old Third Reich sympathiser was detained in the city of Sopron, in the west of the country, Hungarian police confirmed in a statement online. The arrest followed an online announcement in which Mahler said that he had requested Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban to grant him asylum as a “politically persecuted person”, according to German newspaper Mitteldeutsche Zeitung. He referred to Orban as “Fhrer”, Adolf Hitler’s title, and said that the Hungarian right-wing politician, whose tough stance on immigration has been criticised by Angela Merkel, would be sympathetic to his request. “I trust in the freedom-loving Hungarian people and lay my fate in the hands of its government,” he wrote in his statement. He said that the “persecution” had been prompted by his publication of a book entitled ‘The End of Wanderings Thoughts on Gilad Atzmon and the Jewish people’ which details the life of British-Israeli saxophonist Atzmon who has been accused of Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism. Mahler was once a left-wing extremist and a founding member of the Red Army Faction, a terrorist group who carried out bombings, assassinations and bank robberies. In a dramatic shift, Mahler joined the extremist far-right National Democratic Party in 2000. He was handed a six-year prison sentence in 2009 for repeatedly giving the Hitler salute, a punishable offense in Germany. He was also sentenced, by another court, for disputing the Holocaust and trivialising crimes committed by Nazis during the Second World War. He was released in 2015 after his leg required amputation due to a bad infection. He is believed to have fled to Germany in April 2017.

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May 15, 2017   Posted in: Gilad Atzmon  Comments Closed


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  • (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work."