Atzmon and Jewish identity

Israel/Palestine
on 595 Comments

Gilad Atzmon did an interview with me on Jewish identity. It’s pretty good, and it’s here. Though I regret my flip comment calling the Catholic church the church of pedophilia, apologies. Here’s a bit from it:


‘I think identity is multi-factorial,’ Weiss replied, ‘I feel American before I feel Jewish. I think that’s the achievement of my life, to have flipped those identities, and Jewish is second. I see Jewish as this great civilization that I am part of. That transcends borders, and it’s not Zionist. Zionism is like Shabbetai Tzvi, It’s a big chapter in a long story. Jews will survive this one too. Jews is: a sense of difference, yes, inevitably of elite identity, that’s part of Jewish history and one I struggle with. Jewish is a Story, a myth…’

Atzmon then didn’t include the stories I mentioned, fair enough, it’s his site, but I mentioned the Binding, the Abraham-Isaac tale that occurs on Mt Moriah in Jerusalem, and of course on Highway 61 in Minnesota, where I spent some little portion of my youth, in St Paul and Duluth. Which is part of the beauty of Jewish identity, that it’s fluid, and includes Dylan’s rendering of the binding as a real referent, and one that Americans can share in…

595 Responses

  1. Mooser
    June 23, 2011, 10:57 am

    ” yes, inevitably of elite identity, that’s part of Jewish history and one I struggle with.”

    Well, Phil, you go ahead and struggle if you want, but they made it clear to me exactly what my chances were of joining the elite. I guess it’s just that Jewish sense of self-protection, and I can’t find it in my heart to fault them.

    • Mooser
      June 23, 2011, 11:00 am

      It’s like when we got married: I looked my Father-in-law to be in the eye, and said “I know we are of different religions, but I hope you can support us in this marriage” He replied of course: “Listen here, Moishe, if you want to marry my daughter, you better get a job. Don’t count on us.”
      And he was right.

      • Citizen
        June 27, 2011, 4:41 pm

        Mmmm, Mooser, when I got married my Jewish in-law parents looked me in the eye (sort of; she did, if you can call glaring right though you, and his looking out the window), and said, “We said we’d pour hot boiling chicken soup on you for daring to date our daughter, but since she’s not listening to us, since you two got married with nobody’s permission or blessing, we expect you to murder your innate jew-hatred and work for nothing in our store to show your good faith–after all, you don’t do anything more worthwhile–you’re not even using your lawyer license to full advantage to put more and better food on the table, and we are going through some hard times. We’re not getting any younger you know.”

      • Citizen
        June 27, 2011, 4:44 pm

        And here’s some props from Debbie Menon:

        Reply
        Debbie Menon to bcc: me
        show details 9:29 AM (7 hours ago)
        Dear All,

        Gilad sent along this url of his astounding interview with Phil Weiss argued on the Mondoweiss Blog.

        There are some 200 comments, some intelligent, intellectual and thought provoking writing here… and some intelligent and intellectual commentary. I like Mooser and Dickinson, and the little discourse from Cat on a Hot Tin Roof on the subject of “pain.”

        On pain,”Big Daddy” is right. Tennesee Williams knew what he was talking about. And, Burl Ives was the right man for the role, he also was in The Postman Always Rings Twice. Some actors and actresses seem to have been born to play the roles they are later assigned in the theater.

        Somehow, Tennessee Williams must have experienced some indifference and pain (he lived a troubled life), or he figured it out and is able to write about it in his delightful and informative drama Cat On a Hot tin Roof, which included a lot of other informative issues and revealing observations on Life, the Universe and Everything.

        I think the most common and important shared-feature among men of all varieties is their search for identity and the definition of their relationship with God, which is quite intricate and so personal that they sometimes have difficulty coming to grips with it.

      • MB.
        June 28, 2011, 3:18 am

        Debbie and Citizen, agreed — it has to be one of the most interesting threads in a while. Now 300 posts!

        Hopefully, Weiss will interview Gilad now.

    • DICKERSON3870
      June 23, 2011, 6:55 pm

      RE: “Well, Phil, you go ahead and struggle if you want…” – Mooser

      MY COMMENT: To “struggle” is to be “alive”.
      “Maggie the cat (on a hot tin roof) is alive. I’m alive.” ~ Maggie Pollitt

      FROM Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958):

      Brick Pollitt: [Offering Big Daddy morphine] It’ll kill the pain, that’s all.
      Harvey ‘Big Daddy’ Pollitt: [Wincing with pain] It’ll kill the senses too! You… you got pain – at least you know you’re alive. [groans]
      ~
      Harvey ‘Big Daddy’ Pollitt:It’s easin’ somewhat now. When you got pain, it’s better to judge yourself of a lot of things. I’m not gonna stupify myself with that stuff. I wanna think clear. I want to see everything, and I want to feel everything. Then I won’t mind goin’. I’ve got the guts to die. What I want to know – do you have the guts to live?
      Brick Pollitt: I don’t know.
      Harvey ‘Big Daddy’ Pollitt: We can start by helping each other up this stairs.
      ~
      Margaret “Maggie” Pollitt: You know what I feel like? I feel all the time like a cat on a hot tin roof.
      Brick Pollitt: Then jump off the roof, Maggie. Jump off it. Cats jump off roofs and land uninjured. Do it. Jump.
      Margaret “Maggie” Pollitt: Jump where? Into what?
      ~
      Brick Pollitt: What is the victory of a cat on a hot tin roof?
      Margaret “Maggie” Pollitt: Just staying on it I guess, long as she can.
      ~
      Margaret “Maggie” Pollitt: Maggie the cat is alive. I’m alive.

      SOURCE – link to imdb.com

    • MB.
      June 24, 2011, 4:07 am

      Atzmon has generated a lot of discussion today on Mondoweiss ! Just an idea here Phil ; why don’t you interview Atzmon in return, and put it up on your site? The interplay between you two in the original interview has thrown up a lot of good questions, and clearly, there is a lot of interest in Atzmon’s work. I recently read that Mearsheimer and Richard Falk stand by, and support his ideas too, not to mention John Pilger, who stood up and defended Atzmon’s work a year or so ago.

      I think people who were originally put off his work by the well worn ‘holocaust denier’ tag, are beginning to see that Atzmon has been unfairly represented by his enemies.

      There’s a lot more to Atzmon’s work than the ‘anti semite’ tag.

      • Shingo
        June 24, 2011, 9:32 am

        I think people who were originally put off his work by the well worn ‘holocaust denier’ tag, are beginning to see that Atzmon has been unfairly represented by his enemies.

        He has never denied the Holocaust, unless you consider advocating research into it as denial.

      • Mooser
        June 24, 2011, 12:51 pm

        “There’s a lot more to Atzmon’s work than the ‘anti semite’ tag.”

        Well, he sorta was, to me when I read his articles. He seems to think all Jews are like Israelis.

      • MB.
        June 28, 2011, 3:26 am

        “He seems to think all Jews are like Israelis.”

        Mooser, I think that is a reaction caused by adversity — every organised Jewish movement in UK, from the ‘far left’ to the ‘right’ and the apolitical, have all done their best to destroy Atzmon, and they often co ordinate their attacks.

        If you are a close follower of the UK press, then it is far from difficult to simply join the dots from the right wingers ( ‘Jewish Chronicle’,various far right Zionist groups ) , to the ‘caring liberals’ ( Arronovich, Howard Jacobson, Kamm, Cohen ) to the so called ‘far left socialist/Trotsky-ite actitvist ‘ Jewish groups — they all had one thing in common — unite to get Atzmon off the radar, and they tried, and keep trying.

        I think that is why Atzmon sees ‘all Jews’ as being ‘like Israelis.’

    • MB.
      June 26, 2011, 2:56 am

      What is really noticeable here, is how offended,challenged and hurt Max, Tom and Wondering Jew have been — I hope they have been offered a chance for self reflection and better understanding.

      It’s certainly a good debate.

      • Gilad
        June 26, 2011, 5:35 am

        MB, there is a big problem here.

        Self reflection is a dynamic process that involves otherness. We see ourselves through the other (Hegel’s Master Slave Dialectic). Yet, choseness dismisses the notion of otherness.

        It would be intelligible For a political Jew to self-reflect, a certain level of de-judification is needed. Yet, when this happens not much is left.

      • MB.
        June 26, 2011, 10:46 pm

        Gilad, the majority of posters here clearly sympathize with your ideas, very much so –but one can’t help but notice the hysteria you elicited from some posters, EG Wondering Jew, Pessah, Shmuel,and, especially, that guy Max Ajl ( I think he may have his own blog page ), who responded to you with absolute wounded shrieking school boy spite, like an angered cat, spitting and scratching.

        What is it that you set off in these people? What is clear though, is that, in some way, young Jewish people like Max Ajl, feel they want to set the agenda , and set the parametres for what can and can’t be said regarding Palestine and Jewish matters.

        ( PS I still think it would be a good idea if Phil Weiss interviewed you in return. 200 plus posts here do show an interest I’d say.)

      • Gilad
        June 27, 2011, 1:41 am

        Hello MB
        I was waiting for this question…
        I believe that it is obvious…

        For the last ten years I was pretty effective exposing the problematic nature of Jewish progressive activism.

        For a decade I was waiting for a Jew activist to admit it- to come up and say, ‘it is all about Jewish self-interest.’

        I am talking about all these issues openly. I have managed to define a new discourse that opposes Jewish ideology yet transcend beyond any form of racism or hatred. I founded a humanist manner to tackle the Holocaust religion. As you can see, my opponents (above) didn’t mange to present a single argument against me. I guess that my detractors are aware of the popularity of my ideas out of their circles..

        Pessah, Shmuel, Wondering Jew and a few others are the kind of people who are set to ‘gate keep’ the left discourse. They may have been very successful in the past, but they certainly failed with me.

        And as we can see, they are boiling with anger.
        This is a big shame, all they have to do really is to self reflect.

      • MB.
        June 27, 2011, 9:41 am

        Well Gilad, I still find Weiss’ original words in the interview troubling : the idea that he felt he was a member of an ‘elite’ group, and that he is interested in ‘tribally’ self interested aims and objectives.

        I find these notions to be very troubling.

      • Gilad
        June 27, 2011, 10:25 am

        Hello MB, indeed, totally troubling, yet, very honest and brave of Weiss to admit it.

        It is also possible that Weiss didn’t grasp how troubling it was. I obviously do not know him at all…

      • MB.
        June 27, 2011, 11:08 am

        Weiss hasn’t re-joined the debate, so we do not know how he feels about expressing those notions. It’s not a ‘thought crime’ of course; he’s more than entitled to express those ideas, but I felt a little sad and disappointed to read them, and I hope he might see how others might find them troubling too, particularly the idea he expresses of being ‘elite’ , which obviously translates as, and is synonymous with ‘specialness’ and ‘superior difference’.

        If a WASP came on the discussion thread and expressed those notions, they’d be — rightly — immediately challenged.

        That leads me to my second query ( and it is a genuine query, not a provocative, trolling one )– is that ‘specialness’ and ‘elite’ idea Weiss expresses something inherited from being brought up in Jewish culture, and influenced by ideas from Jewish scripture? The idea that a Jewish soul is ‘special’, ‘different’, ‘chosen’?

        I find these ideas very troubling indeed, and I wonder how Jews feel about them; I wonder if Jews realise how alienating and troubling ( and saddening in their divisiveness) these ideas are to non -Jews, and I wonder if Jews find these notions easy to shake off?

      • patm
        June 27, 2011, 11:32 am

        Deuteronomy 7:6 For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.

        MB. The idea of being a special people is built right into their holy book. It’s definitely not been a helpful notion.

      • MB.
        June 27, 2011, 11:53 am

        pat, I can see that every religion surely has ‘difficult’ aspects in its Scriptures; I don’t doubt we can find ‘troublesome’ and exclusive-separatist verses, difficult to reconcile, in all religions — but I wonder to what degree Jews are aware of how alienating those aspect of their ‘chosen-ness’, ‘specialness’ and ‘difference’ in their scriptures are to non Jews?

      • MB.
        June 27, 2011, 12:08 pm
      • Gilad
        June 27, 2011, 12:25 pm

        I am with you here. I can imagine Weiss being also troubled with his own lines. but who knows..

        MB: If a WASP came on the discussion thread and expressed those notions, they’d be — rightly — immediately challenged.

        G: Good point, so here is another insight into the J tribal Progressive discourse. Our J progressive candidates here, clearly didn’t challenge Weiss, they much preferred killing the messenger (me) .

        MB: That leads me to my second query ( and it is a genuine query, not a provocative, trolling one )– is that ‘specialness’ and ‘elite’ idea Weiss expresses something inherited from being brought up in Jewish culture, and influenced by ideas from Jewish scripture? The idea that a Jewish soul is ‘special’, ‘different’, ‘chosen’?

        G: Very good question, I cannot answer for Weiss but my study of the topic suggests that J secular supremacy is based on misinterpretation of the Judaic core. While Judaic choeness is realised as a moral burden, the secular form is nothing but supremacy. As you can see in this thread and beyond, the progressive Jew always know what is good for Pls, Palestinians and humanity. And the rest of us better follow before they blame us for being anti Semites or H deniers..

        In Weiss however i detected a dilemma. it is certainly more sophisticated, and i believe that this is a positive sign.

        MB: I find these ideas very troubling indeed, and I wonder how Jews feel about them

        G: you ll have to wait for my book, it is all there..

        MB: I wonder if Jews realise how alienating and troubling ( and saddening in their divisiveness) these ideas are to non -Jews, and I wonder if Jews find these notions easy to shake off?

        G: let me help you here, The Jews who see it all are called ‘self haters’. The self lovers indulge themselves in power games. they boycott, exclude, excommunicate. They engaged in the building of ghetto walls made of bricks of blindness abd arrogance. And they are indeed isolated and alienated even from their own feelings and Being.

      • patm
        June 27, 2011, 12:30 pm

        MB. Well, the costumed Jewish settlers acting out their vicious “People of Israel Live” play are perhaps too demented to know what they are doing. But I expect their leaders know.

        At the bottom of this page Gilad says, “Also, specialness is not a problem as long as it is not celebrated on the expense of others..”

        And here we get to Phil Weiss and Mondoweiss. Phil’s not celebrating his ‘specialness’ at the expense of others. He’s wrestling with this whole notion of Jewish exceptionalism, and, in the process, providing a remarkable venue for supporting Palestinian Muslims.

        We all make unpleasant verbal slips from time to time, MB, usually based on childhood conditioning. I say let’s cut him some slack.

      • jon s
        June 27, 2011, 12:44 pm

        There is a undeniable concept, in Judaism, of being “chosen”.
        Observant and traditional Jews include in their prayers a blessing to God who “chose us from among the nations”. Also the well-known “Aleinu” prayer gives thanks for creating us different, “and our destiny is not the same” [as that of other nations].
        However – and this is the main point – “different” doesn’t necessarily mean “superior”. In the Bible, Abraham is chosen to be the father of the nation, but God doesn’t make him King of the World. Instead, he is required to sacrifice his beloved son, Isaac. No power over others , no superiority, only an agonizing sacrifice. The Torah is also quite clear on equality: “One law shall be unto him that is homeborn and unto the stranger…” (Exodus 12:49); “Ye shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger as for the home-born” (Leviticus 24:22) , and elsewhere.
        Sadly, over hundreds of years , including the 20th century, being “chosen” has meant being singled out for discrimination, persecution and annihilation.
        (There’s a heart breaking Hebrew poem by Nathan Alterman , from 1942, on Jewish children , “chosen from all the children in the world ” , chosen to be murdered. I haven’t been able to locate an English translation.)
        I recall a discussion I had with my father (of blessed memory) on the “Chosen People” topic. He said that being “chosen” doesn’t entail any kind of privilege in relation to other peoples, only obligations : to live an exemplary moral life, to stand up for good against evil, which, for him, meant fighting for social justice and against racism and fascism. It also entails a feeling of pride in our traditions and heritage.

      • patm
        June 27, 2011, 2:36 pm

        Jon S, Elliot addressed a very important comment to you this morning. I’m going to reproduce it here.

        “Jon S,
        I suppose, from the context, that when you say “problem” you mean “moral problem”.

        I wasn’t addressing morality, I was describing many Jewish people’s conflicting ideas about their Jewishness/Judaism/Jewish identity. I’d say most Jews have a problem with some part of their Jewishness. This questioning does not make them anti-Semites.

        From the little I’ve read of Gilad Atzmon, his critique of Zionism and modern conceptions of Jewish peoplehood are not far removed from ultra-Orthodox anti-Zionists. Gilad shines on a light on the deeply problematic transformation of Jewishness from a religious community in the traditional sense to believing in a mystical Jewish people and ditching the religious covenant with God. There is humility and a web of moral commitments when God is in the picture. Once you secularize your religion, but still use covenantal language and speak of chosenness, you are painting yourself into the bigot’s corner.

        The other problem with the Zionist concept of Jewishness is that, prior to Zionism, Jews lived among non-Jews. Rabbinic Judaism was constituted as Jews living in close proximity to non-Jews. That thread is played out today in Jewish communities across the world.

        There is only one place where that is not the case – and it is not the ideal. That place is, of course, Israel.

        What is this new Zionist identity that pretends Jews live on an island? And how does this identity permeate American Jewish life through organizations such as J Street – which invents a rule that non-Jews are not welcome at its deliberations about Israel? These are problems with contemporary Jewish identity – problems that have a moral component.”

      • Gilad
        June 27, 2011, 3:28 pm

        I guess that Jon S tries to divert the attention from the real problem..
        When it comes to Jewish chosensness the problem we encounter is with secular Jewishness (rather than with Judaism).

        For the Torah follower choseness is indeed a moral burden.

        However within the J secular discourse, choseness is clearly a privilege. The Zionist uses it as a land registry and the progressive regards oneself as a part of elite group, he is there to preach us who is kosher and who isn’t.

        The secular Jews need choseness because this is all they got.
        Once you drop God, Jewishness is left with very little-basically supremacy and chicken soup.

        Supremacy is bad, and chicken could be nice, yet, it isn’t exactly a political argument.

      • Danaa
        June 27, 2011, 5:07 pm

        Gilad, I think these really are the important points to make – which I see you repeating yet no one is willing to take you up on it. I won’t because I agree, though I must say, you put it a heck of a lot more succintly than I ever managed to.

        It is indeed about the distortion that chosen-ness became in the secular jewish community (which is most of it, last I looked). Far from being a burden – as it is to the devout – it became a get-out-of-jail card for the seculars. All privilege and no obligation. So the progressives talk Tikkun-Olam as if it’s their raison d’etre, but then proceed to narrow what they mean by “olam”. Who – them? no tikkun for that lot – bunch of sand-baggers and towel-heads that they are…. how to explain the contradiction? no need – it’s beyond the power of those insufficiently exceptional humans to comprehend such fine distinctions.

        Sadly the covenant for the secular jews often just means a free-for-all license. It means they can all take credit for Einstein but shoulder none of the blame for Madoff.

        I also understand – as you point out – why this is not quite the same issue for Israeli seculars. For the most part, they just consider themselves Israelis, some {many?} and many will go on to shpill about just how very not jewish they are, and just how despicable they consider the orthodox to be. My [late] brother in Israel used to say that if it’s between a Haredi family and Arafat himself moving next door, why, he’d personally go and buy carpets for Arafat so he will have something soft to walk on. And alas, he was no bleeding-heart Palestinian-lover liberal, my funny brother.

        On the positive side, I think if you just keep emphasizing this point, eventually more of them you address it to may digest the point – over time, much of it.

      • Gilad
        June 27, 2011, 5:26 pm

        Tx so much for your comment Danna. It is all pretty simple really..

        Just one more point and i am done…

        You mentioned the Progressive J and Tikun Olam…again it is a common myth.

        Rather often, we hear progressive Jews talking in the name of ‘their Jewish values’ …what values?… the horrifying truth is that there is no Jewish Secular value system and the religious one is far from being universal..

        The Askalah (J enlightenment) is not an intellectual or metaphysical shift, it is a Goyim mimicking mode. Jews have never replaced the religio with an ethical universal theorem. We do not have a Jewish Kant or Jewish categorical imperative..

        I believe that most progressive Jews do not realise that there is no such body of thought, there is no Jewish secular value system and the religious one is far from universal. …I guess that for knowing it and saying it, i am despised primarily by Jewish left. I can easily cope with it.

      • Chu
        June 27, 2011, 10:01 pm

        Thanks for these ideas Gilad and Danaa. It’s clear they need
        to respond. Another post on the topic, please. Seems like this
        could lead somewhere.

      • MB.
        June 28, 2011, 3:34 am

        Patm wrote — “The idea of being a special people is built right into their holy book. It’s definitely not been a helpful notion.”

        Agreed — but do most Jews ever put two and two together and see that that ‘chosenness’ is just asking to be viewed differently, and that such notions of ‘specialness’ only serve to alienate the goyim, and don’t exactly make them feel good about wanting to understand and relate to Judaism?

        How are the goyim supposed to feel if Jewish scriptures and related cultural influences are actually dismissive of them and hostile, viewing goyim a not ‘one of the select chosen?’ Indeed, some Jewish texts consider the goy not fully human, and their soul as being inferior, little better than animal-like.

        I don’t know, but it isn’t really a recipe for social cohesion and neighbourly respect is it? Israel is a perfect example of that contempt for the goyim.

      • Citizen
        June 28, 2011, 3:43 am

        Were’nt, e.g., Gypsy children “chosen from all the children in the world” to be murdered too? And, further, weren’t they specially selected by, e.g. Dr Mengele? And don’t Gypsies have a feeling of pride in their traditions and heritage? Given so, how do these facts impact on the Jewish sense of being “chosen?” And on the general non-Jewish reaction and understanding of any (primarily)birth (and breeding) group who claims to be chosen by God?

      • MB.
        June 28, 2011, 4:58 am

        Gilad, you mentioned a new book — is it a novel? I read one of your books ( named after a Chet Baker tune ) a few years ago. It was funny, and surreal, but I find your polemical writing more interesting — when is your book available?

      • Gilad
        June 28, 2011, 10:23 am

        Hello MB , It isn’t a novel, It is called The Wandering Who? A Study of Jewish Identity Politics.. it will be out in October, you will love it i think…

      • jon s
        June 28, 2011, 10:26 am

        Citizen , Of course I Know that Gypsies were murdered as well, and I’m sure that other peoples also take pride in their traditions and heritage, it’s quite legitimate and natural.
        I tried to put forward, in my comment above, one interpretation of “chosenness”, and I’m also aware of other interpretations, including racist ones. Yes, there are Jewish racists and supremacists, as there are racists all over the world.

  2. Pixel
    June 23, 2011, 11:22 am

    ” elite identity, that’s part of Jewish history…”

    An elite identity, yes, but one that’s enmeshed with personal insecurity.

    Singular. “An egomaniac with an inferiority complex.” ( 12-Step speak)

    • MB.
      June 24, 2011, 12:10 am

      ” elite identity, that’s part of Jewish history…”

      It is that line from Weiss that worries me more than anything Atzmon has written. Think about it — if a WASP said it, he’d be ( rightly) savaged.

      Why is a Jewish person more of an ‘elite’ than any other person ?

    • Antidote
      June 30, 2011, 9:01 am

      *Singular. “An egomaniac with an inferiority complex.”

      not really. also frequently applied to Nazi Germany, Prussia, Poles, Americans and others, no doubt.

  3. Richard Witty
    June 23, 2011, 11:36 am

    Gilad Atzmon.

    • Western Sky
      June 23, 2011, 1:07 pm

      Nuff said, really.

      • MB.
        June 24, 2011, 6:14 am

        Nuff said Wsky?

        Huh?

    • annie
      June 23, 2011, 2:11 pm

      i love your comment richard, it perfectly represents the numero uno main staple/crutch of israel’s heavily funded hasbara campaign. the application of the ad hominem. once someone has been (allegedly) thoroughly discredited all it requires (allegedly) is the name itself. and it’s cultural, the shunning. and western sky offers the cherry on top.

      here’s the thing tho richard..i liked the interview. there was lots of choice stuff in it, like this:

      “Is it good for the Jews?” question bugged the hell out of me. But if Herzl, a Christmas tree Jew like me, was made Jewish by anti Semites, as he was, I was made Jewish by the Neocons. I thought, I’m Jewish too so f**k them with their tribalism.’

      anyway, the nice thing about Nuff said, really is we don’t have to hear from either of you again in this thread!

      • Tom Pessah
        June 23, 2011, 2:32 pm

        the guy is a full-fledged Holocaust denier:
        ” if the Nazis ran a death factory in Auschwitz-Birkenau, why would the Jewish prisoners join them at the end of the war? Why didn’t the Jews wait for their Red liberators?”

        link to aljazeerah.info

        is it really necessary to point out that yes, the Nazis did in fact run a death camp at Auschwitz, and no, the Jews did not “join them” at the end of the war? how arrogant can you get to deny all the historical evidence? you don’t have to be a hasbara junkie to oppose Holocaust denial.

      • Tom Pessah
        June 23, 2011, 2:41 pm

        “65 years after the liberation of Auschwitz we should reclaim our history and ask why? Why were the Jews hated? Why did European people stand up against their next door neighbours?… Why did America tighten its immigration laws amid the growing danger to European Jews? ”

        and we should also ask – why were homosexuals, people with disabilities, gypsies, children of African Americans and others hated by the Nazis? Atzmon should explain to us what they all did wrong. Poor Nazis, they have such a bad image as a result of the “draconian laws” against Holocaust denial – isn’t it nice people like him are finally standing up for them?

      • Donald
        June 23, 2011, 2:47 pm

        I just read your link, Tom. I’d never heard of this guy until I came to this blog, but he does seem pretty close to Holocaust denial there and so I’m not sure why Phil wants to have anything to do with him.

      • MRW
        June 23, 2011, 7:41 pm

        You ought to watch some of his interviews. I’ll go find you a link to a panel he did in England with a Palestinian (Karl Sabbagh…Iranian? Can’t remember) and Alan Hart. He was hysterical. His family are extremely right-wing Israelis.

        Here it is, last month:
        link to alanhart.net

      • MB.
        June 24, 2011, 12:11 am

        “the guy is a full-fledged Holocaust denier”

        Is he? How? Show us.

      • MB.
        June 24, 2011, 2:01 am

        Alan Hart has an outstanding collection of interviews with Pappe, Alastair Crooke, Stephen Sizer, Finkelstein et al on youtube.

      • MB.
        June 24, 2011, 10:33 pm

        Tom wrote : “we should also ask – why were homosexuals, people with disabilities, gypsies, children of African Americans and others hated by the Nazis? Atzmon should explain to us what they all did wrong. Poor Nazis, they have such a bad image.”

        Tom, that’s a really, really, misleading dishonest analogy, reminiscent of many of the studies that claim to “explain anti Semitism.”

        Comparing the standing of the Jewish communities in these countries in the late 19th /early to mid 20th century, to that of mixed race outcasts, Gypsies at the lowest rung of society, and homosexuals is just plain deceptive on your part.

        Indeed, if one is sincerely trying to understand why German society ( or Ukrainian, or Polish society) turned against Jews, and if one sincerely want so understand why such an awful tragedy happened to Jews in those places, then such false comparisons don’t help anyone.

        Read Amos Elon’s “The Pity of It All” and Yuri Szelezkine’s “Jewish Century” : the Jewish communities — particularly in Germany — were thriving , growing,influential, and affluent, in all walks of life. They were firmly established and very high profile in politics, the publishing industry, in banking and commerce, and in artistic circles. It is false to portray them entirely as victim groups within these societies.

        In those areas who now call Ukraine and Poland and Romania, Lithuania and Latvia– whilst not as high profile and successful of course, and periodically subject to savage pogroms we all know about — Jews were also fairly prominent as merchants, land lords, tax collectors,factory owners, tavern managers and salesmen, particularly in the liquor trade.

        Sorry — comparing the status of Jews, to blacks, the handicapped and Gypsies is absolutely dishonest of you.

        That’s why most of us don’t have faith in many of the books that claim to authoritatively explain anti Semitism, Tom — they write the same evasive, deceptive stuff as you, and expect us to uncritically accept such explanations.

      • Gilad
        June 25, 2011, 3:53 am

        These 2 books (Elon’s and Szelezkine’s) had a significant impact on my way of thinking.

      • MB.
        June 26, 2011, 8:22 am

        Indeed Mr. Atzmon, Amos Elon’s “The Pity of It All” and Yuri Szelezkine’s “Jewish Century” are powerful texts : Elon is stil evasive in his work, but one can read between the lines, and get a fairly honest picture of aspects of Jewish history. Szeleskine’s book — had it been written by a goy — would never,ever have been published : Szelzkine , a Jewish author, devotes large parts of his research and interviews boasting about the very same stuff so called anti Semites are ‘excommunicated’ for.

        It all gets a bit overwhelming,and bewildering, reading through the long lists of things Szelezkine feels ‘Jews are responsible for controling/dictating/innovating’ in history :

        According to Szelezkine, Jews DO run Hollywood, and according to Szeleskine, Jews WERE over represented amongst the Bolshevik secret police and gulags ( and were feared and resented figures in Eastern Europe precisely for that ) ; according to Szelezkine, Jews created, personify, and DO dictate the utilitarian framework of globalization etc etc. Szelezkine goes on and on and on, and on, boasting about these things, and is actually invited to ‘high prestige’ academic conventions in Israel, to boast together with other Israelis, about ‘how smart the Jews are, and what amazing things they have achieved..’

        I find the whole experience of reading Szelskine’s research baffling and exhasusting after a while — indeed, it is a actually a very odd experience to see Szelezkine boasting about aspects of ‘being Jewish’ that, if written about by a goy author, might well destroy the author’s career, or see him banished forever from ‘reasonable society.’

        Szelezkine is praised and respected and adored in some Jewish circles — were he a goy, he’d never write again.

        It is an odd duality.

      • MB.
        June 26, 2011, 8:45 am

        Here is Yuri Szelezkine, in Israel, in full flow speaking about ‘the Jewish character/Jewish achievements in the 19th/20th century’.

        You’ll need to scroll forward to the 48 mins mark — the start of the meeting is in Hebrew, but Szelezkine speaks in English from 48 mins.

      • Richard Witty
        June 23, 2011, 5:04 pm

        Annie,
        You’re funny.

        As I didn’t say anything but his name, you illustrate your proclivity for projection in action.

      • NorthOfFortyNine
        June 23, 2011, 7:21 pm

        As I didn’t say anything but his name, you illustrate your proclivity for projection in action.

        And Annie was dead right. You are disingenuous at best and at worse, … -N49.

      • Donald
        June 24, 2011, 7:42 am

        Richard, that was pure trollishness. You type the name “Gilad Atzmon” and nothing else–this literally makes no sense unless you mean it as a criticism or unless you intended to provoke a reaction and then jump on the people who reacted. Grow up.

        Criticism might be justified–I haven’t read enough to say, but people I respect, like the ones at Jews Sans Frontieres, seem to have a problem with this guy based on what I googled yesterday.

      • Citizen
        June 28, 2011, 4:03 am

        It’s interesting to note Phil’s analysis of why he “was made Jewish by the Neocons,” and his analysis of the concepts, philosophies, notions, which made his wife open up her awareness, sensitivity, and empathy to that little Palestinian boy and his people when the couple visited the ME. Phil did not attribute his wife’s awakening to her ethnic and/or religious background or upbringing at all. You may recall the little Palestinian boy told Phil he was lucky to have such a wife. Phil then testily joked about such luck, warring, one might say, with an opposing notion (“out of the mouth of babes…). Perhaps Phil is just very aware that there is a price to be paid for everything, while simultaneously, he knows that one “shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth?” At any rate, in my opinion, there’s a distinction in permanence between intellectually/imaginatively “putting a face” on something, and fully engaging a real face, be it boyish or otherwise. If memory serves, M Buber struggled with that himself.

    • clenchner
      June 23, 2011, 5:50 pm

      Most of the time, the epithet ‘self hating Jew’ is tossed around to silence what are often fairly mild critics of Israel. But in Atzmon’s case, it is on point. I’ve read him and see him as an anti-semite and a Holocaust denier.
      On the other hand, the post that Atzmon references, that was linked from a comment, about how JVP should shut up and stop trying to lead the Palestinian solidarity movement – that deserved more airing. Because it’s wrong and malicious, a perfect example of what you end up with when you keep pushing for more radical, all the time.

      • MB.
        June 24, 2011, 12:12 am

        “Most of the time, the epithet ‘self hating Jew’ is tossed around to silence what are often fairly mild critics of Israel. But in Atzmon’s case, it is on point.”

        Atzmon makes a joke of the ‘self hating Jew’ charge, saying he is proud to describe himself as such.

      • Citizen
        June 28, 2011, 4:08 am

        MB, perhaps Atzmon makes a joke out of being called a self-hating Jew because he thinks such a claim deserves to be laughed at? And so he also affirms the charge as code to say, in effect, “See how they attack me to avoid my message and not confront it squarely?” Atzmon is deep enough to harbor plenty of that sense know as ironic. He asks his readers to look at his whole life also for there is a story there that might put a crimp in the message he’s a “self-hating” Jew, and, perhaps, suggest he has gone beyond “being Jewish.”

    • Mooser
      June 24, 2011, 12:52 pm

      “Nuff said, really.”

      I disagree. I hold that anything from Witty is more than enough. In fact, too much.

  4. NorthOfFortyNine
    June 23, 2011, 1:38 pm

    >> church of pedophilia

    Yikes! I know you regret it, but, ….

    Good interview. Gilad digs at some of the things that I myself get hung up on over here. (Me: a whitebread goy. My wife: fallen jew. Our family: Pure Canadiana.)

    At the risk of offending, I sometimes feel like Phil is saying, as though referencing a saturday morning cartoon: “Jews have special powers. Zionists use these special powers for evil. Me? I want to use them for good! To the Batmobile!”

    In this regard, this interview was very refreshing. Nice to see these issues hammered out. And Phil, you are nothing if not honest. Thanks. -N49.

    • MB.
      June 24, 2011, 12:15 am

      ”Me: a whitebread goy. My wife: fallen jew. Our family: Pure Canadiana”

      What is a ‘whitebread goy?’ What is a ‘fallen Jew?’ and what is ‘Pure Canadiana’?

      I am not being sarcastic; I just don’t really understand any of these terms.

      • NorthOfFortyNine
        June 24, 2011, 2:42 am

        What is a ‘whitebread goy?’ What is a ‘fallen Jew?’ and what is ‘Pure Canadiana’?

        Oh jeez, I was just trying to be cute. Alright. By “whitebread goy” I mean someone with no real “old country ties.” Everyone in Canada (or at least Toronto) seems to have some spice in their heritage. Not me, Bro. I am from Kansas.

        By “fallen jew” I mean a chick who married out, which isn’t that uncommon here. Her family was pretty whitebread to start with. That said, she has some more extended family members who remain pretty serious about “their roots.” I remember being at a sedar in the run-up to the Iraq war which got pretty funky.

        By “pure Canadiana” I mean whitebread goys and fallen jews having kids is pretty much what Canada is all about. Phil said in this interview that people are mostly tribal. He should spend some time up here, ’cause that just ain’t true. That world is disappearing fast. Take a ride on the Toronto subway. Go to a school yard and see who is holding hands with who. This is the future. Come and visit.

      • Citizen
        June 28, 2011, 4:21 am

        N49, it’s like that here in the US too; you didn’t need to leave Kansas to find it, but you already know it. I don’t understand why anyone needs to ask about terms such as “whitebread,” and “fallen Jew.” In any case, the term “whitebread” is an adjective and noun in popular usage in the US and has been for decades now. It’s customarily used as a perjorative. Day by day, arguably, it is becoming more exotic, ironically in its special fainting spice. Both terms are used when introducing the main couple in Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom, which novel was mentioned here a few weeks ago due to one one-page Thanksgiving scene (containing table talk wrt to Zionism and Neocons) in the novel’s 562 pages, pages full of goy whitebread and fallen jews, so to say.

      • Mooser
        June 24, 2011, 12:54 pm

        “What is a ‘fallen Jew?’”

        One who has slipped off the shingles, and smashed his violin on impact. Everybody knows that.

      • Citizen
        June 28, 2011, 4:28 am

        Gee, I thought it was a Jew who lusts for Oscar Mayer liver sausage and Nabisco saltine crackers rather than his or her mom’s holiday spread.

  5. annie
    June 23, 2011, 1:51 pm

    Since Weiss runs the most popular Jewish progressive blog

    ;)

    everybody knows it’s true.

    • MB.
      June 24, 2011, 1:59 am

      “Since Weiss runs the most popular Jewish progressive blog

      ;)

      everybody knows it’s true.”

      Right on — along with Finkelstein’s page ( which he hasn’t updated for a while ) , Mondoweiss is an admirable source, and a great project. Thumbs up to Philip, for sure.

  6. Seham
    June 23, 2011, 3:05 pm

    The people demand that Mondoweiss not be delegitimized with holocaust deniers!

    • IranContraClanDidNineEleven
      June 23, 2011, 4:30 pm

      “The people demand that Mondoweiss not be delegitimized with holocaust deniers!”

      What Zionists call “HOLOCAUST DENIERS” are those who take issue with having laws against freedom of thought and opinion and the epithet is used against anyone who (I MEAN ANYONE) who even bothers to say, no matter how meekly, “let’s investigate this” which is by no means excusing the barbarity of WW2. Hell, Deborah Lipstadt even called Jimmy Carter a Holocaust Denier. Phil Giraldi and Norman Finkelstein are called deniers simply for pointing out that certain events from WW2 are being used today for political and economic gain. As Jewish Paul Eisen of Deir Yassin Remembered notes:

      “Despite their honourable intentions and dedicated efforts, the solidarity movement, which includes many Jews of conscience, has had little success in stopping the Zionist juggernaut. The truth is that the only thing that has stalled it has been Palestinian steadfastness and Palestinian stones. Although they will never say so, Palestinians must know that they are not just facing the might of the Israeli state but also the power of organized world Jewry and its primary arm, the Holocaust. Perhaps Palestinians should consider lobbing a few stones in that direction. Perhaps we all should. ”

      I take his statement not to mean an assault on the memory of anyone who died in WW2 but rather to pull the zionist narrative of the shoah away from them (who can deny that its used as an ideological weapon?) and into the realm of open discussion the way the Ukrainian famine, Armenian genocide, Stalin’s purges, the Nakba, etc are. Zionists regularly deny or downplay the Nakba, the Ukrainian famine and other crimes but they scream bloody murder at those who attempt to do so with their holiest of holies. I fear that this post will not pass moderation but I hope that it does. Phil is very brave and he of all people knows that truth doesn’t need laws to protect it.

      “Suppressing free and open discussion on any subject is as bad as telling lies, and knowingly suppressing the truth is the biggest lie of all, because it is based, not on a mistake or a genuine error, but on a deliberate intention to deceive.” Anthony Lawson

      • Tom Pessah
        June 24, 2011, 1:41 am

        you’re confusing a pretty simple issue. One is the historical evidence for the Holocaust, and the other is how it is being used politically. Atzmon calls for the Holocaust to be subjected to “historical scrutiny” as if historians haven’t been doing that for several decades, as if the evidence can’t fill whole libraries (look at the documents at http://www.holocaust-history.org). On this very thread he claims that people simply “died of exhaustion.” You can recognize that systematic extermination happened, and still oppose various political uses of this fact. Neither Seham not myself consider ourselves Zionists, but we can still make this pretty simple distinction.

      • IranContraClanDidNineEleven
        June 24, 2011, 2:48 am

        Yo Tom, I’m not confusing anything. You can’t claim that it’s being subjected to historical scrutiny when people are thrown in jail for wavering from an ideological party line dictated from on high. You have called for Atzmon to be “shunned”, what horse did you ride in on and who made you the king? Truth doesn’t need laws to protect it, period.

      • Donald
        June 24, 2011, 8:12 am

        Actually, the Holocaust is subjected to historical scrutiny. It’s not news that some specific claims (lampshades, for example) have been cast into doubt and people continue to argue about when the decision was made to exterminate the Jews. What is not subject to debate from reputable historians is the fact that the Nazis deliberately murdered several million Jews (where “several” means around 5 to 6 million, though I think estimates might go as low as 4). I read Arno Mayer’s book “Why Did the Heavens Not Darken” many years ago and he was called a Holocaust denier when he clearly is not. So yeah, people are sometimes falsely accused of it. And like Tom Pessah, I think you can recognize the basic fact that the Nazis engaged in systematic extermination of Jews and still oppose various political uses of it.

        The freedom of speech issue is separate–this is why it is dishonest for Chomsky haters to claim he is a Holocaust denier or someone sympathetic to Holocaust denial when he defended the free speech rights of Faurisson. (Chomsky did put his foot in his mouth by defending Faurrison as an apolitical liberal before he knew what Faurisson’s positions were.) Chomsky thinks it is wrong for the government to outlaw speech, even loathsome speech. But it’s not censorship to say that Holocaust denial is loathsome.

        I don’t know where Gilad Aztmon falls in all this and I should have been more cautious about jumping into this thread yesterday. But you can criticize the way the Holocaust is misused without talking as though it was a question of not enough historical scrutiny being applied to the Holocaust. That simply isn’t the problem–the problem is the way the Holocaust is used to justify Zionist cruelty or sometimes to downplay the genocides committed against others.

      • Citizen
        June 28, 2011, 4:40 am

        The way that the Holocaust is used sometimes cannot be separated from the issue of the sufficiency of historical scrutiny. Although lampshades made out of Jewish skin and soap made out of Jewish ashes are now recognized as over-the-top rhetoric to make medicine go down, so is, e.g., Heidigger’s notion that the only distinctive feature of the Holocaust was industrialization (to make the opposing medicine go down), which notion has been demolished by machetes killing nearly a million not long ago in Africa–killing that many by hand in three months.

    • MB.
      June 24, 2011, 1:57 am

      Seham, don’t be silly…..

  7. Chu
    June 23, 2011, 3:17 pm

    I like the writing of Atzmon, as he knows how to deliver with good sarcasm. The man is for the same cause as other ‘humanists’, and I wish his articles were discussed more here. Sure, they’re a bit more gritty than other’s, but he is a genuine voice that cant be denied. He has seen a completely different angle as an insider, then an emigrant.
    [and a great musician, as well.]

  8. GuiltyFeat
    June 23, 2011, 4:32 pm

    Am I the only one who noticed that that Atzmon eviscerated Phil in this interview? Ouch.

    • Woody Tanaka
      June 23, 2011, 4:52 pm

      Well, to be fair, Atzmon was clearly quoting Phil and writing commentary after the fact. But, yes, I too got the impression that Atzmon was taking some shots.

      • MB.
        June 24, 2011, 12:16 am

        Phil raises some very good and challenging points in the interview — it’s a good read.

    • NorthOfFortyNine
      June 23, 2011, 4:55 pm

      Am I the only one who noticed that that Atzmon eviscerated Phil in this interview? Ouch.

      You think so? I don’t. I thought it was tough and insightful and that Phil handled himself with aplomb and that Gilad said as much.

      • Citizen
        June 28, 2011, 4:46 am

        I agree N49, I just wished the inverview would have probed more; I agree with those on this thread who have already recommended a second interview; they could take turns interviewing each other, then hand the interview to a third party to publish without any editing. I wouldn’t suggest Michelle Bachmann or Sen Lieberma or Barnie Frank or Sarah P.

    • Donald
      June 23, 2011, 5:43 pm

      What do you mean? Seriously, I don’t mean that in an argumentative way, but to me the interview showed Phil somewhat conflicted, but in a way we’ve all seen before.

      My concern is why Phil chooses to associate with someone who apparently (based on the link Tom Pessah provided above) flirts with Holocaust denial. It’s wrong in itself, of course, and it also gives ammunition to people who want to portray this blog as Mondofront. What good does this do? Couldn’t Phil have conducted a similar discussion with someone else? Hell, there are people in the comments section here who would happily grill him on the same subjects of Jewish identity, universalism vs. tribalism, etc…

      • NorthOfFortyNine
        June 23, 2011, 7:02 pm

        Donald,

        I completely understand the sensitivity, and I accept your fair point. But I like Atzmon because for him nothing is taboo. I probably don’t serve my own interests in this way, but intellectual straightjackets are stifling. Which is why I like Finklestein and Pappe and, umm, Weiss.

        As for “Holocaust denial”, here is what he actually says:

        When I was young and naive I was also somehow convinced that what they told us about our ‘collective’ Jewish past really happened. I believed it all, the Kingdom of David, Massada, and then the Holocaust: the soap, the lampshade*, the death march, the six million.

        As it happened, 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 politicians. It took me years to grasp that my great-grandmother wasn’t made into a ‘soap’ or a ‘lampshade’*. She probably perished out of exhaustion, typhus or maybe even by mass shooting.

        I remember growing up with “lampshades and soap” too. When I finally heard it was a myth, I felt taken. Like — what the hell? Here you had a continent destroyed, tens of millions killed, the place in rubble — why the need to exagerate? I don’t like it when people lie, especially when it appears designed to occlude the suffering of others.

        Weiss was taboo back at the Observer. Now Atzmon is taboo here. And so the world turns. -N49.

      • MB.
        June 24, 2011, 12:17 am

        N49, good points, good post. Agreed entirely.

      • Citizen
        June 28, 2011, 4:50 am

        Me too; though not all the regulars think ATzmon is taboo here, and do Phil and Adam think so? I doubt it. Although I don’t remember Phil mentioning his interview here initially.

      • MRW
        June 23, 2011, 7:58 pm

        Donald,

        This blog is already called Mondofront. So what? Atzmon discusses stuff that should not be taboo. So he questions aspects of the Holocaust history, which no one is allowed to question. Big deal. That doesn’t make you a denier. There were lots of myths pre-1989 — when the Russians gave up the Nazi archives — that were sacrosanct, like the lampshades out of skin stories or the soap. It took Yehuda Bauer (Yad Vashem) screaming Enough already in op-eds around the world in the early 90s to put an end to them, ditto lopping 3 million off the 4 million figure at Auschwitz.

        Don’t forget, Atzmon is a stone’s throw from a continent where you’re put in jail for discussing the Holocaust. He enjoys being a shit-disturber.

      • MRW
        June 23, 2011, 8:11 pm

        I think this video of Dr. Hajo Meyer (Auschwitz Survivor) on Atzmon’s site is a far better testament to Atzmon’s perspective on the Holocaust:
        HAJO MEYER ON JEWS AND PALESTINE (MUST SEE)
        link to gilad.co.uk
        Yes, it is a “must see.”

        There is also Meyer’s email response to him a couple of weeks later:
        link to gilad.co.uk

      • MB.
        June 24, 2011, 12:20 am

        Hajo Meyer is a great man — interestingly, he also gets harrassed by UK Zionists,( Hoffman, the Jewish Chronicle crowd etc ) and called an anti Semite and holocaust minimiser, if not a denier. His speeches have been broken up and disturbed by hardcore Zionists, catcalling and bullying.

  9. Eva Smagacz
    June 23, 2011, 7:55 pm

    Tom Pessah,

    I think it is legitimate and understanding question from someone who found out that healthy prisoners from Auschwitz Birkenau concentration Camps were forcibly evacuated between 17th and 21 st of January 1945 and they were freely joined by sick and exhausted prisoners who volunteered to join the evacuation columns and retreating Germans.

    Pointing out the apparent contradiction in the heart of historic event is hardly controversial and, usually, indicates the need for further research.

    In this case the answer is logical and straight forward, and coming from prisoners’ own stories: sick prisoners were convinced that those left behind in the camps will be killed as no longer of use to Germans.

    • Gilad
      June 23, 2011, 8:59 pm

      Tx for that. and it is crucial to mention that Prof’ Israel Gutman was the most respected Israeli Shoa scholar at the time.

  10. Gilad
    June 23, 2011, 8:56 pm

    Hello Everybody ..Gilad here.
    Phil, thanks for referring to the interview. I think that it was a good one and you were very brave.

    The others, in this article link to aljazeerah.info
    or in any of my writing there is no Holocaust denial.

    Indeed truth seeking is a primary value for me and it is very different from any form of denial. If the Holocaust is the new Jewish religion, it would be right to question it theologically. If you don’t think so, please offer an educated reason..

    Also it would be pretty effective if any of you may define what Holocaust denial entails.

    Just for the record, in case you do not know. I am an international Jazz artist. I perform regularly in Germany, Austria and other countries were Holocaust denial laws are in place. Needless to say that I’ve never been stopped or even questioned.

    I want the Holocaust to be treated as an historical chapter, any objection? if you do object, please offer an educated reasoning.

    • Gellian
      June 23, 2011, 9:25 pm

      Gilad,

      What frightens all these people is that you’re making sense. If you lived here in America, you’d learn that this isn’t a freedom we’re allowed.

      • MB.
        June 24, 2011, 12:22 am

        Gellian, I have never been to USA or Canada, so I don’t know, but do you think these issues are more easily discussed in Europe? You know, the press in Uk is certainly not open to these kinds of debates. When The Guardian featured some of Gilad Atzmon’s writings, the ‘disclaimer’ before the article ( just so we knew the Guardian didn’t support his views) was almost as long as Atzmon’s whole article. Other UK papers such as The Daily Telegraph, had a writer, Oliver Kamm, who regularly attempted to vilify Atzmon ( but he gave up eventually.)

      • Chaos4700
        June 24, 2011, 1:38 am

        Neither the US nor Canada has anyone like Sir Gerald Kaufman. I’m not going to say things are easy in the UK to discuss this issues… but you know, at least the discussion actually happens in the British Parliament. At all.

      • MB.
        June 24, 2011, 6:24 am

        Chaos wrote — ” at least the discussion actually happens in the British Parliament. At all.”

        Yes, it does happen, but in most cases, it is not reported in the mainstream press. Kaufman has surely said some courageous things, but the British public don’t get to hear it on the ITN/BBC/Ch4 news, or get to read about it in the leading papers. The Independent and The Guardian may report dissenting words like Kaufman’s, but generally not other papers, except in derogatory reports. Galloway spoke his mind to the Parliament — and he was savaged in the press for it.

        There is a degree of free debate in UK — but only within firmly defined boundaries. If journalists/politicians step slightly beyond those boundaries — they will be blocked.

        There are exceptions to such restrictions — for example, Jon Snow’s savaging of Mark Regev on mainstream evening news ( Ch4 ) but these are not the norm. ( I think many of us UK viewers were amazed at Snow’s ‘radical-directness’ here )

        Media Lens are very good at debating the boundaries of free debate in the UK media/parliament etc.

        link to medialens.org

      • Gilad
        June 24, 2011, 3:12 pm

        I can cope with it. I have for years now.

      • Citizen
        June 28, 2011, 4:56 am

        Gellian, while I type this I am watching Michelle Bachmann’s presidential campaign announcement on C-SPAN’s Road To The Whitehouse.

    • MRW
      June 23, 2011, 9:53 pm

      Gilad,

      Smart question (again, like ‘anti-semitism’, hard to nail down): Also it would be pretty effective if any of you may define what Holocaust denial entails.

      Really enjoyed your Hart/Sabbagh panel. Wish you guys would do it again. I’m still smiling about the Pre-Traumatic Stress Disorder, but I didn’t get the Israeli joke about the street. [I watched the long version on Vimeo, that link is on Hart's site.]

      • Gilad
        June 24, 2011, 3:13 pm

        I am going to do many of those in the fall…

    • wondering jew
      June 23, 2011, 9:54 pm

      Gilad,
      Do you think that the Jews killed Jesus?

      • NorthOfFortyNine
        June 23, 2011, 10:58 pm

        >> Do you think that the Jews killed Jesus?

        Is this a sincere attempt at historical clarity? Or are you just being an asshole? -N49.

      • wondering jew
        June 23, 2011, 11:24 pm

        Some people are not aware of gilad atzmon’s voluminous writings and his provocative style. i am rehashing old material to see if he’s a truth teller today or just on his chosen topics today. i don’t feel like discussing the holocaust right now. i would like to see if gilad is in the mood to call the jews christ killers or not today.. n49, how much of gilad’s writings have you perused?

      • NorthOfFortyNine
        June 24, 2011, 12:06 am

        WJ,

        i would like to see if gilad is in the mood to call the jews christ killers or not today

        So you’re just being an asshole then?

        how much of gilad’s writings have you perused?

        I would say a moderate amount. Why don’t you post or link to what you find offensive and let Gilad, should he have the patience, defend himself? I think that is a little more fair than taking cheap potshots at the dude, as you are here. -N49.

      • wondering jew
        June 24, 2011, 6:19 am

        Gilad is not satisfied with calling the Zionists worse than the Nazis, after all the Nazis were only in power for 12 years and the Zionists have been in power 63 or more years, but he has to use the term Christ killer to describe the Zionists’ evil. And if you google Gilad Atzmon and Christ killer you can do your own research. And anyone who tosses around Christ killer is the asshole and not me who wants to hear how he presents himself to this web site in regards to his use of this phrase. Nothing cheap about this potshot, he is the loudmouth asshole, not me.

      • MB.
        June 24, 2011, 7:04 am

        I am not in the slightest interested in the banter of ‘who killed Jesus’ etc etc; ‘it was the Jews’, ‘no it wasn’t /yes it was.’

        But, it does seem odd you are so concerned with Atzmon mentioning it. After all, a quick visit to youtube, or to many a Jewish nationalist site, will turn up many examples of your co-religionists boasting about actually being responsible for, yes, killing Jesus.

        Is such conversation and humour common amongst Jews? There are also comedy programmes in Israel that joke about yes, killing Jesus. A US comedian ( forgotten her name ) cracks the same jokes , on mainstream American comedy shows.

        Why does it worry you then, if Atzmon draws attention to it?

      • wondering jew
        June 24, 2011, 10:35 am

        Gilad Atzmon wants to be treated seriously. I think. Calling the Zionists Christ killers is not the sign of a serious person. Only the sign of a seriously ill person. Or else an aspiring comedian. Then he should go to the Improv and take a whack at open mike night. Or see if the Friars’ Club invites him like Sarah Silverman to roast Hugh Hefner. Gilad Atzmon is neither a serious political analyst nor a serious comedian. He is a serious asshole.

      • Chu
        June 24, 2011, 12:34 pm

        Such a tough guy, this wondering Jew.

        Who has shown his penchant toward racism
        on many postings in the past. How can you
        be taken seriously, when your articles often
        lack the clarity that Gilad can so easily deliver?
        I’ve has a difficult time with the articles you post
        here. After reading them, I think what was his point?

        Aren’t you planning on leaving Israel?
        Or was that just happy talk?

      • wondering jew
        June 24, 2011, 12:41 pm

        Chu- Let us deal with one thing: calling Zionists Christkillers. Do you feel that is appropriate behavior by someone who wants to be taken seriously as a political analyst?

        I might answer personal questions if you answer that question first.

      • Chu
        June 24, 2011, 12:54 pm

        Hey WJ,

        Zionism did not exist when Christ was killed.

        But, I read his articles. He’s one opinion of many out there in this debate. I read Failed Messiah, Atlas shrugged, as well as the Jewish Press. They’re out there for all to read.

        Is Atzmon a serious political analyst? I’m not sure he puts it this way.

      • Woody Tanaka
        June 24, 2011, 12:58 pm

        “Do you feel that is appropriate behavior by someone who wants to be taken seriously as a political analyst?”

        Does he want to be taken seriously as a political analyst?? It seems to me that he wants to be taken as a polemicist.

      • Danaa
        June 24, 2011, 11:58 pm

        WJ, christ to many is a concept, especially as to this day we don’t have much independent accounts of Jesus’ life a a person (other than what’s been handed down by the apostles).

        One of the concepts of christ(because there really is more than one) is the universality of humans, and hence human suffering. And no, that was not in the jewish tradition, not even in Hillel (who could otherwise be described a kindred spirit to Jesus) . Though in all fairness, it was Paul, the diaspora Jew who had the genius of taking the universality concept to the hellenized masses, jettisoning most jewish law and tradition along the way. Upon which Christ became the un-Jew.

        So if christ is universality (as in commonality of all humans) then zionists – by rejecting universality – are indeed christ killers. A modern version thereof.

        Sometimes I wonder whether zionism and humanism can co-exist at all. I guess they can for some who are very good at compartmentalizing, like our average PEP do-gooders. Some just don’t think very deeply to see the inherent contradictions. It’s when they ask the rest of us to compartmentalize or just agree to be stupid that trouble ensues.

      • Shmuel
        June 25, 2011, 3:36 am

        So if christ is universality (as in commonality of all humans) then zionists – by rejecting universality – are indeed christ killers. A modern version thereof.

        Danaa,

        I won’t argue theology here, but no one seems to call Zionists “Kant-killers”, for some reason. “Christ-killers” has a certain resonance that can be traced to the very opposite of universality.

      • Danaa
        June 25, 2011, 5:35 pm

        Shmuel, ““Christ-killers” has a certain resonance that can be traced to the very opposite of universality”

        Oh, I know that of course. But what you refer to is about the way in which the expression was used as a political/religious persecution hatchet. I was going off on a more philosophical direction, because I felt that’s the level at which Gilad may have been using the term.

        I’ll admit the “Christ killer” term is provocative – but that’s probably what was intended – to provoke a discussion. I’d probably choose a different term to brand zionism with – may be something like “un-Tikkun-Olam” or “counter universalism” or “zombie-rights”? All a mouthful, alas.

      • Gilad
        June 25, 2011, 6:11 pm

        I do..I call them Kant killers.. In my work i elaborate on the comparison between the Israeli moral conduct and the Kantian categorical imperative. I, for instance, dismiss Asa Kasher’s ‘IDF’s moral code’ arguing the ‘philosopher’ doesn’t grasp that moral beings do not follow a ‘moral code’, they just behave morally. However, most Israelis are not offended being called Kant killers, unlike Herzl, Kant is not a household name the the Jew land.

      • Shmuel
        June 25, 2011, 6:15 pm

        Danaa,

        I know you can’t resist a good provocation, but the thing about provocations (like practical jokes) is that they are pointless if they are misunderstood. I’m sure a smart and creative woman like you can come up with something a little better than “un-Tikkun-Olam”, although I do appreciate the provocation :-)

      • Gilad
        June 25, 2011, 6:22 pm

        Again Shmuel, Zionism was intended to erect a universal Jew, People like other people (am Kechol ha-amim). It failed because all other people do not want to be other people…

        My take on Christ Killing is not driven by an argument for universalism.

        I ask how is it that people who live today are offended by such an accusation? I argue that there is a devastating ideological continuum between the passion of Christ and the suffering of the Pls people. It is this continuum that makes many Jews feel cornered.

        Tom Pessah and a few others here who are desperate to prove me being a Nazi sympathizer or Christ Killer enthusiast are basically following the pattern that was established by their imaginary ancestors… hence, they are concerned with the Christ killing accusation for a reason. They are engaged in a similar act. One difference, I ain’t Christ. i am hardly a lamb :)

      • wondering jew
        June 25, 2011, 6:55 pm

        Gilad- I suppose I can’t call you tone deaf, because you are a musician, but you certainly are deaf to anything but your own internal sound. When my uncle was 4, the kids passing by in small town Illinois said, “You killed Christ.” He answered, “I’m four years old, I didn’t kill anyone.” They retorted, “your father killed Christ.” He answered, “My father is a nice man, I don’t think he killed anybody.” He went home and found out what the big to do was about.

        To object to a phrase that was used to hector a 4 year old in just a bit of “innocent” bigotry is one thing. There were also calls of Christ killer as Jews were being killed in pogroms. There were also people who justified what was happening to the Jews during WWII because they deserved punishment for being killers of Christ. (See Lanzman’s “Shoah”)

        If you still can’t figure out why Jewish people might object to the term Christ killer then you are a hopelessly emotionally tone deaf individual. You know the real answer. It can’t be because we feel a connection to the Jew in Kishinev 105 years ago or my uncle in Illinois 80 years ago or the Jew taken out to be shot in the Ukraine 70 years ago, it must be because I feel a connection to Caiaphas in Jerusalem 1980 years ago. Gilad knows best.

        Idiot.

      • Gilad
        June 25, 2011, 8:17 pm

        And now move beyond the papa, mama, uncle, sh’mancle…and ask yourself why was your innocent 4 years old uncle associated with the crime associate with a crime that happened 2000 years ago?

        I will try to help you Mr Wonder Wander , because his brothers and Sisters were engaged in the plunder of Palestinian properties in the name of the Jewish people.

        You want to talk about Ukraine? Have you tried to investigate the origin of Jew hatred in Eastern Europe?

        It is about time Jews look into reasons and causes behind anti semitism. Rather than blaming to Goyim for being a bunch of lunatic nutters, time is ripe for Jews to look in the mirror.

        How do you explain the fact that no one has ever called me, my wife or my kids Christ Killers?

        I will give you a hint, being a part of a tribal collective is very problematic indeed.

      • wondering jew
        June 26, 2011, 5:00 am

        It is obvious to the jazz musician that people object to being called Christ killers for a variety of reasons, including the fact that Jews were murdered rather recently by people who justified those murders with the Christ killer reasoning. The jazz musician is not willing to deal with the variety of reasons why people might object to being called Christ killers, he must assert that it is because they/we identify with Caiaphas and the Herodians and whoever else handed Jesus over to the Romans to be crucified. He must assert this, not because it is true, but because he wishes to assert it. And if he wishes to assert it, then it must be asserted. This is the jazz musician’s new creed, self love. Not love of truth, but self love. If I wish to utter it, it must be uttered. If it is a falsehood, not to worry, if it gets a point across that is what is important. We cannot deny him his right to utter his falsehood, because he must utter what he wishes to utter. Truth or untruth cannot be seen immediately. just like you can’t tell whether a note is harmonious only based on the past notes, you must wait for the future notes to see the point. So a falsehood is not really a falsehood if the point that he is trying to make will be revealed to be true. He is a truth seeker, who must assert falsehoods. He is a peace seeker, who must use verbal violence.

        In other words he is a snake in the grass who should not be allowed in polite society. In other words he brings this web site down yet another notch.

        (It is also obvious to him, that children in Illinois were not calling my uncle a Christ killer in the 1930’s because of something taking place in Palestine. he knows this. But he wishes to equate what was going on in Palestine to Christ killing and so, even though it is a patent falsehood, it serves his purpose and the ultimate truth is served by this and all other falsehoods.)

      • MB.
        June 24, 2011, 12:08 am

        What’s your point WJ? Care to elaborate?

      • Mooser
        June 24, 2011, 1:04 pm

        His point is pretty clear: Wondering Jew feels that any accusation against Jews, no matter how irrelevant to the subject, belongs to the Zionists to make something out of. I’ve never seen such a clear demonstration of the fact.

      • Chu
        June 24, 2011, 1:09 pm

        true indeed.

      • Tom Pessah
        June 24, 2011, 8:28 am

        Zionists are not happy at all with the recycling of some old ‘Anti-Semitic slogans and images’. They are especially annoyed when they are blamed for the death of Jesus. I would suggest that perhaps we should face it once and for all: the Jews were responsible for the killing of Jesus who, by the way, was himself a Palestinian Jew.”

        There is no doubt that the role of Jews in Christ’s death has become a major Western historical and religious narrative. Yet, I continue to argue that this is an irrelevant historical fact. Instead, I present a crucial question which Hirsh has managed to deliberately dismiss:
        “How is it that people living today feel accountable or chased for a crime committed by their great ancestors almost 2,000 years ago?”

        My answer to this question is as follows:

        “I assume that those Jews who get angry when blamed for killing Jesus are those who identify themselves with Jesus’ killers. Those who would commit this murderous act today. link to gilad.co.uk

      • MB.
        June 24, 2011, 9:12 am

        Tom, and wondering jew, here are some Jewish people laughing about the ‘who killed Christ’ charge, one on mainstream US television —

        link to youtube.com

        link to youtube.com

        As I said, I have no interest whatsoever in the charge, one way or another, none at all — but — the ‘Jews killed Christ’ issue does seem to be a source of contempt/humour/triumphalism for some Jews and Israelis, doesn’t it? There are also numerous reports of Jews spitting on Christians in Israel. Perhaps Atzmon’s articles remind you of that, and you’d prefer not to look at that ? Is that it?

        Here’s a Haaretz report on Jews spitting at Christians :

        “A few weeks ago, a senior Greek Orthodox clergyman in Israel attended a meeting at a government office in Jerusalem’s Givat Shaul quarter. When he returned to his car, an elderly man wearing a skullcap came and knocked on the window. When the clergyman let the window down, the passerby spat in his face.

        The clergyman prefered not to lodge a complaint with the police and told an acquaintance that he was used to being spat at by Jews. Many Jerusalem clergy have been subjected to abuse of this kind.”

        link to haaretz.com

      • Tom Pessah
        June 24, 2011, 9:45 am

        duh, so what is your point? that some Jews are racists? Some muslims and some christians and some hindus are also racists, in case you haven’t noticed.

        But to criticize “who get angry when blamed for killing Jesus” is to pretend that this false accusation (ever hear of Pontius Pilate?) hasn’t had any deadly consequences for Jews for hundreds of years. What on earth is the purpose of repeating this old libel if not to encourage more hatred?

      • Gilad
        June 24, 2011, 10:19 am

        Hello there.. I must admit that i stand behind every word above. Can you please brief me and the others what is it that you do not agree with?

        I realise you do not want us to be free talking about the Shoa. Do you also insist that discussing the birth moment of Christianity should also be prohibited?

        The point in the article you quote is that some Jews are concerned with Christ killing accusation because Israel is killing Christ(s) on a daily basis. We call it the passion of the Palestinians…

        At the time , there was another progressive Jew who questioned me about the topic.

        The exchange was published on CP.. it is pretty funny
        link to counterpunch.org

        Hi Gilad,
        Lenni: People tell me so many things about you, that I decided to get some answers straight from the horse’s mouth, as we Yanks say.

        Gilad: Hi Lenni, I do appreciate it!

        Lenni: Are you a Christian?

        Gilad: Not that it is your business (in case you didn’t know, Christianity is not pedophilia, it is allowed these days), however, I am an ex Jew. I didn’t formally join any organised religion and this includes: Islam or Christianity as well as your UK Bundist friends’ version of Talmudic Marxism (a religion rather than an ideology).

        Lenni: Was Jesus human only, or divine in whole or part?

        Gilad: What a pathetic question Lenni. How am I supposed to know? Do you know? Having been trained in philosophy, I will try to help you to refine your question. What you want to ask is whether I BELIEVE that Jesus was divine.
        My answer, Mr. Brenner, is very very simple. I do not engage in questions having to do with divinity. And my own belief is irrelevant because I am not religious. Yet, I do respect the FACT that very many people around me believe that Jesus was divine. Unlike you and your UK friends, I do respect other people’s beliefs. In fact I respect any form of spiritual activity. I admire people who are inspired by divinity. I admire Torah Jews, who are the only noticeable Jewish collective resistance to Zionism. In case you ask yourself where I find divinity, my answer is very simple: Coltrane, Stravinsky and Bach, but this changes often.

        Lenni: Was he (Jesus) the messiah? Is he coming again? Do you accept the New Testament as divinely inspired?

        Gilad: Lenni, do I look like the Pope? How am I supposed to know whether Jesus was the Messiah? Again, do you know the answers? My affair with Jesus is rather metaphysical. I regard Jesus as a critical ethical awakening. For me Christ is all about loving your neighbour. Jesus is the birth of western universal humanism (as we know it). Following Hegel, I am inspired by the notion of Otherness, and ‘Master Slave Dialectic’. However, the notion of Otherness is nothing but Christ’s heritage. I suggest that you think about it for a while.

        I would like to mention as well that your dismissal of Christianity and religion in general is rather disconcerting. However, without me being Christian, I must insist to remind you and your half a dozen UK followers that the days when Jews chased Christians are over.

        Lenni: Did you write:

        “I would suggest that perhaps we should face it once and for all; the Jews were responsible for the killing of Jesus who, by the way, was himself a Palestinian Jew. But then two questions should be asked:

        1 – How is it that people living today feel accountable or chased for a crime committed by their great great ancestors almost 2,000 ago? I assume that those Jews who get angry when blamed for killing Jesus are those who identify themselves with Jesus’s killers. Those who would commit this murderous act today.

        Those Jews are called Zionists and they are already advancing into their sixth decade of inhuman crimes against the Palestinian people and the Arab world.
        Zionism, for those who do not know, is a repetition of the darkest age of the Jewish Biblical era.”

        Gilad: Yes indeed, these are my words and I stand by them.

        Lenni: Does any living Jew have any responsibility for Jesus’s death?

        Gilad: Lenni, did you lose your capability to grasp a very simple text? I would really like you to present just how my text implies that I accuse contemporary Jews for killing Christ or for being responsible for it. In fact the text says the complete opposite. I ask: “How is it that people living today feel accountable or chased for a crime committed by their great great ancestors almost 2,000 ago?” In other words, I find it astonishing that people today happen to be offended by such accusations.

        Lenni: Am I responsible? Do I have to atone for his death? Do I have to accept that he rose from the dead?

        Gilad: Lenni, do I look like a shrink? I really leave this question to you. It is you who should answer whether you ‘feel’ responsible or not. By no means does my text imply that you or anyone else is responsible. The text says that those who are offended are “those who identify themselves with Jesus’s killers. Those who would commit this murderous act today.” “Accordingly, it is you who should ask yourself whether you would commit such a crime today.
        Once again, you may want to refine your question. The question you want to ask is whether I BELIEVE that you are responsible.

        No is the answer. I don’t BELIEVE that you are responsible; moreover I KNOW that you are not responsible. Nevertheless, my text implies as well that you MAY not be as innocent as you wish to be.

        In my text I stress that “I assume that those Jews who get angry when blamed for killing Jesus are those who identify themselves with Jesus’s killers. Those who would commit this murderous act today.”

        Seemingly, you are ‘angry’, you feel accused of something without even being accused of anything. On the face of it, the question you have to ask yourself is whether you identify yourself with Christ’s killers? I am pretty sure that you don’t and you shouldn’t be. However, I must tell you that the cyber kangaroo courts that you and your friends hold on a daily basis reminds me too much of the Sanhedrin. I suggest that you think about that as well for a while.

        Somehow you and those like you know what is good for the Palestinians, the Jews, the working class. I occasionally ask myself what it is that makes you so confident. You and your followers indeed have managed to silence some of the most interesting intellects around just because you do not approve their politics or religion. I am afraid to inform you Lenni, that these days are over. Your six UK disciples are working day and night for more than three years doing their very best to silence me, I am afraid to tell you that they fail. In fact they achieve the opposite instead.

        I do not feel sorry for them because they have really zero reputation to defend. But I really feel sorry for you Lenni. You are an important contributor to the Israeli-Palestinian discourse. Your books are more than valuable. You have a reputation to defend. I would like to see you in the midst of the discourse rather than surrounded by the last shadows of echoes of tribal socialism.

        Just before closing this email I will sharpen the differences between us.

        Unlike you Lenni, I believe in freedom of speech. Unlike you Lenni, I am against gatekeeping, I am also against any form of dogmatic or monolithic discourses of hegemony. Unlike you and your friends, I believe that every human subject is entitled to human rights. Unlike you Lenni, I approve of the Hamas. Unlike you Lenni, I understand that working class politics has very little relevance in Arabia.

        Yet, I have never tried to silence anyone, on the contrary. I will fight for your right to speak your mind.

        Lenni: Thanks, in advance, for your time and trouble in this regard,

        Gilad: It was my entire pleasure.

        [email protected]
        London, February 11, 2007

      • Tom Pessah
        June 24, 2011, 10:40 am

        the point is pretty simple – it is unhelpful to repeat claims that are both false and dangerous. The Catholic Church has recognized that the Jews did not kill Jesus. The New Testament describes how he was executed by the Romans. This claim is both false and dangerous as it was used to incite hatred and violence against Jews for hundreds of years. It is as false as to claim black men have a tendency to rape white women, which is also dangerous and has also lead to much violence against black men. It’s pretty simple.

        People who are “universalists” don’t incite against specific groups, and it is perfectly easy to be against Zionist or other forms of racism and against anti-Jewish bigotry at the same time. There is nothing heroic or daring about repeating lies that have already been disproven over and over again.

      • Tom Pessah
        June 24, 2011, 10:45 am

        ” Pope Benedict XVI has made a sweeping exoneration of the Jewish people for the death of Jesus Christ, tackling one of the most controversial issues in Christianity in a new book.
        … In “Jesus of Nazareth-Part II” excerpts released Wednesday, Benedict uses biblical and theological analyses to explain why there was no basis in Scripture that the Jewish people as a whole were responsible for Jesus’ death.

        Interpretations to the contrary have been used for centuries to justify the persecution of Jews.”
        link to usatoday.com

      • Woody Tanaka
        June 24, 2011, 11:35 am

        ” The Catholic Church has recognized that the Jews did not kill Jesus. The New Testament describes how he was executed by the Romans.”

        Not really correct. The New Testiament *(or at least parts of it) actually does place blame for the death on some Jews living at the time, while noting that the Romans were the ones who carried out the execution. It was not a wholly Roman event, according to Gospel and Christian theology. (Whether one choses to believe that or not is a theological question which I really couldn’t care less about.) To deny that some parts of the Gospels actually lay blame on some Jews is dumb.

        Further, neither Nostra Aetate nor Benedict’s new book hold that no Jews were responsible for Jesus’s death. They make clear that some Jews — Temple priests, supporters of Barabbas and so forth — were responsble for the death. The point those words are making is that the Jews as a whole, neither then or nor now, can be held responsible. That is not the same as saying that no Jews were involved.

      • Tom Pessah
        June 24, 2011, 12:47 pm

        >> They make clear that some Jews — Temple priests, supporters of Barabbas and so forth — were responsble for the death. The point those words are making is that the Jews as a whole, neither then or nor now, can be held responsible. >> great, so you’re saying some Jews 2000 ago were involved, even though they didn’t execute him.

        Atzmon, on the other hand, is saying ” the Jews were responsible for the killing of Jesus ” link to gilad.co.uk – not “some” Jews but “the” Jews. This is pointless incitement which has been used for centuries to persecute Jews.

      • Woody Tanaka
        June 24, 2011, 1:31 pm

        My point had nothing to do with Atzmon, but was simply correcting inaccuracies in your statement.

      • Gilad
        June 24, 2011, 3:26 pm

        Tom and Woody, you may note that in my quotes I speak about Christ killing in past tense.

        The “sweeping exoneration of the Jewish people for the death of Jesus Christ” is totally irrelevant to the point. I ask how is it that people who live today are even concerned with such an accusations.
        Would Italians take the blame for the crime on behalf of the Romans?
        I don’t think so…

        I try to deal with this question and I am still satisfied with my answer. Those who are offended by the Christ killer accusation are those who are engaged in a similar crime (total abuse of Palestinians).

      • Woody Tanaka
        June 24, 2011, 5:02 pm

        Thanks Gilad. Your points were fairly clear. Thanks for restating them.

      • Gilad
        June 24, 2011, 5:12 pm

        Tx so much Woody. I was busy here all day with other things but followed you and MB’s well reasoned arguments. It was fun. I have a lot to learn from you. ..

        I hardly blog myself.. I tour most of my life…Thanks for your support and integrity.

      • Woody Tanaka
        June 24, 2011, 5:21 pm

        You’re quite welcome and thanks for your kind words. One of the beauties of this life is learning from each other.

      • Mooser
        June 24, 2011, 1:01 pm

        “Gilad,
        Do you think that the Jews killed Jesus?”

        Oh, do us all a favor and put a sock in it, wouldya?

      • MB.
        June 24, 2011, 10:44 pm

        Wondering Jew, you are really fixated with that point — why don’t you go and harrass those Jews in Israel and elsewhere that actually joke about killing Christ ? I understand that jokes, and comedies and discussion about Jews killing Christ are pretty common in Israel. Why are you fixating on Atzmon here for discussing issues around that? I thought Jewish hostility towards the figure of Christ was fairly common in Jewish society, and in some Jewish scriptures too. After all, aren’t there a number of verses in Jewish scripture describing the most horrendous tortures of Christ as his ‘deserved fate?”

        C’mon, you are not dealing with gullible idiots here — you know very well that mocking TV shows about Christ, contemptuous jokes and views about Christ are not uncommon in Israel and in some Jewish circles.

      • wondering jew
        June 25, 2011, 1:42 am

        MB- I am at this time participating in this web site, so for you to tell me “Why don’t you go elsewhere and complain about other people who joke about killing Jesus?” is pretty stupid. I am here dealing with this. Why don’t you go elsewhere and protect someone other than Gilad Atzmon? Because you are here doing that. This “why don’t you go elsewhere” is not a good way of introducing yourself if you are a so called pacifist. If you are a shit stirrer then you are doing fine. If you feel that the best way to bring peace is through stirring shit, I would say that your means and your ends are opposed to each other.

        What do I think of Jewish comedians joking about killing Jesus? I think that the purpose of comedians is to take sensitive topics and poke at areas of discomfort and so it is fair game for comedians.

        What do I think about Jews joking about killing Jesus? I accept it as part of the process of individuals dealing with the history of killing of Jews for the sin of being Christ killers that the tendency would be to deal with the perverse bloody history with perverseness and a form of anger and aggression and so I accept it as well.

        Why do I fault Atzmon for his Christkilling label that he attaches to Zionists? Because Atzmon ostensibly believes in peace and a one state solution and I do not see how this label helps reduce tensions or keeps things on a rational level or keeps people’s spirits positive. If he wishes to advocate a war to wipe out the Zionists then he is on the right track. If he advocates cool, calm and collected thoughts, then he is really on the wrong track.

        The negative attitude towards Jesus is fairly common in Orthodox society and not all that common in Jewish society. Orthodox are a minority in Israel and a minority in the Diaspora as well.

        There are no verses in Jewish scripture describing torture of Jesus. There are sections of the Talmud that describe the tortures of Jesus. I view these with a grain of salt, as in: historically there already was Christian persecution of Jews going on when the Talmud was written and thus anger at the “central figure” of the Christian worship and religion was expressed through those described tortures. Further I do not attribute to Jesus a belief in polytheism or a belief that the only way to the father is through him, though a few of the verses of the new testament seem to ascribe some such thoughts to him. I consider those verses to be the creation of those who came after Jesus who wished to model their new religion on pagan beliefs in a son of a father god and I consider Jesus to be a Jew who believed in one God. The rabbis did not consider Jesus in a positive light and everything they saw wrong about Christianity, be it persecution of the Jews, be it its tendency towards polytheism and worship of something other than direct communication and worship of the one God, as stemming from Jesus himself and thus the negative attitude. I have that negative attitude towards Paul and whoever wrote certain verses in the New Testament and whoever took a Jewish martyr and turned him into a cause to make more Jewish martyrs. I do not blame that on Jesus. I think Jesus had a death wish. He felt that his light could not be buried under a bushel and thus his Messiah- hood had to be proclaimed publicly even though that was bound to stir trouble with the Herodians and whoever else was in favor of the status quo. He had a death wish, maybe for a good purpose, or maybe because he was imperfect, that I don’t know. As Nietzsche said, I think he died too soon and I think he did not reach his full potential. I think he was an imperfect human being who taught a lot of great things and some not so great things and in whose names a lot of evil things were said and done.

        I don’t think I’m dealing with a lot of gullible idiots here, but I think in your case I am dealing with a very negative person.

        I tend to doubt the ability of human kind to really get along with each other at this point in time and the ability of human kind to get along with each other at some point in the future is a possibility but certainly not a proven probability. But if at some point in the future Christians and Jews will be able to get along it will be despite certain verses in the New Testament and despite certain sections of the Talmud, when Jews and Christians accept Jesus as a great but fallible human being. I do not think Atzmon’s attitude is bringing the great day of Jewish and Christian reconciliation any closer and in fact he is exacerbating all tensions. I think he has traded one false faith- Zionism for another false faith- love of Gilad Atzmon and whatever impulses Gilad Atzmon has are the route to the truth. And he has too much respect for his own evil inclinations which include stirring shit rather than making peace.

      • Citizen
        June 28, 2011, 5:06 am

        WJ, it seems pretty clear from the traditional story that the Establishment Jewish leaders wanted to get rid of Jesus because they took his bent against Jewish Establishment hypocrisy as an attack on their authority and power, and so they rallied the crowd to call for the release of Barrabas, rather than Jesus, relying on their established authority–and that Pilate thought the crowd would do the contrary, which shows how Pilate didn’t understand the nature of the crowd he was
        given the responsibility to contain in Rome’s interests. Your question goes to both direct and proximate cause, or “But for…” Both the Jewish Establishment and Pilate did their level best to manipulate the Jewish crowd in their respective interests. Don’t you agree?

      • wondering jew
        June 28, 2011, 11:54 am

        Citizen, my understanding is that Barabbas was a zealot. And thus belonged to a well known segment of the Jewish population. A zealot was a rebel and Jesus was some dreamy eyed guy from Galilee with strange practices and parables and a handful of followers and why would the native Jerusalemite or Judean vote to free the dreamy eyed preacher rather than the freedom fighter. So that’s my take on the Barabbas versus Jesus vote and Pilate knew Jerusalemites and he knew that they would vote to pardon the freedom fighter rather than the parable teller.

      • Citizen
        June 28, 2011, 2:28 pm

        WJ, where is your usual common sense? It defies common sense to think that Pilate would choose to offer up a threat to Rome to possibly be released, especially since Pilate knew with no doubt that the Jewish Establishment, with their influence on the Jews generally, ardently wanted Jesus Christ dead. It makes more common sense to think that Pilate, who saw nothing dangerous in Jesus Christ either for the Jews or Rome, and had concluded JC was innocent of the charges, chose to give the choice he did because he thought even the crowd mustered by and influenced by the Jewish Establishment would not choose a murderous criminal over the passive dreamer Jesus Christ, who told his followers to give to Rome what was Rome’s (a traditional Hebrew stance). It comes down to a matter of translation and common sense; as discussed in detail here: link to graceandknowledge.faithweb.com

        After reading that analysis, note this as to the reference “to [Jesus] Barabbas”:
        Matthew 27:16-17:
        TEXT: “a notorious prisoner, called Jesus Barabbas. . . . release to plyou, Jesus Barabbas or Jesus who is called Christ?”
        EVIDENCE: Theta f1 700* syr(s,pal)
        TRANSLATIONS: RSVn NEB TEV
        RANK: C
        NOTES: “a notorious prisoner, called Barabbas. . . . release to plyou, Barabbas or Jesus who is called Christ?”
EVIDENCE: S A B D K L W Delta Pi 064 f13 33 565 700c 892 1010 1241 Byz Lect lat vg syr(p,h) few syr(pal) cop
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASV RSV NASV NIV NEBn
        COMMENTS: The name “Jesus” before “Barabbas” in verses 16 and 17 is in brackets in the UBS text. Although the name “Jesus Barabbas” is found in only a few manuscripts, it is more likely to be original, because copyists would have been likely to have omitted the name “Jesus” from before “Barabbas” out of reverence, and there is no reason for it to have been added.
        link to ovc.edu

        Pope Benedict’s recent address to the allegation of Jewish guilt in a chapter analyzing Gospel accounts of Jesus’ arrest, trial, and sentencing:
        “[W]e must ask: who exactly were Jesus’ accusers? Who insisted that he be condemned to death? We must take note of the different answers that the Gospels give to this question. According to John it was simply “the Jews.” But John’s use of this expression does not in any way indicate—as the modern reader might suppose—the people of Israel in general, even less is it “racist” in character. After all, John himself was ethnically a Jew, as were Jesus and all his followers. The entire early Christian community was made up of Jews. In John’s Gospel this word has a precise and clearly defined meaning: he is referring to the Temple aristocracy. So the circle of accusers who instigate Jesus’ death is precisely indicated in the Fourth Gospel and clearly limited: it is the Temple aristocracy.”

        The Pope turned next to the role of Barabbas’ supporters:
        “In Mark’s Gospel, the circle of accusers is broadened in the context of the Passover amnesty (Barabbas or Jesus): the “ochlos” enters the scene and opts for the release of Barabbas. “Ochlos” in the first instance simply means a crowd of people, the “masses.” The word frequently has a pejorative connotation, meaning “mob.” In any event, it does not refer to the Jewish people as such. … Effectively this ‘crowd’ is made up of the followers of Barabbas who have been mobilized to secure the amnesty for him: as a rebel against Roman power he could naturally count on a good number of supporters. So the Barabbas party, the “crowd,” was conspicuous while the followers of Jesus remained hidden out of fear; this meant that the vox populi, on which Roman law was built, was represented one-sidedly. In Mark’s account, then, as well as ‘the Jews,’ that is to say the dominant priestly circle, the ochlos comes into play, the circle of Barabbas’ supporters, but not the Jewish people as such.”
        link to ctlibrary.com

        Thus you can see that the Pope chooses to translate Barabbas as essentially a Hebrew freedom fighter, rather than as a common violent criminal nobody would want roaming the streets although such a criminal would be no threat to Rome–hence the Pope has changed the view of Barabbas as a common criminal I was taught in Catholic School when I was a kid. And the Pope lacks common sense too since Pilate would not have risked freeing a revolutionary against Rome.

        Wiki (on Barabbas) says: Matthew refers to Barabbas only as a “notorious prisoner.”[4] Mark and Luke further refer to Barabbas as one involved in a stasis, a riot.[5] John 18:40 refers to Barabbas as a lēstēs (“bandit”), “the word Josephus always employs when talking about Revolutionaries”, Robert Eisenman observes.[6]

    • NorthOfFortyNine
      June 23, 2011, 10:19 pm

      Gilad,

      Not to belabour, but to characterize MW as a “progressive Jewish blog” is not entirely accurate. Phil may see himself that way, but both the contributors and the commenters are drawn from a broad spectrum of thought and background. From cranky libertarians to socialists to squishy liberals; the demographic backdrops would be just as diverse. In particular, Phil is to be commended for attracting so many writers from the Arabic-speaking world. It all makes for a vibrant place to hang.

      I would not be so quick to shoe-horn. -N49.

      • Danaa
        June 25, 2011, 12:04 am

        N49 – are libertarians cranky? are socialists gloomy? are liberals squishy?

        can one be all at the same time?

      • Citizen
        June 28, 2011, 5:10 am

        I think there’s a big element of truths-seekers among the MW commenters, and that many reveal they know the limits of the various ideologies and religions expressed or implied.

  11. NorthOfFortyNine
    June 23, 2011, 10:09 pm

    Time to speak up, guys. Here’s your chance. Donald? Tom? Anyone else? -N49.

    • Tom Pessah
      June 24, 2011, 1:58 am

      in case you’re not aware, the Holocaust has already been subjected to quite a lot of “historical scrutiny”. There are historians who have spent their entire lives documenting it. The audacity it takes to ignore the entire body of evidence and to expect people to start from scratch, because Gilad Atzmon is unaware of any of this, is truly astonishing.

      • NorthOfFortyNine
        June 24, 2011, 2:25 am

        The audacity it takes to ignore the entire body of evidence and to expect people to start from scratch, because Gilad Atzmon is unaware of any of this, is truly astonishing.

        I hardly think Atzmon is ignoring extant research. I hardly think he is expecting people to start from scratch. Rather, I feel he expects it to be the subject of ongoing research and inquiry, just like any other area of historical research. Historians have been studying Roman times since, well, Roman times.

        Your approach reminds of that cartoon — was it in the New Yorker? –where the husband looks over at the wife and says: “Honey, I finished the internet.” –N49.

      • Citizen
        June 28, 2011, 5:11 am

        Exactly, N49.

      • MB.
        June 24, 2011, 2:37 am

        Tom wrote : “The audacity it takes to ignore the entire body of evidence and to expect people to start from scratch, because Gilad Atzmon is unaware of any of this, is truly astonishing”

        Tom, but *where* exactly does Atzmon “ignore the body of evidence” and where does he say he “expects people to start from scratch?”

        You haven’t read his work. Even great scholars like Hilberg and Finkelstein will be the first to tell you that a vast number of ‘studies’ on the holocaust are just ( in their words ) ‘shlock’. So why shouldn’t Atzmon he sceptical too, about the so called literature/studies on the holocaust?

        Here’s Norman Finkelstein on the subject : ” I do not remember the Nazi Holocaust ever intruding on my childhood. I do not recall a single friend (or parent of a friend) asking a single question about what my mother and father endured. This was not a respectful silence. It was indifference. In this light, one cannot but be sceptical of the outpourings of anguish in later decades, after the Holocaust industry was firmly established.

        I sometimes think that American Jewry “discovering” the Nazi Holocaust was worse than its having been forgotten. True, my parents brooded in private; the suffering they endured was not publicly validated. But wasn’t that better than the current crass exploitation of Jewish martyrdom? Before the Nazi Holocaust became the Holocaust, only a few scholarly studies (by Raul Hilberg, Viktor Frankl and Ella Lingens-Reiner) were published on the subject.

        But this small collection of gems is better than the shelves upon shelves of shlock that now line libraries and bookstores. Both my parents, although daily reliving that past until the day each died, lost interest by the end of their lives in the Holocaust as a public spectacle. One of my father’s lifelong friends was a former inmate with him in Auschwitz, a seemingly incorruptible leftwing idealist who on principle refused German compensation after the war. Eventually he became a director of the Israeli Holocaust museum Yad Vashem. Reluctantly and with genuine disappointment, my father finally admitted that even this man had been corrupted by the Holocaust industry, tailoring his beliefs for power and profit. As the rendering of the Holocaust assumed ever more absurd forms, my mother liked to quote (with intentional irony) Henry Ford: “History is bunk”. The tales of “Holocaust survivors” – all concentration camp inmates, all heroes of the resistance – were a special source of wry amusement in my home.

        My parents often wondered why I would grow so indignant at the falsification and exploitation of the Nazi genocide. The most obvious answer is that it has been used to justify criminal policies of the Israeli state and US support for these policies. There is a personal motive as well. I do care about the memory of my family’s persecution. The current campaign of the Holocaust industry to extort money from Europe in the name of “needy Holocaust victims” has shrunk the moral stature of their martyrdom to that of a Monte Carlo casino.”

        link to guardian.co.uk

      • Tom Pessah
        June 24, 2011, 4:36 am

        in the article quoted above, he says “” if the Nazis ran a death factory in Auschwitz-Birkenau, why would the Jewish prisoners join them at the end of the war?”

        in other words, he is doubting the fact that the Nazis ran a death camp in Auschwitz. Scholars like Hilberg are not doubting that fact. If in 2011 he suggests that we should all “start treating the Holocaust as a historical chapter” as if there has been no scholarship to prove Auschwitz was a death camp, then yes, he is a Holocaust denier and he is willfully ignoring all the historical evidence to the contrary. And he should be shunned.

        If you really don’t know any of the evidence about Auschwitz have a look at link to holocaust-history.org – it has documents of the use of Zyklon-B, gassings etc.

        Again, none of this has anything to do with criticizing Zionism. You can criticize the misuse of the Holocaust without denying historical facts.

      • Woody Tanaka
        June 24, 2011, 11:08 am

        Tom Pessah:

        in the article quoted above, he says “” if the Nazis ran a death factory in Auschwitz-Birkenau, why would the Jewish prisoners join them at the end of the war?”

        in other words, he is doubting the fact that the Nazis ran a death camp in Auschwitz.

        You are wrong. The word “if” in this grammatical context (i.e., an interrogatory statement, listing a number of predicate conditions or factual premises) means simply “granting that” “supposing that” or “considering that.” It absolutely does not mean “an uncertainty” or “an uncertain possibility” (although this is a valid definition of the word “if” in other contexts, but not in this context.)

        Consider this sentence: “If the moon’s diameter is 3474 km, and the Sun’s diameter is 1.4 million km, why do they appear to be the same size during an eclipse?” It is not only a gramatically correct use of the word “if,” but it absolutely, without question or argument, does not indicate any doubt on the part of the speaker as to the diameters of the sun and moon.

        Atzmon is a big boy, he is on this blog, and can defend himself and present the substance of his opinion. But, really, if you are going to accuse someone of holocaust denial based on the use of the word “if” in a sentence, you really ought to get your facts straight and know what you’re talking about. Otherwise it looks like you have your head up your ass.

      • Tom Pessah
        June 24, 2011, 11:36 am

        ok, let’s take the following excerpt from another of Atzmon’s “writings”:

        “It took me years to accept that the Holocaust narrative, in its current form, doesn’t make any historical sense. Here is just one little anecdote to elaborate on:

        If, for instance, the Nazis wanted the Jews out of their Reich (Judenrein – free of Jews), or even dead, as the Zionist narrative insists, how come they marched hundreds of thousands of them back into the Reich at the end of the war? ” link to atlanticfreepress.com

        in my reading he is distancing himself from the “Zionist” claim that the Nazis wanted the Jews out of the Reich (so there were no trainloads to concentration camps, apparently), or “even” dead (perish the thought- the Nazis wanting the Jews “even” dead? how crazy is that – accusing good old Hitler of wanting to kill Jews!). If I have “my head up my ass”, what is your reading of this “writing”?

      • Tom Pessah
        June 24, 2011, 11:42 am

        interestingly, by the way, he does write that the Nazis “marched hundreds of thousands of them back into the Reich at the end of the war,” which makes you wonder what they were doing *outside* the Reich before they were marched “back”. Why were they hanging around Poland if the Nazis didn’t want the Jews out of the Reich “or even dead”?

      • Woody Tanaka
        June 24, 2011, 12:02 pm

        How many times does he have to use the term “narrative” before you get the idea that he isn’t making fact claims, but is critically discussing the Zionist narrative. (And certainly nothing in that criticism justifies the, frankly, ignorant parentheticals you’ve included.)

        Look, if you don’t understand what he is saying, there is no shame is merely saying “I don’t understand what he is saying.” What makes you look like you have your head up your ass is when you don’t even understand what the man is saying — put aside whether you agree with what he is saying — and conclude that he thinks the Nazis didn’t want to kill the Jews. That’s just dumb.

      • Donald
        June 24, 2011, 12:44 pm

        I’m with Tom here. A passage like this–

        “I am left puzzled here, if the Nazis ran a death factory in Auschwitz-Birkenau, why would the Jewish prisoners join them at the end of the war? Why didn’t the Jews wait for their Red liberators?”

        begs to be misunderstood if he doesn’t mean to cast doubt on the understanding that Auschwitz was a place where Jews were slaughtered. It sounds for all the world like someone feigning puzzlement when really expressing skepticism that Auschwitz was a death factory. It’s the sort of thing Robert Werdine would write if waxing sarcastic about reports of some Israeli atrocity.

        I know very little about Atzmon beyond what I read here (and the anti-Zionists at Jews Sans Frontieres don’t seem to think much of him either based on what little googling I did yesterday.)
        But I assume he doesn’t deny that the Nazis murdered several million Jews. But why write something like the passage above? If you showed that to anyone off the street and asked him or her to interpret it, they would say that the author is wondering whether Auschwitz was a death factory. It is the natural interpretation and if that wasn’t what was meant, then Atzmon is a very poor writer.

        Here’s my charitable theory–Atzmon is one of those people who can’t resist being as outrageous as possible when dissenting from some orthodoxy and he writes things like the above so that people will get upset and when they complain he is a Holocaust denier, he can say that he doesn’t do that. That’s trolling. He enjoys stirring the sh**. The thing is, I sympathize with much of what he is trying to argue in that article. The Holocaust is used to justify Israeli cruelty and I’ve also seen it used to downgrade other crimes, as though it was an insult to the Holocaust victims to compare their fate to that of others. That deserves criticism, but you pretty much shoot yourself in the foot when you include a passage of the sort I quoted above.

      • Tom Pessah
        June 24, 2011, 12:58 pm

        so please do explain. He’s criticizing “the Holocaust narrative, in its current form” because it “doesn’t make any historical sense” – in other words, it is inaccurate. An example of what “doesn’t make any historical sense” is the claim that “the Nazis wanted the Jews out of their Reich (Judenrein – free of Jews), or even dead”. He is challenging the “Zionists” who support that claim that “doesn’t make any historical sense”, isn’t he? or if not, what exactly is your interpretation? and what exactly was “ignorant” about the parantheticals?

      • Woody Tanaka
        June 24, 2011, 1:30 pm

        “so please do explain.”

        Tom, It’s not my job to teach you reading comprehension or critical thinking. It it clear to me that you don’t understand what it means to criticize the narrative and are conflating it with the historical record. It is asinine for you to suggest that his criticizm of the narrative because it doesn’t make historcal sense is an attack on the historical record! That is absurd on its face.

      • Woody Tanaka
        June 24, 2011, 1:48 pm

        Donald,

        I think it’s a valid criticism to say that the man is a bad writer or is a shit stirrer. I don’t agree with the first and have no opinion of the second, although I would lean towards agreement.

        A reader misunderstanding one’s work is a dilemma every writer faces. Some simply deny responosiblity for misunderstandings that are not inherent in the text. I think there is some validity to that opinion and I suspect that is Atzmon’s opinion, but I don’t know for certain.

      • Tom Pessah
        June 24, 2011, 2:16 pm

        so for goodness’ sake, if there is some deep meaning behind the phrase “doesn’t make any historical sense”, what is this deep meaning? just say it, once and for all, instead of telling me I don’t understand. You’re acting like every sentence is so incredibly profound that simple mortals can’t comprehend it. When he says “the Jews killed Jesus” or agrees with Wagner that “Jews were only capable of producing money-making music and not works of art,” this isn’t some kind of stunningly deep intellectual acheivement, it’s pretty primitive bigotry.

      • Gilad
        June 24, 2011, 2:39 pm

        I think that Tom doesn’t understand what the word narrative stands for within a scholarly discourse. To make it simple, A Narrative is an attempt to present or describes a coherent sequence of events or facts. Clearly different narratives pick different events and deny others. In general discourse is in itself a set of boundaries and I guess that it is clear beyond doubt what should be the boundaries according to Tom…

      • Tom Pessah
        June 24, 2011, 3:32 pm

        let’s try again. If you say “the Holocaust narrative, in its current form” “doesn’t make any historical sense” – and an example of that is the claim that “the Nazis wanted the Jews out of their Reich (Judenrein – free of Jews), or even dead” – are you not saying that to claim the Nazis wanted the Jews dead doesn’t make any sense? if not, *what is this sentence saying?* what exactly doesn’t make historical sense? instead of calling me dumb or incompetant, just provide an alternative understanding of this sentence. What does it mean?

      • Gilad
        June 24, 2011, 3:49 pm

        Tom, unless you really learn how to quote genuinely and profoundly, it is pretty impossible to take you seriously. You have to learn to quote within context and to provide a URL reference.

        You refer these words to me. You say; he (Gilad) “agrees with Wagner that Jews were only capable of producing money-making music and not works of art,.” You simply lie, I checked it out

        In the piece Wagner Again..This is what is say
        link to thetruthseeker.co.uk

        “Wagner’s music is considered taboo in Israel, it is years since he made it to top 40’s in the Jewish state. Wagner also held views that are far from being popular amongst Jews. He once wrote that Jews were only capable of producing money-making music and not works of art. I guess that Israelis do not like meshiges with an astute reading of the socio-economy of the show business. ”

        I detect anywhere any form of agreement with Wagner’s statement, can you help me?

        You should learn to transcend beyond your natural tendencies and try to tell the truth…

        I guess that the Christ killer topic has been discussed enough on this thread. I save myself from going through it again…

      • Gilad
        June 24, 2011, 4:12 pm

        No Pessah, we don’t try again.

        You assemble your own sentences out of my text and then you want me to explain it to you. This is either mad, funny or pathetic. There is no such a procedure.

        The paper you are quoting from was published on thousands of outlets. It is also part of my new book. It is totally clear and very well argued. You will have to make an effort and it may as well be possible that you are not clever enough. Clearly your interpretation of my words is ludicrous.

        By the way, I didn’t call you ‘dumb’ or ‘incompetent’ but reading you I can imagine why you feel as such.

      • Tom Pessah
        June 24, 2011, 5:01 pm

        if one sentence says Wagner “once wrote that Jews were only capable of producing money-making music and not works of art.” and the next sentence mentions “an astute reading of the socio-economy of the show business”, one assumes the astute reading is is the claim that Jews aren’t capable of producing works of art. If the second sentence had no connection to the first one, why does it appear directly after it? what was Wagner’s “astute reading” then?

      • Woody Tanaka
        June 24, 2011, 5:16 pm

        It’s not about “deep meaning”; it’s about plain meaning. What “doesn’t make any historical sense”? The Zionist narrative. Analyze that.

        “You’re acting like every sentence is so incredibly profound that simple mortals can’t comprehend it.”

        No, I’m simply saying that you are taking offense because you don’t understand the type of analysis he’s engaging in, so it looks to you to be something other than what it is.

        “When he says ‘the Jews killed Jesus’ or agrees with Wagner that ‘Jews were only capable of producing money-making music and not works of art,’ this isn’t some kind of stunningly deep intellectual acheivement, it’s pretty primitive bigotry.”

        But the quoted material is not an accurate summary of what he said. The fact that you are unable to see that is exactly the problem.

      • Gilad
        June 25, 2011, 3:24 am

        Pessah, i am not a native English speaker, but as far as I am aware astute means having an ability to accurately assess situations or people and turn this to one’s advantage. It is Wagner’s personal interest that comes into play here. However, one has to be slightly retarded to miss the sarcasm in this given paragraph. It refers to Wagner as an ‘astute meshige’ … how can you miss it?

      • demize
        June 28, 2011, 3:43 am

        Don’t be misled by Donald, it’s a rhetorical device he uses. He fancies himself the official gatekeeper of what is acceptable discourse here.

      • Citizen
        June 28, 2011, 5:31 am

        I agree with you, Woody, TP’s interpretation of what Gilad said in Gilad’s expressed context is really shallow, cheap, and plain stupid.
        It’s embarassing.

      • Tom Pessah
        July 1, 2011, 3:39 am

        no, it refers to Wagner’s “astute reading”, it doesn’t say “astute meshige” anywhere.

      • Gilad
        July 1, 2011, 4:34 am

        Pessah, as far as I am aware, you had been exposed here too many time in this week misquoting deliberately!
        I will give you one more chance to find the word meshige.. here is the quote

        “Wagner also held views that are far from being popular amongst Jews. He once wrote that Jews were only capable of producing money-making music and not works of art. I guess that Israelis do not like meshiges with an astute reading of the socio-economy of the show business.”
        link to gilad.co.uk

        Did you manage or shall we go word by word till you find it. You can also use ctrl F if you are desperate..
        You know what is the problem with pessah, you do not have dignity. And people without dignity do not know when to stop…

      • Tom Pessah
        June 24, 2011, 3:06 am
  12. MB.
    June 23, 2011, 10:28 pm

    Atzmon can be offensive in his writing sometimes.He also (occasionally) uses imagery on his website which some may consider unpleasant. But he is not anti Semitic — he is ( was ) a Jew, and (was ) a right wing Zionist — what is wrong then, with criticising what one was, or is? And, he doesn’t criticise Jews indiscriminately, as an anti Semite would — he is taking deliberate shots at *powerful, organised, establishment Jewry*, or those Jews he sees as being racist,exclusive,or arrogant,or those that wield their power unjustly — Atzmon targets those Jewish groups, much in the same way that many people justifiably did ( and still do ) direct a lot of energy at savaging the WASP culture and power structure ( if you were a student in the late 60’s right up to the mid 80’s, you’ll know whole college courses, especially in the Humanities, were often defined by having a powerful anti- WASP focus, which was also typical in much literature of the time.) When did you last hear Atzmon criticising, say, Azeri Mountain Jews, Iraqi Jews, Iranians Jews or Ethiopian Jewish groups? He hasn’t, and you probably won’t find much mention of those Jewish groups in his work, unless he is savaging a Sephardi or Mizrahi working in the Israeli power structure.

    He is also not against Jewishness as a religion — he sees Judaism as a spiritual expression/seeking, on a par with other religious doctrines. He supports Torah Jewish groups, and attacks Talmudic Jewish notions, which he sees as supremacist and hegemonic.

    What I’d dearly like to know though, is why does Mr Weiss consider Jews to be an ‘elite group’? I find that line to be far more offensive than Atzmon’s ideas actually.

    • Tom Pessah
      June 24, 2011, 4:04 am

      Atzmon’s website contains many gems like “Wagner also held views that are far from being popular amongst Jews. He once wrote that Jews were only capable of producing money-making music and not works of art. I guess that Israelis do not like meshiges with an astute reading of the socio-economy of the show business.”

      link to gilad.co.uk

      somehow I was under the impression that Jews are, in fact, capable of producing works of art, and have in fact done so on occasion, but please do educate me – since you say he isn’t criticising Jews indiscriminately as an anti Semite would.

      • Citizen
        June 28, 2011, 5:40 am

        TP, in the article you reference, Gilad does NOT say no Jew has ever produced a work of art, but he does directly suggest that “there’s no business like show business” which is, however enmeshed, generally considered antithetical to the aspirations of the Fine Arts, most especially in fine arts circles and publications, regardless how fine arts products are later reduced to “show business” or just business period. The typical paperback at your local food store, while maybe a best seller, rarely becomes recognized as literature worthy of study.

        And Gilad also says in the article, “Noah Klieger told the Germany news agency Deutsche Welle last week, “Wagner was the father of the theory of the races; he was the first one to claim that there was a master race – the Germans – and a low-class race – the Jews. He was the first to explain this in writing. Mr Klieger, is obviously wrong. Choseness wasn’t exactly a German invention. Survivor Klieger better look around him. If he is genuinely concerned with racism, he better fight Jewish racism at home.

  13. jayn0t
    June 23, 2011, 10:36 pm

    It’s not often that Gilad Atzmon compliments anyone else on their bravery and honesty. What’s exciting and challenging about his discussion with Philip Weiss is the clarity of the alternatives: tribe vs. humanity. Perhaps tribal identity is in our genes because it was adaptive during the stone age: we don’t know. In that case, Palestine solidarity involves the promotion of the interests of non-Jewish ethnic groups.

  14. MB.
    June 23, 2011, 10:45 pm

    PS — Regarding him being a ‘holocaust denier’ — I think that is also off track. Atzmon says he considers the holocaust to be like any other period of history, one that is constantly studied and viewed anew, as new discoveries come to light. All periods of history are constantly being seen in new lights, as scholarship moves on. So why is it that only some periods are ‘fenced of”? Indeed, he also says he wants the Armenian massacres, the Holodomor and the Nakba to be scrutinised , again and again. He has never once denied,or tried to undermine the notion that a massive slaughter of Jews took place in WW2, and he isn’t interested in minimising that slaughter, by debating whether it was 4,5, or 6 milllions that perished. So how exactly, is he a denier ?

    ( In my point of view though, Atzmon has at times, used some really unpleasant, offensive imagery on his pages when discussing these serious historical issues — that was ill advised, and would tend to hurt or alienate people from his ideas )

    • Citizen
      June 28, 2011, 5:50 am

      MB, I agree Atzmon is not a holocaust denier at all; I also agree with your implication that sometimes his lineal connections need to contain a few more connective dots, and less easily misinterpreted images or juxtipositions.

  15. Tom Pessah
    June 24, 2011, 4:54 am

    ” Atzmon says he considers the holocaust to be like any other period of history, one that is constantly studied and viewed anew, as new discoveries come to light. ”

    wonderful, and I consider it important to have people studying the human body. Interestingly, it turns out there is a whole discipline called biology, including labs, journals, conferences, academic departments etc which study precisely that. Similarly, and amazingly, quite a few people did in fact think the Holocaust was worth studying. There are historians who study it, journals, academic departments, conferences – a lot of stuff going on even before Gilad Atzmon thought of it. They actually do discuss new evidence that comes to light.

    • Citizen
      June 28, 2011, 5:53 am

      Yeah, well TP, what trickles down to the masses is better described as, “There’s no business like Shoah business!”

  16. MB.
    June 24, 2011, 6:45 am

    Indeed Tom, but if highly regarded scholars such as Raul Hilberg ( and Finkelstein ) are on record as saying that vast amounts of Holocaust studies are worthless junk and shlock ( their words ), which obviously serve an agenda — how would we possibly know which of the studies you mention are worth taking seriously as real scholarship.

    Just to clarify my position — I do take the Holocaust extremely seriously . I have no wish to undermine victims — but I have real problems in taking most Holocaust scholarship seriously. Very quickly in most cases, one senses that the ‘scholarship’ available is serving an agenda, and an unpleasant agenda at that.

    Given that is the case, I’d say Atzmon is justified in appearing sceptical about the spokesmen and books available on the topic.

    I have also respectfully tried and tried to read books that claim to explain anti Semitism too, recent ones being Amos Elon’s “The Pity of it All”, aswell as some of Yuri Szelskine’s research — I really would like to understand it — but book after book, study after study I read on the topic, is typically evasive, crudely and manipulatively selective in the history it reports and analyses, and frankly,as a result, plain dishonest. I suspect the same is true of most holocaust studies, and the great Raul Hilberg and Finkelstein, seem to believe so too.

    Since I respect and trust Hilberg and Finkelstein I take their word for it.

    I am not surprised at all that Atzmon is cynical too about the studies available on these topics.

    • Citizen
      June 28, 2011, 5:56 am

      MB, I agree with you again. Studies and analysis of “anti-semitism” always seem to be very shallow, especially as to their expressed and implied premises, from which their illustrations derive or are meant to evidence. They don’t, primarily because too much historical context is always left out.

  17. jayn0t
    June 24, 2011, 9:52 am

    Tom Pessah – even biology is subject to political corrections, though not as much as Shoah studies. Did you see the recent article exposing Stephen Jay Gould’s exposure of a ‘racist’ 19th century skull scholar? Do you remember how James Watson got fired?

  18. Tom Pessah
    June 24, 2011, 10:08 am

    Stephen Jay Gould didn’t just dismiss the discpline of biology, he went through the evidence like the serious scientist that he was and explained very carefully why it was false. Here, again, is a link to many many documents proving that Auschwitz was a death camp, contrary to Atzmon’s claim cited above (“if the Nazis ran a death factory in Auschwitz-Birkenau…”) – link to holocaust-history.org. You have, for example, an inventory from March 31, 1943 that mentions the devices by which the Zyklon-B was poured into the gas chamber. Instead of arrogantly “calling for historical research” as if no one has done so until now, simply educate yourself about the current evidence, and if you have doubts about its authenticity then explain why you think all the historians and survivors who support these claims are wrong and you are right. Casting doubt upon the mountains of existing evidence without providing any justification isn’t scientific in any way.

    • MRW
      June 24, 2011, 10:39 am

      Then why did Piper, the Director of the Auschwitz Museum, say the holes were added after WWII?

      Casting doubt upon the mountains of existing evidence without providing any justification isn’t scientific in any way. Sure it is. That’s actually how ‘science’ works. Scientists do it all the time, doubting each other’s data. The papers are full of scientists saying that another’s scientist’s work seems highly doubtful — this is a biggie when one guy makes a splash over another– and that it will take significant work and time to replicate or duplicate the results. Scientists are always asking for the raw data to check other scientists’ theorems out. (That’s how Michael Mann got discredited among serious scientists in 2010 when the real data used to create the climate ‘hockey stick’ was released, and showed they altered it in order to maintain a temperature rise from 1961.)

      And in the world of science and history, eyewitness reports are the least reliable. Hard numbers, contemporaneous documentation, and boring research in the actual physical residue trumps colorful memory. That work has not even begun with respect to WWII. We’re still at the timeline stage. No one is yet allowed to see the 17 million pieces of paper from the Soviet Auschwitz Archives. The one copy sent a couple of years ago to the Holocaust Museum in the US is still under lock and key.

      • Tom Pessah
        June 24, 2011, 10:54 am

        “Casting doubt upon the mountains of existing evidence without providing any justification isn’t scientific in any way.” Sure it is. That’s actually how ‘science’ works.”

        nope, sorry, science does not consist of casting doubt *without providing justification.* If you want to doubt not “colorful memory” but documents like the ones I just linked to, about how Zyklon-B was poured into the gas chambers, then you need to give some reason. And if you don’t have any reason, and you do have documentation of how gas was used to murder people in this camp, don’t begin phrases with
        “if the Nazis ran a death factory in Auschwitz-Birkenau…” as if this is something controversial.

        By the way, calling the entire body of testimonies from concentration camps “colorful memory” pretty much fits any standard defintion of Holocaust denial. And I hear it wasn’t such a “colorful” experience in the camps.

      • Tom Pessah
        June 24, 2011, 11:02 am

        “Then why did Piper, the Director of the Auschwitz Museum, say the holes were added after WWII?”

        you can read a detailed response to the “holes” argument here link to holocaust-history.org

      • Woody Tanaka
        June 24, 2011, 11:24 am

        “nope, sorry, science does not consist of casting doubt *without providing justification.* ”

        Actually, the first step in the scientific method — formulting a hypothosis — is pretty much this.

      • Tom Pessah
        June 24, 2011, 12:00 pm

        yes, obviously, but then you do need to explain why, if you have a document that shows Nazis used gas to kill Jews, you are hypothesizing that this was not the case. Is the document false? so what about the other documents? if you hypothesize atoms don’t exist, you need something to back that up before that becomes a scientific endeavour. Just saying “no it isn’t” doesn’t make it scientific.

      • Woody Tanaka
        June 24, 2011, 12:05 pm

        “yes, obviously, but then you do need to explain why, if you have a document that shows Nazis used gas to kill Jews, you are hypothesizing that this was not the case.”

        Sure, if that is your hypothosis. However, what you are considering Atzmon’s hypothosis is merely the result of your incompetant reading of his writing.

      • MRW
        June 24, 2011, 12:19 pm

        By the way, calling the entire body of testimonies from concentration camps “colorful memory” pretty much fits any standard defintion of Holocaust denial.

        (1) Hyperbole
        (2) That’s the definition of Holocaust denial?
        (3) I wrote, first: “And in the world of science and history, eyewitness reports are the least reliable.”

      • Tom Pessah
        June 24, 2011, 12:36 pm

        so please look below of another piece of his writing (12:13 pm) where he seems to be distancing himself from the “Zionist narrative” that claims Nazis deported Jews in order to murder them, and provide a better reading than my “incompetant” one. Not to mention his even deeper comment on Wagner, about how “Jews were only capable of producing money-making music and not works of art” – this he calls “an astute reading of the socio-economy of the show business.” link to gilad.co.uk I feel this “astute reading” is so profound that I am intellectually incapable of understanding it properly, so I would be very grateful if you could explain it to me.

      • NorthOfFortyNine
        June 24, 2011, 1:12 pm

        nope, sorry, science does not consist of casting doubt *without providing justification.*

        The problem, Tom, is that “casting doubt”, with justification, on certain aspects of the event can be interpreted as “Holocaust denial.”

        One could say, to use your example, that evidence of the use of Zyklon-B is not sufficient, for this substance was also used to de-louse inmates, and ask after more evidence accordingly. This is a natural scientific inquiry. But this is a taboo quesiton.

        Another example: Atzmon here points to evidence of Jews marching away from the front with Nazis and circles this as evidence contradicting mainstream history. “Casting doubt with justification.” But this was the very thing that provoked you to label him a “borderline holocaust denier”, or words to that effect.

        See? This event is not like other events, openly subjectable to hsitorical inquiry. I think that is what grates Atzmon and others.

      • Tom Pessah
        June 24, 2011, 1:34 pm

        none of these are “taboo” questions. They’re a useless distraction. It’s like saying that raising the question of whether water turns into ice under a certain temperature is “taboo”. It isn’t taboo, there just exists evidence to the contrary that you don’t bother educating yourself about. I already provided a link to a site with many documents, but in case you didn’t click on it, it includes a letter to the The Reich Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories” dated October 25, 1941, which discusses “the production of the required shelters and gassing devices” and complains “the envisaged devices are not available in sufficient quantity; they will first have to be manufactured.” If you were wondering who is meant to be gassed, the end of the letter explains “According to information from Sturmbannführer Eichmann, camps for Jews are to be set up in Riga and Minsk, to which Jews from the Old Reich territory may also come.” link to holocaust-history.org The point is there has already been plenty of historical inquiry about this event, and plenty of historians have written books on it (check out Hilberg, Kershaw, Browning). Casting doubt on things you haven’t bothered to read isn’t some kind of brave challenging of taboos, it’s pure laziness.

      • Donald
        June 24, 2011, 11:59 am

        “That’s how Michael Mann got discredited among serious scientists in 2010 when the real data used to create the climate ‘hockey stick’ was released, and showed they altered it in order to maintain a temperature rise from 1961.)”

        Really?

        link

      • MRW
        June 24, 2011, 12:14 pm

        Yes, Donald, really.
        link. October 2010.

      • Donald
        June 24, 2011, 1:40 pm

        I could get into the whole dueling web cite thing, but won’t bother. Richard Muller and Steve McIntyre don’t constitute the whole of what one might call “serious scientists”.

    • Woody Tanaka
      June 24, 2011, 11:25 am

      ‘Here, again, is a link to many many documents proving that Auschwitz was a death camp, contrary to Atzmon’s claim cited above (‘if the Nazis ran a death factory in Auschwitz-Birkenau…’) ”

      “If” doesn’t mean what you think it means in this gramatical construct.

      • Tom Pessah
        June 24, 2011, 11:55 am

        see my response above – 11:36 am

      • Woody Tanaka
        June 24, 2011, 12:03 pm

        I did. It was wrong.

      • Tom Pessah
        June 24, 2011, 12:13 pm

        let’s try this again. Let’s take the following excerpt from another of Atzmon’s “writings”:

        “It took me years to accept that the Holocaust narrative, in its current form, doesn’t make any historical sense. Here is just one little anecdote to elaborate on:

        If, for instance, the Nazis wanted the Jews out of their Reich (Judenrein – free of Jews), or even dead, as the Zionist narrative insists, how come they marched hundreds of thousands of them back into the Reich at the end of the war? ” link to atlanticfreepress.com

        in my reading he is distancing himself from the “Zionist” claim that the Nazis wanted the Jews out of the Reich (so there were no trainloads to concentration camps, apparently), or “even” dead (perish the thought- the Nazis wanting the Jews “even” dead? how crazy is that – accusing good old Hitler of wanting to kill Jews!).

        If I have “my head up my ass”, *what is your reading of this “writing”?* how am I misinterpreting it? is he not distancing himself from the current “Holocaust narrative” that claims the Nazis wanted the Jews dead?

      • Woody Tanaka
        June 24, 2011, 1:42 pm

        Besides what I wrote above, I will also note that this portion which you quote is only a portion of Atzmon’s article, so you cannot reasonably analyse this single portion excised from the remainder, and hope to gain any valid insight. You’ve chopped out the middle of a thought and expect it to make sense and when it doesn’t, you blame Atzmon. How rational is that?

      • Gilad
        June 24, 2011, 2:30 pm

        Tom, in case you do not know, even the most radical Zionist Shoa scholars admit that there was no Nazi plan to murder the Jews until 1942 (Wannsee Conference). Your knowledge of WWII is slightly limited.

        Also you will make yourself a good favour if you make an attempt to understand the texts you quote from.

        As tragic as it may be for some, it is pretty impossible to settle the ‘Judenrein’ narrative with a ‘death march’ in a single historical coherent reading of the war. If the Nazis wanted the Jews out, why did they schlep them back at the end of the war. It is far from being clear why a defeated army is engaged in such a project.

        One answer is provided by Shoa Scholar Israel Gutman (whom I quote in my paper) .. the prisoners , according to Gutman, actually joined the march voluntarily. Needles to say that some survivors who participated in the march deny Gutman’s testimony. One of those is Hajo Meyer, who told me himself that this wasn’t the case.

        The message is clear. The holocaust better be treated as an historical chapter and debated openly. The people who stop us from doing it are the bitterest enemies of humanity and humanism. History must be visited and revisited, it must be reviewed and revised!!!

      • Tom Pessah
        June 24, 2011, 4:52 pm

        >>The message is clear. The holocaust better be treated as an historical chapter>> Raul Hilberg wrote “the destruction of european jews” fifty years ago, and since then scholars have been conducting historical research on it. What is new about the idea of treating it historically? it’s been done many times.

        >>If the Nazis wanted the Jews out, why did they schlep them back at the end of the war.>> could you just explain in plain English whether or not you agree that Nazis shipped Jews out of Germany to concentration camps in Poland to be exterminated. Just say “yes” or “no,” it’s a pretty simple question.

      • Gilad
        June 25, 2011, 3:38 am

        Again you simply do not know your history.

        Nazis schleped Jews out of Europe because they clearly wanted to live in a Jew free Zone. Yet, even Zionist historians agree that there was no master plan to ‘kill’ the Jews at least not until 1942 (and some historian would argue that not even then)..as late as 1944 Nazis negotiated with Zionist bodies a safe exist for Hungarian Jews (read about the Kastner Affair).

        But then the question I ask, is what happened then, if they wanted Europe free of Jews, why did they march them back at the end of the war? This is the question and please try to answer it. I guess you can’t.

        For the record , I can…

      • Tom Pessah
        June 25, 2011, 9:33 am

        your idiotic pronouncements aren’t worth wasting any more of my time, but for the record, the Nazis didn’t ‘kill’ Jews in quotation marks, the did actually kill them, and that started in Operation Barbarossa when the Germans invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941. They went from village to village, put people in dykes and shot at them, and then went on to the next village. You just to look it up on wikipedia, for Christ’s sake – link to en.wikipedia.org . Look at the photos of executions of Kiev Jews by German army mobile killing units. (Einsatzgruppen). And after that, OPEN A BOOK – read Browning’s Ordinary Men, all the details are there. Not 1942, not a plan and not killing in quotation marks. How DARE you ignore the memory of all those who were murdered? quotation marks my ass.

    • Citizen
      June 28, 2011, 6:08 am

      TP, why are you again referencing your stupid interpretation of what Atzmon claimed (“If…”) as if your interpretation was not demolished above on this thread? Atzmon has never claimed there were no death factories. BTW you write as if there has been no issues raised about Zyklon-B; isn’t if for truth seekers to determine the truth of that matter?
      BTW, at one time some concentration camps claimed to harbor gassing facilities were later found out to not have them. I don’t know of anyone personally who doubts those piles of dead corpses and walking skeletons caputured on film by cameras riding with the US Army.

      • Philip Weiss
        June 28, 2011, 8:21 am

        I apologize to readers for the Holocaust denial that has proliferated on this thread. I need to go in later and censor it. We have a censorship policy about holocaust denial. I’m sure there are good historical reasons to dignify some questions about the Shoah. The emotional basis for a lot of this questioning sickens me, and assures me that our policy against Holocaust denial is a good one. Again: apologies to readers…

      • Shmuel
        June 28, 2011, 8:44 am

        Phil,

        Please do not censor any of the comments on this thread. I think they are instructive – although not necessarily in the way their authors intended.

      • Gilad
        June 28, 2011, 10:30 am

        for a change I agree with Shmuel.
        Also, i would love to know what Holocaust denial entails.

      • patm
        June 28, 2011, 12:00 pm

        Phil, I echo Shmuel and Gilad.

        I don’t recall any commenter denying a mass murder of millions of Jews, ie. a Holocaust, during the Second World War.

        Right above your post sits Citizen’ post (June 28, 2011 at 6:08). Citizen gives an excellent example of the tenor of what might be called ‘dissenting’ posts re the Holocaust: i.e. that archives have yet to be opened on this subject, and details have still to be refined. It is these facts that posters brought out into the open.

        Tom Pessah gave a beating and he took a beating. In the end, he was not able to convince the majority of posters that Gilad is a Holocaust denier, and rightly so, in my opinion.

      • tree
        June 28, 2011, 7:36 pm

        Add me to the list of those who don’t want to see any post facto censorship. Nothing here has been Holocaust denial, but even if it had, why is that subject to deletion, but Nakba denial and infinite varieties of racism against Arabs and Palestinians is not post-censored? Why, again, are there special rules with regards to the Holocaust? I don’t think either should be censored but it goes against your stand on equality to treat the one differently than the other. I understand you may be under pressure, even possibly from within, but I urge you not to censor.

  19. Gilad
    June 24, 2011, 4:05 pm

    Afterthoughts
    Hello everybody, I think that I addressed all the questions to do with the Holocaust, Christ killing, Wagner , death march and so on.. And yet, it seems as if only just a few of you were brave to tackle some of the very interesting topics that were raised in the interview I conducted with Phil Weiss.

    In the interview, Weiss came with some very interesting statements about Jews, their self-interests and Jewish tribalism..

    I would really like to know what do you think about Jewish self interests. Id there such a thing? Is it a collective notion or is it something you feel individually? Do you feel tribal, are you a tribe? I would like you to prove to me that you can transcend yourself beyond the Holocaust, Passover and Maza balls.

    I want to see some real Jewish self reflection.

    Please do not disappoint me..

    • annie
      June 24, 2011, 4:37 pm

      i tried touching upon part of the interview itself but it didn’t seem like anyone else was into discussing it. i thought the interview was interesting and brave.

      i’m not jewish so wrt the tribal questions i can only speak from being on the outside of ‘the jewish tribe’ (but there are definitely jews in my tribe). but the idea of being part of a tribe doesn’t offend me in the least. man is a tribal being, people should get over it if they don’t like it because that is unlikely to change, ever.

      i thought it was too bad the conversation became all about you and it’s generally completely off limits to even discuss the holocaust outside of a ‘normal frame of reference’ so i just turn off to it.

      there was the beginning of a conversation about the tribal thing in one of the other threads this morning. it seems some posters were offended by the reference to this blog as being ‘chieftly’ from a jewish perspective. but hey, it’s phil and adam’s so why not?

      as a non jew i think discussing jewish issues as they pertain to israel is an open subject we all have every right to dive into for the simple reason it’s constantly shoved in our faces day in and day out (check bachmann’s latest schpeel) and it’s our damn money and done in our name. wrt the american jewish ‘culture’ it’s a little hard for me to figure out where the american begins and the jewish takes over or vice versa or where they just merge. as an american i incorporate parts of my american culture and that would include jewish influence too as well as all the others. for the most part i embrace that because i like jews, the ones i know personally anyway. i’ve had and still have very influential people in my life who were/are jewish. they have been very generous with me for the most part and it’s hard to imagine my life without them in it to the point i wouldn’t i even consider it.

      “I believe all people act out of self-interest. And Jews who define themselves at some level as Jews — like myself for instance — are concerned with a Jewish self-interest. Which in my case is: an end to Zionism. A theory of political life based on altruism or concern for victims purely is doomed to fail.”

      an end to zionism has moved way past jewish self interest. way past, it is in the interest of humanity unless something is done to radically change the way zionism operates. zionism is a threat. to palestinians, to israelis, to american foreign policy as well as the entire arab region. it’s completely ridiculous to keep referencing zionism as it’s ‘ideal’ as opposed to the reality of how it operates. zionists have had decades to make it nice and they haven’t. so ending zionism as it presently exists and has since the inception of israel (and before) is in my self interest. as a person, an american, a human. i’m open to changing, but only after zionism changes. as it stands now, it’s dragging us down and it’s a killer.

      • Gilad
        June 24, 2011, 5:06 pm

        I am with you Annie. I saw an attempt to discuss the issues but clearly discussion was hijacked.

        By the way, I differentiate between Zionism and Israel. End of Zionism is nice idea, but it doesn’t mean the end of Israel brutality. Israel has developed life of it own. a very interesting topic of its own…

      • annie
        June 24, 2011, 5:20 pm

        there will always be brutality. the occupation is institutionalized brutality. i differentiate between zionism and israel too.

      • patm
        June 25, 2011, 7:52 pm

        “Israel has developed life of it own. a very interesting topic of its own…”

        I’ll say it has! I’m a non-Jew and fairly new at mondo. Today I learned about Yad L’Achim, the Orthodox Jewish organization that works “…to counter the missionary threat. Israel has attracted some 100 missionary congregations and cults because it offers a large concentration of Jews, many of whom are prime targets due to their economic distress and unawareness about Judaism. Fighting the missionaries, who have millions of dollars a year at their disposal, has long been one of Yad L’Achim’s top priorities.”

        What a whirlwind Israel has reaped!

      • Gilad
        June 26, 2011, 1:19 am

        Israel is the only place in this world where Jews can freely celebrate and exercise their cultural symptoms . The meaning of it is pretty devastating indeed.

        Sadly enough, the anti gentile is inherent to Jewish exclusive thinking. It is also spread within Jewish political left. And this brings us back to the interview. As long as Jews are concerned with ‘Jewish Self Interests’ their contribution to humanity is rather limited.

      • Citizen
        June 28, 2011, 6:36 am

        Gilad, count me as another non-Jew here who wishes to respond to your comments. Like annie, I have Jews in my extended family too, but unlike, annie, some of those Jews I do not like personally because of the (lack of ) character they’ve evidenced by their expressed thoughts and displayed actions, which is the same reason I do not personally like some of the non-Jews in my extended family. The same goes for people, both Jews and non-Jews I’ve met outside my extended family circle. Also, unlike annie, I don’t think of myself as belonging to any sort of tribe. Family connections are not ipso facto tribal; in fact, that was not even an American value while I was growing up in the USA. When I was in the US Army nobody cared what my ethnic background or religion was, nor have they cared when I’ve gone to vote. I do agree adamantly with this statement of yours: “As long as Jews are concerned with ‘Jewish Self Interests’ their contribution to humanity is rather limited.” I think this statement is self-explanatory by its very choice terms. And I think it applies to any ethnic/religious group’s self-interests.

        I also agree with your statement that, “Israel is the only place in this world where Jews can freely celebrate and exercise their cultural symptoms . The meaning of it is pretty devastating indeed.” This lore comes to mind: The test of virtue is power. Even Truman, extremely annoyed, at the Zionists banging on his door, deplored any human nature resulting in the oppressed becoming the oppressor. Yet arguably, Truman himself was at least a proximate key cause of oppression.

      • Philip Weiss
        June 28, 2011, 8:19 am

        thanks for the quotes. they explain to me why I do not have anything to learn from Gilad Atzmon’s lessoning

    • Chu
      June 24, 2011, 6:27 pm

      “I’m for reducing it (tribalism) but not denying its existence till everyone puts down their shield and that doesn’t seem bloody likely.”

      Putting down the shield is interesting choice of words, because it means we are all defensive when it comes to our tribal affiliations. We’re at war to a certain degree with ‘other’ groups. I certainly don’t feel this way, but I am not a member of the tribe.

      I hope this discussion can get picked up on another article. It would be interesting to hear responses from the commentators about their sense of tribal identity.

      • Bumblebye
        June 24, 2011, 8:31 pm

        Chu, I don’t know anything about your ethnic background when it comes to tribal affiliations, but there must be some residual in most of us. Despite my own mixed up background, with forebears from all over the place, I found a “knee-jerk” reaction that surprised me when we in the UK were criticized from afar over the situation in Northern Ireland. I took note of it, didn’t give in to any impulse (no internet then, so piling in with counter-criticism didn’t happen except on newspaper letters pages) but examined where it came from. It is, basically, a form of tribal defense mechanism. We might have it now for country, state, town or team, but it’s definitely there. The problems arise around the world when it is manipulated in the interests of the powerful, and that’s what has happened in the case of Zionism and Israel.

      • Citizen
        June 28, 2011, 6:45 am

        Bumblebye, I don’t think of myself as belonging to any tribe although I know my family ethnic roots, and as to being born and raised in the USA, the 1st Amendment was put there solely to protect criticism of any US regime. Any real friend will critize me, and to my face, if they think I deserve it and will benefit from it. Of course, I don’t mean if they don’t like my taste in the color of my socks.

      • Philip Weiss
        June 28, 2011, 8:18 am

        yu call yourself citizen. isnt that a form of identifity politics?

    • Danaa
      June 24, 2011, 7:11 pm

      Hello Gilad. Good interview and excellent comments on this thread. Me – I like attitude wherever I can find it – in most (if not all) forms. And you have it down pat – enough apparently to drive that fellow Goldstein (is that his name?) in the UK bonkers. He actually wrote a 20+ page treatise on the subject of you…lucky devil….

      With regard to Phil, your hunch is right, I think. Phil is a geometric anomaly – he is both inside and outside a circle. Looking in as if from the outside one moment, but smack in the center point of the tribal comfort zone the next (or is it simultaneous? who knows? the mind boggles). But I have a new theorem that addresses this unique form of Jewish exceptionalism, though the proof needs the addition of a dimension (or rather, at least one) and heavy use of topology. The better alternative is to resort to Quantum Mechanical concepts and in particular the wave-particle duality. That would be one way of being somewhere and everywhere at once – depending on who is observing you when, no?

      Phil thrives to transcend the tribal even as he is pulled deeper within it. This seeming dichotomy lies at the heart of his brand of “Jewishness” (which according to your definition he cannot transcend, but surely you accept that his brand is still better than most. It’s step, not an endpoint).

      My other theory is that there is, in fact, a complete disconnect between Jewish and Israeli perceptions, and the divergence is increasing despite – and maybe because – of continuing influx from the “diaspora” (a diminishing one, for sure). To the Israelis – even if ‘ex’ for so many years – zionism is kind of irrelevant – partly because they feel they won a country, so the zionist narrative is kind of self-evident – a pro-forma, a founding myth. Israeli expats gang together when abroad, oftentimes well apart from the local jews. Their notion of “tribal” tends to be along nationalist/ethnic lines, just as it is in Israel. That even if they learn to pay lip service to the local jewish versions of tribal ‘self-interest” (as you mention). I do think that it is very difficult for people of the not-so-zionist bent (including now all the krypto-, contra-, counter- and meta-zionists – definitions forthcoming) to comprehend what it means to be a secular Israeli, where one grows up effectively despising much of the jewish religion and/or traditions, yet, use whatever tid-bits from the religion or history when it suits a purpose. Arts in Israel are suffused with religious/historical symbols and personalities, yet the practitioners – and consumers of said art claim not to have a religious bone in their body. It is very different, I believe, among jewish Americans, where the not-so-religious hardly use any jewish symbols but still pay homage to a “jewish history” – as a concept, rather than actual know-how or know-where.

      I actually think that the jews in israel and the ones outside are diverging into different sects. The tribe may be in the process of splitting apart, though it may not be visible to everyone, especially those busy pouring concrete into the opening rifts.

      OK, these are just some thoughts – too many jumbled together already, and not quite addressing your query. I just would like to say again that I found the interview very inspiring from both interviewer and interviewee. It made me feel very exceptional, that’s for sure….:-)

      • Citizen
        June 28, 2011, 6:55 am

        Danaa, I think there is something to your quarky wave-particle metaphor in describing Phil Weiss’s psychology, actions, reactions. Can a poet cut down a tree? Some can. Can a lumberjack write a poem? Some can. However in order for them to do so, respectively, they do have to momentarily suspend part of their conscious self, yes?

    • wondering jew
      June 24, 2011, 8:41 pm

      It is in Jewish self interest to maintain the safety and well being of fellow Jews.

      (Before I get into examples of what might be instances when Jews have faced threats to their safety and well being, let me expand a bit on the general concept. It is great to feel empathy for Haitians or Japanese facing the travails of the aftermath of an earthquake. But Jewish self interest is an extension of the feeling of family to a wider “family” of the “tribe”. When an ambulance siren sounds carrying some sick person to the hospital, if our empathy is sufficient to feel empathy for the sick person and his/her family, that is good. But if we are in fact the family member traveling to the hospital with our sick relative or a family member notified by telephone of the fact of the travel to the hospital, there is no exertion involved and it is an instance of natural self interest to feel worry and alarm.)

      Examples from the past: Thus it was in Jewish self interest for Jews to be allowed to leave the Soviet Union if they so chose when that option was closed to them. It was also in Jewish self interest that Jews in the Soviet Union not face quotas in terms of professional advancement and not face problems and discrimination in terms of being allowed to celebrate Jewish holidays and pray in Jewish synagogues.

      When the Soviet Union existed, a system that discriminated against all of its citizens in terms of limiting their exits and particularly discriminated against Jews in certain aspects of their daily lives, we had an example of blatant anti Jewish behavior by a regime and thus a blatant “tribal” self interest.

      Today there are fewer examples of specifically anti Jewish regimes, in terms of their anti Jewish attitude towards their own citizens.

      When Ahmadinejad holds a special conference dedicated to Holocaust denial, unless one feels that he was truly a curious and questioning man, which I believe was not and is not the case, then there was a Jewish self interest in lightning striking down Ahmadinejad. (Although lightning is an example of divine intervention that puts it in the totally hypothetical, I do not know specifically what actions should have been taken against him and thus I can’t specify what acts would have been in the Jewish self interest. But in my opinion it is clear that he was acting against the Jewish “tribe” and thus he and his acts were inimical to the “tribe”.)

      When an 8 year old Jewish kid in an American school gets called a Christ killer, that too is against the Jewish interest, for it is natural to wish to protect an 8 year old kid, particularly if he/she is a member of the family. (It is natural to wish to protect an 8 year old black kid from being called a nigger and it is more natural to wish to protect an 8 year old Jewish kid from being called a Christ killer.) Thus it is in the Jewish self interest for this phrase not to trip off of the tongue of parents of the user of this epithet and thus it is in the Jewish self interest that no one make the use of this epithet any easier to trip off of the tongue of the parents.

      In the case of the future of Israel it is difficult to determine what series of events and interaction of attitudes would result in the lowest death count both for Jews and at the hands of Jews. (It is not only in the Jewish self interest not to have Jewish civilians killed, it is also in the Jewish self interest not to have Jewish soldiers killed and it is also in the Jewish self interest not to have Jewish soldiers kill or beat others, certainly if that killing or beating can be avoided.)

      If in fact a one state solution would lead to the beautiful period of cooperation that you foresee then in fact anything that would make that happen as soon as possible would be in the Jewish self interest. If on the other hand a one state solution would lead to something akin to the sectarian killings that took place after the US invasion of Iraq, then it is in the Jewish self interest to prevent the one state solution.

      If in fact a one state solution would lead to the beautiful cooperation, if only Jews would let go of their fears, then anything that builds up those fears, whether it is state propaganda or some jazz musician calling Zionists christ killers, then anything that causes them to hold onto their fears is in fact against Jewish self interests.

      The future of the spiritual health of the Jewish tribe depends on a mixture of change and continuity the proportions of which are beyond my ken at this time or for the foreseeable future. Some combination of continuity and change thus would be involved in our spiritual health and thus those who favor only change and those who favor only continuity are in fact on the wrong track and against Jewish self interests. If the proportion of the status quo is all wrong, then an individual might see their role as proposing all change or all continuity despite the factual excess of their proposal for the purpose of effecting change in the direction that would change the proportion to a positive rather than a negative effect.

      • MB.
        June 24, 2011, 11:02 pm

        Wondering Jews wrote : “When an 8 year old Jewish kid in an American school gets called a Christ killer, that too is against the Jewish interest, for it is natural to wish to protect an 8 year old kid, particularly if he/she is a member of the family. (It is natural to wish to protect an 8 year old black kid from being called a nigger and it is more natural to wish to protect an 8 year old Jewish kid from being called a Christ killer.) Thus it is in the Jewish self interest for this phrase not to trip off of the tongue of parents of the user of this epithet and thus it is in the Jewish self interest that no one make the use of this epithet any easier to trip off of the tongue of the parents.”

        If I may ask, what on earth are you talking about? I am middle aged, a parent, and I have heard a lot of nasty banter between kids regarding race — but I have never, in all my years heard even one single kid say to another “Hey, you, you disgusting Christ -killer! ”

        I have never heard of such things happenning amongst kids ! I will be frank, I have not heard even one single anti-Semitic comment from a child, especially an eight year old, about Christ or any other matter.

        What kind of kids live in your neighbourhood?

        And if you are thinking about ‘inter racial’ inter ethnic matters between kids now, the last major event in regards to that were the massive riots in Israel, where Ashkenazi families refused to have their kids studying with Mizrahi and Shephardi children. Yes, part of that was related to the Ashkenazi ideas about religioisity ( or lack of ) in these different communities, but — the Israeli press also reported on the clear racial discrimination too inherent in these riots. Ashkenazi familes just did not want their kids mixing with ‘those blacks’.

      • wondering jew
        June 25, 2011, 9:54 am

        MB- I have never heard the epithet Christ killer tossed around the schoolyard, so your criticism is accurate. I have heard a contemporary telling a story of being called a Christ killer when she was a child, some thirty years ago. If this practice has stopped then I am glad and I am overly vigilant about a practice that has stopped.

      • Citizen
        June 28, 2011, 7:06 am

        WJ, are you aware that your line of thinking, and examples (with the appropriate substitute victim) are mirrored by folks such as David Duke? And that arguably his examples are more common today in the USA than yours? Just sayin’.

    • tree
      June 25, 2011, 12:04 am

      I want to see some real Jewish self reflection.

      Please do not disappoint me..

      (Interesting discussion so far by the way. )

      This request has caused me some reflection, but alas it is not particularly self-oriented. It just occurred to me that our particular Zionists commenting here are some of the least self-reflective people I have come in contact with. When I expand that group to other Zionists I have known, it seems like they are likewise quite un-reflective, though certainly reflexive. I’m more likely to see “some real Jewish self-reflection” from Jews who don’t identify with Zionism or Israel in a completely positive way. Shmuel, David Samel, Danaa, Phil, Adam and others do the “Jewish self-reflection” thing. Hophmi, eeee, jonah, jon s and others don’t, and Richard Witty doesn’t even understand the concept or he would have self-imploded years ago. WJ gives off an air of self-reflection, but when it comes down to it, its really more of a plea for others to listen to him and respect his wants and his fears rather than an inner reflection on what makes him tick and why. Obviously this is my opinion, not necessarily fact. But I find it somewhat fascinating and illuminating to realize there appears to be a glaring need on the part of those who justify and diminish what Israel does to cut off any self-reflection whatsoever, and to focus all their energies on others rather than questioning themselves.

      What is your take on this, Gilad? (And I direct the same question to Danaa or Avi or Shmuel.) Are Israelis particularly self-reflective, “Jewish”ly or otherwise? It seems to me looking from the outside that the average Israeli Jew is not, and that self-reflection seems to correlate to a concommitant questioning of Israel.

      (In the interest of disclosure, I am not Jewish but my sister in Israel, whom I have not spoken to directly in over a decade, is an Israeli Jew.)

      • Shmuel
        June 25, 2011, 4:10 am

        Are Israelis particularly self-reflective, “Jewish”ly or otherwise? It seems to me looking from the outside that the average Israeli Jew is not, and that self-reflection seems to correlate to a concommitant questioning of Israel.

        It’s hard to generalise but, in my experience, Israelis are no more or less inclined to self-reflection than anyone else. It is not something our species seems to do very well (a generalistion, I know).

      • tree
        June 25, 2011, 12:47 pm

        Thanks Shmuel. A valid point and gentle correction on your part of my bias. However, I would still like to know if you think that Israeli Jewish self-reflection and a questioning of Israel seem to correlate in your experience. And do you think that is due to a strong identification with the state that Israel encourages among its Jewish citizens? In other words, discouraging reflection on what the state does by tying it up so tightly with individual Jew’s sense of self that to question Israel seems to include questioning one’s self?

      • Gilad
        June 25, 2011, 4:25 pm

        Interesting Shmuel… I obviously agree with you, and yet, there is an element of criticism within Israeli culture that i hardly see anywhere else. People like Shahak, Shamir, Tzabar, Peled (Miko and Nurit) and a few others were/are operating in Israel.

        My bitterest enemies are obviously Red Jews rather than the Blue & White ones…I guess that they hate me because i reflect on Jewishness (J ideology)… Israelis can cope with it, Jewish Marxists can’t..

      • Shmuel
        June 25, 2011, 4:57 pm

        tree,

        The premise of your question would seem to be that Jewish identity and identification with Israel are somehow distinct among Israeli Jews. It’s not that simple – except, perhaps, among certain segments of the religious population and a handful of “Canaanites” (post, pseudo, neo). To the extent that Jewish identity is closely bound up with Zionist-Israeli identity, questioning one may also involve or lead to questioning the other.

        Having said that, there seems to be a good deal of intellectual/cultural/spiritual restlessness regarding Jewish religious and cultural identity in Israel, that is completely detached from attitudes to the state, although the more politically conservative may lean toward greater religious conservatism, whereas political liberals will tend to have a more open and creative approach to their Judaism.

        Is this the sort of thing you are getting at, or am I completely off base?

      • tree
        June 25, 2011, 9:00 pm

        Hi Shmuel.

        The premise of your question would seem to be that Jewish identity and identification with Israel are somehow distinct among Israeli Jews.

        Unless I am misunderstanding what you are saying (which is surely possible), I think that what you perceived from my question was not what I intended to ask. I am not drawing a distinction between Israeli Jews and others outside of Israel but am attempting to posit a distinction among Israeli Jews in terms of the willingness to undergo a very personal self-reflection that seems to correlate with the ability to look at the state itself with the same critical eye.

        I suppose I am trying to tease out whether over-identification with a state (Israel, in this case) makes it harder engage in personal self-reflection, or whether the cause and effect are reversed and a personal difficulty in self-reflection is what makes it harder to look critically at the state. Assuming, of course, that my hypothesis is correct and that greater ease and comfortableness with self-reflection are correlated to a greater ability to be critical of the state. My very very small sample seems to support my hypothesis but the sample is way too miniscule to prove such a hypothesis so I was attempting to compare my experience with those who have lived in Israel whose opinions and thoughts I value.

      • Shmuel
        June 26, 2011, 3:19 am

        am attempting to posit a distinction among Israeli Jews in terms of the willingness to undergo a very personal self-reflection that seems to correlate with the ability to look at the state itself with the same critical eye.

        That is how I understood your question (unless I’m being really thick – a distinct possibility in the Roman heat), but the specific element of self-reflection you chose to address (Jewish self-reflection) is, I believe, either completely intertwined with identification with the state, or completely separate – in which case there is often a good deal of self-reflection, up to the point where it touches upon the state. When it comes to other elements of self-reflection, I really don’t see any more or less self-reflection in Israelis than in any one else. We all have our taboos, our accepted wisdom, and our “best of all possible worlds” bias. In Israel it is perhaps more visible, because the brainwashing and the groupthink pertain to issues that have been – or are in the process of being – overcome in their more glaring forms, in western societies.

      • tree
        June 26, 2011, 11:03 am

        but the specific element of self-reflection you chose to address (Jewish self-reflection) is, I believe, either completely intertwined with identification with the state, or completely separate – in which case there is often a good deal of self-reflection, up to the point where it touches upon the state.

        I am not particularly addressing “Jewish” self-reflection, unless by that you simply mean self-reflection within Israel Jews. I am talking about a more personal self-reflection. Or perhaps you are saying that ALL Jewish Israeli self-reflection is a tribal rather than a personal one? In which case it is a concept of “self-reflection” that I find hard to grasp and would not have included under that term of “self-“.

        …either completely intertwined with identification with the state, or completely separate – in which case there is often a good deal of self-reflection, up to the point where it touches upon the state.

        You seem to be saying here that the inhibitor of self-reflection in this case is the personal identification with the state, and the state’s overwhelming power to influence one’s sense of self. This is helpful in terms of figuring out how to affect change in attitudes among Israeli Jews.

        When it comes to other elements of self-reflection, I really don’t see any more or less self-reflection in Israelis than in any one else.

        I am not applying standards or hypotheses about self-reflection and the state solely to Israeli Jews, as I am attempting to form a more general concept that applies to all humans. In this case I am asking about Israeli Jews because it is Israeli Jews who must overcome the racist attitudes re-enforced by the state in order for Israel to heal itself. Perhaps it is not so much self-reflection that makes the difference but a firmer sense of self independent of the state? Is there anything that you have noticed that sets apart those who are capable of critically questioning the state such as yourself versus those who do not? This question is also for Danaa and Avi and Elliot and anyone else here who has been or is an Israeli who has ‘divorced’ him or herself from Israel.

      • Shmuel
        June 26, 2011, 12:02 pm

        OK, now I’m completely lost (definitely the heat – I hope). So we’re not talking about “Jewish” self-reflection (i.e. reflection on the Jewish component of self), but about self-reflection in general – where it counts, in terms of putting wrongs right – in the specific case of Israeli society? And about whether there is some connection between being critical of one’s country and the dominant, all-pervasive ideology in one’s society, and self-reflection? But isn’t that a virtual tautology?

        If, on the other hand, you are asking what makes some people question their surroundings and themselves, or what makes some people question certain aspects of their identity but not others, I haven’t the foggiest. I have not been able to identify any specific patterns or markers, beyond the usual, mysterious combination of nature and nurture.

      • Danaa
        June 26, 2011, 4:55 pm

        Shmuel, I have an idea for a pattern (if not a marker). I think that the one common element I found in most people I know (or read about) who, at some point engage in self-reflection is that they have been a bit of outsiders, from the get-go. What’s different is the way in which they are outsiders. For one, it’s being gay, for another it’s having a disability of sorts; still others suffer from terminal case of aloneness or ennui. For quite a few it’s being what we call too smart for their own good, and quite a few others have a spiritual energy that finds little expression in a modern world so they are doomed to aimless yearning for salvations unknown. Intelligence is, of course, a tautology, but what’ s intelligence anyways?

        I also find a common element that marks by it’s absence – brittle psyche. But that could, again, be a tautology.

        The point being that once one is a bit of an outsider all along, there’s less to lose by questioning and less reason to fear the consequences of confronting cherished beliefs/dogma and the like. Being on the periphery of the social/tribal circle – for whatever reason – be it too much or too little of something – inclines those who have the ability to reflect (which is a pre-condition to self-reflection) to direct their gaze both inward and across-the-board. They also have the advantage of a semi-outsider’s view – more pieces are visible when one stands just to the isde of a circle. Among other things, one may notice that there is a circle there in the first place.

        Alas, there’s another difference – some never know when to say enough so they shed so many layers that they practically freeze to death for lack of affection or something. While others overdo it to the point of turning their entire life into a series of Portnoy’s complaints – the eternal sequel (yes, I am referring to that somewhat unique jewish predilection for stupefying self-neurosis, a comedians’ favorite punching bag).

        Me – I just spend a lot of time I don’t have – ruminating away. But that’s my gig – chasing time. Better not to get swept in the chase…

        PS I got one for you, what do you think of “Mifrad-Olam” as a kind of antonym to Tikkun Olam? any other suggestions?

      • Citizen
        June 28, 2011, 7:11 am

        Gilad, please expand on why Israelis can cope as you say, but not Jewish Marxists. Does Marx’s own beliefs have anything to do with your noted discrepancy?

      • Danaa
        June 25, 2011, 3:56 pm

        tree, my perspective on this question is a bit different than Shmuel’s, maybe because of the different circles of people I came in contact with in Israel. I tend to agree with your observations, as I find the Israeli people – generalization here – singularly uninterested in critical examination, and not just when it comes to anything “Jewish” (which the seculars are totally uninterested in anyways) but Israeli history, or for that matter – world history. And, come to think of it, economics or – even philosophy, beyond certain bounds. With israelis I mostly find I have to stick to specifics since rational debate – in general – seems to roll off them in a hurry (caveat – it’s a bit different with academics – philosophy, and sometimes economics are in – but foreign policy and ME history are out, way out – even with really smart people, who should by nature question much).

        The second part of your question – which kind of begged the answer – is true also, certainly in my experience, to which I’ll add those I read or heard about, but never met. The questioning of the Israeli narrative does come with lots of self-reflection – almost by definition. After all, one of the first questions you ask yourself is – how could I – personally – fall for all that? in my case, that question is especially troubling because I was such an intellectual rebel when young – they tell me I questioned everything I was told – in class or outside. Apparently, not so much of a rebel, after all, as I was totally into the Israeliness of it all, including it’s unique elf-view ass a warrior culture. So the waking up process kind of shattered my self-views, and compromised what pride I had in my own history.

        One positive outcome is that the self-rearrangement process I underwent also made me realize how effective certain types of brain washing are when administered continuously – and over long time – to very young children. The zionist narrative of the founding of Israel, and the historic persecution of the jews because they were jews was imprinted in us, wholesale. Which is why questioning one aspect is viewed as dangerous – it may bring the whole edifice down. I said once before that I am neither too dismissive nor too judgemental any longer when I read the stories about the polygamous mormon sects. The human child is apparently wired for susceptibility to imprinting by the environment, much as any other species. That’s why ideologies – even crazy ones – hold such sway on seemingly thinking and smart adults.

        One more comment: this imprinting process is probably how we got acculturated into tribes and clans. I imagine it came about as a necessary survival skill for a high functioning social species. The problem is that we are no longer in the stone, or even the iron age, but in the Gold-man-Sachs age. And vestiges of tribalism may no longer serve a good purpose as they get bent to serve the quest for evermore power. But this issue is really too complicated to comment on here, and I only allow myself one little treatise a day.

      • tree
        June 26, 2011, 2:55 am

        Thanks for your insights, Danaa. Always very thought-provoking.

      • Citizen
        June 28, 2011, 7:30 am

        Well, Danaa, that’s a great little treatise, I’ll say. I recently watched (on a two-hour Cable TV documentary) a bunch of FLDS teens and young adults struggling with their upbringing after they couldn’t stand it any longer and ran off into the wider world. Oh how they are struggling to sort the wheat from the ingrained chaff–primarily, from what I heard them say, because they retained fond warm memories of living in their childhood cocoon, and of their parents and extended family members left behind, as well as more recent fond memories and daily delightful surprises that come with being free; too, naturally then, they also expressed moments of great resentment at lost youth in the protective cocoon. I’m reminded of the homily that many humans don’t really want much choice. Habits can be comfy. You can plow a lot of field with your head straight down under your hat and blinders on your horse. Then it’s time for a shower, dinner, a drink, and bed. The feeling of accomplishing something others treasure, especially those most like yourself. I’m also reminded of Voltaire’s Candide.

      • Gilad
        June 25, 2011, 4:18 pm

        Hello Tree, i answered along..

        It just occurred to me that our particular Zionists commenting here are some of the least self-reflective people I have come in contact with.

        G: This is indeed very interesting because Zionism was initially a moment of self reflection and a manifestation of J Diaspora self loth.

        I’m more likely to see “some real Jewish self-reflection” from Jews who don’t identify with Zionism or Israel in a completely positive way.

        G: I am sorry to say it but Jewish anti Zionism is (in most cases ) even less self reflective than Zionism.This is a common and general problem with progressive discourses… The progressive regard oneself as chosen and defines the foe as reactionary.

        Shmuel, David Samel, Danaa, Phil, Adam and others do the “Jewish self-reflection” thing. Hophmi, eeee, jonah, jon s and others don’t, and Richard Witty doesn’t even understand the concept or he would have self-imploded years ago. WJ gives off an air of self-reflection, but when it comes down to it, its really more of a plea for others to listen to him and respect his wants and his fears rather than an inner reflection on what makes him tick and why.

        G: i obviously cannot comment, i do not know any of the above. I have been monitoring Jewish progressive discourse for a decade and i am not impressed. However, I enjoyed talking to . Weiss because he admitted a certain level of confusion or dilemma.

      • tree
        June 25, 2011, 9:18 pm

        Hi, Gilad

        Thanks for your input on this. My take is that the situation in Britain and the US is different in terms of Marxists, for the most part, and those in the US who seek to limit the discussion to Jews only or limit what topics are discussed or are considered worthy of discussion are much more open about their personal connection to Israel and are much more likely to use the term “liberal Zionists” than “Marxists”. There are exceptions, of course.

        As an aside, most avowed Marxists commenting on blogs that I have read seem to project a very off-putting sense of mental superiority which often times makes it pointless to address them, since it is ‘obvious’ to them that anyone that disagrees with them is a mental midget and insufficiently human enough to address without insult.

        …there is an element of criticism within Israeli culture that i hardly see anywhere else. People like Shahak, Shamir, Tzabar, Peled (Miko and Nurit) and a few others were/are operating in Israel.

        This is, I believe, an example of what I meant about a correlation between the ability and ease of critical self-reflection and the ability of some Israelis to view their own state critically.

      • Gilad
        June 26, 2011, 1:11 am

        Indeed and this is why I myself believe the Jewish self hatred is the highest form of Jewish ethical thinking. Look at Jesus, Marx & Spinoza…

        And if Jewishness is a form of some excessive self love , the J self haters fit nicely in, they just love themselves hating themselves :)

        Re progressiveness, Marxism, Jewishness and so on.. yes, i do believe that progressiveness is a continuation of Judaism. It is a broad interpretation of choseness. It also explains why some Jews interpret Marxism as just another exclusive Jewish religion.

      • tree
        June 26, 2011, 2:53 am

        Can’t say that I agree with you on progressiveness or Marxism being a continuation of Judaism, but its an interesting take in regards to Jewish adherents of same, regardless of whether I agree or not. I was referring to Marxists in general, regardless of their self-identification.

        And as for “self-hatred” label, it seems to me that its merely an attempt to saddle an individual with a group identity that is presumed to need to subsume their individual identity. When that individual differentiates him or herself by criticizing some aspect of the group identity then the label is applied. It really has nothing to do with any real “self-hatred”, but with a willingness to cast off or criticize part or whole of the externally imposed group identity as determined by some other gatekeeper-member(s) of the group. A “self-hater” is more likely to be someone who rests their self-esteem not on the group but on his or her own value, and thus the very opposite of a “self-hater”.

      • Gilad
        June 26, 2011, 5:29 am

        Can’t say that I agree with you on progressiveness or Marxism being a continuation of Judaism

        G: I hope you realise that I refer here to a philosophical category rather than a historical continuation. Progressiveness is simply a form of choseness.

        I was referring to Marxists in general, regardless of their self-identification.

        G: Got you, so this is indeed very complicated. I tend to differentiate between ‘Marx’ and ‘Marxism’ and between Anglo American Marxism and the rest of the world (Latin, East European and Eastern). I have a serious problem with the former but pretty inspired by the latter.

        When that individual differentiates him or herself by criticizing some aspect of the group identity then the label is applied. It really has nothing to do with any real “self-hatred”, but with a willingness to cast off or criticize part or whole of the externally imposed group identity as determined by some other gatekeeper-member(s) of the group

        G: I agree, it is a form of dissidence, and yet, only when it comes to J self haters, a bad connotation is attached to it. Hence, i define myself as a ‘proud self hater.’
        And here is my dilemma, i also define myslef as an ‘ex Jew’.. I basically either contradict myself or bouncing endlessly.

      • Citizen
        June 28, 2011, 7:41 am

        Interesting that Hitler and Nazi ideology and broadsheeted political platforms also viewed Marxism as just another exclusive Jewish religion. Progressiveness implies the Hegalian dialect; so does Israel today equate to some form of synthesis? Is it a still- born America (when at its finest in comparison to past states)?

  20. Tom Pessah
    June 24, 2011, 5:36 pm

    Annie, I won’t “hijack” your conversation any more, but this is just to say I am truly disappointed with you. A consistent anti-racist can denounce bigotry against any group, not just Zionism. There’s no point in denouncing Zionism from any perspective that isn’t consistently anti-racist. If you can’t see very clear examples of bigotry on this thread, you’re a pretty poor ally both to Jews and to Palestinians.

    • annie
      June 24, 2011, 7:12 pm

      i have not been following everything on the thread tom, which is exactly what a highjack deserves. your arguments make a lot of assumptions. i am not any kind of authority on the holocaust and am not interested in getting sucked into a conversation about it.. i followed some of your links and started to respond but find conversations about jews vs ‘the jews’ wrt jesus a waste of time. i think it goes without saying all the jews didn’t kill jesus. sorry to disappoint you but i’m just more caught up in present day. the bigotry you speak of is not glaring at me and well, it is a highjack. i appreciate you not highjacking the comments any more tho.

      you wanted to make it all about gilad and you got your way.

      • Max Ajl
        June 25, 2011, 5:52 am

        Annie, the fact that the bigotry is not glaring to you — and others — is an indication of the fact that you have no intellectual or moral standards. Not a personal attack, just an observation. I don’t care too much about the Atzmon village-idiot performance, frankly. Some people need their petty prejudices confirmed by a native informant. So be it. But others will care, and you are out of line making an attack on Tom, who writes under his actual name, while you glide around under a veil of anonymity saying gosh-golly-gee don’t know so much about the holocaust while you blithely defend the bigotry of a right-wing armchair clown who, I should add to Tom, doesn’t merit one-hundredth of the attention he has been given on this thread. That bigotry will have no effect on its targets, so it does not concern me. Racism is not separable from the power relations within which it occurs. Nevertheless there is no warrant for criticizing someone for reacting to that bigotry.

        What should concern you is that not everyone will see things as I see them, and this is not philosphe amateur hour or the Giladi power-of-hour to worry about Mohammed-from-Gaza, who trust me, does not give a crap about “native oriented cells” in the movement. Generally Mohammed is more concerned about stopping the munitions from landing on his doorstep and is not impressed with cant about a false, non-existent universalism. He wants effective political action. Please think hard this morning about whether this discourse contributes to that, and whether it’s Tom, who has a proven record as an on-the-ground getting-hands-dirty political organizer on this, who is the problem today. He is not.

      • MB.
        June 25, 2011, 8:29 am

        Max, Atzmon has really got to you hasn’t he. It seems you think he doesn’t deserve the attention he gets.

        Well, Richard Falk likes Atzmon’s writing. Mearsheimer rates Atzmon’s work highly. John Pilger thinks his writing is valuable too. And, he is also highly regarded by more than a few Palestinian writers.

        He’s not doing too badly then, is he?

        So…..well….just a thought here Max, but I doubt Atzmon is waiting for, or seeking your stamp of approval.

        I am not really sure why, but clearly, his works seems to anger and hurt you.

      • Max Ajl
        June 25, 2011, 9:38 am

        I don’t know “MB” my anonymous amigo if reading is a skill they teach where you are from. I said I don’t care about Atzmon and I do not, which is why I reacted to Annie and not him. so you are wrong about that, and can practice reading the words that appear on the page in front of you, and in the process might dislodge some of the petty prejudices that you mistake for thought.

        When you have figured out how to do that that, step two. Read the next couple sentences.

        What you are ever wronger about is your statement that “he doesn’t deserve the attention he gets.” I think he deserves exactly the attention he gets, as well as who he gets it from. like attracts like, in this case internet chatterboxes who mistake clattering away on a keyboard for contributing to social change. That you lap it up is not my issue. It’s yours. Finally, because I should give you something to be right about, you are correct that he is not waiting for or seeking my stamp of approval. What you seem to think is that I care.

      • Tom Pessah
        June 25, 2011, 9:43 am

        thank you Max. I’m just wondering how people who see themselves as anti-racists are perfectly happy having a pleasant conversation about “universalism” with someone who writes that “even Zionist historians agree that there was no master plan to ‘kill’ the Jews ” – so the systematic Nazi murder of Jews is now something we put in quotation marks? was it a tsunami that killed them? can people really be blind as that to bigotry? and just google, for goodness’ sake, you’ll find endless examples of Atzmon’s ties to Holocaust deniers.

      • tree
        June 25, 2011, 1:11 pm

        Tom, you are doing it again. You are selectively quoting Atzmon. I understand that you are not doing it maliciously, but you are doing it nevertheless. It is interesting in that you are becoming an illustration of exactly what you are denying-that questioning aspects of the Holocaust narrative are a taboo subject. Even the term “Holocaust deniers” is a part of that taboo, as most of those to whom the slur is used are not “deniers” at all of the undeserved and horrific death of millions of Jews at the hands of Nazi Germany during WWII but “revisionists” who simply disagree with some aspects of the narrative while accepting others. I’m not sure about Atzmon, he may be among these. I also understand that the subject is a very emotional one to you, and I think that is what is causing you to jump to wrong conclusions about what is being said and to have difficulty hearing what is actually being said versus what you think a “holocaust denier” would be saying.

        I for one don’t find a belief in Holocaust revisionism to be particularly “racist” or beyond the pale. No Holocaust revisionist that I have read either denies that Jews suffered horribly at Nazi hands, nor does any revisionist that I have read think that such suffering was in anyway deserved, so I fail to find it a particularly racist belief. It would, I think be much better to debate people rationally and not seek to put them beyond the pale and/or seek to have them shunned. It would also help to try to understand what they are actually saying, rather than assuming you already know what they believe or don’t. It doesn’t help anyone, and it doesn’t help either the search for truth or the need to prevent similar atrocities in the future.

      • MRW
        June 25, 2011, 9:34 pm

        Max Ajl,

        the Giladi power-of-hour to worry about Mohammed-from-Gaza, who trust me, does not give a crap about “native oriented cells” in the movement. Generally Mohammed is more concerned about stopping the munitions from landing on his doorstep and is not impressed with cant about a false, non-existent universalism. He wants effective political action.

        You’re wrong. This is what Atzmon is talking about. See from about 50 minutes. Sameh A. Habeeb (Gaza) talking on a panel with Gilad Atzmon and Alan Hart this year tells how Jews for Justice in Palestine in London criticized him for criticizing Israel.
        link to vimeo.com

      • Thomson Rutherford
        June 26, 2011, 1:49 am

        Max Ajl: Annie, the fact that the bigotry is not glaring to you — and others — is an indication of the fact that you have no intellectual or moral standards. Not a personal attack, just an observation.

        It was a personal attack, and a very low one indeed. Followed by a hilariously pompous lecture from you to Annie on morality. You are lucky Annie didn’t take you apart with her famous wit, of which she has much and you have none.

        The reason you chose to spray Annie with your venom and not, say, Danaa (who nearby has expressed similar views) is that Danaa is Jewish and Annie is not. With you it’s as simple as that.

      • Tom Pessah
        June 26, 2011, 5:05 am

        WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? here is Atzmon saying “When I was young and naive I was also somehow convinced that what they told us about our ‘collective’ Jewish past really happened. I believed it all, the Kingdom of David, Massada, and then the Holocaust: the soap, the lampshade*, the death march, the six million. As it happened, 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… I think that 65 years after the liberation of Auschwitz, we must be entitled to start to ask the necessary questions. We should ask for some conclusive historical evidence and arguments rather than follow a religious narrative” link to gilad.co.uk how much more blatant does he need to be? what do I need to “try to understand” – that there isn’t conclusive historical evidence for death marches? what is wrong with you?

      • Citizen
        June 28, 2011, 8:02 am

        TP, whether or not there was a master plan to kill the Jews is like asking if there was/is a master plan to ethnically cleanse the Palestinians. One need only look at what’s been done to the Palestinians by Israel (heavily enabled by the USA) over the decades, same as looking at what was done to the Jews during Hitler’s reign. Over all, what was done to the Jews is worse than what has and is being done to the Palestinians. Does this excuse what Israel has done, is doing to the Palestinians? Think less of a master plan on paper, than repetitive negative actions foisted on the weaker group. A pattern emerges, accompanied by abstract justifications when questioned, not a blueprint proclamation of extinction or ethnic erasure from the land signed by any chief honcho of “the system.”

      • annie
        June 30, 2011, 4:11 am

        max ajl, this is the first i have seen of your comment. tom didn’t attach his comment to one of mine so the context of what he was referencing wasn’t clear to me. the thread built very fast and whether you believe it or not as i said earlier a lot of it was over my head, and still is.

        i am not really familiar with atzmon. i know of him and i know his reputation but i don’t find dismissing a conversation byway of using a name alone a style i admire in the least (assuming he was referencing my comment upthread to richard).

        very little in this thread on the first day (or the second as i recall) even addressed the contents of the ‘interview’ of jewish identity. it flew off into the holocaust, specific things atzmon had written in the past, who killed christ..all of this i know very very little about nor do i really question (why should i question the holocaust???) and imho it was highjacked. that’s my opinion.

        if you want to consider me a morally vacuous person so be it, perhaps this is a culmination of posts i have made in the past or this thread alone i do not know. but the topics discussed in this thread are topics i have not studied and certainly do not have the emotional attachments to as others do. (for example i simply do not understand the alive emotional charge behind ‘the jews killed jesus’, seriously i do not. this is the kind of stuff i would just blow off. i don’t even know if jesus actually existed so to me it is in the realm of arguing over old myths, it’s just not in my radar..) if that makes me morally vacuous so be it.

        perhaps you assume i am familiar w/atzmon’s writing , familiar w/details of the holocaust, familiar w/the arguments..i’m just not.

        i really wanted a discussion of jewish identity and it wasn’t happening. the discussion became very much about the man.

        also, when the conversation gets deeper at times i realize i am conversing with people not only much more knowledgeable than myself but sometimes also much smarter. i trust my instincts but i will not, i cannot defer to others wrath. i refuse to be like pavlov’s dog and despise because others signal that is what is appropriate under the circumstance. i’m not feigning village-idiot performance, i’m just not up to par wrt the emotional charges happening here or the intellect other bring to this particular discussion. also i do not place an emotional hierarchy on the holocaust perhaps because i am not jewish. iow, i notice people do not go out of their minds when others deny the nakba, it is something we accept (their denial) or else we would constantly go crazy.

        if to you this mean i am morally vacuous so be it.

        while you glide around under a veil of anonymity saying gosh-golly-gee don’t know so much about the holocaust while you blithely defend the bigotry of a right-wing armchair clown who, I should add to Tom, doesn’t merit one-hundredth of the attention he has been given on this thread.

        fuck the golly gee. what i know about the holocaust is enough. the nazis killed millions of jews. me not knowing about specifics of death marches is irrelevant in my mind. i know at least as much about the holocaust as i do about the nakba which is not much but enough. one doesn’t need to know details to know what is right and wrong. and contrary to your assertion i have not once ‘defended’ anyone in this thread but myself!

        i am not gliding around. i live in the bay area and lots of people know exactly who i am. i use my real name in my email and people , i encounter many activists in my daily life and never hide the fact of my posting here on mondoweiss, in fact i am proud of it. my last name is robbins and anyone who ever asks me i tell them. i am proud of my association with this site and my activism. going by my first name suits me just fine and i do not do that because i am hiding from anyone.

        you’re argument is founded on what people should know. like every single one of us should know everything we are supposed to about the holocaust. well sorry max mr specialist but i just do not watch all those channel 9 documentaries and i was born of a generation when the holocaust was not shoved down our throats every semester til we memorized all of it by rote.

        you sir, have attacked me. at least i have the manners and good grace not to make my rebuttal anything personal against you and make assumptions about your moral fiber including the assumptions you’ve read every link and comment in this thread and understand all the implications.

      • Citizen
        June 30, 2011, 8:09 am

        annie, I agree the accusations against Atzmon and against some of those who chimed in to support him was a diversionary hijacking of this thread.

        But I think you fail to appreciate what Atzmon was bringing to light with his interview of Phil, and also as to the complex of notions and cherry-picked and/or embellished history, most especially of the Shoah, that anyone who persists in plumbing to the ultimate whys of Israel First thinking inevitably faces. Jewish ID is a big part of this knot.

        And Atzmon, for one, takes it deeper: to Jewish exceptionalism.

        In a similar manner, to understand US foreign/domestic policy, down to the core mental root of it, one cannot avoid the concept and history of American exceptionalism.

        Although we learn to walk by rote doing, the image & thought associations we are conditioned to by our culture provide the energy
        for where we walk as adults. Until we break out of the extended petri dish.

        That’s where Atzmon is, and he sees Phil trying hard to catch up.

        If you look at Israel/AIPAC’s core assumption it’s that Jews must always to what they can to protect themselves against anti-semitism, now and in the future. They feel they “turned the other cheek” once, by being 110% Germans, and look where that got them. They trace anti-semitism back at least to the story of the killing of JC.

        That it may well be only a story, is no consolation when folks act on any fiction there actions are still real.

        “Revisionist” history is simply gaining a new persepctive on the past after it’s no longer a death/treason penalty to talk about facts left out of the official narrative, and more formerly classified data is available.

        The myths, or partial myths undergirding dangerous structures don’t go away if nobody addresses them.

      • annie
        June 30, 2011, 10:10 pm

        well, i can’t address these issues here. i’m not prepared for it, i don’t know enough about it and it’s simply not any kind of safe space with people putting words in my mouth, making assumptions about my meaning for things i didn’t say accusing me of stuff i didn’t say and personally insulting my character. it’s better left up to others to hash it our amongst themselves.

      • Tom Pessah
        July 1, 2011, 12:57 am

        Annie, thank you for the clarification. I understand you feel you don’t know enough about the Holocaust to get into the debate. However, at the beginning of the thread I posted a link to an article by the person you were debating on the subject of Jews transcending “tribalism” and achieving “universalism”. Here it is again: “Wagner wrote that Jews were only capable of producing money-making music and not works of art. I guess that Israelis do not like meshiges with an astute reading of the socio-economy of the show business.” Here is the link – link to gilad.co.uk – you can look and see for yourself if I am twisting or misquoting anything. This is an example of simple bigotry which which can be identified without any expert knowledge. Surely you don’t agree that a certain group of human beings is inherently incapable of producing works of art? likewise, to understand why the “Jews killed Jesus” libel is emotional for people you don’t need to be an expert. The answer is pretty simple – a) that’s false, and b) that was used through the centuries to persecute Jews. A decent ally to Jews should be able to speak up when they hear defamatory statement like that, instead of insisting that their discussion of Jewish identity with the person who made those statements should just continue uninterrupted. It would be exactly the same if you were discussing African American identity with a person who stated they had an innate tendency to rape white women. Do you need to be an expert on biology or whatever to respond to this claim? would you just say you’re not an expert and continue the discussion as usual? it’s easy for you to say you would blow it off since you’re not the one targetted, but that’s not the way solidarity works.

      • Tom Pessah
        July 1, 2011, 1:03 am

        Citizen – “Over all, what was done to the Jews is worse than what has and is being done to the Palestinians. Does this excuse what Israel has done, is doing to the Palestinians? ”

        no, it doesn’t. One of the background assumptions here is that anyone who doesn’t deny the Holocaust is a “Zionist historian” who wants to justify ethnic cleansing. That’s nonsense. You can easily recognize the Holocaust happened and also recognize ethnic cleansing happened, it’s pretty easy to accept both things at the same time.

      • Citizen
        July 1, 2011, 5:02 am

        TP, try this on for size: “It would be exactly the same if you were discussing African American identity with a person who stated they had an innate tendency to rape white women, or if you were discussing Jewish Identity with a person who stated (or directly implied) Gentiles had an innate tendency to kill or oppress Jews”.

        (And so we Jews, unlike the Gentiles, always need to be armed to the hilt and have a safe haven. And we need to preempt any activity we fear)

      • Citizen
        July 1, 2011, 5:13 am

        TP, I’ve been on this blog a long time and I don’t think any of the critics of Israeli policy and/or AIPAC activity have ever expressed or implied that there was no holocaust/Shoah. There has been criticism of how that holocaust has been used to justify Israel’s actions and tar said critics of Israel with the brush of “anti-semitism.”

      • Evildoer
        July 1, 2011, 8:14 am

        Tom,

        Allow me to take issue. Jews don’t need allies or solidarity qua Jews. We are not oppressed. Some of us have more or less deep personal connections to stories of oppression. But that is not the same. The fact that Tree, Citizen, MB and the rest of Atzmon’s groupies here are incapable of understanding the difference between a racist argument and an anti-racist one, or that they have to defend their identity by projecting and scapegoating, all that doesn’t pose any threat to me or to you personally. They cannot fire us or have the police beat us. And that is where the comparison to African-Americans ends. They are a symptom of the difficulties that faces a genuinely transformative movement in a society to which racism is foundational and constitutes the privileged mode of understanding social and political problems. That is where the problem lies primarily, not in my or your personal safety.

      • Citizen
        July 1, 2011, 9:37 am

        Evildoer, the macro rascist argument we are talking about here is the one that express or implies that at least most Goys are innately anti-semitic, as they have shown throughout world history, and hence, that is why Israel needs to continue to exist “as Israel,” as Witty puts it–no matter what the ultimate cost to the USA or Israel, that is, the safe haven/insurance policy argument. The current foundational and privileged mode of understanding social and political problems in the USA regarding anything involving Israel is that Israel must be allowed to do whatever it wants in the interests of whatever it says it needs to do for “self-defense.” And Americans pays for this blank check, both literally and diplomatically. That is where the problem lies primarily, and it includes the fact that if one bucks this POV, one endangers one’s career here in the USA, and, increasingly, endangers one’s privacy and free speech. You speak like the Israel Lobby does not exist and nobody gets canned and their reputation smeared when they are in the public eye and criticize Israel and/or the US “special relationship” with Israel. Come back down to earth.

      • tree
        July 1, 2011, 1:32 pm

        “Wagner wrote that Jews were only capable of producing money-making music and not works of art. I guess that Israelis do not like meshiges with an astute reading of the socio-economy of the show business.”

        I interpreted this as a sarcastic twist about the vagaries of “show business”, which is generally much more interested in the money making potential of a performer, rather than talent. As Atzmon is a performing artist, and a Jew, or at least he was a Jew during some of his career as a jazz musician, I didn’t take it as “obvious anti-semitism” but a jab at show business.

        The rest of his piece, on the playing of Wagner in Israel, is in that similar sarcastic, or sardonic, tone:

        Israel Chamber Orchestra spokeswoman Merav Magen Lelie told Israel National News. “This is the first time Wagner will be performed by an Israeli orchestra.” Lelie said that the chamber orchestra’s music director Roberto Paternostro’s is kosher for his grandparents were murdered in the Holocaust. I just wonder, how many bars of Wagner am I entitled to play if my grandparents survived the holocaust?

        He’s poking at Israeli society and its attitudes. They need poking.

      • tree
        July 1, 2011, 1:44 pm

        The fact that Tree, Citizen, MB and the rest of Atzmon’s groupies here are incapable of understanding the difference between a racist argument and an anti-racist one, or that they have to defend their identity by projecting and scapegoating, all that doesn’t pose any threat to me or to you personally. They cannot fire us or have the police beat us.

        Classic example of the pot calling the kettle black. Apparently you think it is OK to claim that someone who disagrees with you is “defending their identity by projecting and scapegoating” but not kosher if you are accused of the same thing. No one here is attempting to “fire” you or have the police beat you. It is you that is attempting to fire or ex-communicate Atzmon from polite discussion, and doing it by attempting to shame others into silence.

        BTW, if accusing people of bias on the basis of what you perceive to be their “identity” is racism , then you don’t know the difference between a racist argument and an anti-racist one yourself.

      • tree
        July 1, 2011, 1:50 pm

        One of the background assumptions here is that anyone who doesn’t deny the Holocaust is a “Zionist historian” who wants to justify ethnic cleansing. That’s nonsense.

        Of course its nonsense. But its also nonsense that anyone here believes that, or considers it a “background assumption”. I don’t, and I doubt that anyone else here does. I don’t even think that everyone who responds emotionally to what they perceive to be “holocaust denial” is a “Zionist historian”. I just happen to think that responding viscerally and emotionally in this case clouds your judgment about exactly what is being said.

    • Danaa
      June 24, 2011, 7:32 pm

      Tom, I’d just like to say that I fail to see bigotry where you do. Just an animated discussion. The bigotry part is in the eye of the beholder here, and personally, I think that you and some others here do not quite process that discourse for those who come from Israel is different than those carried on by Jewish people outside. Your boundaries are not quite theirs (politics aside for a second). For example, many people in Israel openly agree with Finkelstein’s “Holocaust Industry” because they know for a fact that there is one. maybe they even have a grandmother who’s a living proof of where all the compensation money went (hint: not to her….). There are scholars in Israel who research events at that time and find not every story to be true, which does not detract from the magnitude of the atrocity one bit. I have also heard lot and lots of israelis who not only admit the jews had much to do with Jesus’ demise, but relish that fact, lamenting only that the followers were left to go on…. How do you think Jews treated those they perceived to be “false messiahs” all those millenia ago? Honestly, if you see bigotry in Gilad’s words (which I don’t), don’t be tempted to engage in discussions with run of the mill Israelis or your ears will burn.

      Israelis do, of course, have their own bigotries to deal with, the chief one being that they regard palestinians and Arabs as lesser humans – a lot lesser. And goyim in general, as just less smart, and therefore a bit more expendable slice of humanity. And no, I wouldn’t lump everyone in this generalization, just enough.

      Their red lines are not yours either. They got ROR as a line in the sand. You have the sacredness of the holocaust and some mythical protocols that might be popping up any second now….if so,may be I should share with you some new protocols I just came across….

      I say – down with the red lines!

      • Tom Pessah
        June 25, 2011, 1:17 am

        I really don’t get what you’re saying. If you want to say many of the survivors aren’t benefitting from the reperations, or that historians shouldn’t rely on oral history blindly and should combine different sources, I have no argument with you and most people wouldn’t, this isn’t some kind of mythical “red line”. This is how historians already work. If you’re saying the Holocaust shouldn’t be exploited for pretty sinister political purposes, I also agree 100%. But when someone says, exactly like Ahmadinejad, we should *now* start looking at the Holocaust as a historical event, the implication is that 50 years of Holocaust scholarship by historians, and the entire body of survivors’ testimonies, don’t count at all, that until now there has been no historical scholarship of the Holocaust. The rhetorical technique here is to throw out these claims, make the provocation, and then to pretend there is some kind of alternative meaning here that only incredibly smart people can ever hope to comprehend, rather like in the Emperor’s New Clothes. So when someone quotes Wagner about how Jews are incapable of producing works of art, only “money-making music”, and then in the very next sentence mentions an “astute reading of the socio-economy of the show business”, you only see “bigotry in the eye of the beholder”, as if the second sentence apparently had no connection with the one that immediately preceded it and there is a completely different meaning here which can’t be explained in plain English to regular people. Do you really approve of that? and btw, does this “down with red lines” apply to other cases too? I argue just as passionately with Nakba deniers, but according to what you’re saying I should just relax and let them claim that everyone left voluntarily.

      • tree
        June 25, 2011, 1:53 pm

        But when someone says, exactly like Ahmadinejad, we should *now* start looking at the Holocaust as a historical event, the implication is that 50 years of Holocaust scholarship by historians, and the entire body of survivors’ testimonies, don’t count at all, that until now there has been no historical scholarship of the Holocaust.

        Your “implication” is not a rational one to the statement you cite, but an emotional one. Treating the Holocaust as a “historical event” does not at all imply that previous scholarship doesn’t count, or that there has been no scholarship up until now. It means allowing for possible questioning of the extant scholarship, and possible revision of or expansion on the ongoing scholarship. This is what happens when something is treated “as a historical event”. Ancient Rome has been widely studied but if someone sought to revise our current knowledge or question some aspect of current knowledge, they would not be treated as a pariah and a racist and told that such questions are out of bounds. The questioner would not be banned or marginalized . This is how most history is, when it is treated “as a historical event”. It does not in anyway imply that previous research doesn’t exist or doesn’t count. Again, you are not listening, you are assuming you already know what is meant and are therefore not truly hearing what you already think you “know” is being said. In Europe one can be arrested and jailed for “Holocaust denial”. This would not be the case if the Holocaust were treated simply as a “historical event”. No one gets jailed for disagreeing with the current mainstream historical beliefs about Ancient Rome, or any other piece of history.

        I would also note that I believe that one of Ahmedinejad’s purposes in hosting the convention or whatever was to point to the European hypocrisy in criticizing the Muslim anger about depictions of Mohammed while ignoring European treatment of the questioning of aspects of the Holocaust as its own blasphemy. His point, however inelegantly made, was that the Holocaust has become a “religious” narrative, complete with heretics, rather than simply “a historical event.

      • Danaa
        June 25, 2011, 3:18 pm

        Excellent response tree. That’s exactly what’s bothering me about this strange discourse about the “historicity” of the holocaust. It’s as if it’s become a sacrosanct article of faith, rather than a collection of events, if a very disturbing one.

        And I believe that’s kind of what Gilad says too. To which I’d add, that if we really do regard the holocaust as a monumental “event” in the annals of human history, all the more reason to continue the study of the many aspects that contributed to it happening and the way it unfolded.

        Calling for continuing study is just not the same as “denial”, but that’s what Tom seems to be saying.

        I think the holocaust just like the “innateness” of anti-semitism are all part of a very broad narrative arc that seeks to collect vastly varying experiences under a single umbrella, with a simple, over-arching theme. Kind of like “they just all hate the Jews, what else is there to know”? one reason for the vituperative response to Gilad may be, that he stands in challenge of the narrative, by simply daring to question some of its aspects (no matter how few or marginal). That could be perceived as extremely dangerous, because, narratives – unlike religions or ideologies – can be quite fragile.

        You gave me some good ideas I’ll pursue some more when time permits. Thanks.
        .

      • MRW
        June 25, 2011, 9:40 pm

        Good responses Tree and Danaa. I watched you on my iPad in the tub and had a great reply planned, something to do with the Civil War and its study here; there was a significant historical find within the last four weeks. Sorry, brain drained with the bath water (and an emotional phone call).

      • Danaa
        June 26, 2011, 12:37 am

        MRW, enough indulgence now – don’t you know water melts the best of intentions (and arguments)? and here we were speaking of such solid stuff – jewish identity and the like – can almost reach and touch it (assuming the floor not be too slippery….).

      • Citizen
        June 28, 2011, 8:22 am

        TP, I agree less suggestion and more direct connection might make the point better, for example, “Wagner said Jews are incapable of creating true works of art because their talent is to make lucrative pop entertainment as suggested by “there’s no business like show business,” and a critique, for example of the nature of most films that have come out of Hollywood since they became a major presence there. However, Wagner is wrong just as any blanket statement is wrong, whether it’s beneficial to some or negative to some collectively. For example, Germany never had a lock on classical music either, just as it never had a lock on feeling chosen. Nevertheless, we should all be aware of general patterns of conduct, and their justifications, wherever they may lead, and certainly this is no less so when it comes to Israel’s conduct, which is blessed and materially enabled by the only superpower in the world.”

      • Citizen
        July 1, 2011, 5:33 am

        TP, I agree with your statement that you “don’t get it.”
        Neither Hitler nor the Third Reich are stand-alone sentences, with no sentence coming before or after them.

        Any historian of depth with only the agenda of explaining and accounting for any aspect of world history with no sacred cows,
        would and will find the official narrative of the history of the Jews as written by them and indocrinated in Jewish childhood, for example, as
        Atzmon has described regarding his own childhood, and Phil has alluded to on MW, a bit thin, to say the least. Every Jewish historian who has worked tireslessly to be objective has been paid back with charges of “self-hating Jew.”

    • Woody Tanaka
      June 24, 2011, 8:55 pm

      @ Tom Pessah
      “If you can’t see very clear examples of bigotry on this thread…”

      Oh, please. Just because you’re not smart enough or educated enough or thoughtful enough to keep up, doesn’t mean that the conclusions that you’ve reached in your ignorance actually reflect reality. You don’t even understand what Atzmon is talking about, how can you pass judgment on his words?

      • Citizen
        June 28, 2011, 8:25 am

        You’re right, Woody, TP has not shown any examples of bigotry on this thread. He just makes the claim, which is just a tired addition to shooting the messenger.

  21. RobertB
    June 24, 2011, 5:45 pm

    What a remarkable individual who had the courage to speak for truth, justice & humanity. He saw the wrongs , spoke about them … and did something to prove his sincerity/integrity.

    Click on link below to watch…this must see video:
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    By Gilad Atzmon

    This is a film about the one and only Shimon Tzabar, one of the very few honest Israelis..

    I often disagreed with Shimon, however, being artists we managed to live with our differences.

    link to gilad.co.uk

    • patm
      June 25, 2011, 9:26 am

      Robert B, thanks for posting this link.

      In the video, Shimon Tzabar is said to be a satirist in the tradition of Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) who is famous for “Gulliver’s Travels” (1726) and for “A Modest Proposal” (1729) wherein he suggests that the Irish eat their own children. Swift devoted much of his writing to the struggle for Ireland against the English hegemony.

      Tzabar’s “Michelin Guide to Israeli prisons, Jails, Concentration Camps and Torture Chambers” is an example of his Swiftian proclivities.

      Gilad Atzmon was a friend and admirer of the late Shimon Tzabar. The use of “drastic” satire to highlight Israel’s outrageous treatment of Palestinians appears to have rubbed off on him. Keep at it, I say.

      • Citizen
        June 28, 2011, 8:26 am

        Thanks, patm–informative and very relevant comment.

    • MRW
      June 25, 2011, 9:41 pm

      Great video. Wonderful.

  22. Richard Witty
    June 24, 2011, 6:10 pm

    “He certainly embodies the Jewish-progressive school of thought: a unique mixture of righteousness, charming self-love, mixed together with some deep intolerance towards other people’s belief systems.”

    “It seems to me that once again, I have failed to converse with a ‘progressive Jew.’ I guess that in spite of the openness Weiss showed initially, he, like many others, cannot resolve the tension beyond the universal and the tribal.”

    Do you remember the scene in “The Passenger” (Jack Nicholson, 1974 I think) where Nicholson was interviewing a Harvard educated tribal revolutionary and the revolutionary turned the camera on to Nicholson and said “We can learn more from your questions than from my responses”?

    I actually don’t know if you regard tribalism as the reliable ground to stand on, or universalism.

    Both alone are dogmatic, ideological impositions onto clear and perceptive mind. The reality is that we exist in an ecology of associations formed by a wide variety of personal and collective history, commonalities, agendas.

    The fantasy that only a tribal, or only a universalist view, is what life is, may be described as an illness in some ways, a one-dimensional poster rather than a three+ dimensional actual body, life.

    The relevance of the question of the relationship between tribal and universal is of balance, not of one over the other.

    Hence, the ideal Israel of democratic #and# Jewish is the optimal.

    Self-governance that lives and lets live.

    • Richard Witty
      June 24, 2011, 6:11 pm

      It was refreshing to me to hear Phil speak to someone that was critical of his “tribalism” of all things, and of his identification with his parents, grandparents, etc.

    • Citizen
      June 28, 2011, 8:33 am

      Yeah, well Witty, there’s the rub; since the test of virtue is power, has Israel displayed a type of self-governance that results in live and let live?
      You mean, live and let live on a forced diet, I conclude. If you just keep pestering someone and treating them like garbage, and put their food and medicine in a cabinet to which only you have the key, I guess that meets your level of tolerance. Well, at least there’s no gas chamber in “your” kitchen–you know, the one you decided to squat in?

    • Citizen
      July 1, 2011, 5:43 am

      Witty, by definition a universal value is for everyone, a tribal value is for the tribe. The latter is a subset of the former. For example, there is honor among thieves is not the same as honor per se; it’s not a simple question of balance, but ultimately, of priority. That’s why we have the old “lifeboat” scenario for when the rubber meets the road.

  23. MHughes976
    June 24, 2011, 6:11 pm

    Most of us would like to think that we were doing something good for the whole of humanity but we do not usually identify actions that will affect everyone everywhere for the better. We hope that if we do our best for the bit of humanity to which we are close others will do the same and that as a result the sum total of our efforts will be, overall and of course with many setbacks, for the best.
    A problem arises, obviously enough, if we are involved with a group which we think is doing wrong or even going wrong intellectually. The result must be a degree of alienation. Some alienation is painless. Spinoza, having convinced himself that religious ceremonies and prayers made no sense and that our only valid relationship with God had to be ‘intellectual’, seemed happy enough to be alienated from the Jewish community and warmly welcomed among radical thinkers. Some alienation is dialectical, if I may call it that, and leads to the claim that ‘I am the authentic, you are the spurious exponents of the group tradition’ – I think Thomas Mann thought himself much more authentically German than Hitler.
    I think most Jewish opponents of Zionism must experience some alienation from Jewish life and culture, since there seems to be a massive preponderance of Zionists at the moment among those who consider themselves Jewish. They have to say, I think, either that Jewish culture has gone wrong, either recently or centuries ago, and that they are better off without it – a rather angrier form of Spinoza’s choice – or that their own task is to help reclaim Jewish culture for its own better nature.
    This has always seemed to me to be Phil’s position, campaigning for justice in the ME and engaging in a dialectic with other Jewish people whom he wishes to rescue from the inauthentic, self-betraying form of their culture which is of course a threat to their true self-interest. I don’t think this is a basically inconsistent position or self-defeating mission, though it is a very difficult one.
    There is a position less radical than Phil’s, which claims that Zionism itself, not just wider Jewish culture, has fallen into an inauthentic or debased form and can be reclaimed. I am sure that this is all vanity. I think that the reason why Zionism has never, as annie says, taken a nice form is that it is at heart and in everything a claim to special rights based on race and that claim is never nice.

    • Citizen
      July 1, 2011, 5:53 am

      Yes, annie has told us how she was reared to look at every human being as an individual, and act accordingly. And everything she says on MW displays her conviction that “no man is an island, each is part of the main.” She’s no lonely island dweller, nor is she not critical of the main. That’s a high virtue in the American and humanist traditions. Is there another country that values individualism more than the USA? At least the lip service to that approach has never stopped here. This does not mean that annie thinks Richard Speck should be allowed to self-govern.

  24. jayn0t
    June 24, 2011, 11:56 pm

    Maybe this should be a separate page, but Tom Pessah said: “Stephen Jay Gould didn’t just dismiss the discipline of biology, he went through the evidence like the serious scientist that he was and explained very carefully why it was false”. Arguing history is like biology, and using Gould as a mentor, has the opposite consequence to the one he intends. It means history can be corrupted by faux anti-racism! If the orthodox view of the Holocaust were really as bad as Gould’s ‘The Mismeasure of Man’, it would be on shaky ground. Hasn’t Pessah heard about the recent exposure of Gould’s stories about Morton’s skull studies? And that’s the tip of the iceberg.

  25. Gilad
    June 25, 2011, 3:50 am

    I think that we are getting somewhere..

    I am interested in Jewish secular tribalism. I see it as a supremacist discourse and for the matter, Zionism or Israelism are just a private cases of the above. For me the Jewish progressive discourse is as exclusive as Zionism (clearly not as violent).

    Mohamed form Gaza cannot settle in Israel for Israel is the Jewish state, but he also cannot join ‘Jews for Peace’ or ‘Jews for Justice’ in London or NYC since these groups are racially or ethnically oriented.

    The question is simple, can you engage in a universal discourse while maintaining or operating within a tribal discourse?

    • MRW
      June 25, 2011, 9:42 pm

      Is the “tribe” a Venn diagram, or just Jews?

    • Elliot
      June 26, 2011, 7:53 am

      Gila, There is a correlation between Zionism and exclusion of non-Jews in today’s activism.
      According to J Street’s Jeremy Ben-Ami not only Mohammed but no non-Jew can join the debate on Israel. I don’t know about Europe, but here in the States, Jewish life, outside of Orthodoxy, the Jewish community is all Interfaith. However, Ben-Ami asserts that, when it comes to discussing Israel, that’s for Jews only. He reflects the Zionist dogma that the State of Israel is about Jews. Therefore, in America, only Jews should be allowed to discuss its future. That is one way in which Zionist racial exclusion poisons the American Jewish community.
      As soon as you move outside the Zionist camp, you lose the exclusionary rule. Jewish Voice for Peace welcomes non-Jews. I think they would even welcome a Mohamed from Gaza.
      The question is simple, can you engage in a universal discourse while maintaining or operating within a tribal discourse?
      I am concerned about hegemony and domination masquerading as universalism. Judaism has always been a mixture of internal identity and an identity contingent on its relationship with the dominant religion – overwhelmingly, Christianity, and, until recently, Islam too. Christianity has made great strides in embracing an honest universalism, but there is still much unreflected arrogance even in mainline Protestant churches.
      What I’m saying is that you don’t need to be a tribe to be tribal and that we need to figure this stuff out together.

      • Elliot
        June 26, 2011, 8:51 am

        Of course, that was addressed to Gilad. I have no idea who Gila is either.

      • Gilad
        June 26, 2011, 10:06 am

        Hello Eliot , i address your issues bellow…
        Gilad, There is a correlation between Zionism and exclusion of non-Jews in today’s activism.
        According to J Street’s Jeremy Ben-Ami not only Mohammed but no non-Jew can join the debate on Israel.

        G: I am aware of it all. i am about to publish a book about it..

        However, Ben-Ami asserts that, when it comes to discussing Israel, that’s for Jews only. He reflects the Zionist dogma that the State of Israel is about Jews.

        G: it isn’t just Ben Ami, every form of Jewish politics is exclusive by nature.

        As soon as you move outside the Zionist camp, you lose the exclusionary rule.

        G: as you may notice the lame arguments presented here by the political Jews (Pessah, WJ etc’) are of the same nature. They argue who is kosher enough to join the lefty synagogue.

        Jewish Voice for Peace welcomes non-Jews. I think they would even welcome a Mohamed from Gaza.

        G: i hope so, but then, why would Mohamed from Gaza join a J organisation?

        The question is simple, can you engage in a universal discourse while maintaining or operating within a tribal discourse?
        I am concerned about hegemony and domination masquerading as universalism. Judaism has always been a mixture of internal identity and an identity contingent on its relationship with the dominant religion – overwhelmingly, Christianity, and, until recently, Islam too. Christianity has made great strides in embracing an honest universalism, but there is still much unreflected arrogance even in mainline Protestant churches.

        G: for sure, tribalism is a humane tendency. And by the way, Judaism copes well with tribal ethics. In fact, Torah Jews’ argument is far more coherent than progressive Jews..

        What I’m saying is that you don’t need to be a tribe to be tribal and that we need to figure this stuff out together.

        G: totally agree, also you do not ve to establish a racial continuum in order to be racist…

      • Elliot
        June 26, 2011, 10:52 am

        E: Jewish Voice for Peace welcomes non-Jews. I think they would even welcome a Mohamed from Gaza.

        G: i hope so, but then, why would Mohamed from Gaza join a J organisation?
        You can take the JVP info as fact.
        Anyway, I thought we were discussing exclusion in Jewish political life on Israel/Palestine. To pass the non-racist test a Jewish org does not need to have non-Jews on its roster. As you well know, that’s what Likud and Shas do in Israel. Fig leaves are essential if you have something to hide.

      • Gilad
        June 26, 2011, 11:18 am

        Fig leaves are essential if you have something to hide.

        G: indeed…

      • MRW
        June 26, 2011, 11:55 am

        Elliot,

        How long have I been on this board, five years? not only since inception but since Phil’s Observer days, and certainly since J Street started. Never, however, not ever, did I know this:

        Ben-Ami asserts that, when it comes to discussing Israel, that’s for Jews only. He reflects the Zionist dogma that the State of Israel is about Jews. Therefore, in America, only Jews should be allowed to discuss its future.

        Which would be dandy if American tax dollars (both direct and indirect) weren’t involved, and if our foreign policy (domestic too) and military weren’t ham-strung because of it. Because this: “That is one way in which Zionist racial exclusion poisons the American Jewish community” should be trimmed of the word “Jewish.”

        “Tribal” has such a neanderthal connotation to it. A sense of ‘we’re gonna do what we’re gonna do because we like each other and we don’t like you’.

        Too bad the word ‘Guild’ isn’t still in use, even as it was when the first copy of the Torah was parked alongside other texts at the Library of Alexandria.

        Guild implies preservation of a work or way of knowledge.

      • annie
        June 26, 2011, 12:01 pm

        MRW, there was at least one post here citing Ben-Ami stating he wouldn’t engage in debate or panel’s w/non jews wrt the conflict.

        a ridiculous position. i don’t recall anything about him saying non jews shouldn’t be allowed to discuss it, just that he’s only discussing it w/other jews. it’s an inhouse discussion as far as j street is concerned.

      • MRW
        June 26, 2011, 12:25 pm

        Annie,

        I remember that, but I thought it was a panel appearance at any 92nd St Y anywhere type of thing. I didn’t realize he thought the American Jewish community was only allowed to talk about it amongst themselves and with House, Senate, White House, and UN facilitators, of course.

      • Elliot
        June 26, 2011, 6:25 pm

        Annie and MRW –
        I was quoting from memory from the Y incident. Ben-Ami indeed did not prescribe what non-Jewish Americans could talk about although his statement about limiting the conversation within his organization is not insignificant. As Anna Baltzer reports and as we know, pro-peace Christian groups are fearful of being labeled anti-Semites. Ben-Ami’s stand would have a chilling effect on a free discussion about Israel.

        I actually brought Ben-Ami in from a different angle. How bizarre that an organization that serves non-Orthodox Jews introduces a “Jews only” clause. This is clearly not coming from any religious justification. So, it’s fair to ask: where in the world does the notion of “Jews only” have currency? Certainly not in Jewish America. Go into your average non-Orthodox synagogue, JCC, JDate or Jwhatever. Jewish America is in the middle of an historic transformation from “Jews only” to interfaith/intermarriage/half-Jews/quarter Jews/.
        But JStreet has this new anachronism which it took from somewhere else.

        And Israel, in Jewish America’s eyes is the place where it’s ok – and laudable – to be “Jewish only.” That’s why soon-to-be-procreative young Jews are sent to Israel on Birthright.
        “Israel” legitimizes this anachronism. We American Jews help ourselves to servings of this anachronism when we feel the urge. Then we go back to our healthful diet of separation of church and state, universalism, blah, blah, blah.
        In America: we fight for separation of church and state;
        In Israel: we insist on Jewish domination.
        America is for all races with dignity for all;
        Israel is primarily for the Jews; others are tolerated.
        JStreet wants to have its cake and eat it too. In so many ways.

        JBA’s exclusionary rule is instructive of what it means to be pro-Israel.

      • Citizen
        June 28, 2011, 8:59 am

        MRW, as a non-Jewish American (by birth, military conscription, and tax filings, and the fact I am vulnerable to anything done as blowback from US regime policies, and US political leaders say they are speaking for me, if nothing else) and secular humanist (by choice), I couldn’t agree with you more. I especially agree with this: “That is one way in which Zionist racial exclusion poisons the American Jewish community” should be trimmed of the word “Jewish.”

        In short, I am in the boat with the Jews whether I like it or not. I’m just glad I wasn’t in the twin towers on 9/11, or on the USS Liberty in ’67, for example. And now I’m glad that I won’t be conscripted for the latest twist on PNAC’s master plan, although I dread war with Iran.

  26. Tom Pessah
    June 26, 2011, 4:21 am

    for the record, I would like to clarify what is meant by Holocaust denial, and why Gilad Atzmon falls into that category. This is an attempt to deliberately lie about historical evidence in order to promote a specific political agenda. It is harmful and completely unscientific and unethical.
    In an essay (ironically) called “Truth, History, and Integrity: Questioning the Holocaust Religion” Atzmon writes “When I was young and naive I was also somehow convinced that what they told us about our ‘collective’ Jewish past really happened. I believed it all, the Kingdom of David, Massada, and then the Holocaust: the soap, the lampshade*, the death march, the six million. As it happened, 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 politicians… I think that 65 years after the liberation of Auschwitz, we must be entitled to start to ask the necessary questions. We should ask for some conclusive historical evidence and arguments rather than follow a religious narrative that is sustained by political pressure and laws”. link to gilad.co.uk
    Atzmon is clearly saying here that there is no “conclusive historical evidence” for the “religious narrative” of the Holocaust. This is false: we have documents where the Nazis speak of gassing devices link to holocaust-history.org , poison gas link to holocaust-history.org, eyewitnesses to the gassings link to holocaust-history.org speeches by Nazis describing the murder link to holocaust-history.org and much more. To claim as Atzmon does that so far we have no “conclusive historical evidence” is a blatant lie.

    To back up his claim, in this essay Atzmon “quotes” a Holocaust survivor, Prof. Israel Gutman, whose testimony is supposed to back up Atzmon’s question – “the Nazis ran a death factory in Auschwitz-Birkenau, why would the Jewish prisoners join them at the end of the war? Why didn’t the Jews wait for their Red liberators?”. Even if Gutman’s testimony was of escaping with the Nazis, this does not in any way invalidate any of the evidence we have, that the Nazis did indeed run a death camp in Aeschwitz, as the documents I just quoted attest to. But as it happens, you can see Gutman in this video on youtube, and at 1:21 you can hear him saying he was liberated *at this concentration camp* – instead of “joining the Nazis”. link to youtube.com According to wikipedia Auschwitz was liberated by the Red Army, apart from some prisoners who were forced to participate in Death Marches. In other words, those who were able to stay in the camp *did* wait for the Red Army to liberate them. link to en.wikipedia.org . And if you don’t like Wikipedia go read Hilberg, Kershaw or any other serious historian of the Holocaust.
    So even this piece of evidence that Atzmon supposedly quotes does not invalidate any of what we already know. And again, even if there was one testimony that didn’t cohere, it does not by itself make documents about the use of gas to kill Jews in Auschwitz suddenly go away.

    This is meant to be a progressive site, one that is dedicated to fighting racism in all its forms. Jews were systematically murdered by the Nazis, as documented by all the sources I referenced, uncovered by several decades of historical research by real historians, not jazz musicians, who have uncovered many real documents like the ones I linked to before. Denying this systematic murder of Jews and putting it in quotation marks, in order to be provocative, is something any genuine anti-racist should be speaking up against, just as you should oppose lies about other atrocities, like the Armenian Genocide or the Nakba. Anyone who fails to do that is morally bankrupt and complicit with racism.

    • Tom Pessah
      June 26, 2011, 4:30 am

      … and that includes people who only want to have a pleasant chat with this promoter of “universal discourse.” True universal discourse means standing up to racism, not chatting with the racists.

      • patm
        June 26, 2011, 6:46 am

        To come back to Phil and his interview. MHughes978 is one of the commenters I follow closely on mondo. His remarks on Phil and his remarkable MW project, I think, are worth re-reading. Here they are.

        “I think most Jewish opponents of Zionism must experience some alienation from Jewish life and culture, since there seems to be a massive preponderance of Zionists at the moment among those who consider themselves Jewish. They have to say, I think, either that Jewish culture has gone wrong, either recently or centuries ago, and that they are better off without it – a rather angrier form of Spinoza’s choice – or that their own task is to help reclaim Jewish culture for its own better nature.

        This has always seemed to me to be Phil’s position, campaigning for justice in the ME and engaging in a dialectic with other Jewish people whom he wishes to rescue from the inauthentic, self-betraying form of their culture which is of course a threat to their true self-interest. I don’t think this is a basically inconsistent position or self-defeating mission, though it is a very difficult one.

        There is a position less radical than Phil’s, which claims that Zionism itself, not just wider Jewish culture, has fallen into an inauthentic or debased form and can be reclaimed. I am sure that this is all vanity. I think that the reason why Zionism has never, as annie says, taken a nice form is that it is at heart and in everything a claim to special rights based on race and that claim is never nice.”

      • MHughes976
        June 26, 2011, 1:00 pm

        Thanks for kind words! – Martin

    • Danaa
      June 26, 2011, 11:32 am

      Tom, this whole post of yours is ridiculous. You are obviously into holocaust minutiae as some kind of a sick lithmus test of what denial is and isn’t. That is not scholarship you bring up, that is petty mud slinging – which, BTW, is also an illustrious jewish tradition – going back to biblical times. I can’t possibly understand why the number of prisoners who were or were not left at Auschwitz have anything to do with anything. Whether it’s 10 or 10,000 it was too few, and their condition was appalling. No one argues about that. Instead you are counting survivors of an event that happened over 60 years ago to run rancid accusations of racism. . If you are typical of the critics of Atzmon, I can understand why he has taken to a certain sneering at them who’d pick some bones and toss them over and over in quest of a hidden worm.

      What you are engaging in is the modern day version of trying to put someone in herem. That is exactly what the illustrious “leaders” of the Jewish community in Amsterdam did to Spinoza, and for what? I read some his writings and I still can’t understand what got the elders tied up in their knickers. Just like I can’t understand what’s gotten into you and WJ etc etc.

      I’ll repeat what I said above – I have yet to see what it is that Atzmon said that got you all aggrevated and worked up. I can see he has an attitude, and likes to poke an eye or two, but of all he said on this thread, I couldn’t find anything that was so much more out of line (attitude aside for a sec) than lots of other comments and posts we have seen on these boards.

      You, Tom are acting out of fear that the Jews are set for a fall. That’s my only explanation. And based on the kind of smear campaign and disingenuous, outright distortions you’ve engaged in here, I’d be mighty suspicious of any contributions you may make to the cause of liberating the palestinians from under the yoke of their occupiers. No wonder zionism succeeded – I can see from you the kind of despicable intimidation and character assassination that;’s been going on in the US in support of backing that inglorious enterprise in full display here.

      What you Tom, have laid open is the ugly belly of tribalism and clannishness. I see no other value in the discourse you presented. None.

      And if this is what palestinians have to count on for allies, well….hopefully they have back-ups, whose morals will trump self-interest.

      • annie
        June 26, 2011, 11:58 am

        What you are engaging in is the modern day version of trying to put someone in herem. That is exactly what the illustrious “leaders” of the Jewish community in Amsterdam did to Spinoza

        that’s my take on it, and for what? and judging phil for engaging..it’s a silly. what’s to fear?

      • Tom Pessah
        June 26, 2011, 1:09 pm

        you know, I spend a lot of time every week arguing with people put the terms human rights abuses in quotation marks (as applied to the occupation), that claim “Arab Israelis” enjoy equal rights, that no war crimes occured in Gaza, that anyone who uses the term occupation is either misinformed or antisemitic, that no one was systematically expelled in 1948 – I spend my time arguing with them because these lies are causing immense human suffering. So when someone comes along and says “the Jews killed Jesus” or “if the Nazis ran a death factory in Auschwitz-Birkenau, why would the Jewish prisoners join them at the end of the war?” in an environement that was supposed to be progressive, that would agree with me that all the preceding claims are dangerous lies, I expect someone to call out this bigotry. Instead it seems I have intruded on an intimate tea party you’re all having with Spinoza the Holocaust denier who doubts if there is “conclusive historical evidence” for the “Holocaust religion”, and published completely unfounded lies in a site like aljazeera. And all this is”silly” to you? wow.

      • annie
        June 27, 2011, 1:44 am

        And all this is”silly” to you? wow.

        no, all that is not silly to me. what i wrote about is silly to me, the part you skipped. the post wasn’t about holocaust denial it was about the issues in the interview which i think are important. you didn’t discuss them, instead you discussed atzmon’s past statements.

        so do me a favor and don’t take my words and use them out of context, ever. thanks.

        i remember when phil published wj and avi said he wasn’t going to post here anymore, ever, which is like absurd. we have nakba deniers that post here every day. every single day. so please spare us this “an environement that was supposed to be progressive” because there’s hella lot that goes on here that is far far from progressive. we even have self defined progressives who think a certain amount of ethnic cleansing is necessary. there’s a big difference between agreeing with someone and debating them or engaging them and the site policy here is we do have different voices.

        just point me to a thread here where you went apeshit (reams of posts) over nakba denial so i can put your outrage in context, by all means.

      • Citizen
        June 28, 2011, 9:36 am

        Seems pretty obvious to me, if the story is true in the first place, that those relatively handful of Jews comprising the crowd yelling to save Barrabas rather than Jesus were complicit in the death of Jesus. And the Jewish Establishment who Pilate sought to divert with that famous option (because he found Jesus harmless to Rome) offered to only the Jewish crowd asssembled there and then, were more than complicit. The Romans of course carried out the actual murder. There were different levels of established guilt in the Manson Family too, and the sentences were different. Manson himself didn’t kill the cult’s victims with his own hands; he was convicted as the “mastermind.”

      • wondering jew
        June 28, 2011, 12:04 pm

        Citizen- I responded to this above, but it deserves repetition in its place. The idea that Barabbas was dangerous to Rome and Jesus was not, is your preconception of Rome’s stupidity. There is nothing to indicate that Barabbas was anything other than a run of the mill freedom fighter, of which there were thousands if not tens of thousands. Jesus of course as a leader, rather than a follower, was in fact quite a dangerous fellow. I think Rome was astute enough to want the death of a leader rather than a death of a follower and Rome wanted Jesus dead. And they knew the crowd would vote for the popular Zealot party candidate for pardon rather than the weird preacher from Galilee. So Pilate’s innocence and the culpability of a crowd that knew and understood Barabbas’s cause and party and had no idea what Jesus was about from A to B, of course the crowds would vote for the familiar fighter rather than the weird preacher man.

      • Citizen
        June 28, 2011, 3:04 pm

        WJ, as I note in more detail on this thread, and I furnish url sources unlike you for support, there is a fertile controversy over whether or not Barabbas was a Hebrew freedom fighter, hence obviously not viewed as a “run of the mill freedom fighter” by Rome or its agents such as Pilate, or was a common criminal and murderer nobody would want to run the streets, least of all Jewish streets. Common sense rejects your view, as I discuss in another common here on this thread directed at Shmuel’s view of the matter. Nobody can undo the different conflicting translations of the biblical characterization of Barabbas.

      • wondering jew
        June 28, 2011, 4:15 pm

        Citizen- the machinations and political dynamics of the milieu of first century Jerusalem are really unknown by me. Too many people with sophisticated suspicions of all sides in an analysis of present world power politics, drop some of their sophistication and scepticism when it comes to first century Jerusalem. To assume that Rome was dumb about various dangers seems to be naive. To assume that the average Jerusalemite in the courtyard of Herod or Pilate or whomever on whatever day that voice vote took place knew anything about Jesus and was not politically interconnected with the barabbas who was a native son? so what are we talking about here condemning the people in that courtyard? isn’t that just a tendency to condemn first century jerusalemites?

      • Citizen
        June 28, 2011, 5:50 pm

        WJ, who’s condemning the people in the courtyard? Please site whatever I wrote that gives you that idea. Thanks. BTW, if you scroll up the thread you will see who brought the killing of JC into this thread. It was not I. I merely responded to some commenters by name.

      • Tom Pessah
        June 26, 2011, 12:46 pm

        Atzmon wrote “if the Nazis ran a death factory in Auschwitz-Birkenau, why would the Jewish prisoners join them at the end of the war?” – he is attempting to disprove the existence of death factories in Auschwitz. This to you is “holocaust minutiae”??

        I am providing counter-evidence to the lies he spread on a popular site like al-Jazeera, which could end up convincing people that there is no “conclusive historical evidence” for the “religious narrative” of the Holocaust. And this you call “petty mud slinging”? How low can you go? is the existence of death camps, or the putting the idea that the Nazis killed Jews in doubt (“”even Zionist historians agree that there was no master plan to ‘kill’ the Jews ” – notice the quotation marks around the word kill, as if that is something we need to distance ourselves from) – is all this some kind of esoteric hobby of mine that is wasting your time? and Holocaust deniers are like Spinoza? what the hell is wrong with you people? and you can be sure I’m just as much a thorn in the side of Nakba deniers or any other deniers. History matters.

      • tree
        June 26, 2011, 1:34 pm

        “”even Zionist historians agree that there was no master plan to ‘kill’ the Jews ”

        This is the second time that you have clipped Atzmon’s quote, so I am going to infer that you do so purposely. Its dishonest. The full quote is “Yet, even Zionist historians agree that there was no master plan to ‘kill’ the Jews at least not until 1942 (and some historian would argue that not even then).

        What Atzmon said is in fact the truth as far as the “master plan” goes. But you jump ahead and apparently believe that Atzmon is saying that Nazis didn’t kill Jews because he states the historical record, as it is understood today about the existence of a Nazi “master plan”. This is why what you are doing is NOT clarifying the record, but demanding an adherence to a “religious belief” in the Holocaust that does not allow for any revision. It must be accepted as a whole or else it is seen as a rejection of every element of the whole. That is not historical inquiry, that is religious dogma. Atzmon is doubting an aspect of the narrative and doubting or even questioning this aspect makes him a heretic who should be shunned.

      • Gilad
        June 26, 2011, 2:13 pm

        Hi Tree, I gave up on Passah. It is a lost case. I ve seen it before many times-a deceitful operation..

        I just wonder, if i am as bad as they want me to be, why do they have to break my words into segments?
        This thread reminds what I am up against. I am lucky to have 2 days off to follow it up.

      • Tom Pessah
        June 26, 2011, 2:45 pm

        a) explain to me why he is putting the word kill in quotation marks.
        b) most historians do agree there was a master plan around 1942.
        c) regardless of the master plan, mass murder of ostjuden began in 1941, another reason not to put the word kill in quotation marks.
        d) in another place he begins asking “If, for instance, the Nazis wanted the Jews out of their Reich (Judenrein – free of Jews), or even dead, as the Zionist narrative insists… ” link to aljazeerah.info – so the quotation marks aren’t a mistake – he trying to contest the fact the fact that the Nazis wanted the Jews dead. Can you at least admit that?
        e) “That is not historical inquiry, that is religious dogma. Atzmon is doubting an aspect of the narrative ” if you want to doubt that the Nazis wanted the Jews dead, simply refute the evidence that we have. If we have Himmler’s Posnen speech (“we had the duty to our people to do it, to kill this people” – link to holocaust-history.org) then prove that this speech didn’t take place. This is how historians work – they take the evidence and argue over it. Atzmon isn’t arguing with a specific historian, or challenging a specific document, and yet he is still saying that “65 years after the liberation of Auschwitz, we must be entitled to start to ask the necessary questions. We should ask for some conclusive historical evidence” as if that evidence doesn’t already exist – for example, link to holocaust-history.org. So on the one hand we have real researchers who have conducted research and found proof (as well as survivors), and onthe other hand we have people like Atzmon who have conducted no research but spread false information about how surviors of Auschwitz didn’t wait for the Red Army to liberate them. This isn’t some kind of scientific enveavour, this is completely baseless lying. I don’t see how sticking to what we already know from historical research is “dogma”. What is the alternative? claiming that WWII never happened? is that also an audacious challenging of some kind of orthodoxy?

      • Tom Pessah
        June 26, 2011, 3:27 pm

        if he were simply restating the fact that most historians think that there was no master plan until 1942, he isn’t “doubting an aspect of the narrative” but the opposite – accepting it. The point I was trying to emphasize was the quotation mark around the word kill, not the 1942 or 1944 date – that’s the denial part. What he is doubting is the Nazis’ intention to kill Jews (“If, for instance, the Nazis wanted the Jews out of their Reich (Judenrein – free of Jews), or even dead…”) and the function of Auschwitz as a death camp (“if the Nazis ran a death factory in Auschwitz-Birkenau, why would the Jewish prisoners join them at the end of the war?”). (I’ve provided the links to those two quotes several times, below)

      • tree
        June 26, 2011, 7:40 pm

        if he were simply restating the fact that most historians think that there was no master plan until 1942, he isn’t “doubting an aspect of the narrative” but the opposite – accepting it.

        And yet that is the very phrase you have used over and over again to insist that he is a Holocaust denier. Do you see how nonsensical that is on your part?

        Here is the relevant back and forth as I see it: (parts not relevant to this particular aspect are eliminated by me)

        TP: (Quoting Atzmon to begin)”If, for instance, the Nazis wanted the Jews out of their Reich (Judenrein – free of Jews), or even dead, as the Zionist narrative insists, how come they marched hundreds of thousands of them back into the Reich at the end of the war? ” link to atlanticfreepress.com


        in my reading he is distancing himself from the “Zionist” claim that the Nazis wanted the Jews out of the Reich (so there were no trainloads to concentration camps, apparently), or “even” dead (perish the thought- the Nazis wanting the Jews “even” dead? how crazy is that – accusing good old Hitler of wanting to kill Jews!).

        GA:Tom, in case you do not know, even the most radical Zionist Shoa scholars admit that there was no Nazi plan to murder the Jews until 1942 (Wannsee Conference).

        As tragic as it may be for some, it is pretty impossible to settle the ‘Judenrein’ narrative with a ‘death march’ in a single historical coherent reading of the war. If the Nazis wanted the Jews out, why did they schlep them back at the end of the war. It is far from being clear why a defeated army is engaged in such a project.

        TP: >>If the Nazis wanted the Jews out, why did they schlep them back at the end of the war.>> could you just explain in plain English whether or not you agree that Nazis shipped Jews out of Germany to concentration camps in Poland to be exterminated. Just say “yes” or “no,” it’s a pretty simple question.

        GA:Nazis schleped Jews out of Europe because they clearly wanted to live in a Jew free Zone. Yet, even Zionist historians agree that there was no master plan to ‘kill’ the Jews at least not until 1942 (and some historian would argue that not even then)..as late as 1944 Nazis negotiated with Zionist bodies a safe exist(sic) for Hungarian Jews (read about the Kastner Affair).

        And from here you go on to rant about how Atzmon is a Holocaust denier because he restated the historical consensus on a “master plan” and because in the last instance he used the word “kill” in quotation marks, even though in his earlier statement he used the stronger word “murder” but did not utilize any quotation marks. You are clearly not listening to what he is saying. You are deducing secret meanings and attitudes that fit your imagination and nothing else.

        I don’t see how sticking to what we already know from historical research is “dogma”. What is the alternative? claiming that WWII never happened? is that also an audacious challenging of some kind of orthodoxy?

        This is another perfect example how in your case you are treating the narrative as dogma. Apparently to your mind the only alternative to accepting without any question or clarification the narrative in whole is to claim that WWII never happened. If one element of the narrative is questioned, then one must be questioning all of it. Again, that is dogma on your part, not historical research.

      • jon s
        June 26, 2011, 11:57 pm

        And Atzmon claims that Jews joined the death marches voluntarily. That’s sick.

      • Gilad
        June 27, 2011, 1:54 am

        Jon S
        Do your homework, It is not Atzmon but Israel Gutman, the most credible Israeli Shoa Scholar at the time, who tells the tale of the death march.

        link to gilad.co.uk

        “One of my friends and relatives in the camp came to me on the night of the evacuation and offered a common hiding place somewhere on the way from the camp to the factory. …The intention was to leave the camp with one of the convoys and to escape near the gate, using the darkness we thought to go a little far from the camp. The temptation was very strong. And yet, after I considered it all I THEN DECIDED TO JOIN (the march) with all the other inmates and to share their fate ” (Israel Gutman [editor], People and Ashes: Book Auschwitz – Birkenau, Merhavia 1957).

      • Citizen
        June 28, 2011, 9:39 am

        You’re right tree. Atzmon’s full quote re the master plan is based on all evidence made available up to the present.

    • tree
      June 27, 2011, 4:35 pm

      But as it happens, you can see Gutman in this video on youtube, and at 1:21 you can hear him saying he was liberated *at this concentration camp* – instead of “joining the Nazis”.

      Not to belabor the point, but again, this is an instance of you hearing what you want to hear instead of truly listening. On the You-tube video you linked (which was, BTW, the same one that GA linked), Gutman does NOT say he was liberated *at this concentration camp*(why the asterisks by the way?). His exact words are “I was liberated on the 5th of May, 1945″. That’s three days before V-E day, and over 3 months AFTER the liberation of Auschwitz (January 27. 1945) by the Red Army. So he most obviously was not liberated from Auschwitz although we was there earlier by his own testimony, so Atzmon did not lie about him. I don’t think you did intentionally either. Again, this incorrect statement of yours is another example of your treatment of the Holocaust as religious dogma that one cannot question. If you were merely interested in the truth of Atzmon’s statement about Gutman you would not have jumped to a conclusion that the you-tube video proved him a liar when in fact the video clearly corroborated what he said.

      • Gilad
        June 27, 2011, 5:33 pm

        Tx so much tree, I am afraid the we are dealing here with a bunch of jokers. I think that they don’t even know the Zionist H narrative which they blindly defend. It is really sad..I expect much more intellectual enthusiasm from so called ‘progressives’ …

    • Citizen
      June 28, 2011, 9:22 am

      TP, does “what we already know” still include Nazis making lampshades out of Jewish skin, and soap out of Jewish ashes? Sometimes it takes awhile for things to settle down before the truth is really spoken or heard–is it really such a good thing to over sell anything? Isn’t such an approach often enough counter-productive? For example, if Else Koch really didn’t make those lampshades, doesn’t this unfairly cast doubt by association on the fact that the Nazis did take the gold teeth from the Jewish (and other) corpses at the camps? And if, for just one more example, there really was no gassing of live Jews at Buchenwald, or tossing them screaming in ovens, does it really help in the long run to say so?

  27. Philip Weiss
    June 26, 2011, 9:30 am

    A lot of people have faulted me for even engaging Gilad Atzmon because he has gone in for Ahmadinejad like questioning of the Holocaust. First off, I didnt know he does that and I find that kind of questioning repulsive. I’ve always blasted Ahmadinejad for the sneaky-clever character of his questioning…
    But back to engaging Atzmon. Look, I know Atzmon has a questionable reputation visavis Jewish life. He seems to reduce it all to Tribal consciousness and dismiss it on that basis. Which I generally find stupid and reductive and anti-Jewish. Israel Shahak did some of this in his books and I find that pretty interesting, finding the intolerant elements of the Jewish religion. But back to Atzmon…. He came thru New York a few weeks ago and a friend of his kept reaching out to me to talk to him. Apparently he was talking to a lot of Jewish non-Zionists. Great. And I didn’t mind talking to him. We had an interesting conversation, though I had to stop him lecturing me so I could get a word in edgewise.
    Then Atzmon sent me some emails and engaged me on Jewish identity issues. I found his questions interesting, and my responses interesting. Our exchange was not very friendly. He accused me of having no respect for my own words, that kind of thing. And like I say, I think he is reductive and simpleminded. But: This is a website about ideas. I posted the exchange. Atzmon certainly deserves credit for eliciting the responses from me, and the whole question of Tribalism interests me. I think most people are at some level tribal. I don’t see this as entirely negative, it just is, and I don’t single Jews out as the only exhibitors of this tendency. That’s why I posted our exchange. I’d do it again for the same reason, it’s interesting and the ideas are important.
    I dont truck with Atzmon’s other ideas, but then there are a lot of stupid ideas I don’t truck with even if I cite their authors from time to time…

    • Shmuel
      June 26, 2011, 10:13 am

      Phil,

      As much as I appreciate some of the questions Atzmon asks, and the need for catalysts to chuck us out of our respective comfort zones, I think you made a mistake. Atzmon is a distraction and a discredit. You need him here like you need a hole in the head.

      • Gilad
        June 26, 2011, 10:40 am

        Shmuel, by saying that, all you do is really discrediting yourself.

        and to the point, hole in the head, may be not such a bad idea if you can manage to install there a eye that looks inside…

      • Danaa
        June 26, 2011, 12:10 pm

        Why do you say that Shmuel? I find the discussions on this thread really illuminating, not always intentionally. It is not possible to call Gilad a discredit and not see that what Tom Pessah is engaging in is the worst of vitriolic tribal lashing out.

        I’d go as far as to say that seeing some of what Tom and max Ajl stooped to saying, it’s the jewish equivalent of an attempted honor killing. This must have been what went on in Spinoza’s time, and I find the commentary by the likes of these two (add WJ to the list but I had him on it already) to epitomize everything that brought disrespect and criticism to Jews and Judaism over the centuries. May be this is the kind of thing that caused Paul to dissociate from Jew-centered-Judaism back in the day and go off to found a new religion? one bout of petty mud slinging and character assassination too many?

        The traits I find most common among the critics of Gilad are arrogance and serious navel gazing (ie, self-indulgence). To which he no doubt responds in kind. Not that I am not guilty of ame sometimes, But at least it’s acknowledged.

        On behalf of the many non-Jews who’ve been witnessing this racuous and rather unpleasant tribal in-fighting (and yes, Gilad is still tribal – otherwise why would he care so much of what some jews say?), I’ll venture to say it has been a teachable moment. If they felt somewhat exluded from this talk of holocaust counting -of-the-remaining-prisoners and the who-really-killed christ board game, well, who’s to blame them.

        For palestinians who may be reading this, an apology is awed, IMO. While the Tom Pessah’s of this world are busy knocking down a Gilad (could have been a Finkelstein too) over something he may or may not have said or meant about things that happened over 60 or 2000 years ago, the palestinians are shouldering an unimaginably oppressive burden of persecution administered by today’s Jewish Cossacks – the very decendents of those victims on whose behalf we see such wrath.

      • Shmuel
        June 26, 2011, 12:32 pm

        Danaa,

        I find this discussion to be far more about Gilad Atzmon than about anything else – inevitable, in a forum such as this, because Atzmon is a highly controversial figure, even (especially!) in anti-Zionist circles. This alone would have been reason enough to think twice about giving him a platform.

        Tom and Max have tried to pin down the objectionable things he has written and said (with some help from Gilad himself). These quotes are necessarily out of context and easily explained away as “provocations” or “metaphors” – even when the author himself says that he did not mean them as such. Gilad is not simply a victim of those nasty, tribalist, “red” Jews. His reputation is well deserved, and I should think we all have better things to do than digging around in Gilad Atzmon’s attic in search of damning quotes, thoroughly researched and meticulously in context.

        I agree wholeheartedly that this entire thread warrants an apology to Palestinian readers.

      • tree
        June 26, 2011, 1:17 pm

        Shmuel,

        I find this discussion to be far more about Gilad Atzmon than about anything else – inevitable, in a forum such as this, because Atzmon is a highly controversial figure, even (especially!) in anti-Zionist circles. This alone would have been reason enough to think twice about giving him a platform.

        To my mind, if we use that kind of logic we have just let the gatekeepers determine what is and isn’t allowed to be discussed and who is and isn’t allowed to be heard. A bad precedent to set.

        Tom and Max have tried to pin down the objectionable things he has written and said (with some help from Gilad himself).

        Tom diverted the discussion, bringing up things said outside of Phil’s post, and it was primarily his continued diversions that sidetracked the discussion. There are plenty of people I think are important to hear from on issues, and probably quite a few of them I disagree with on some other basic issue but still find their input and thought helpful and stimulating. I don’t appreciate being told I can’t converse with someone because someone else thinks they don’t pass a litmus test, and that was essentially what Tom was doing, while he was misunderstanding what was said and, as Dana said, putting Gilad in herem. Putting someone in herem for failure to toe the mainstream line has a sufficient history of stiffling real necessary and important criticism of Israel’s actions that its use in this instance makes me uncomfortable. And frankly I don’t like the concept or practice no matter how unsavory the victim may or may not be.

        I agree wholeheartedly that this entire thread warrants an apology to Palestinian readers.

        There are a great number of posts that have little to say of direct relevance to Palestinian readers, except as a discussion of Jewish thought. That’s part of Phil’s makeup and his interest and so its a part of his blog. I don’t think that this post is any different than those others that delve into the subject.

        Danaa,

        I’d go as far as to say that seeing some of what Tom and max Ajl stooped to saying, it’s the jewish equivalent of an attempted honor killing.

        An interesting comparison.

      • Gilad
        June 26, 2011, 1:54 pm

        Shmuel, I am sorry to disappoint you. The only people in this movement who fight me are the so called ‘progressive’ Jews (people who are engaged in your game i.e. gatekeeping) . I am published on most Pls media outlets. I am published on most dissident outlets.

        And yes, you are welcome to apologize your Palestinian readers for being a gatekeeper. I suggest that you read Nahida’s piece
        link to uprootedpalestinians.blogspot.com

        By the way, I do not know who you are, but i didn’t see many Shmuels published on any Palestinian site recently..

      • Shmuel
        June 26, 2011, 2:17 pm

        tree,

        I don’t see this as “gatekeeping”. Comments are moderated here, and the views expressed in the posts are at the discretion of the blog owners. There are people and views they keep out for all sorts of reasons, and I’m sure there are people you too would not like to see up there above the line. And I say this as someone who owes a great deal to a particularly odious character who forced me to think critically. Anyone who would like to read Atzmon is free to do so at other sites. I don’t think his voice is appropriate for this particular site, and judging by Phil’s comment above, I’m not alone. Are all the people Phil and Adam keep out in “herem”?

      • Gilad
        June 26, 2011, 3:56 pm

        Danna, I believe that the exposure of the problematic nature that is inherent to Jewish progressive discourse is very relevant to the Palestinian solidarity discourse.

        What we see here is just another attempt of a few pretty much anonymous Jews to say what is right for Pls and who is kosher…

        I suggest that you look at this piece by Nahida The Exile Palestinian
        link to uprootedpalestinians.blogspot.com

        Nahida, says it in plain words. We want Jews in this movement but we don’t want them to tell us who to drop and who to love…I couldn’t agree more..

        The same old story, whether it is Shmuel, Pessah, Wondering Jew. it is always a tribal courts introducing different measures if exclusions and excommunications.

        You may be right Danna, I may as well be part of the tribe (I hope i am not). I indeed write about it a lot and just about to publish an extensive book on the topic. However, I believe that I am one of the only persons on this planet who survived (so far) the kosher assault. I talk about it & I write about it. The progressive Jews together with Zionists (as we see here) are desperate to stop me but I somehow manage to keep going and spread the message , a lot thanks to many humanists who support me and join me in this struggle for a single moment of truth.

      • Gilad
        June 26, 2011, 6:34 pm

        Shmuel, I am here because this thread discusses an interview I published. I’ve never been here before and do not have any plans to intervene with your discussions.

        However, considering the fact that very many Pls, Arab and Muslim outlets publish my writing on a daily basis and bearing in mind that this site is dedicated to the ‘war of ideas in the Middle East’ how do you justify your call for excommunication?

        Until now, some people here agreed with me, and a few of the ‘progressive’ Jews tried to silence me,.. but as usual, not a single person here dared debating me. I had been labeled here as a ‘H denier’, ‘a racist’, ‘an idiot’ but not a single argument to justify any of these labels was presented.

        Isn’t it slightly sad or even pathetic?

      • tree
        June 26, 2011, 6:55 pm

        Adam and Phil have a right to include or exclude whomever they want and you also have a right to your opinion about who should be allowed to comment here.

        My objection is to the tactics of Tom, who has decided that he can divert the topic at hand and call names and misquote and so demand that Atzmon not be given a voice here, or anywhere it seems if Tom had his choice. Excuse me if I am wrong but I do not recall him going after any of our resident bigots and demanding that they be allowed to comment here, so it surely isn’t a bigotry issue. That is what I am talking about when I refer to trying to put someone in herem.

        Your point seemed to me to be that since it was inevitable that someone would use Tom’s tactic’s or something similar in an attempt to have Atzmon ostracized and/or banned , therefore Phil should not have let Atzmon comment here. My point is that such a strategy is in effect allowing outside “gatekeepers”such as Tom to determine who should be allowed to comment, thus essentially taking the decision away from Adam and Phil and giving it over to someone else. And isn’t that one aspect of what this blog is fighting against?

        Unless of course we are just talking past each other today. Clear communication does seem to be my strong suit today.

      • Shmuel
        June 27, 2011, 2:36 am

        tree,

        Clear communication doesn’t seem to be my strong suit today (yesterday, by now) either.

        I have no problem with Gilad commenting here, in keeping with the rules applied by the moderators to all commenters. What I object to is allowing Atzmon to post “above the line” (and this post is, for all intents and purposes, a post by Gilad). I don’t believe Gilad’s posting here is good for the site – both because I and others find some of his ideas objectionable to the point of being at odds with the ethos of the site (and yes, Phil and Adam do try to keep out objectionable ideas and those who express them), and because any post by him will necessarily turn into a slippery and futile discussion about him. It may be worth risking the latter for some posters, but Atzmon is not one of them.

      • Citizen
        June 28, 2011, 9:49 am

        I disagree; I bet any Palestinian readers find this thread a window in what makes their oppression tick with such righteousness–they will surely see with utmost clarity that their plight, continuing each day, actually is motivated by justifications they had no part in, and this should make them even more fervent to end said oppression. And it should motivate those who sympathize/empathize with the Palestinians too, and ditto for non-Jewish and Jewish Americans who are forced to pay for their own horrible reputation in the ME.

      • Avi_
        July 1, 2011, 6:41 am

        Shmuel June 26, 2011 at 10:13 am

        Phil,

        As much as I appreciate some of the questions Atzmon asks, and the need for catalysts to chuck us out of our respective comfort zones, I think you made a mistake. Atzmon is a distraction and a discredit. You need him here like you need a hole in the head.

        I have yet to see those — especially those who have jumped Gilad’s bones on this thread — use the same passion, fervor and aggressiveness against those who in the past have denied the Nakbah taking place, denied the extent of suffering and oppression Palestinians have been facing.

        If we were all honest with ourselves, I think we would come to the conclusion that tribalism is alive and well within the Jewish community. And that is a statement that I make independent of Gilad Atzmon’s statements.

        I also find it disappointing that Phil wrote up-thread that he intends to censor some “Holocaust denial” (direct quote) comments after the fact, when the same has not applied to the Other side, re: Palestinians.

        In fact, if Phil finds Atzmon’s comments to be objectionable (re: the Holocaust), and if Phil truly treated Jews and Palestinians and their narratives equally, he would have banned richard witty, eee and a slew of other Zionists on this website a long time ago.

        I also noted that you agreed with Evildoer’s comment. Whatever. But, let me remind you that he is the same poster who a few months ago threw a hissy-fit and called me “contemptible” when I put him on the spot for denying the existence of a formidable Israel Lobby in the US.

        Certainly, there are alliances, so to speak, on this website with which I disagree, groupings that constantly remind me of the inability of tribe members to look within, however progressive they may consider themselves.

      • Citizen
        July 1, 2011, 7:00 am

        Thanks, Avi
        I, for one, agree with your observations.

      • Shmuel
        July 1, 2011, 7:10 am

        Avi_,

        1) I have not denied the existence of tribalism among Jews, nor have any of the “opposition” on this thread.
        2) There is a distinction between above-the-line and below-the-line posts/comments, and the moderators have stated that offensive comments in all directions have been censored, and commenters banned. I don’t know where you got the idea that the moderation is one-sided, unless you have actually seen and analysed the deleted comments.
        3) I agreed with the part of Evildoer’s comment I cited, no more, no less – past hissy-fits notwithstanding.
        4) If by alliances you mean that certain posters tend to agree with each other, that’s natural and obvious. As for your sweeping comment regarding the abilities or inabilities of “tribe members”, you haven’t got a clue.

      • Avi_
        July 1, 2011, 7:24 am

        Shmuel July 1, 2011 at 7:10 am

        1) I have not denied the existence of tribalism among Jews, nor have any of the “opposition” on this thread.

        I never wrote that you denied the existence of tribalism. I just find it instructive that the Holocaust brings out such raw emotions in some people when other topics do not, when in my view, other topics should. That’s my point.

        2) There is a distinction between above-the-line and below-the-line posts/comments, and the moderators have stated that offensive comments in all directions have been censored, and commenters banned. I don’t know where you got the idea that the moderation is one-sided, unless you have actually seen and analysed the deleted comments.

        My comparison was very clear and simple, Holocaust denial vs. Nakbah denial. If the two were treated the same, then Phil would have posted that he was going to delete Nakbah denial comments. I don’t recall him ever stating so.

        3) I agreed with the part of Evildoer’s comment I cited, no more, no less – past hissy-fits notwithstanding.

        I’m not sure to which part you are referring as I did not see a citation of his comment within your response to him. Did I miss it?

        4) If by alliances you mean that certain posters tend to agree with each other, that’s natural and obvious.

        I was actually referring to alliances along lines of discourse, what is tolerated and the degrees of tolerance to certain subjects. See response to point #1 and #2 above.

        As for your sweeping comment regarding the abilities or inabilities of “tribe members”, you haven’t got a clue.

        Eh?

        And why such hostility?

      • Shmuel
        July 1, 2011, 8:02 am

        And why such hostility?

        Why such generalisation and condescension?

      • Avi_
        July 1, 2011, 8:20 am

        Shmuel,

        I think you are reading too much into what I wrote. I had no intention of coming across the way you perceive it. I’ll choose my words more carefully next time. Or, I’ll just stay out of the discussion, entirely.

      • Citizen
        July 1, 2011, 9:25 am

        Shmuel, you are the one that initiated the generalization as you did not cite any specific part of Evildoer’s comment you were agreeing with, did you? I don’t recall that you did; it was just a general agreement with Evildoer’s comment, wasn’t it? I don’t have time right now to check. Also, it appears to me you are the one condesending.

      • Shmuel
        July 1, 2011, 9:40 am

        you did not cite any specific part of Evildoer’s comment you were agreeing with, did you? I don’t recall that you did; it was just a general agreement with Evildoer’s comment, wasn’t it? I don’t have time right now to check.

        Shmuel June 28, 2011 at 3:03 pm
        … What’s unreasoned about the idea of bad-boy behaviour, playing innocent, and taboo-breaking for its own sake? Sounds like a pretty reasoned argument to me.

        Shmuel June 28, 2011 at 5:53 pm
        Thanks for answering, tree. I didn’t say that all of Evildoer’s response was reasoned, just the bit I quoted (which is what I thanked him for). The rest was not particularly to my taste.

        Also, it appears to me you are the one condesending.

        A distinct possibility, but doesn’t “groupings that constantly remind me of the inability of tribe members to look within, however progressive they may consider themselves” strike you as just a wee bit supercilious?

      • Citizen
        July 1, 2011, 9:55 am

        Shmuel, what’s unreasoned about the idea of shooting the messenger, playing innocent, and strengthening the taboo that has so many evil consequences?

      • Citizen
        July 1, 2011, 10:03 am

        Further, whether or not a finding that a group positing a particular POV or argument is unable to demonstrate the ability to look within is supercilious depends not on the finder’s innate superior self-image, but on the evidence left behind (in this case, words) by that targeted group, yes or no?

      • Shmuel
        July 1, 2011, 10:10 am

        Shmuel, what’s unreasoned about the idea of shooting the messenger, playing innocent, and strengthening the taboo that has so many evil consequences?

        Nothing. What is unreasoned is to suggest that that is what I, or Max, or Tom, or Donald, or Evildoer have done. What is also unreasoned is to suggest that the positions we have taken here or elsewhere are merely a matter of self-interest or tribal loyalty (sorry Donald, looks like you’ve been made an honorary member) – “however progressive we may consider ourselves”.

      • Shmuel
        July 1, 2011, 10:18 am

        … depends not on the finder’s innate superior self-image, but on the evidence left behind (in this case, words) by that targeted group, yes or no?

        I see no such evidence here – especially when taken in the context of other things we “group members” have all written, and the blanket condemnation of all self-identifying (secular) Jewish anti-Zionists as self-interested tribalists, no different from our Zionist or neocon coreligionists.

      • Citizen
        July 1, 2011, 10:36 am

        So, Shmuel, nobody has shot the messenger here, you know, Atzmon? And nobody shot his supporters here?
        Reasonable minds can disagree, and have disagreed here, on that, yes or no?

        Nobody here has taken the position that what you, Max, or Tom, or Donald, or Evildoer has said the positions you respectively have taken
        is “merely a matter of self-interest or tribal loyalty,” in my opinion. They’ve merely expressed or implied that such is a factor in said position, yes or no?

        All those opposing here, and hence supporting allowance of Atzmon’s two cents (at least) on this web site, think he has something relevant to say, certainly as much if not more than those who regularly appear here and deny the Nakba and/or strive to diminish its significance as to
        the aggregate of motivations for the I-P sitation, and the US regime’s situational involvement therein. In short, if Atzmon should not be allowed here to have his say about the war of ideas pertaining to the Middle East, why on G-D’s greenish brown earth should Witty still be allowed here, let alone some of his less intentionally abstract deniers and diminishers?

      • Shmuel
        July 1, 2011, 10:47 am

        Citizen,
        Let me know when Witty has been allowed to publish a post (straight essay or “interview”) above the line . I’ll be the first to tell Phil he’s lost his mind.

      • Avi_
        July 1, 2011, 10:47 am

        Shmuel, the quotes you cited above in your response to Citizen were comments you made after Danaa rightfully wrote that Evildoer‘s comment was a temper tantrum. In your first response to Evildoer you simply wrote:

        Shmuel June 28, 2011 at 8:45 am

        Thanks, Evildoer.

        Also, note the defensive tone of your comment to Danaa when you concluded with:

        But don’t mind me. I’m just another red Jew looking out for my self-interest.

        It seems to me whatever perceived condescension you found in my comment wasn’t coincidental. Why so defensive? I was not putting a gun to your head, nor was I accusing you of having ulterior motives. All I wrote, which is plain to see for anyone who cares to read it, is that I wish people like Max Ajl, or Phil or you, responded to Nakbah deniers with the same assertiveness and fervor that you have used in responding to a person — in this case Atzmon — whom you consider to be a Holocaust denier. What exactly am I supposed to conclude when I see that none of you have yet to express such raw emotion regarding Jewish treatment of Palestinians? That’s my point.

        If you don’t want to have this discussion then don’t. I have no interest in this entire debate other than to point out what I view as a certain duality or double standard. For months I was made out to be the resident jerk while everyone else was calmly and polity responding to Nakbah deniers. Suddenly, calm responses are not a standard anymore, and many of the regulars on this website including Phil have no problem denouncing those they consider to be Holocaust deniers with such decisiveness. Now, why is that? Did Gilad Atzmon hit too close to home? Is that it?

        Take from this whatever you want.

      • Max Ajl
        July 1, 2011, 11:00 am

        I was not planning on returning to this thread. I think plenty of people have shown their true colors, which is helpful. it’s good to know who has identified themselves as obstacles on the route to a movement that can make social change, and who can or cannot identify saboteurs. also sad.

        But two points. One, Avi: here is your exchange with evildoer where he used the word “contemptible”: link to mondoweiss.net

        not quite what you say he said, by a long shot.

        two, I have not responded to Gilad, and I did not call him a Holocaust denier. so again you put words in other people’s mouths. this is not cool. what I said was that his defenders here revealed themselves as having no moral and intellectual standards, a claim I put my name next to and stand by, and claim once again that it is their problem. however, i screwed up in saying that it’s not my problem. it is my problem, because the lack of serious moral and intellectual standards in a serious political movement is all of our problem. you are correct that there’s a double standard for Atzmon and Zionist Nakba deniers. some of the groupies here seem to think Atzmon is our ally, while it is clear that Zionist Nakba deniers are our enemy. as are saboteurs. of which Gilad is one, whether in effect or in intent. take from that what you wish.

      • Citizen
        July 1, 2011, 11:01 am

        I see no evidence Atzmon is an anti-semite, nor that his defenders here are anti-semites, especially when what Atzmon and his defenders here are take in the context of all they’ve written.

        And I see no evidence of any blanket condemnation such as you describe.
        I do see a conflict wrt what it means to be a Jew, or a humanist, tribalist or universalists. If they were the same they’d be the same word. And Phil and Dick Witty and Atzmon would all always be on the same page in their take on events past and present.

        And America and Israel would be the same in terms of interests, as American leaders with power always say they are?

      • Shmuel
        July 1, 2011, 11:10 am

        Avi,

        Citizen wrote that I had not specified which part of Evildoer’s remark I agree with. I had – in a subsequent comment.

        I have not responded with any kind of fervor or assertiveness “to a person — in this case Atzmon — whom you consider to be a Holocaust denier”, for the simple reason that I have not mentioned Holocaust denial in any of my comments on this thread. My remark about being a “red Jew” was sarcastic, referring to Atzmon’s remark that “red Jews” are his “bitterest enemies”. As for what I have and have not expressed with regard to the Palestinians, everyone is free to go to my comment page and judge for themselves. Your musings regarding my motives and standards are of little interest to me.

      • Avi_
        July 1, 2011, 11:15 am

        Shmuel July 1, 2011 at 10:47 am

        Citizen,
        Let me know when Witty has been allowed to publish a post (straight essay or “interview”) above the line . I’ll be the first to tell Phil he’s lost his mind.

        Is wondering jew’s rhetoric any different?

        Your response to my objecting to Phil’s giving him a platform was, “Perhaps Phil was wrong,” albeit you wrote that in Hebrew. But, that was it.

        And despite my objections and those of others, Phil went on to give him a platform. He did so, most likely, because he thought it was a good way to provoke debate. But, as it turned out, it wasn’t.

        Meanwhile, James North is walking around pretending to be the arbiter of polite and calm discourse. If this thread illustrates anything, it is that when a certain subject hits too close to home, all polite and calm responses go out the window and most resort to emotional tantrums.

        Perhaps then, we’ll see if he is able to maintain his tranquil disposition instead of

        throwing around words like “fascist” or using street-corner profanity instead of presenting the facts, thereby poisoning the atmosphere and causing the visitors to leave in disgust.

        link to mondoweiss.net

      • annie
        July 1, 2011, 11:32 am

        max ajl,

        what I said was that his defenders here revealed themselves as having no moral and intellectual standards, a claim I put my name next to and stand by, and claim once again that it is their problem.

        actually that was said in a comment made directly to me. you said i had no moral and intellectual standards, you did not direct that to others unless i missed some of your comments.

        furthermore i have not defended anyone in this thread but myself.

        as i have said previously we dialogue every single day w/people whose morals we question. i do not think shunning people is a way forward. this is modus operandi for the US/IS govs wrt hamas.

      • Avi_
        July 1, 2011, 11:34 am

        two, I have not responded to Gilad, and I did not call him a Holocaust denier. so again you put words in other people’s mouths. this is not cool.

        You’re playing a childish game of semantics. You know what I meant and I know what you meant when you called Atzmon a village idiot and a bigot. My comment stands.

        As for this cryptic comment:

        I was not planning on returning to this thread. I think plenty of people have shown their true colors, which is helpful. it’s good to know who has identified themselves as obstacles on the route to a movement that can make social change, and who can or cannot identify saboteurs. also sad.

        At whom was that directed? If that was aimed at me, then you can’t quite claim to be as objective as you’d like to be.

        Finally,

        But two points. One, Avi: here is your exchange with evildoer where he used the word “contemptible”: link to mondoweiss.net

        So I mixed up the “contemptible” part with another post that he made. OK. But, his rhetoric on the Israel Lobby are there for anyone who cares to read them, which supports my assertion regarding his and your tribal loyalties. The point stands.

      • Donald
        July 1, 2011, 11:35 am

        “Let me know when Witty has been allowed to publish a post (straight essay or “interview”) above the line . I’ll be the first to tell Phil he’s lost his mind.”

        Hah. You’ll have to stand in line, I’m afraid. But there’s little danger of that.

        As far as emotion is concerned, I think most of us involved in this argument get pretty emotional sometimes in denouncing Nakba denial. When we don’t it’s sometimes because someone has criticized us for becoming emotional. I’ve been criticized for picking on Witty (I’ve also been criticized for feeding his trollishness, but that’s a different criticism.)

        As for banning, yeah, if someone denies the Nakba they should be banned if a Holocaust denier is banned. I’m not sure that’s the right approach in either case–catch me in one mood and I’d say “ban them” and in another I’d go all John Stuart Mill on you. But John Stuart Mill strikes me as overly optimistic about humans and arguments and the power of truth. Which doesn’t mean one should just ban liars.

      • Avi_
        July 1, 2011, 11:42 am

        Shmuel,

        I challenge you to cite one single post where in response to someone who threw a hissy-fit denouncing a Nakbah denier — with all the colorful language that Evildoer used — you wrote “Thanks”.

        And enough with the pathetic condescension where you pretend to be a saint.

        Find one comment.

        Your musings regarding my motives and standards are of little interest to me.

        Remind me to treat you like an adult next time I respond to you, because my instincts from now on will be to treat you like a child.

      • Max Ajl
        July 1, 2011, 12:08 pm

        Avi:

        Your fantasies about my “tribal loyalties” are interesting, but also irrelevant and weird, and, since like Atzmon you can’t seem to shrug off your Zionism, also revealing. I am happy for people to judge me for what I have written and more importantly for what I have done. I make no claims to objectivity nor impartiality. I am trying to end Zionist domination of cis-Jordan and orient my writing to ending that domination. I am open to constructive input in my errors, but beyond that I’m not particularly interested in your input here, even remotely. The stuff about the lobby is just childish Jew-baiting non-sense. If anyone wants to make a persuasive case against what I have written I’d be open to it. But I have not seen it, nor have I seen anything other than general myopia with respect to the US empire and a general lack of knowledge about the history of our country. This is unfortunate, but a predictable part of any social movement. It’s called liberalism. A rot very difficult to treat.

        What you seem unable to transcend is the notion that ideas move the world. As you know, that’s a perspective straight from Zionist historiography, and it is part of Zionist propaganda. To me the lobby thesis as you wish to defend it, and not as a serious conceptualization would deal with it, accepts those claims, but with values reversed. If you have seen deconstructions of Shafir, Peled, Machover, Lockman, Bichler, Nitzan, Orr, and so on that should cause me to change my perspective, please direct me to them. In their absence, the argument is just boring, if I want to read racist non-sense I can go read the Jerusalem Post. No doubt your “comment stands,” and the rest of the maggots, with the imprimatur of the native informant, will eat it up. I have other things to do.

        Annie: I just saw your comment above. As I told you, I specifically responded to you because you jumped on Tom. I did not call you “morally vacuous,” and use firm language because I think it clarifies differences rather than submersing them in talk about dialogue. I see no value in dialogue with people actively trying to sabotage our movement and in fact consider it of negative value. I responded to you as opposed to others because I know exactly who you are and thus you are accountable, perhaps more importantly you are involved politically beyond being an internet clatterer like some of the folks here, and for those reasons, worth responding to. I have to confess that I find it increasingly worthless to engage with anonymous people that I disagree with.

        So I repeat, I consider Atzmon as engaged in sabotage, and am happy to share that perspective, and will continue to judge those who want to dialogue with him, as do most people I work with in actual political organizing. That is just my nature. If saying so is “gatekeeping,” make the most of it. Every movement and every discussion “gatekeeps.” That is how one judges a movement. If the pseudonymous “Thomson Rutherfords,” “Avis,” and “MBs” of the world judge me for it, so be it. I can live with their disdain.

      • tree
        July 1, 2011, 12:14 pm

        Phil also gave an “above the line” posting to jon s, twice I believe.

        Shmuel,

        To rehash a bit, I’m going to say something that my better judgment stopped me from saying during the earlier exchange, and maybe its better left unsaid, but I’m going to risk being clueless and say it anyway: Your first response to Evildoer’s comment at june 28th, 5:49am was a simple two words. “Thanks, Evildoer.”

        What Danaa and I and annie and others perceived from Evildoer’s long comment was that the vast majority of it was a pretty toxic personal attack on annie, specifically, and the rest of us generally. It did in fact shock me a bit that you would thank someone for inserting such a personal attack into the thread. It was only when you questioned Danaa about her categorization of Evildoer’s comment as a temper tantrum that you sought to defend it, and then explain to me that you really only meant to defend the very first paragraph and only commented on the personal attack by saying “The rest was not particularly to my taste. ”

        Given the fact that Avi has been accused by some here of having his own temper tantrums I can certainly understand his consternation at your particularly weak response to such a toxic attack including your blanket “Thank you” immediately after the comment was posted.

      • Avi_
        July 1, 2011, 12:25 pm

        The stuff about the lobby is just childish Jew-baiting non-sense.

        Your fantasies about my “tribal loyalties” are interesting, but also irrelevant and weird

        Thanks for the laugh.

      • Avi_
        July 1, 2011, 12:31 pm

        Moderator, you’ve approved three comments that were made after my comment above. If you don’t like my comment, then delete it already. Or, if you don’t like my presence here, just ban me.

      • Avi_
        July 1, 2011, 12:37 pm

        If the pseudonymous “Thomson Rutherfords,” “Avis,” and “MBs” of the world judge me for it, so be it. I can live with their disdain.

        So “Max Ajl” is a pseudonym, too. Good to know.

      • tree
        July 1, 2011, 1:11 pm

        OK. better personal judgment tells me to leave this alone because the response probably won’t be pretty, but here I go, like the fool I am.

        The stuff about the lobby is just childish Jew-baiting non-sense.

        and

        No doubt your “comment stands,” and the rest of the maggots, with the imprimatur of the native informant, will eat it up.

        are pretty toxic comments, and in case you aren’t aware of this, those kinds of statements are just as capable of “sabotaging” the quest for a global movement as you claim Atzmon is. You are putting a pretty stifling ideological purity test on those who might support such a movement and alienating people you wish to join you. Perhaps you will say you don’t want “those” people ( or “maggots” as the case may be) in the movement, but if the “movement” is, by your definition, only those who accept exactly your interpretation of events and only yours, then you have effectively crushed your own movement.

      • Shmuel
        July 1, 2011, 1:14 pm

        tree,

        If there is one thing you do not need to reproach yourself with, it is lack of better judgement. I have a great deal of respect for you, and continue to consider the exchange we have had here a disagreement between friends.

        First, just to get the Jon S. business out of the way, without getting into possible differences between the cases, I think Phil was wrong to allow him to post. I don’t believe I said anything at the time, but I didn’t say anything about Atzmon either, until Phil himself brought up the subject, a few days into the thread.

        I think you (and annie) deserve an explanation and an apology for my laconic thanks to Evildoer, following his nastiness to you and to annie. I really did not want to discuss Atzmon – beyond my initial (reluctant) response to Phil – but, on the other hand felt that the case against him had been poorly made. Along came Evildoer and offered an explanation that was close to my own understanding, albeit with a hefty dose of the harshness that seems to be part of his style, here and at JSF. Thinking only about the substance he had added to the discussion, I thanked him. After Danaa’s characterisation of Evildoer’s entire comment as an unreasonable temper tantrum, I explained exactly what I had found reasonable and dismissed the rest as “not particularly to my taste”, failing to explicitly address the nastiness. I should have, but didn’t. Maybe because I felt that “our” point of view was at a numerical disadvantage. Or maybe because he was not the first to inject nastiness into the thread. Either way, neither you nor annie deserved it, and it was never my intention to endorse that part of the comment.

      • Shmuel
        July 1, 2011, 1:32 pm

        Avi,

        I have explained my objections to Atzmon posting here, and Wondering Jew is not an appropriate parallel. Altogether, I don’t follow your argument of balance between extremes, with some sort of supposed bias toward one side, because the problems I see with Atzmon actually stem from what he has in common with Zionist demagogues – except for the fact that he looks like he is on the other side and is widely read and supported, and so causes far more damage than a Hophmi or a 3e.

      • tree
        July 1, 2011, 2:20 pm

        I have a great deal of respect for you, and continue to consider the exchange we have had here a disagreement between friends.

        My feelings exactly, even when the disagreement may get heated, or even if it concerns something of great significance to one or both of us. And thank you for your statements here. I do think I understand your feelings and respect them, even though I disagree with them.

        If there is one thing you do not need to reproach yourself with, it is lack of better judgement.

        I’m not so sure, as I can’t seem to stop myself from shaking the hornets’ nest today. (Note to anyone who might misunderstand: I mean the subject matter when I use the term here, and would never refer to anyone here as a hornet.) I really need to just focus on my upcoming holiday trip. Happy Canada Day, if you still observe, Shmuel!

      • Max Ajl
        July 1, 2011, 2:24 pm

        Tree:
        Here is what Avi wrote, after “mis-remembering” the lie that occasioned Gabriel to call him contemptible: “his rhetoric on the Israel Lobby are there for anyone who cares to read them, which supports my assertion regarding his and your tribal loyalties. The point stands.” To which I responded, “The stuff about the lobby is just childish Jew-baiting non-sense.” Meaning, the “tribal loyalty” bit. It is, although I have little doubt I’ll be mis-quoted on that in the future.

        Finally. I disagree with plenty of people on the lobby and probably a few people on Atzmon who I will happily and unreservedly work with to liberate Palestine, because actions are more important than theory. But insofar as people are trapped in either idealist voluntarist politics, culturalist essentialism, interest-group liberalism, think they can weaponize white racism to break the Special Relationship, or think that putting American yahood on a black couch is what will get their Israeli yahood out of Khalil, they are in denial, and it will be their denial and not mine that will strengthen the chains shackling Palestinian freedom. With that I am done.

      • Shmuel
        July 1, 2011, 2:31 pm

        Thanks, tree. Enjoy your trip. Canada’s changed a lot since I lived there (until ’81), but in my day, the most quintessentially Canadian way of marking Canada Day was to ignore it. I have preserved that spirit :-)

      • Elliot
        July 1, 2011, 2:42 pm

        Tree:
        You are putting a pretty stifling ideological purity test on those who might support such a movement and alienating people you wish to join you.
        Amen. These testy tests lead us all down blind alleys including, I’m sorry to say, the driver too.
        Hithereto, I hereby pledge to all not click on any more comments on “Atzmon and Jewish Identity” even if the comment count hits 1,000.

      • Citizen
        July 1, 2011, 3:30 pm

        annie, shunning is also a more generally effective tool of the US regime’s (including its 4th Estate) when it comes to ignoring literally and via express, usually very brief, generic abstaction, American citizens criticizing their own government for the negative results of the US’s regime’s Israel-is-the-same-as-us policy. In effect, current US governance places American critics of any of Israel’s activities and policies just a step or at most two above David Duke as a practical matter for anybody trying to get, keep, or maintain or enhance their own & their family’s livelihood while retaining their intellectual & moral integrity.

      • Citizen
        July 1, 2011, 3:44 pm

        Donald, yes, there would be a line. Further, unless I missed it, when has Atzmon posted “above the line” here? Shmuel? And, if memory serves, Phil himself didn’t rush to post anything above the line on his interview with Atzmon.

      • Citizen
        July 1, 2011, 3:51 pm

        Re Avi’s comment. I cannot comprehend anyone who honestly does not recognize the power and influence of the Israel Lobby; it is so obvious to anyone living in the USA. This blog over its existence has pointed out a ton of examples. The US government spokes people do not deviate from
        the usual I Heart Israel line, careers are made or broken on whether or not one adheres to that line. Indeed, it’s now even more out in the open thanks to the Christian fundies, who now have presidential candidates competing publically for the top seat.

      • Citizen
        July 1, 2011, 3:57 pm

        Yes, Max Ajl, ideas move the world, and the USA this motivation is tied to moneybags, which are given to selected ideas. One of those currently most influential ideas accordingly is that written by AIPAC and mouthed by both the WH & Congress. As an American, I have concluded from all the availabe evidence at my disposal that this is not a good thing for America has a whole, Israel as a whole, and Humanity as a whole.

      • Citizen
        July 1, 2011, 4:04 pm

        I agree with you, tree, and it seems to me Schmuel’s original reaction revealed something he doesn’t want to face, and his second reaction revealed his back-pedaling, and he never did really expressly apologize to annie. I think he’s a good man, an smart man, a well-educated and generally wise and astute man, but his attack on Atzmon has not taken into consideration that Atzmon stands alone compared to the legions and governments who at best, use the same tactics as Atzmon in his lonely quest to get everybody looking at the WHY. How often do people or governments learn from the mistakes of the past?
        I think Atzmon wants to add just a few to those ranks.

      • Citizen
        July 1, 2011, 4:06 pm

        I don’t think Mearsheimer or Walt are childish. And neither is Jimmy Carter, or Baird, or Kucinich, or Ron Paul, for further example.

      • jon s
        July 1, 2011, 4:22 pm

        As someone involved in “the Jon S business” I would point out that I’ve indeed contributed two “above the line” postings. Neither were overtly political: one was an account of my personal experiences during “Cast Lead” (as part of the “two years after” series) and the other was about saying Kaddish in Auschwitz, for Holocaust Remembrance Day.
        For the record, I haven’t submitted anything else, so I can’t say for sure where the line would be drawn.

      • Shmuel
        July 1, 2011, 6:51 pm

        Citizen,

        I thank you for the kind words but, with all due respect, there is nothing here that I “don’t want to face”. My reactions are one and the same, and I have done no backpedaling. I did, in fact, include annie in my apology to tree, and tried to explain my own lacuna, which was a matter of decency rather than of position. I still agree with Evildoer’s assessment of Atzmon.

        Atzmon is not alone (as this thread has shown), and even if he were, standing alone, in and of itself, does not make one right (as my mother explained to me when she first noticed my rebellious tendencies). The legions and governments don’t give a damn about Atzmon or me or you, as attractive as the lone freedom fighter image may be.

      • annie
        July 1, 2011, 7:15 pm

        thank you schmuel, appreciated..

      • Citizen
        July 1, 2011, 7:25 pm

        Shmuel, I was born in and live in the USA, as you likely know. Here, Atzmon’s view is virtually unknown to the masses, who I know quite well because I wasn’t born with a tin spoon in my mouth, let alone a silver one. And I still live among them. They all know the bipartisan political spiel code words that represent the accepted view of Israel and its importance to the USA. They all know who Anne Frank was. They all know about Auschwitz. They don’t have a clue about Rachel Corrie or the USS Liberty, or about the Nakba, nor do
        they ever hear from any American in any influential position at the local, state, or federal level, or from academia that maybe, just maybe, their country’s best interests, and the world’s, not to mention the Palestinians’, might not always be the same as Israel’s. So, from that POV, I say Atzmon is alone, same as Phil and Adam actually. I bet Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich felt pretty lonely amidst all their congressional peers loudly applauding Bibi 29x too. Look at “alone” in the sense I use it here as how the Jews felt
        when they looked out the window and saw all those swastika flags. They were not literally alone. Quit patronizing me.

      • Gilad
        July 1, 2011, 8:04 pm

        Hello everybody, i am touring at the moment and do not have the access to the net. I read you all on my mobile though.

        This is certainly a very interesting threads especially because of the dynamic between the many opposing voices. It was so interesting to watch the tribal operators being cornered. It is astonishing to see how aggressive and rude the Jewish ‘progressive’ campaigners are in comparison to others. I wonder, is aggression inherent to Jewish identity politics? What is it really?

        Citizen, I am alone because I prefer to operate alone. I am not a victim. I am supported by very many people around the world (like here). But only when I am alone I can say what I think and what I believe. I will never affiliate with any political body. As long as J activist fight me, it only means I must do something right.

        Earlier on Avi and others compared between H denial and Nakba denial. It is clear why the ‘Progressives’ do not censor Nakba denial but struggle to trace the H denier even when it isn’t there. The Progressive Jew is constituted by the primacy of Jewish suffering (very much like the Zionists). There is no J secular political identity without the H (they would say “Hitler remind me that I am a Jew”).

        Here is my suggestion for the many intelligent people here. Transcend yourself beyond the discourse of ‘denial’. The denial category is a continuation of the Judeo-centric binary opposition Kosher/Taref hence, Holocaust/denial, Nakba/Denial etc. We don’t need it. We prefer to celebrate the notion of dynamic history. competing narratives fighting each other. There is a universe between ‘holocaust’ and ‘denial’…this universe is the birth of meaning. It is also the birth of the tragedy.

        Authentic people celebrate the act of Being. They are shaped and re-shaped by the act of being and becoming . They are thrilled by openness and dynamism. Labeling ideas and people as ‘denial’ and ‘deniers’ is a form of alienation. It is an act of boxing. Let’s leave it to the progressive…

        Instead, let the rest of us celebrate Being with a capital ‘B’. Let us dig into the notion of beauty, ethics, temporality. Let’s fight the Zion within. Let’s grasp the deepest meaning of ‘self hater united’.

        PS. Pessah, don’t even try to understand it. The above is way too sophisticated for you…

      • Gilad
        July 1, 2011, 8:07 pm

        Clearly not, and I guess we all know why…

      • Shmuel
        July 2, 2011, 2:17 am

        Quit patronizing me.

        Please, Citizen. Have I discussed your motives? Have I said that any of your comments “reveal” something that you “don’t want to face”? I understood the sense in which you meant “alone”, but as you say, Atzmon is no more alone than Phil and Adam (or you and me). My “attack” on Atzmon did not take his “standing alone” into account, because it is not relevant.

      • Citizen
        July 2, 2011, 4:18 am

        Shmuel, If you understood in what sense I meant “alone,” I don’t understand why you referenced yourself, as a child not being right just because you were alone. My sense of alone was a relative term, that is, Atzmon’s narrative is so little known in the USA when compared to the official narrative wrt to the I-P situation, that it is practically alone here. And that’s just the ignorant way the US Establishment wants it, the very Establishment that has been/is sinking the USA, not even trying to live up to the highest American and secular humanist values, but rather has been/is wrapping their simple greed and lust for power and control in the American flag, the more of those flags the better. Of course this is not peculiar to the American regime, but to any regime: control of the narrative. Even Hitler (who, reminds any Jew he or she is a Jew) was convinced that overriding power was ultimately no match for the will of the aggregate little people to the extent they become more fully informed. Atzmon’s message is not right because it is relatively alone, that is unknown here in the USA, it’s just a musical note that needs to be heard more in the song being sung, including in the orchestra here on MW. Arab Spring. US Senate ding-a-ling. H Arndt. Bibi needs a bib. “Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it, and denial is not in Egypt but rather is a form of intentional ignorance that amounts to a mental affliction harmful to the human community.

      • Shmuel
        July 2, 2011, 4:33 am

        Citizen,

        Atzmon’s narrative is flawed. It is not merely a counterweight to the establishment narrative, but a particular narrative in its own right – one that I believe actually serves establishment interests. Whatever notes he gets right are spoiled by those that he gets wrong.

      • Citizen
        July 2, 2011, 5:13 am

        ” Let’s fight the Zion within.”

      • Citizen
        July 2, 2011, 8:32 am

        Shmuel, thanks for getting back to me on this. Is there any other person’s narrative you would put in the catagory you describe?

    • Gilad
      June 26, 2011, 10:34 am

      I do find it amusing that every engagement with a political Jew on any progressive site is subject to a holocaust litmus test. Yes, i believe the revisionism is the only true meaning of historical study. But let us, indeed move on.

      Philip, not only I do not dismiss Jewish tribalism, I may be the only one who dares exploring it and trace its ideological origins. The difference between Shahak and myself are clear. Shahak explored the role of Jewish religion and Talmud. I insist to take it further, i follow the role of Jewish identity politics; Jewish tribalism and Jewish culture in general. I am very critical of Jewish secularism and Jewish secular politics.

      Philip. The interview with you wasn’t easy, probably because you admitted something you may have regretted later. You basically confessed that Jews — like yourself, “are concerned with a Jewish self-interest”. This was indeed very brave but it left very many question open.

      For instance, the progressive Jews, do they care about the Palestinians or do they oppose Zionism because it is good for the Jews? Are the progressive Jews (those who identify politically as Jews) loyal to humanity and humanism or are they loyal to the Jews?

      Simple questions i would think.

      • Thomson Rutherford
        June 27, 2011, 12:53 am

        Gilad, thanks for having your interview with Philip Weiss and for providing the frank exchange of views on difficult issues for anti-Zionist Jews. (See my note to Phil just below.)

        I have in past years read many of your articles at Counterpunch and want to say, Keep it up! Being non-Jewish, I mostly stayed out of the discussions on this thread about the Holocaust, Christ-killers, etc. Too bad the thread was hijacked by people with spurious axes to grind; I would’ve liked to see more discussion of the issues raised in your interview and in Nahida’s article. Maybe next time.

      • Gilad
        June 27, 2011, 1:57 am

        Tx so much for your support
        G

      • Chu
        June 27, 2011, 11:08 am

        He may offend some of Jewish audiences, but he brings a critique of the problems of Israel that many non-Jews are listening to. His insight is also being echoed from others news outlets as well. And debating the Holocaust is not as important to the Goyim as it is to Jewish audiences. To see the vitriol from the tribe in this thread aimed at Gilad is no surprise.

      • Citizen
        June 28, 2011, 9:52 am

        You have my support too, Gilad.

      • Gilad
        June 28, 2011, 10:57 am

        Thank you all… supporters and detractors :)

      • Citizen
        June 28, 2011, 1:03 pm

        Back to you, Gilad. Keep it up. Christian identity and American identity need to be questioned too. Ditto for the Muslims.

      • Gilad
        June 28, 2011, 3:13 pm

        I agree, but as you know, no one really stops us from doing so. Only when it comes to J identity we are confronted with unified front of Zios backed by Jewish ‘progressive’ fig leaves. An i am pretty impressed to see you all exposing them for what and who they are.

      • Citizen
        June 28, 2011, 3:20 pm

        Yeah, you have a point there, Gilad. At least in the USA the other identities are way more constantly questioned and varients criticized by members of our “establishment.”

      • Gilad
        June 28, 2011, 3:36 pm

        @ Citizen , in general we can talk about everything and everyone except J identity and the H…This is why this thread is a big victory. I am not a blogger so i don’t really know, but i do not think that i have ever seen a thread that long and with so many interesting ideas.

      • Citizen
        June 28, 2011, 5:46 pm

        I have had the same experience in the USA, Gilad, and I’ve lived here for a long, long time in both urban and rural areas, and among educated groups and those with only a HS education; a number of regular commenters on Mondoweiss have said the same thing. Additionally, here in the US, except for MW and a handful of other web sites such as those listed along this web site’s side, and (formerly–no longer) CSPAN’s call in show Washington Journal, we Americans cannot even criticize Israeli policy or our own government’s policy of enabling it–this site has drawn a lot of real truth-seekers (and some regular hasbarists too).

    • Thomson Rutherford
      June 27, 2011, 12:29 am

      Philip, you should be congratulated for having this interview with Gilad Atzmon and providing a post about it on your own blog. In his piece on the interview, Atzmon expressed his point of view very well and you did the same (in the words he quoted). Nothing to be regretful or ashamed of. The honest exchange was a positive good, and your instincts were right in granting the interview.

      There was nothing new for me in the statements you made to Gilad; they were implicit in many of the posts you have written for your blog over the last several years.

      You and Gilad have different perspectives concerning univeralism vs. tribalism, Jewish identity and self-interest, etc. No problem with that. Dialog is good. Please consider interviewing Atzmon yourself and publishing the results here on your website. You are big enough for that.

      P.S. – You should not let the fact that this thread was hijacked by people with a vendetta against Atzmon deter you. Let him speak for himself, and you do the same.

  28. jon s
    June 26, 2011, 1:23 pm

    The anti-Zionist Jews who comment here always emphasize the distinction: not all Jews are Zionists, the problem is Zionism, not Judaism. Atzmon , on the other hand, is saying that the problem is Jewish identity itself. Add to that the Holocaust denial – he’s a blatant Anti-Semite.

    • Gilad
      June 26, 2011, 2:02 pm

      Another set of empty statements.

      Will Jon S be kind enough to define anti Semitism? So we know once and for all why elaboration on J identity is anti Semitic. Is Jewish identity politics beyond criticism?

      Also, not that i am a Holocaust denier, (I don’t even recognize this Zio-centric notion) but i really want to know how come a denial of a historical account is a form of antisemitism?

    • Elliot
      June 26, 2011, 6:56 pm

      Jon S.
      Atzmon , on the other hand, is saying that the problem is Jewish identity itself
      Doesn’t that make pretty much all Jews at least part anti-Semitic?
      I confess that, under your definition, I qualify as such.

      • jon s
        June 26, 2011, 11:52 pm

        Elliot, As I see it, Anti-Zionists say that the problem is Zionism. Atzmon says that the problem is Jewishness.
        I’m not familiar with your views. Do you think there’s a problem with Jews wishing to maintain their identity?

      • annie
        June 27, 2011, 1:01 am

        Atzmon says that the problem is Jewishness.

        is jewish identity politics ‘jewishness’? Is Jewish identity politics beyond criticism?

        a lot of this conversation is over my head. when ben ami will only debate israel within the jewish community i consider that ‘ Jewish identity politics ‘ but i don’t think it is ‘jewishness’. maybe atzmon thinks it is (i have not followed the whole thread). but i think it is better to quote someone if you are going to define their view (wrt jewish identity politics) as anti semitic. to different degrees many people do vote identity politics regardless of their ethnicity. that doesn’t necessarily make it racist.

      • RoHa
        June 27, 2011, 1:42 am

        “Do you think there’s a problem with Jews wishing to maintain their identity?”

        Surely we would have to have a good description of what is involved in “maintaining their identity” before we could answer that question.

      • Gilad
        June 27, 2011, 1:46 am

        Jon S
        I will answer you.

        NO, there is no ‘problem with Jews wishing to maintain their identity?’

        The problem starts when Jews insist to celebrate their identity on the expense of others!!!

        Zionists are doing it on the expense of the Palestinians, Pessah & Co insist to do it on the expense of (my) freedom of speech..

      • Elliot
        June 27, 2011, 8:39 am

        Jon S.:
        I suppose, from the context, that when you say “problem” you mean “moral problem”.
        I wasn’t addressing morality, I was describing many Jewish people’s conflicting ideas about their Jewishness/Judaism/Jewish identity. I’d say most Jews have a problem with some part of their Jewishness. This questioning does not make them anti-Semites.

        From the little I’ve read of Gilad Atzmon, his critique of Zionism and modern conceptions of Jewish peoplehood are not far removed from ultra-Orthodox anti-Zionists. Gilad shines on a light on the deeply problematic transformation of Jewishness from a religious community in the traditional sense to believing in a mystical Jewish people and ditching the religious covenant with God. There is humility and a web of moral commitments when God is in the picture. Once you secularize your religion, but still use covenantal language and speak of chosenness, you are painting yourself into the bigot’s corner.

        The other problem with the Zionist concept of Jewishness is that, prior to Zionism, Jews lived among non-Jews. Rabbinic Judaism was constituted as Jews living in close proximity to non-Jews. That thread is played out today in Jewish communities across the world.
        There is only one place where that is not the case – and it is not the ideal. That place is, of course, Israel.

        What is this new Zionist identity that pretends Jews live on an island? And how does this identity permeate American Jewish life through organizations such as J Street – which invents a rule that non-Jews are not welcome at its deliberations about Israel? These are problems with contemporary Jewish identity – problems that have a moral component.

      • Danaa
        June 27, 2011, 12:02 pm

        elliot, these are important comments you make. And I think they kind of line up with some of what Gilad says, whose problem – as he keeps repeating is not with Judaism which is a religion, like any other, but with secular nationalism.

        Here are two variations on the theme: 1. zionism did indeed start as a secular nationalist movement, but added religious themes as a justification for a colonial enterprise (ie, they needed the religion to justify why Israel, and not, say, Uganda). The religious theme became codified into the law of the land when control over personal/civil matters was handed over to the rabbinate. which did what institutions do – built a huge beaurocracy around their power, never to be given up.
        2. It is absolutely inevitable that, given time enough, religion will indeed overtake the zionist movement, and we should not be surprised at all to see israel move further and further into a theocracy. It’s bound to happen and nothing will stop it because the religion was built into the colonization project (which is what made it different than other colonizing movements, like Algeria or kenya or the US or Australia). That, IMO, is the reason we are seeing suddenly such a hoopla about Israel as a “Jewish and democratic state”. The only question is when the “democratic” will get dropped like so much useless baggage.

      • Elliot
        June 27, 2011, 7:02 pm

        Danaa,
        Thank you.
        In your first point you seem to be ascribing more freedom of choice (premeditation?) to the founders fathers of of Zionism than I think they felt they had. I don’t think they actually had that freedom either. They were mostly Eastern European Jews, who either came out of a very traditional background (Berdichevsky, Bialik, Buber – just to hit some of the “B”s), or, to a lesser extent, rediscovered their Jewishness through the reinvention of Jewishness around the Hebrew language/Zionism. The so-called father of modern Hebrew, Ben-Yehuda (sorry, another B) being the classic example.

        Either way, traditional Judaism was very close to the foreground, either through their own biography or because of the Jewish culture they lived in. What I’m saying is that they never fully emanicipated themselves from Judaism, and, given that Zionism grew out of traditional Judaism and uses so many of its symbols and drive, I don’t see how they could have.

        On your second point, I don’t see the Herut nationalists, including Bibi and Kadima leader Tzippi Livni becoming Ba’alei Teshuva (newly-religious Jews). Tel Aviv is a hedonistic, secular city. Sure, they’ll start flavoring their new-age raves with Kabbalah components, be deferential to the Orthos (while complaining bitterly, in the dysfunctional Israeli adolescent manner) and use religious rhetoric to explain their racism and nationalism.
        And of course, they rely on the Orthos to shore up definitions of Jewish and not-Jewish which are essential to the enterprise.
        But all that is still a far cry from giving up democracy – at least for the Jews.

      • Danaa
        June 28, 2011, 1:45 am

        Elliot, you say “On your second point, I don’t see the Herut nationalists, including Bibi and Kadima leader Tzippi Livni becoming Ba’alei Teshuva (newly-religious Jews).”

        Just to clarify: I did not mean conversion in the sense you use it as I agree that the seculars in Israel will be in no hurry to take leave of their seculariness. If anything they’ll become more entrenched within it.

        What I meant was demography – over 50 % of all babies born in Israel are to Haredi/orthodox families (I have the poll somewhere). In 10 years the elementary schools will be majority religious-affiliated. And 10 years after that the vaunted Israeli army will have orthodox/nationalist religious as its top commanders. You can imagine what this trend will do to the voting (maybe you want to avoid imagining that. Nightmare be there…). I see nothing that will stop this trend and Tel Aviv will become more and more of an island – one of several around the country. The real bad news is that the vast majority of the religious/orthodox/ultra will trend way to the right, as will the Russians (who will no doubt remain secular, but their relative numbers will shrink).

        Making matters worse – demographically – is that emigration from israel will accelerate precisely because of the dossim will become a majority. And that emigration will be predominantly by people like you. Which is bound to emasculate what left there is in Israel now even further.

        That is why I made my dire prediction. “Democratic’ will be jettisoned because in the competition with the religious, it will not persevere. Little by little democratic institutions and legal rights will be lost for the jewish citizens too (of course, for the Arab citizens it will be much more tragic).

        This, IMO, is the true demographic threat Israel is facing. And that is why I predict that in a decade we’ll actually start seeing some interesting alliances between eg, palestinians and the Israeli secular segment. They’ll need each other real bad, but by then, it may well be too late.

        Anyways, sorry to be so pessimistic. Can’t see a way out unless someone(s) manage to convince the religious not to have so many babies. Got any ideas?

      • Citizen
        June 28, 2011, 9:57 am

        Yep, Gilad, there’s no problem if somebody identifies with Superman in those comixs, but when that somebody flies off the roof in a cape or punches somebody in the face, now that’s a problem.

    • annie
      June 27, 2011, 1:08 am

      he’s a blatant Anti-Semite.

      anti semitism is hating jews, simply for being jewish. isn’t it?

  29. MHughes976
    June 26, 2011, 2:25 pm

    Surely it’s not too difficult to reply ‘BOTH for humane reasons – Palestinian rights and everyone’s long-term interests – AND ALSO because I care deeply about the Jews and their long-term interests’? What’s in the interest of all is in the interest of each.
    If you say ‘What if the two sets of long-term interests diverged, or if morality and the specifically Jewish interest were to come into conflict?’ I presume they would reply ‘I’d go with morality’. Being counterfactual, this reply would be impossible to prove but I don’t see that it should be regarded with deep suspicion or scepticism, at least if it comes from people who have a clear record of challenging Zionism, ie short term Jewish interests, up to now.

    • Gilad
      June 26, 2011, 6:47 pm

      MH you say “What’s in the interest of all is in the interest of each.”

      Fine no problem there, yet some complexity rises when you turn it around..

      Would you also say that ‘what’s in the interest each is in the interest of all’?

      I don’t think so. Clearly we don’t know what are in the interest of each for different people and collectives want different things.

      Apparently there is a discrepancy between Jewish self-interest and Palestinian liberation. This is really the crux of the matter.

      • nahida
        June 26, 2011, 9:34 pm

        Apparently there is a discrepancy between Jewish self-interest and Palestinian liberation. This is really the crux of the matter.

        You hit the nail on the head here Gilad, that is indeed the crux of the matter.

        Jewish self-interest is incompatible with the Palestinian aspiration of FULL Liberation

        As for Jewish identity, it is indeed a taboo that has to be broken; starting from the concept of their chosen-ness amongst the religious Jews, which includes their sense of superiority and distinction in terms of intellect, morality, spirituality, and suffering, and ending with the concept “Us-ness against them”, “Jews is: a sense of difference”, and of being part of an “elite identity”, with “great civilization”,

        I for one, I blaspheme in the “chosen-ness” of the Jewish people

        I blaspheme in their mantra of their “specialness”, “elite-ism”, and their delusion of a “superior Jewish IQ”

        I also blaspheme in the concept of the “uniqueness of their suffering”

        If believing that: Jews and non-Jews are equal in intellect, morality, spirituality and in their responsibility for their own actions; if believing that is a crime, then I am the first to be called a criminal.

        If believing that the statement: “Jews are unique and special beings, with unique Divine souls” is a racist, chauvinistic and supremacist statement; then I plead guilty of racism.

        If believing that “ALL mankind, Jews and non-Jews alike, are equal in humanity and in their accountability before the law”, is anti-Semitic, then call me anti-Semite.

        If believing that no man is superior to another in intellect by the virtue of race or religion, is considered supremacy, in this Orwellian world, then call me supremacist.
        .

      • Gilad
        June 27, 2011, 2:01 am

        I am in total agreement here!

      • patm
        June 27, 2011, 6:43 am

        I’m in total agreement with what you say above too, nahida.

        The crux of the matter is indeed that Jewish self-interest is incompatible with the Palestinian aspiration of FULL Liberation.

      • MHughes976
        June 27, 2011, 5:22 pm

        I don’t agree that it is in the long-term interest of anyone, Jewish or not, to remain permanently in the role of oppressor.
        To reply to Gilad’s logical question. Yes, it is true that what is in the interest of each is in the interest of all. ‘This joke amuses each person who hears it’ does imply ‘This joke is amusing to all’ – I know that logic can sound like a bit of a joke.
        It could be said, of course, that ‘what is in the interest of all/each’ is an empty category, and that there is only ‘what is in the interest of some, but not of others’ – which is equivalent to ‘life is a moral tragedy’ or (in Mondoweiss language) ‘everything sucks’.
        It is actually quite difficult to condemn oppressors on this basis. So I’m reluctant to believe it. So I still think that it’s not in the long-term interest of Jewish people or of anyone to be oppressors.
        So Phil’s approach, as well as I understand it, is logically coherent.

      • Gilad
        June 28, 2011, 12:57 am

        @ MHughes976
        Really? and what about pedophiles and their self interests? Do their interests fit us all? Clearly we have a fruitful discussion here because it is obvious to many of us that there is a discrepancy between Jewish self-interest (tribal and self centered) and humanism (universal & ethical).

        The beauty of early (political) Zionism was the attempt to argue that ‘that which fits the Jews fits all’ i.e as much as it suits the Jews to have a land of their own, it also suits the European to get rid of their Jews. This was obviously a false argument. It was Euro-centric and didn’t take into account neither the Pls nor the Jews (who were reluctant to buy into Zionism at the time).

        I think that the attempt to talk about universal self-interest interests is in itself very dangerous, misleading and typical to post enlightenment discourse. Dangerously enough it reminds us the Neocon’s argument for democracy. We basically kill people in the name of freedom, after all, democracy is in their (self) interest…I just don’t buy it.

      • MHughes976
        June 28, 2011, 9:36 am

        Surely it’s not – per Plato in ‘Gorgias’, per common sense – in the true interest of people with paedophile tendencies to attack children, of kleptomaniacs to steal, of people who are too fond of alcohol to have another whiskey or of anyone to commit themselves to an endless round of oppression and domination.
        I can’t for one moment believe that you would feel happy with pre-enlightenment (pre-Platonic?) thought. If you want to get rid of ‘tribalism’ then thought in ‘enlightened’ style is exactly what you need.
        Neocon thought is a version of Platonism, but only in Leo Strauss’s questionable and embittered interpretation.

      • Citizen
        June 28, 2011, 10:02 am

        Well, know, didn’t Socrates eat the hemlock? Was that in his interest?

      • MHughes976
        July 1, 2011, 10:19 am

        It’s not that all interests are in fact served but that it’s possible (or so some people hope and assert) for things to be arranged so that the conflict is kept within reasonable limits. Socrates denied that his interests, though they were being damaged, were being damaged so as to meet the interests of the Athenians. He claimed that the Athenians were in fact damaging themselves by rejecting him. Plato worked his way round this theme several times, not always in the same way. His arch-villain, the tyrant, is presented as an individual in the most horrible inner state trying to solve his own conflicts at the expense of others. Sometimes the argument gets a religious rather than a psychological tone.
        The opposite argument that there are irreconcilable, eternal conflicts of interests, to be pursued until death or eternity, is found in some Israeli propaganda about Amalekites. It’s not very attractive. I don’t claim to have disproved it. But that Phil and other liberal Jewish thinkers don’t believe it doesn’t show that they are deep in some tribal morass, more that they are expounding a version of the prevalent philosophy of the West, which isn’t such an awful thing to do. And Gilad’s question ‘Are you for humanity or for the Jews?’ doesn’t completely skewer them: they have reason for answering ‘Both’.
        The philosophical belief in eternally irreconcilable interests has been summarised in Mondoese as ‘Everything sucks’.
        I very much welcomed Gilad’s contribution and I hope we’ll hear from him again despite his slight disdain for blogging. I thought that the historical aspects of the discussion could have done with a separate thread. As before, I think people should be more patient with questions of definition when it comes to ‘anti-Semitism’ and ‘holocaust denial’.

      • Citizen
        July 1, 2011, 11:03 am

        I share your POV on this, MHuhges.

  30. nahida
    June 26, 2011, 5:19 pm

    As a Palestinian, I find such discussion as extremely important and valuable; it enables us to understand the motivations, the mental and psychological process that animates our oppressors

    Those who try to suppress or prevent such discussions, can only be viewed as gate keepers, who want to divert the world’s attention not to look at the rot inside their communities, the root causes, and the ideology that produces such peculiar behaviour that has plagued our recent history in Palestine and caused so much misery to millions of human beings in the Middle East

    I have spent the last two years of my life researching, trying to understand what motivates those mad settles, who invaded Palestine, to behave in such peculiar manner; where does all this arrogance they exhibit come from? and how can human beings become so blatantly sadistic as a group? Why after over a century of their violence, we see no signs of remorse or repentance, only more and more extremism, more and more brutality?

    What I found was more than horrific, a deep bottomless hole, filled with ugliness beyond description
    If people are interested to hear a Palestinian voice, please visit, Uprooted Palestinians
    .

    • patm
      June 26, 2011, 7:56 pm

      Hi nahida,

      I read your “A strategy of liberation requires emancipation: the case for a “Palestinian voice” and I recommend it to everyone here at MW.

      What I’ve done below is to quote what you say about IJAN, “International Jewish Anti-zionist Network”.

      “The only exception I found throughout my research of anti-zionist Jewish groups was the example of IJAN, “International Jewish Anti-zionist Network”. I can only praise and commend IJAN for their declarations and charter. One beautiful example of how our supporter should be in their understanding and respect of Palestinians:

      From IJAN Charter:

      •We commit our hearts, minds and political energy to support the varied and vibrant resistance movement of the Palestinian people and to confront the injustices for which the countries we live in are responsible.

      •We respond wholeheartedly to the call from Palestine for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel.

      •It is not our job to prescribe what road the Palestinian people should take toward defining their future. We do not presume to substitute our voices for theirs. Our strategies and actions will emerge from our active relationships with those who are engaged in the range of liberation struggles within Palestine and in the broader region. We will support their struggle to survive, to hold their ground and to advance their movement as best as they can, on their own terms.

      •We are partners in the vibrant popular resistance movements of our time that defend and cherish the lives of all people and of the planet itself. We are partners in movements that are led by those most impacted by imperial conquest, occupation, racism and the global control and exploitation of people and resources. We stand for the protection of the natural world. We stand by the rights of indigenous peoples to their land and sovereignty.

      •Solidarity with the struggle for Palestinian self-determination, including full political, economic, cultural, social and land rights for all those living in the historic Palestine, and the right of return for its refugees;

      •Rejection of the Israeli apartheid state, premised on Jewish supremacy and Zionist ideology, and support for all struggles for legal and economic equality against it;

      •Challenging the current use of Islamophobia as a strategy for defending and justifying an imperialist US-European agenda;

      •Challenging white racism, including its manifestations as Ashkenazi racism against Mizrahi Jews;

      •Challenging the privileging of Jewish voices in conversations and negotiations about Palestine;

      IJAN an amazing model of how our supporters could/ should be like; supportive without being condescending, determined but not directing the struggle, advising but not imposing their vision, proactive but not taking the lead.

      But unfortunately, the fact is that the majority of our Jewish supporters display a completely different attitude and behaviour, as demonstrated clearly by their aims and objectives, by their lead-taking, imposing their agenda on the solidarity movement as well as on Palestinians, and promoting the permanent colonization of Palestine by zionist Ashkenazi invaders, though using soft and humane tactics.”

    • Danaa
      June 26, 2011, 8:38 pm

      Nahida, glad to see you visit us here, in the arena, where chosenness is Cezar. Alas, as gladiators – reluctant ones, we all have to salute the Cezar, before marching off to do battle for our souls. As you noticed, some of these skirmishes are not for the feint of heart. And Cezar and his privilege courtiers often do turn thumbs down. They seem to have especially singled out Gilad for demise. Strangely though, he keeps rising…ain’t he?

      For what it’s worth, it’s also important to realize that there are many Palestinians who cannot raise their voice too high. Not in the US where big brother is watching for anyone who may contribute to a Palestinian cause while Arab. It is potentially quite detrimental to be a Palestinian activist here or in Canada (maybe it’s easier in Europe). I am sure that it is not for lack of courage or commitment that not so many Palestinians could sign up for the flotilla. So until things change we have to have them Jewish flotillas, self-interest propelled or otherwise. In the end, it’s all for the good, even the centurion guards like Tom Pessah and Maz Ajl.

      • Danaa
        June 27, 2011, 12:10 am

        Sorry if my comment came across as too glib. I was trying for sarcasm but it’s not a natural fit.

        I read what nahida said, and I must say I can see exactly where she is coming from, and agree with much. OTOH, as I see the situation for the Palestinians getting a lot worse before it gets better (Israeli demographics is what it is) perhaps it is necessary to go with allies even if the motives of some (many?) are not nearly as pure as one would like.

        And I still think that people like Tom and Max have a role to play in that they bring attention to the next-to-last gate keepers. Unfortunately, there’s one more past them and it’s the worst and most difficult of them all.

    • Thomson Rutherford
      June 26, 2011, 10:11 pm

      Nahida, thank you so much for this:

      As a Palestinian, I find such discussion as extremely important and valuable; it enables us to understand the motivations, the mental and psychological process that animates our oppressors

      Those who try to suppress or prevent such discussions, can only be viewed as gate keepers, who want to divert the world’s attention not to look at the rot inside their communities, the root causes, and the ideology that produces such peculiar behaviour ….

      I was hoping that a Palestinian would come in and say these things that I have also been thinking in your behalf. I trust that Gilad especially will see and appreciate your comment, and that Philip Weiss will at least take it into proper consideration.

      • Gilad
        June 27, 2011, 1:08 am

        I obviously saw Nahida’s comment and I am a very big supporter of Nahida’s writing. But I also know that by the time any political Jew reacts to Nahida’s call, this would be the end of him or her Jewish activism.

        Nahida’s writing is there to expose the Judeo centric impetus that drives the Jewish anti Zionist discourse.

        It was me who sent Nahida’s piece to P. Weiss with the belief that her expose must be discussed here. I really looking forward to see how the progressive Jewish voices here are going to deal with her intervention..

    • Citizen
      June 28, 2011, 10:05 am

      Hi nahida, thank you for your comment; I assumed any intelligent Palestinian (and there are loads of them) would find this thread valuable in understanding the mentality that oppressess them.

  31. jayn0t
    June 26, 2011, 10:07 pm

    IJAN is another clear example of the ‘Jews against Zionism’ problem about which Gilad Atzmon has so eloquently written. They claim to reject ‘privileging Jewish voices’ and then go on to do precisely that. They condemn the ‘imperialist US-European agenda’ rather than trying to differentiate between Israeli and Western interests. They condemn ‘white racism’, though Zionism has nothing to do with it. They use the Zionist term ‘holocaust deniers’. They even complain about racism from white Jews toward less white Jews. What’s that got to do with opposing Zionism? We never had Aryans Against Apartheid. What’s this ‘Jews Against Zionism’ nonsense?

  32. Gilad
    June 27, 2011, 1:16 am

    Indeed, it is pretty amusing to see here that some of the Jewish ‘progressive’ voices here are using the exact ADL Zio tactics.

    If we for instance decide to define Zionism as an operational mode (rather than an ideological stand), then the dichotomy between Zionism and J anti Zionism collapses instantly. We are basically left with a tribal operational mode and Jewish self interest..

  33. annie
    June 27, 2011, 3:47 am

    gilad, i am curious wrt your statements about people joining a march, as i understand it was a death march. i have not studied the holocaust in detail but i have no doubt it happened even tho i do not know all the particularities. it goes against human nature to assume people would willingly walk to their deaths. what do you mean when you posit the nazis didn’t want to kill the jews? did you say that? do you posit jews joined a march because the place where they were leaving might have been worse? what exactly is all this controversy people reject wrt your ‘theories’ or speculations?

    why do you think you are such a radical figure? it doesn’t make sense for anyone to deny the holocaust actually existed i can’t even fathom you would deny it existed so what is it that makes you of all people such a lighting rod?

    i suppose i mean, what do you mean, like..in a nutshell? are you positing people were not exterminated @ auschwitz ? or what? i guess i am not comprehending why anyone would think that, if in fact you do. but if you do think that, would you be thinking it because you hate jews? (!!!!!!, hard to fathom) that in itself is not even logical. perhaps i am conceptually challenged. it’s not like anyone could just fabricate or hide millions of deaths anyway. they would have to be delusional.

    so here is what i wonder about being an observer of human nature, why and how did it all come about? i somewhat understand the psyche behind the how of a people excusing ethnic cleansing after a few years (relatively nothing) of studying palestine/israel. but wrt the holocaust there is never any realistic explanation wrt how it came down that so many people got so evil, how they bought into it. i know how israelis have bought into hatred of palestinians because i have watched the propaganda, the brainwashing. and this is rationalized and we are supposed to accept this ratioanlization. yet even pondering any rationalization wrt the holocaust is so out of bounds, it is like the end all of end alls. frankly i don’t think there is ever a rational excuse of genocide or ethnic cleansing but how is it we are supposed to rationalize it when zionists do it but if one even dares that same rationalization wrt the holocaust people go out of their minds? yet we debate i/p day in and day out on these threads w/nakba deniers amounst us but you show up and it’s verboten territory.

    it is after all the same thing, irrational acceptance of unbearable death pain and destruction. we can debate the ongoing nakba but you’re out of bounds. why is that? why does the holocaust reign when american has wiped out millions apon millions in south america, vietnam, iraq and afghanistan? and israel kills palestinians as if they were swatting flies?

    i just do not get it.

    • Gilad
      June 27, 2011, 4:47 am

      Annie, I answer below.
      
 A: gilad, i am curious wrt your statements about people joining a march, as i understand it was a death march.

      G: The statement about ‘people joining the march voluntarily’ was made by Israeli Shoa scholar Prof. Israel Gutman. You have to ask him. But I will help you as much as I can. There is a clear discrepancy between the initial Nazi ‘Jew free zone’ and the march of thousands of Jewish prisoners into the motherland at the end of the war. The Zionist narrative doesn’t offer an explanation.
      The historical question is simple. Why a defeated army carries thousands of physically broken inmates back to the motherland?
      Do you have an answer? Can anyone offer an answer?
      There is no doubt that the march took place and there also no doubt that many inmates perished along the march. Yet the title ‘death march’ was given in retrospective and it is anachronistically ludicrous to asses the historical role of an event solely through its outcome.

      A: what do you mean whn you posit the Nazis didn’t want to kill the Jews? Did you say that?

      G: As a general practice you better read my own words rather than following what other say on ‘my behalf’. I think that Pessah has been exposed above for misquoting deliberately. I am used to it by now, but cannot waste time on it.

      A: do you posit Jews joined a march because the place where they were leaving might have been worse? What exactly is this entire controversy people reject wart your ‘theories’ or speculations?

      G: Again not me, it is Guttmann who says that they joined voluntarily. It may as well be possible that many of them didn’t want to wait for the red army. But here is a very interesting twist. As we know, typhus was spreading in the camps at the time. The German army didn’t have the means to deal with it. According to some revisionist some German generals decided to quarantine the disease and move the prisoners to the West with the hope that British and American would be able to deal with it (such a reading if correct would actually make the march into a humanitarian effort). It may as well be possible that the prisoners also followed the same logic. This makes sense to me, what about you?

      A: why do you think you are such a radical figure?

      G: I don’t see myself as a radical figure. As far as I can see, and MB mentioned it, most people on this thread actually support me. It is clearly 4 people who identify politically as Jews who oppose me. I may be a radical figure within Jewish discourse. However, m y concerts and talks are always full with pretty ordinary people and this includes many Jews and Israelis..

      A: it doesn’t make sense for anyone to deny the holocaust actually existed I can’t even fathom you would deny it existed so what is it that makes you of all people such a lighting rod?

      G: I do not know how to address it, if you find my denial statement please share it with the rest of us. I believe that history should be discussed openly, this refers to the Holocaust, Nakba, Holodmor and so on.

      A: i suppose i mean, what do you mean, like..in a nutshell? are you positing people were not exterminated @ auschwitz ? or what?

      G: I do not have any doubt that people died in Auschwitz and many of them, but I do find it very disturbing that we cannot discuss this issues freely. There are some complications with the traditional Holocaust narrative. I cannot accept that these difficulties cannot be discussed in the open !!!

      A: I guess i do not comprehend why anyone would think that, if in fact you do. But if you do think that, would you be thinking it because you hate Jews? (! hard to fathom) that in itself is not even logical. perhaps i am conceptually challenged. it’s not like anyone could just fabricate or hide millions of deaths anyway. they would have to be delusional.

      G: Again it is even embarrassing to address such a question. I am obviously married to a Jew, in my band I ve 2 Jews. Many of my supporters are Jews. I do not have problem with Jews or Judaism but I have a serious problem with Jewish ideology (choseness), and Zionism is just one symptom of this ideology.

      A: so here is what i wonder about being an observer of human nature, why and how did it all come about? i somewhat understand the psyche behind the how of a people excusing ethnic cleansing after a few years (relatively nothing) of studying palestine/israel. but wrt the holocaust there is never any realistic explanation wrt how it came down that so many people got so evil, how they bought into it. i know how israelis have bought into hatred of palestinians because i have watched the propaganda, the brainwashing.the crime against

      G: Actually, I think think that from some different perspectives Israel is worse than Nazi Germany, for Israel is a democracy. And the crime against the Pls lasts for much longer than the Nazi crime against the Jews.

      A: why does the holocaust reign when american has wiped out millions apon millions in south america, vietnam, iraq and afghanistan? and israel kills palestinians as if they were swatting flies?

      G: Exactly, because we are treating the H as a religion rather than attempting to internalize the ethical meaning of that historical chapter. We are stuck in a binary world of ‘goddies’ and ‘baddies’, and we are somehow , always the goodies.

      • annie
        June 27, 2011, 12:55 pm

        thanks for your response to my queries

        treating the H as a religion rather than attempting to internalize the ethical meaning of that historical chapter.

        my hunch is that the holocaust for many has not moved into ‘history’, it is still part of ‘our time’ or ‘our age’, it is still very ‘living’. it is in the presumed self interests of some people to keep it ‘alive’ and this cannot (and i posit, will not) be sustained.

      • Citizen
        June 28, 2011, 10:15 am

        Well yes, duh, annie; that’s why a number of key Israeli leaders and their fellow traveler leaders in the west say, “It’s 1938.” And yet we all know that it’s 2011. Even Frum’s term a la PNAC “the Axis of Evil” slickly conjured up the past as if it is the present.

  34. annie
    June 27, 2011, 4:26 am

    He certainly embodies the Jewish-progressive school of thought: a unique mixture of righteousness, charming self-love, mixed together with some deep intolerance towards other people’s belief systems.

    no, you are not getting it here gilad. it isn’t fair to categorize secular people as “intolerance towards other people’s belief systems” when those ‘other people’ are religious and believe in god giving land and virgin marys etc etc. it just isn’t. i don’t believe that crap and i think i am very tolerant. weiss shows no more deference wrt judaism than he shows towards islam or christianity (aside from his pedophilia smear but anyone who reads failed messiah knows damn well judaism has as many pedophiles as the catholic church). and he was right saying I end up in the end inevitably and predictably at some site trashing Jewish religion because it is set up like a trap. damned if you do or damned if you don’t for us seculars.

    you quoted weiss: Jews is: a sense of difference, yes, inevitably of elite identity, that’s part of Jewish history and one I struggle with.

    news flash, i am not jewish but i grew up w/an ‘elite’ identity. this is neither rare or jewish, in fact i brought up my son instilling in him he was special because he is. i was raised thinking i was special, this is normal. it is also normal to look out for ones self interests and ones self interest , in fact ones survival, is deeply intertwined with ones integration into society. you can’t expect to survive as an individual or as a society by ostracizing yourself from the rest of mankind. when people who are part of your tribe are ethnically cleansing others it is bad for your survival. this is a no brainer.

    so he sees it happening and of course it is natural to become involved for multi purposes. that doesn’t make it righteousness, charming self-love, mixed together with some deep intolerance towards other people, it makes it smart and compassionate.

    any NORMAL person would worry about ones tribe if that tribe was committing atrocities. so this whole thing about ‘self interest’ is not at the exclusion of others, it is about the inclusion of others. like the others outside ones tribe.

    • Gilad
      June 27, 2011, 5:00 am

      Annie, to start with Weiss admitted in the first paragraph of this post:
      “Though I regret my flip comment calling the Catholic church the church of pedophilia, apologies.”
      My comment about Weiss was referring to this statement about the Catholic church. He was once again brave enough to apologize and I totally respect it.

      Also the fact that one performs disrespect towards many churches doesn’t make one more tolerant..

      Whether self interest entails exclusion of others is an open question. Clearly those who operate here under a Jewish banner believe that excluding me is the way forward. I guess that this is how they interpret their Jewish interest. As we know different people have different interests and this applies also to Jews.

      Also, specialness is not a problem as long as it is not celebrated on the expense of others..

      • annie
        June 27, 2011, 12:45 pm

        Whether self interest entails exclusion of others is an open question.

        yes, i guess it does depending on the person. i can only say that from my own experience whatever self interest weiss has i have always felt welcome in this conversation and encouraged to be part of it. i completely agree with you about celebration at the expense of others. whether it is around the idea of specialness or self interest it should not be at the expense of others but to raise up everyone.

        no one is free unless everyone is, that is in my self interest.

      • Citizen
        June 28, 2011, 10:21 am

        Yes, annie, and don’t forget the best of intentions often go astray; doesn’t that saying sometimes apply to treating somebody or some group as “special?” I know mom’s who in later years finally agreed that they had treated their kid(s) too special. We’re of course all familiar with the term “spoiled brat.”

    • MRW
      June 27, 2011, 9:33 pm

      Annie,

      any NORMAL person would worry about ones tribe if that tribe was committing atrocities. so this whole thing about ‘self interest’ is not at the exclusion of others, it is about the inclusion of others. like the others outside ones tribe.

      Since this is the end of the thread and no one is following it, really, except a few, I have another two cents to add. I won’t be long, I hope, but it’s interesting to me, and clarifying.

      Three uses of the word “tribe” in the past week arrived all together: another confirmed “uncontacted” tribe in Brazil, Yves Smith’s brilliant, moral, and sobering takedown of WaPo’s Economic and Domestic Policy journo Ezra Klein’s piece “What ‘Inside Job’ got wrong,” and here.

      The first group sticks to itself and doesn’t ask the outside world to help them or go to bat for them. A genuine tribe. Self-sufficient. With its own rules of engagement.

      In the little uproar Smith’s original takedown has since caused, Smith admitted that she was gregw571 in the original Klein WaPo comments. Her takedown at the link above really gets into it–which she calls “a cold, bloodyminded look at the excuses made for malfeasance in our elites”–but a portion of her WaPo comment will suffice here because it mentions the financial and political tribes who insist on the purity of their tribalism and own set of rules until as we saw in 2008 they get into trouble, and then they manipulate the powers of the larger universal system to aright themselves to the detriment of everyone else at everyone else’s expense. They sure ain’t Amazonians:

      Here’s the deal, Ezra, the world in which you averted your eyes to in “Inside Job”, (and I still can’t get over the fact that it took you until June of 2011 to watch an Academy award winning documentary about the financial crisis that’s been out since December of 2010 but that’s a whole ‘nother story) is the world you write about everyday.
      .
      The perverse incentives (groupthink, peer pressure, the tribalism of DC, tribalism of Wall Street, the revolving door, regulatory capture, the go along to get along, don’t burn sources, don’t make waves, do the bidding of Wall Street because an election is coming up, don’t have a transaction tax for fear of appearing to be anti-business or anti-Wall St., don’t regulate derivatives for fear of appearing to be anti-business or anti-Wall St.) they are in play in 2011 the way they were in 04, 05,06, 07, 08, 2009, 2010. Ferguson [the filmmaker] described your world and you don’t like it. Your sources on the GOP side working to weaken financial reform, are corrupt elites.
      .
      DC is corrupt, the financial and cultural incentives are to get it wrong. The incentives are to give Mitch McConnell and the GOP a pass and let them kill financial reform before it can ever get off the ground.
      .
      Ferguson got it exactly right about your beat, Ezra. You are wrong.

      Then I come here, and the definition of tribalism is so indistinct. It’s whatever you want it to be this decade with the same older-decade taboo goalposts that the Other can’t trespass, touch, or even discuss without wails going up. Except now it’s Thoroughly Modern Millie. It has a military stoked to act with impunity. It performs land grabs in the name of the tribe, and fuck you if you object, we deserve it, look what we had to go through to get here. Amazonian in reach, but not in character.

      I think we ought to go back to the real definition of tribe that describes a group that exists outside the state and remains self-sufficient unto itself, and call it something else when it slips on a political casing and morphs into a battering ram that uses its differentness (or uniqueness) as a weapon within the larger universal system with whatever reasons it deduces will work.

      • annie
        June 28, 2011, 12:03 am

        brilliant post MRW. wow. loved the brazilian take on things. brilliant, everything.

      • RoHa
        June 28, 2011, 12:11 am

        “call it something else when it slips on a political casing and morphs into a battering ram that uses its differentness (or uniqueness) as a weapon within the larger universal system with whatever reasons it deduces will work.”

        We could call it a “gang”, as in “gangster”.

      • Danaa
        June 28, 2011, 1:20 am

        Very interesting comparisons, MRW. You tied it all together real well. Though to be fair, Gilad’s take on “the tribe” does add an interesting perspective (a set of them, actually) if one can pull it all out of all the chafe out there on this thread.

        My take is that America, by virtue of its openness to input, heterogeneous system, and somewhat innocent nature has been wide open to exploitation by tribal units, focused in their intent. Be they wall street or Corporatics or The Lobby. America, the state entity, a diffuse republic that relinquished tribalism at the onset, was left with no solid, unified tradition to put up as defense, so what resistance is offered is too easily pushed aside by determined forces of all sorts, ruthless in pursuit of their own self-interest. And that is sad, and undeserved – because the best in America is what may doom its system in the end.

        The spectacle of decline we are all witness to is made all the worse by one foreign power – Israel – that figured out how to maneuver within the system to bend it to its own ends. Were it a benign power it would be one thing. But Israel is not benign – there’s a malignancy that preys on it, because it refused to come to terms with its beginnings. As Israel descends into its own brand of a fascist theocracy – as it is well on its way to doing – it will – through the many tentacles it dug into the American system of governance – drag much down much with it, hastening a process already underway. Thus will the worst of tribalism become manifest.

        I hope they leave that Amazonian tribe well enough alone….

      • Citizen
        June 28, 2011, 10:24 am

        Danaa, I agree with your assessment and projection.

      • MRW
        June 28, 2011, 12:38 pm

        Thank you Annie, RoHa, Danaa, and Citizen. I thought I was adding a takeaway to a dead thread and I wake up to see it’s exploded again.

        First. Absolutely. Leave the Amazonian tribes alone. The Brazilians used special BBC zoom cameras four months ago to film from the air to prove to the illegal loggers, poachers, and other governments that these tribes really existed. The film provoked a good initial response.

        Second. Danaa. Your penultimate paragraph got me thinking again. Something went twing. I can do a whizz-bang hedgehog (a la Dan Gardner Future Babble) response or assertion that it’s definitely X, which I do more often than I should here, or I can think about it a little longer, which I prefer. End of thread and all. But you definitely put your finger on something that intrigues me. It’s a small small thing: it’s like being out in the Sahara and changing the 5,000 km sign that points to Moscow about 10 inches so that the next shmuck who uses it winds up going someplace else.

        Just can’t do it now. I’m working.

      • MRW
        June 29, 2011, 3:21 pm

        Danaa,

        In short, in case you don’t have time to read the whole thing: I maintain Israel has adopted Russia’s Mother Russia concept and has adopted its fascist ways. How else to explain the concept of hurting Israel, delegitimizing her, causing her pain. Look what you’re doing to Israel. And in other words—this is so ironic—communism/socialism finally comes to America after decades of fighting the Cold War, by virtue of its annealed support for Israel, and our Congress doesn’t realize it’s being had. (Proof? Across the board thinking. How we let the bankers off in 2008 was no different than Anatoly severely fucking up production through his own fault and causing deaths at a nickel factory under communist rule in Siberia. His boss sends him home with a case of vodka, ‘you go fuck the wife, you’ll feel better’. Can’t get fired, not a chance. )

        Here’s my thinking, and I’m doing this on the fly because I promised, not because I’m taking a long time to make it read better.

        The 2010 Herzliya Conference had a position paper about Russian immigrants in Israel. 79% of all immigrants in the past 20 years are Former Soviet Uion (FSU), around 1.2 million. Of that, about 500,000 are not considered Jewish enough to be considered Jewish. 18% of the total (if I remember correctly) are Christians (a la Avrum Burg’s doing). Today, the majority are over 45. Many of them were scientists or highly skilled in technical fields, in other words: bright, highly educated, and articulate.

        These Russians brought their political ecology with them to Israel, and their concept of Mother Russia. Unbeknownst to North Americans, and most Europeans, Mother Russia is a concept that goes to the core of the Russian soul. You can’t compare anything that happens in Russia to America; there’s no brain comparison, not a shred, you have to have grown up with it and I was. Russia is so huge (from Seattle to Tehran in distance) that it is only the concept of Mother Russia that unites them, for which they will pine, for which they will sacrifice (witness the tremendous sacrifices of WWII), for which they will protect. Mother Russia takes precedence over political parties or religion. You are tied to others through your village, your area, not your political party or your religion, synagogue, mosque, or church. Mother Russia is related to the land, It’s why Putin got elected. He would take care of her after the horrors of the 90s and throw the bastards out. Who gives a shit if he’s tough?

        For 200 years before 1918, St. Petersburg was the capital of Russia. Many of the beautiful pastel and white buildings are decorated with Fasces, the symbol of Roman governance and empire: the bundle of rods wrapped with cord and holding an axe (the thing that gets you if you step out of line): fascism. Fascism maintains right and wrong are just matters of opinion, therefore the government must do whatever appears necessary, no exceptions, to secure the security and peace, right? It was the government of ‘freedom’ before the socialists took over (Russia went from feudalism to socialism overnight). And many Russians pined for it as well as representative of anti-communist. I know because I heard them say it when I was there. They just wanted a benevolent dictator, not a mean one.

        That’s what got hauled to Israel and changed its national character starting in the 90s. It’s also what has infected the right-wing Lobby here, and no one is pointing it out for fear of being labeled anti-semitic or, these days, hurting (Mother) Israel. It’s been such an easy sell in Israel. I’ve watched this for 10 years. In the 90s it was considered out-there, but now it’s mainstream. And our shmuck Congressmen don’t even understand what they are saying yes to because they don’t know history, and see no need to study it, being invincible Americans and all with their knowledge of the world courtesy of Hollywood.

        Sorry for the disjointed feel of this, Danaa…and someone could severely take me to task for mixing up communist, anti-communist, socialist, fascism, etc. but I really don’t have the time, and it is end of thread. But maybe you can see why your penultimate paragraph resonated with me. Whether Israel was on its way there because the Russians came, I don’t know. But the Russians turned the tide.

      • Citizen
        June 29, 2011, 7:11 pm

        Thanks, MRW, your comment here on Mother Russia as viewed/felt by Russians I’ve sensed in the past and not only in relation to the Jews who left en masse to go live in Israel in more recent years, and seem to have had a big impact there in so many ways.

      • MRW
        June 29, 2011, 10:30 pm

        The other thing, too, is, Citizen, I understand the attraction of Mother Russia, and why Putin is so popular. I don’t buy that he’s this bad guy for Russia. (Which would probably provoke howls here if this thread were alive. ;-))

  35. American
    June 27, 2011, 3:54 pm

    Wow….this is an interesting thread,I would have missed it except for clicking on annie’s comment in the recent comment section.

    Just want to add my thought on Phil’s statement:

    …” yes, inevitably of elite identity, that’s part of Jewish history and one I struggle with.”….

    Some people have a ”need” for an elite identity. And when something calls elements of that elites into question –conflict occurs in that individual.
    That’s mostly what I see in Phil’s angst about Jewish elite identity. He wants to hold onto that belief but it is opposed to reality in many ways so he tries to reconcile it.

    This occurs in groups other than Jews also. But it seems more
    pronounced in Jews. My ‘impression”, because I am not a expert on Judaism, and I say ‘impression’ based on the thousands of comments I have seen from Jews and Zionist over the years, is that the root of it does originally come from the concept of “the chosen”, no matter how benign it is presented or the different ways different adherents explain the meaning of chosen people. How the Chosen morphed into other expressions and insistence on Jewish superiority out side the religious realm is not a great leap for them to have made.

    The main difference I see between the Jewish belief in their eliteness and those who hold to Anglo Saxon eliteness is with Anglo Saxons it is so assumed and self evident to them, and they believe to the world at large, they have no need to proclaim it. Whereas with Jews it is a literal crusade to maintain this identity as elite and promote themselves to the world as an elite group or culture.

    They are probably many parts to elite identity belief….one being it was ‘deliberately’ ingrained in them in their up bringing…another that totally opposite, it was so ‘assumed’ that it did not need to be taught to offspring. From what I see the Jewish upbring probably falls in the first category..that this was stressed in their upbringing.

    But this also brings up self confidence vr lack of self confidence and how those are expressed thru elitism……on one hand no need to prove it or on the hand a need to prove it especially when one has to operate out side their own culture where others don’t accept one’s claim of their eliteness.
    Or when one’s world starts “changing”…as shown in KKK and other groups reactions to civil rights and blacks.

    I would have to add also that in my observation as intelligence people mature with life experiences they, if not totally “move away” from the elite concept, at least don’t consider it something critical enough to their identity or their groups identity that they crusade to maintain recognition of it unless some it somehow threatens or they believe it threatens their actual survival to not do so.

    • Elliot
      June 28, 2011, 8:55 am

      @American:
      The main difference I see between the Jewish belief in their eliteness and those who hold to Anglo Saxon eliteness is with Anglo Saxons it is so assumed and self evident to them, and they believe to the world at large, they have no need to proclaim it. Whereas with Jews it is a literal crusade to maintain this identity as elite and promote themselves to the world as an elite group or culture.
      Fair enough.
      I see two reasons for this:
      1) Jews in Europe (and to a lesser extent, in Islam) lived under the protection of the central ruler (pope, bishop, king, lord or caliph). My understanding of this comes from Hannah Arendt. Jews needed the protection of the ruler because they had no standing among all other classes. Judaism also developed a notion of Jews as royalty among the nations. (While this is an ancient trope in Judaism, I’d love to learn if this developed into a more important self-identification, concurrent with the outside realities.)
      2) The Jewish fear of extinction latches on to the few who do survive. Jews ask themselves: who were the ones who escaped death at Auschwitz? This fear fuels the drive to distinction and Jews getting to the top.
      The elites will survive the mob/global warming/Michelle Bachmann or whatever else will swamp the masses.

      • Citizen
        June 28, 2011, 10:33 am

        But who will save the masses from Frau Bachmann, and when they go down more en masse in the longer run because they believed her, who will save anyone? That’s the time even the elite get their share of kharma, though not often enough when compared to the masses.

      • Elliot
        June 28, 2011, 1:01 pm

        That’s the time even the elite get their share of kharma, though not often enough when compared to the masses.
        Of course! What’s the point of being an elite if you can’t make sure you get less of what the masses have to deal with.

  36. Evildoer
    June 28, 2011, 5:49 am

    I have to disagree with Tom. Atzmon is not a holocaust denier. Nor is he an antisemite. He is a coward who wants to be perceived as a holocaust denier and as an antisemite by people who find such things cute, but doesn’t have the guts to be open about it, so he make halfway suggestive statements that any reasonable reader would understand exactly as what he wants them to understand, and then, when challenged, retreats behind weasel words, “they quoted me out of context,” and Bill Clinton style, “what is the meaning of the word ‘is'” type defenses. That is when he doesn’t go back and airbrushes his articles.

    For the many folks here keen on “breaking taboos,” as if being offensive is a value in itself. Just as a curiosity, did you do your mother/father? Because there’s a taboo for you. And if you think taboos are wrong, then you should go for it! Spinoza did.

    On the other hand belittling mass murder unfortunately isn’t a taboo in our societies. It’s done quite commonly by the mass media and the political establishment regarding people who don’t count. When Jews were gassed, they didn’t count. Now they do. Obviously, the right way to protest against the fact that so many other people don’t count is to argue that those dead Jews who didn’t count then should still not count now! That will show all the mass murderers of the world once and for all…that you are 12 year old.

    Annie is complaining that someone (“gate keepers,” I assume) don’t mind her talking with Nakba deniers but are offended if she dares talk to Atzmon. No need to be cross. You can talk to whoever you want, nakba deniers, holocaust deniers, IDF soldiers at checkpoints, skinheads, US senators, whatever. As far as I am concerned, you can date Alan Dershowitz. It’s all kosher. But the way it works, is that healthy people form opinion about the moral fiber of other people based on the choices the latter make (I know, this isn’t popular here, where the mark of a person is her “essence,” but out there a lot of people do do that). And whom you befriend, and how you react when certain things are said in your presence, these are choices. If you have a problem with people forming opinions about you based on your choices, you can always hide behind a pseudonym.

    But let’s return to “gate keeping.” Why would anyone, least of all me, want to shut up someone like MB, who believes apparently, as Atzmon does, that Jews had it coming, and that they were persecuted in Europe because they (we, I should say) sucked, you know, all these high society, powerful rich Jews who filled the shtetl, or like my grandfather, the positively terrorizing traveling salesman that oppressed all of Eastern Europe?

    Au contraire, MB. Talk! Share your prejudices, fantasies, defense mechanisms and your nostalgia for the (recent) time university professors could be racist (and sexist) pigs freely, without needing false internet identities (unless of course you are really a gay girl in Damascus!). As they said on Archie Bunker,”those were the days.” And while you are fellating Atzmon, get high on your imaginary analysis of “jewishness”. After all, there is a group of Jews who reached exactly that same conclusion, a 100 years ago, namely that Jews sucked so bad they were giving Europe an infection, so they had to be kicked out of Europe and totally remade so they can learn to be just like white Christians. These Jews called themselves “Zionists.” Atzmon is always shocked to find out that Zionists are cool about him. Of course they would be. I mean, if I came out with the brilliant strategy of fighting Zionism by promoting its racist worldview, I could probably have gotten it funded by the David Project.

    On the other hand, I am really intrigued to know that MB and friends find the ideas that he fantasize that Jews have “so alienating to non Jews.” If an idea alienates you, MB, it cannot be totally bad. I promise to consider more closely that I might have been chosen to alienate you.

    • Shmuel
      June 28, 2011, 8:45 am

      Thanks, Evildoer.

    • annie
      June 28, 2011, 8:53 am

      evildoer, just to refresh your memory

      so do me a favor and don’t take my words and use them out of context, ever. thanks.

      i remember when phil published wj and avi said he wasn’t going to post here anymore, ever, which is like absurd. we have nakba deniers that post here every day. every single day. so please spare us this “an environement that was supposed to be progressive” because there’s hella lot that goes on here that is far far from progressive. we even have self defined progressives who think a certain amount of ethnic cleansing is necessary. there’s a big difference between agreeing with someone and debating them or engaging them and the site policy here is we do have different voices.

      Annie is complaining that someone (“gate keepers,” I assume) don’t mind her talking with Nakba deniers but are offended if she dares talk to Atzmon.

      no, i wasn’t complaining i was informing.

      No need to be cross.

      cross? who’s cross?

      You can talk to whoever you want, nakba deniers, holocaust deniers, IDF soldiers at checkpoints, skinheads, US senators, whatever.

      thanks for the reminder, or was that permission granted?

      But the way it works, is that healthy people form opinion about the moral fiber of other people based on the choices the latter make

      healthy? amusing framing evilboy. isn’t what you mean to say “But the way it works, is that healthy people form opinion about the moral fiber of other people based on the choices the latter make and then proceed to shun them if they don’t pass your mustard“. instead you make some reference to befriending. perhaps your reading comprehension isn’t up to speed. go check out the bolded section in the blockquote at the beginning of this comment.

      how you react when certain things are said in your presence, these are choices.

      no shit shylock. are you giving me some parental lecture? is this some joke?

      If you have a problem with people forming opinions about you based on your choices, you can always hide behind a pseudonym.

      no, i do not have a problem with people forming opinions about me, not in the least. i explained to tom he should try it without taking my words out of context, apparently you have a problem w/that or perhaps you’re afflicted w/the same malady/crutch. if you want to form an opinion about me have at it, i could care less, sorta like you not caring if i date dershowitz! and i am not hiding, annie is not a pseudonym it is my name and always has been.

      • Evildoer
        June 28, 2011, 9:13 am

        thanks for the reminder, or was that permission granted?

        Yes Annie, I spoke about you with the Elders and they decided to grant you permission.

      • annie
        June 28, 2011, 9:19 am

        lol, i knew it!

    • MB.
      June 28, 2011, 9:31 am

      Wow, evildoer, I am glad you got that off your chest — wow, what a wounded howl and petulant, childish shriek….actually, all those ‘acusations’ you say I levelled at ‘those nasty rich power hungry Jews’ are actually not my ideas or projections AT ALL , I read them in Amos Elon and Yuri Szelezkine, both Jewish academics…and I was actually very, very bored reading all those long, long lists THEY, two Jews, both came up with about ‘the Jews being over represented amongst Bolsheviks etc, etc., the Jews over represented in the secret services in USSR, over represented in US media etc etc ‘ Believe me, it is BORING reading yet another ‘academic’ , Jew or Gentile, going on and on and on about ‘how Jews have influenced Hollywood’ etc etc..

      I found it boring — it is just the kind of stuff David Duke goes on and on and on about…

      The only difference is Duke is cursing the Jews because they ‘have played these roles’ ( apparently) whilst Elon and Szelezkine and their numerous fans PRAISE the Jews for — supposedly — playing these roles !

      How does that work exactly?

      If you don’t beleive me, watch the Yuri Szelezkine speech in Tel Aviv I posted ( see below my post )

      So,why is it ok for Jewish scholars to mention these things they believe to be true, and they even get to be praised for it by other Jews, as Szlezkine is — but if a goy even so much as notices or reads what Jews say about other Jews — then WE are the crazed depraved anti Semites???

      Can’t you see the utter , complete, nauseating hypocricy you reveal? Really, you must be blind.

      Here, watch Szlezkine in Israel — Here is Yuri Szelezkine, in Israel, in full flow speaking about –supposedly — ‘the Jewish character/Jewish achievements in the 19th/20th century’. You’ll need to scroll forward to the 48 mins mark — the start of the meeting is in Hebrew, but Szelezkine speaks in English from 48 mins.

    • Citizen
      June 28, 2011, 10:42 am

      RE: “If an idea alienates you, then it cannot be totally bad.” Evildoer, please provide some logic and examples for this bald statement. How about the idea of sticking a 4 year old child? I heard recently that tons of beneficiaries of human trafficking find this a pleasurable experience well worth the high price–I don’t recall, was that taking place especially in Saudi Arabia? Anyway, Evildoer, tell us what is good about such an idea, because apparently a lot of people get that idea in their head and then they act on it.

    • Danaa
      June 28, 2011, 11:36 am

      Evildoer, I was wondering when you’ll show up. This however was not a reasoned argument you gave here. It was a temper tantrum.

      • Citizen
        June 28, 2011, 1:07 pm

        Seemed to me more akin to an episode of mania; it didn’t read anything like the reasoned and coherent comments from Evildoer I recall from the past.

      • Shmuel
        June 28, 2011, 3:03 pm

        This however was not a reasoned argument you gave here. It was a temper tantrum.

        What’s unreasoned about the idea of bad-boy behaviour, playing innocent, and taboo-breaking for its own sake? Sounds like a pretty reasoned argument to me. It’s why Tom got raked over the coals, although he knows what he read. It’s why Atzmon is the darling of those who get and appreciate his innuendo (and appreciate both the cover he offers and the pointers on the “who me” defence), and those who just like bad boys. But don’t mind me. I’m just another red Jew looking out for my self-interest.

      • tree
        June 28, 2011, 5:37 pm

        What’s unreasoned about the idea of bad-boy behaviour, playing innocent, and taboo-breaking for its own sake? Sounds like a pretty reasoned argument to me.

        Except that Evildoer posited that GA is NOT an anti-semite or Holocaust denier but just someone who likes to provoke a response. Nothing necessarily unreasoned about that argument, EXCEPT that the logical response then would not be to have the very response that you think GA is trying to provoke. The logical action would be not to respond at all. If you think someone is pushing your buttons you don’t logically decide to go off exactly like your buttons were pushed. That’s emotion speaking, not reason.

        Instead, Evildoer insists that GA should be shunned, which is exactly the reaction that GA is seeking to elicit. Frankly, if Evildoer personally wants to shun GA, that’s fine with me but then he seeks to intimidate others into joining in his shunning and that’s the gate-keeping. It seems to me that GA seeks to provoke to make a point and Evildoer and Tom and others keep aiding and abetting by wholeheartedly jumping in to prove that point, and at the same time managing to alienate others that disagree with their take on the propriety of shunning by turning their animus and obvious attempts at shaming towards those others. It’s not a winning strategy at this point, although it might have worked in the past or in other fora.

        And what, pray tell is so “reasoned” about this:

        On the other hand belittling mass murder unfortunately isn’t a taboo in our societies. It’s done quite commonly by the mass media and the political establishment regarding people who don’t count. When Jews were gassed, they didn’t count. Now they do. Obviously, the right way to protest against the fact that so many other people don’t count is to argue that those dead Jews who didn’t count then should still not count now!

        Total straw man argument that I would have expected you to recognize for what it is, not call it “reasoned”.

        Its the same old argument. If you don’t think that the death of millions of Jews during World War II is the ‘worst-est’ atrocity in the recent history of mankind(or perhaps ever), or if you think that the death of millions of Vietnamese, or millions of Iraqis or Rwandans or Congolese or any of the other millions of innocent people brutally killed in war was just as horrible as the death of Jews then you must, ipso facto, be saying that those dead Jews ‘don’t count’. If their deaths don’t count more than any other death, then they must not count at all. If they aren’t exceptional then they must not be worth anything at all.That’s not reasoned language. Its frankly a ridiculously unreasoned attack as well as a strangely Manichean one.

        And I have to agree with others here who think that this thread has teased out some of the more profound comments on Mondoweiss, particularly thanks to Danaa and Elliot, and others as well. This is one reason why I find the attempts at gate-keeping so intellectually stifling. Interestingly, though, and perhaps perversely, probably none of the more thought provoking and insightful comments would have occurred here if not for the rather heavy-handed attempts at gate-keeping.

      • Shmuel
        June 28, 2011, 5:53 pm

        Thanks for answering, tree. I didn’t say that all of Evildoer’s response was reasoned, just the bit I quoted (which is what I thanked him for). The rest was not particularly to my taste.

        I don’t believe that GA should be shunned, but rather ignored, which is what I have done on this thread, beyond the question of whether his presence is appropriate here and conducive to discussion. I think the chaff has far outweighed the wheat, and I would have preferred a discussion of some of these issues (and they do arise at MW), without the GA distraction and in keeping with normal moderation rules. Again, I do not see this as a case of gate-keeping. Speaking for myself (and maybe some of the lurkers), I believe that this thread has stifled rather than opened true discussion. I really wish Phil hadn’t done it.

      • Donald
        June 28, 2011, 6:25 pm

        “What’s unreasoned about the idea of bad-boy behaviour, playing innocent, and taboo-breaking for its own sake? Sounds like a pretty reasoned argument to me.”

        I agree with that. In fact, I think I said it first, way upthread. I also compared him to Robert Werdine, though the analogy isn’t exact. It’s also not worth teasing out the distinctions. Where evildoer went wrong was in picking fights with everyone who supported Gilad and assuming the worst possible motives in those who did. Not that I don’t sometimes suspect some bad anti-semitic motives at work in a few who are on the pro-Palestinian side. It’d be a miracle if there weren’t. But one shouldn’t fling that accusation at any particular individual lightly.

        I agree with tree’s complaint about “worstest” atrocities. I can remember seeing people in the NYT and the New Republic downplaying some of what was done to the Native Americans by saying it shouldn’t be compared to the Holocaust. That to me is just sick.

      • Citizen
        June 28, 2011, 6:28 pm

        I rarely, if ever, disagree with Shumel, but I do here. Shumel, are you saying Atzmon’s interview with Phil is not relevant to his (Phil’s) blog? Surely not. Then what are you saying?

      • tree
        June 28, 2011, 6:30 pm

        I guess we will have to agree to disagree then. There’s probably more chaff than wheat on most discussions here(and everywhere else in the world most likely), but remember that the wheat remains while the chaff drifts away exactly because it outweighs the chaff. Its always hard to say what could have been said but wasn’t in a thread, but to my mind there’s enough wheat here to have made it worthwhile. I definitely like the fact that Phil is willing to take risks even though he’s not always comfortable doing so.

      • Evildoer
        June 28, 2011, 10:01 pm

        Donald,

        I pick fights. And I don’t appreciate passive aggressiveness, as in talking sh*t and then playing innocent and complaining for being “attacked.”

        Also, I don’t assume the worst motives. There are far worse motives than the ones I attributed here to anybody. I assume the motives that in my opinion clearly emerge in what certain people said, which I will call as I see. If you want to argue, feel free.
        Clearly, this site has a special attraction for a certain kind of personality that is in denial about the racist structure of US society, and uses an unhealthy fascination with all things Jewish to help sustain that denial. And BTW, that isn’t “the pro-Palestinian side.” I’ve been participating in solidarity work for over a decade now and I met preciously few such people in real life. They are mostly chatterboxes.

        Finally, Tree has a reading comprehension problem, as I never said and I don’t believe the holocaust was the “worst” atrocity. I challenged that idea many times. e.g. link to dissidentvoice.org Or read this passage I wrote two years ago:

        Nazism committed horrible crimes, but these crime are not as unique as the liberal demonological catechism presents them. Horrible war crimes were committed by the allied armies as well. The crimes against humanity the Nazis committed had a unique character. But that uniqueness pertains mostly to the methods and especially to the rhetoric of mass murder. In terms of outcomes, the genocide against the Jews and the Roma was no more horrible than what Americans did to the indigenous people of North America and to the Africans they enslaved. The U.S. killed more people in Vietnam than died in Auschwitz. The U.S. (and Britain) are responsible for more deaths in Iraq than died in Auschwitz. Think about these numbers. The differences are real. I don’t mean to say that rhetoric and ideas and method don’t matter. There is a qualitative difference between taking pride in exterminating people as the Nazis did, and pretending these people aren’t dead, as the “coalition” does in Iraq. There was something particularly odious in the Nazi absence of a guilty conscience. There was something particularly odious in an industry that produces dead bodies as its main “product”, as the Nazi death machine did, compared to an industry that produces a roughly equal amount of dead bodies, but as an out-of-sight economic “externality,” the way the Western military-industrial complex does. But the difference is exaggerated by a liberal discourse that uses Nazism as a way of displacing the knowledge of its own demons.

        link to jewssansfrontieres.blogspot.com

        One can challenges the pious discourse of the holocaust in a way that is 100% respectful of its victims, without making snide, half-assed, non-committal, passive-aggressive, throw away remarks that perhaps they weren’t really victims. Because, whether you intend it or not, when you make these kinds of remarks you express an emotional affinity with the perpetrators of all massacres.

      • Donald
        June 29, 2011, 12:09 am

        Okay evildoer, I agree with most of that. I’ll let others defend their motives if anyone comes back to this thread.

        On the Holocaust, I’m puzzled at what people think must be missing in the standard narrative. Sure, there are occasional stories that are false (apparently those about lampshades, for instance) and should be corrected, but the basic picture is right–the Nazis murdered 5-6 million people for the crime of being Jewish. I agree with tree’s point and yours about not elevating the Holocaust above all other monstrous crimes, which the standard narrative does. Is that the main complaint? Or do people have something else on their minds?

      • Citizen
        June 29, 2011, 12:16 am

        I don’t disagree with anything you say in your passage from two years ago, Evildoer, and I don’t think I’ve ever said anything contrary on MW, and I don’t think I am the only one on this site with the same view. Your general diss of those who frequent MW is unwarranted. But if it makes you feel good calling everybody or most people here white racists, well then, you must feel good.

        Tell us, how did you find out about everybody’s personal life in such detail, and how did you alone remain non-rascist?

      • Shmuel
        June 29, 2011, 3:16 am

        are you saying Atzmon’s interview with Phil is not relevant to his (Phil’s) blog? Surely not. Then what are you saying?

        Citizen,

        I don’t think it was an interview. It was an article by Atzmon, in which Phil served as a prop. The subject is certainly relevant, and has been discussed here before, but the framing and figure of GA, are counterproductive, and problematic.

      • Gilad
        June 29, 2011, 4:10 am

        Shmuel
        People cannot ignore me for the same reason you failed to do so. The fact that this thread is so big is not a coincidence.

        I do not want to sound arrogant, but I may have managed to introduce a new form of criticism of J identity politics that transcends beyond ethnicity, biology and race. I elaborate on the tribal elitism that drives Zionism and Jewish anti Zionism alike. I scrutinise Jewish ideology (Jewishness) rather than ‘Jews’ (the people) or ‘Judaism’ per se.

        I also elaborate on the notion of temporality and argue that revisionism is at the heart of humanist thinking. For instance, If the Israelis may be brave enough to re-visit their crime on the Mavi Marmara last year, they probably manage to save themselves from committing a similar crime next week. The same rule applies to the Holocaust; If we re-visit the holocaust we may start to understand its meaning and stop killing Muslims in the name of ‘democracy’. For me, it is all about our capacity to visit and re-visit, to view and re-view. Our vision of the past is a key element in our perception of a better future.

        I guess that these ideas dismantle (ideologically) the School of Jewish Progressive Thought. They crash the hegemony of Jewish suffering and they also ridicule the bizarre racially oriented peace activism (Jews for peace sounds as silly as Aryans for Palestine).

        So far, I have never encountered a single argument against my body of thought. Instead, what I usually see is desperate attempts to label me as: racist, anti Semite, H denier and so on.

        I say desperate because those attempts always fall apart and actually prove everything I say about J identity politics to be truth.
        Why don’t they succeed? Why did you fail? Why was tom Pessah humiliated here exposed time after time lying misquoting out of context and even deliberately changing my words? If I am as bad as you think, why do you have to work so hard to prove it? And then, how come, no one buys you plot t out of the J circles?

        Simple, you do not have an argument. Why you do not have an argument? Because you are in the wrong. Because, as Phill Weiss admitted, it is the ‘Jewish self-interest’ that motivates you.

        As it happens, we do not need racism or anti Semitism in order to prove that there is a clear discrepancy between Jewish tribalism and humanism.

        If Progressive Jews were slightly more sophisticated they would address this issue ASAP. It may as well be possible that this thread that is moderated by Wiess is such a self reflective attempt to deal with it all. I can see Weiss somehow ‘Zigzagging’ here. He did the same it in the interview. It is not easy for him. It is indeed a very difficult dilemma. Believe me that I know how painful it is. In my journey form Zionism to humanism I also passed through the Jewish progressive slot.. , I realised that it was just another form of J elitist thinking..It wasn’t easy for me then

        I hope that by now I am pretty ordinary

      • Evildoer
        June 29, 2011, 4:14 am

        I didn’t call everybody or even most people anything. And I assure you I am not alone.

      • Evildoer
        June 29, 2011, 5:13 am

        Donald,

        I think there are things missing from the narrative, and as historians’ work continues and ideological constraints shift, our understanding of the holocaust will get richer in some ways (and poorer in others, as the passage of time makes the period less present).

        For example, one of Hilberg’s latest points was that there was a class component to survivorship, that an over reliance on survivor narratives obscure. Also, nationalism is most often uncomfortable with discussions of class differences, and the prevalence of Jewish nationalism in the research arena means that these questions get far less attention than they deserve.

        Thomas Snyder dwells on a similar issue when he notes the significant difference of survivorship rates between Eastern Jews and Western Jews, and the overwhelming silence of the Eastern Jew in holocaust representations. Given the clear picture of internal Jewish German racism towards Eastern Jews at the time, that is, again, a very uncomfortable subject of research.

        It should be needless to say that this really has nothing to do with holocaust “revisionism,” which is a matter of pseudo-scientific attempts to challenge, reduce or dismiss the moral claims of holocaust victims against their murderers. I think motivations vary and there is clearly more than one reason why people are attracted to that. But all have to do with reaction to the political usage of the holocaust. You have people who are reacting to the use of the holocaust as a justification for Zionism, and see questioning the holocaust as a way to argue against Zionism. That is particularly the case in the Middle East, and both Joseph Massad and Gilbert Achcar wrote critically about that aspect. You have people, mostly Germans, reacting to what they feel is the unfair singling out of Germany, which was punished for crimes that were, at least in key aspects, no worse than what others did. They have a point, in that the reason Germany became a symbol of evil is less the crime itself than the contingency of losing the war that was essentially a war for global domination. But that gripe is ultimately no more impressive than the Zionist gripe about “being singled out.” And finally, there is the fact that the holocaust became a component of a highly ideological and dominant liberal narrative about “Western civilization” and what makes it better and unique. And you have people reacting to that on two levels. First, you have people from outside the West reacting to that as a way of rejecting the Western claim for superiority. That is I think Ahmadinejad territory. And then you have ultra-reactionaries in the West itself who also react to that narrative because it is liberal, i.e., because it extolls the West for having rejected racism. Of course, the West hasn’t really rejected racism, except at a superficial and symbolic level. But there are certainly people who are apprehensive even about that little symbolism.

      • Citizen
        June 29, 2011, 10:02 am

        Shmuel, honesty is never a prop. Be specific about your problem with Atzmon’s framing of the interview. Thanks. PS: Are you equating Phil with the former #1 lady of the Washington Press Corps who had a mike aruptly stuck under her nose for a minute by a roving rabbi? Helen Thomas?

      • Shmuel
        June 29, 2011, 10:08 am

        honesty is never a prop. Be specific about your problem with Atzmon’s framing of the interview.

        What I meant by a prop is that Phil’s words (undoubtedly honest) were incidental to GA’s sermonising.

      • Citizen
        June 29, 2011, 10:12 am

        I for one, also agree with what Evildoer says here.

      • patm
        June 29, 2011, 11:20 am

        Citizen, Evildoer in his reply to Donald makes these two statements:

        1) “I think there are things missing from the narrative, and as historians’ work continues and ideological constraints shift, our understanding of the holocaust will get richer in some ways (and poorer in others, as the passage of time makes the period less present).”

        2) “It should be needless to say that this really has nothing to do with holocaust “revisionism,” which is a matter of pseudo-scientific attempts to challenge, reduce or dismiss the moral claims of holocaust victims against their murderers.”

        A bit over the top, this 2nd statement, I say. Arrogant sounding too. If there are “things missing from the narrative” what in blazes would he call the changes needed to rectify matters? Would they not be “revisions”?

        There is quite a bit on the web on holocaust revisionism. It appears to be a legitimate enterprise, very much concerned with free speech issues. I believe somewhere on this long thread, Gilad says he is a holocaust revisionist. He can correct me if I’m wrong.

      • Gilad
        June 29, 2011, 11:50 am

        And what is wrong with that, unlike Pessah & ilk , I didn’t alter Weiss’ words, I didn’t quote him out of context, I also asked for his consent. And yes, what he says in this interview affirms my criticism of the Jewish progressive discourse; it is Judeo-centric to the bone.
        Still it is far from being clear where is the problem.

      • tree
        June 29, 2011, 3:13 pm

        Finally, Tree has a reading comprehension problem, as I never said and I don’t believe the holocaust was the “worst” atrocity.

        No, I think it is you that have the reading comprehension problem, or perhaps it is a failure on both our parts, as I certainly could have been clearer in my meaning. I was not talking about you specifically in that paragraph but about the narrative which can not be questioned, even when those questions actually conform to the current historical knowledge. Perhaps Danaa expressed it best:

        I think the holocaust just like the “innateness” of anti-semitism are all part of a very broad narrative arc that seeks to collect vastly varying experiences under a single umbrella, with a simple, over-arching theme. Kind of like “they just all hate the Jews, what else is there to know”? one reason for the vituperative response to Gilad may be, that he stands in challenge of the narrative, by simply daring to question some of its aspects (no matter how few or marginal). That could be perceived as extremely dangerous, because, narratives – unlike religions or ideologies – can be quite fragile.

        Despite what you profess to be your reasons for following Atzmon around seeking his exclusion from polite company, it seems to me that the consequence of it is to lend support to a narrative you yourself disagree with.

        What I criticized you for is using a straw man argument to claim that Atzmon was saying that ‘dead Jews don’t count” when in fact he has said much the same as you have in your piece that you linked. Are you likewise insisting that ‘dead Jews don’t count’ when you compare the Holocaust to the deaths of millions of others? I’m sure your answer would be a resounding no.

        You simply don’t like the way that he says it, or the implication he gives to the basis for, or the consequences of, the narrative. But what I find informative, and a much more salient point, is that his “provocation”, whether passive-aggressive or not, tends to lead to more discussion on topic rather than less, whereas what you call ‘picking fights’, I call an unnecessary and bullying personal nastiness. Your “psychoanalysis” of two commenters here, besides being a pretty nasty personal attack using the hackneyed ploy of questioning their ‘manhood’, was in fact and intention an attempt, quite successful, of shutting down discussion through shaming.

        Donald,

        I agree with tree’s point and yours about not elevating the Holocaust above all other monstrous crimes, which the standard narrative does. Is that the main complaint? Or do people have something else on their minds?

        This, BTW, is also Atzmon’s point, not just mine and Evildoer’s. I would answer your question by saying that yes, the “overarching” narrative, as Danaa calls it, is the main complaint. But, for me, the emotional and nasty reaction to any questioning of the historical record is also a complaint. For example, the recent violence in Darfur, although much more current than WWII and certainly still within the period of strong political and ideological framing of its history, is subject to serious debate and discussion and no one is deemed to stand outside of humanity if they argue that some mortality figures are inflated or that many or even most of the deaths came from famine and disease. Most people don’t assume that such an argument implies that the Darfuri “don’t count” or “deserved it” , no one cries that the dead are being dishonored by questioning how they died, nor is it made illegal to question any aspect of the situation and its history. The same can not be said about the Holocaust. And this difference in treatment does result in the very elevation of the Holocaust over other atrocities that both Atzmon and Evildoer argue against. I happen to think that Evildoer’s (and Max’s and Tom’s) actions are at cross-purposes to their stated beliefs, whether they realize this or not. And BTW, unquestioned history leads to faulty history, even if the questioning is sometimes unintelligent or biased.

        (As an aside I just realized that your initials, Evildoer, and Atzmon’s are the same, so I will refer to Atzmon instead of GA from now on and refer to you as Evildoer since that is your choice of handle here.)

      • Citizen
        June 29, 2011, 7:06 pm

        Thanks, tree, for sharing these thougts; they are helpful in understanding both Atzmon and those who reacted so violently to Atzmon’s inverview of Phil here on MW.

      • Evildoer
        June 29, 2011, 9:19 pm

        Tree,

        Given that you were given ample evidence, word for word, and you can find plenty more if you wish, of exactly what the master philosopher said about the holocaust, and you think that putting the word kill in quotation marks, and suggesting that intellectual agenda of the Palestine solidarity movement should be understanding the responsibility of Jews for getting murdered by the Nazis, is the same form of engagement, and has the same political motivation, as questioning the ideological use of the holocaust for the sake of justifying Western domination and Zionism, you either can’t read, or more likely, you don’t care about what you read. Which is your prerogative. The internet is full of places where people who have no clue about something “discuss” it, and “educate” each other in various forms of nonsense, whether it is evolution, climate change, the JFK assassination, 9/11, the faking of the landing on the moon, the lizards that rule the world. So adding another meaningless discussion about how the Jews faked their own gassing to rule the world is not the worse thing that can happen in the great scheme of thing. As I see it, it’s a pointless and sick discussion, and the people who enjoy participating in it deserve each other, but I would certainly not want to deprive you of your constitutional rights to engage is such pointless and sick discussion if that is what floats your boat. I do hope, out of respect, that it doesn’t float your boat. But it’s your problem.

        On the other hand, if the holocaust really interested you you would have been aware that in fact there is an enormous amount of actual research and debate about various aspects of it, much more in fact than about Darfur, and you can join that debate any time, provided you invest what it takes to educate yourself, and you learn to recognize that, like in any field of human knowledge, the debate is structured, not a free for all. If you argue about Darfur based on disinformation produced by Israel’s foreign office, I am quite sure you will get plenty of hostile reactions from people who really care about it. And you will deserve it. Sure, there are some forms of touchiness, including legal penalties, that are problematic and reflect various ideological formations that need to be challenged, but contrary to what you believe, “challenging” them by nonsense is counterproductive. If you just want to read something off the internet on some “revisionist” site and then debate it, I won’t. This is my answer BTW, not because the holocaust is about Jews. It is the same answer I’ll give to people who read some Zionist fact sheet and then come to “debate” whether Palestinians are in fact foreign workers, as well as people who want to “debate” whether the Sanctions killed Iraqis. If someone has a genuine question about which I happen to know something, I am happy to share the knowledge. But I don’t see any value in indulging the desire to talk out of ignorance or out of a transparent political ploy. The expectation that people “debate” with you about something you have no clue about and, furthermore, refuse to spend the effort necessary to educate yourself, is presumptuous.

        Now, because working on the political question of Palestine, or indeed any political question, is work, is a goal oriented activity involving limited resources, takes time and effort, and has a real stake that involves the fate of many people, then every person invested in it has a responsibility to make good use of that investment of both themselves and, more importantly, of the people they work with. It is my opinion that discussing whether the holocaust happened, or whether Jews deserved to be murdered, should not be on that agenda, and that the people who push it on the agenda are not just wrong, but quite often saboteurs. This is my opinion, which is also the opinion of the overwhelming majority on this question. I will do my part to keep it that way, for the simple reason that I care about success. If you disagree, well, that’s why politics is contentious.

        As for the the nasty personal attacks. I stand by them, even though I would be much happier without them. Given that nasty and demeaning comments on the hidden motives of anti-Zionist Jews do not raise an eyebrow here, I see no reason why the pleasure of this type of scrutiny shouldn’t be shared more broadly. There should be enough nastiness for everyone, regardless of ethnicity or religion.

      • annie
        June 29, 2011, 9:42 pm

        Jews faked their own gassing to rule the world

        clearly i’ve been missing some of the dialogue. and this idea of ‘responsibility of Jews for getting murdered by the Nazis’ i’m not recalling. that’s about as far as i got on your longwinded post. if you don’t think this discussion has any value why do you keep posting on it? do you realize you are keeping it alive.

        check this out from just TODAY:

        WikiLeaks document on Gaza blockade puts Israel’s flotilla hasbara to shame
        by ALEX KANE on JUNE 29, 2011
        link to mondoweiss.net

        Israeli Army can’t provide evidence of flotilla’s violent plans, story unravels
        by MAX BLUMENTHAL on JUNE 29, 2011
        link to mondoweiss.net
        (includes audio recording of max interviewing iof spokesperson)

        The ‘No Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza’ Canard: From massacre myopia to blockade blindness
        by NIMA SHIRAZI on JUNE 29, 2011
        link to mondoweiss.net

        International solidarity & history in the making
        by MEDEA BENJAMIN on JUNE 29, 2011
        link to mondoweiss.net

        ‘Washington Post’ exposes absurdity of Israeli response to flotilla
        by ANNIE on JUNE 29, 2011
        link to mondoweiss.net

        ‘Peace Now’ calls on Israel to end blockade but says flotilla is playing ‘dangerous game’
        by PHILIP WEISS on JUNE 29, 2011
        link to mondoweiss.net

        those do not even include the non flotilla post from today which include seham’s Month of ‘relative calm’ –Israeli settler crimes in the month of June, phil’s UJA Federation calls on Americans to enlist with Israeli soldiers in ‘Israel Boot Camp,’ on Long Island or others.

        instead you are back dry humping this thread from 6 days ago.

        get a life evildoer.

      • Evildoer
        June 29, 2011, 9:58 pm

        I responded to a direct address. You can unsubscribe to the post if you don’t want to read. Why are you keeping posting here. Get a life.

      • Elliot
        June 29, 2011, 11:16 pm

        Given that nasty and demeaning comments on the hidden motives of anti-Zionist Jews do not raise an eyebrow here, I see no reason why the pleasure of this type of scrutiny shouldn’t be shared more broadly. There should be enough nastiness for everyone, regardless of ethnicity or religion.
        I agree with that.
        The Mondoweiss community apparently cannot escape playground dynamics that make bullying possible. Piling on is all too easy if you want to be part of the “in” crowd. When you have the morally questionable advantage of being anonymous, it can bring out really nasty behavior.
        And yes, I know that “niceness” is abused and some “nice” behavior deserves a sharp response. I have faced the demand for reciprocal niceness for outrageous statements presented as self-evident platitudes. I respond strongly to that.
        But, Evildoer has a point. He didn’t start this kind of talk and I wish we could have debate without ad hominems. There is only so much time in the day.

        And, Annie, I’m ready to move on.

      • tree
        June 30, 2011, 1:14 am

        Its OK. annie. Evildoer was, as he said, responding to my response to him and to Donald. Of course none of the things he claims were said were said here, but his response is no different than I expected from him, given his penchant for fantasy mind-reading and straw man arguments in this thread.

        He can’t use the “castration complex” ploy on me(or you for that matter), and the “penis envy” gambit is so patriarchal an online Marxist wouldn’t dare. So all he’s got is the straw man and aspersions on my intelligence and knowledge, which is essentially admitting he has no valid argument, just an attack. I don’t agree with him so therefore I must be too stupid and/or insensitive to get his point, which of course he has made with the greatest of sensitivity and intelligence.

        Its too bad, because he’s got some intelligent and important things to say when he isn’t responding badly to people he disagrees with, or trying to shame everyone else into cleaving to his concept of ideological purity. Its counterproductive on his part but I doubt he realizes it. I suppose I could play the game and quote some moth-eaten pop psychology to explain why he does it, but I’ll leave that to those who have no argument.

      • annie
        June 30, 2011, 2:17 am

        sorry to everyone for being snappy. i didn’t ‘subscribe’ to this post (i don’t subscribes to posts here, any of them) i see them when they appear in the comment column.

        someone sent me a link to a hideous diary over @ dkos today about this thread linking to another and then calling me a a jew hater and slamming the site and i was disjointed. a lot of what’s been discussed here is way over my head. i don’t understand a lot of it, haven’t read a lot of it and i don’t really care to.

        i just wish it wouldn’t go on so long. i’ll just stop reading anything from the thread. it will probably go on til next week for all i know.

      • Evildoer
        June 30, 2011, 5:41 am

        Elliot,

        Thanks, but I think you make it too simple by making it about personal dynamics. The dynamics I observed at Mondoweiss comments is a little like a kind of Red Lights Cabaret. Jews are expected to go on the lit stage and undress (that’s called self-reflection), whereas the non Jews get to sit in the darkened room and clap if you look good or boo if you’re a bit flabby. And some of them get extremely touchy over the suggestion that they might want to share the stage.

        I think it was unwise for Weiss to let this dynamics develop, but the root of it is Weiss’s decision to reflect publicly on the role of his Jewish identity in the conflict in Palestine, while excluding from self-reflection the role of his American identity. Of course, Jews are today part of the white establishment, and his attention to this aspect of contemporary American Jewish identity was long overdue. But the context of it is an American empire, built over centuries of genocide and oppression. And when you downplay that, then that encourages what you noted.

      • annie
        June 30, 2011, 7:03 am

        Jews are expected to go on the lit stage and undress …, whereas the non Jews get to sit in the darkened room and clap if you look good or boo if you’re a bit flabby. And some of them get extremely touchy over the suggestion that they might want to share the stage.

        umm. my perspective is that i don’t have a prescribed non jewish ‘identity’. i have no problem ‘sharing the stage’ but perhaps you presume we’ve been brought up w/some kind of ethnic identity that correlates with the kinda tribal identity that exists within the jewish community. i wasn’t. maybe some have but i have not. i learned some kind of osmosis-ness wrt the right kind of people but it wasn’t connected to their ethnic identity.

        the stuff i have read about recently w/the summer camps..nothing remotely resembling my indoctrination into adulthood. there’s just nothing i can relate like that. i can’t speak for others. i wasn’t raised christian just plain old mill valley secular (60’s marin hippie stuff). it was sort of a paradise. i didn’t know what ethnic identity meant. we were all just ..us. that probably sounds incredibly naive and unindoctrinated but that was my upbringing..

        as far as an american identity, what is it you want? in my own mind i am the prototypical american. i’m so immersed in my own identity i don’t recognize it. like an accent, one doesn’t recognize ones own. in unfamiliar territory i fumble along and observe. when attacked i defend. this is human nature it isn’t ethnic specific. not so sure there is a ‘balance’ here wrt each and every ethnicity because some have greater burdens to overcome.

        i find it very odd you would say Jews are expected to go on the lit stage and undress …, whereas the non Jews get to sit in the darkened room and clap etc etc but i suppose on an open (w/non jews) forum it might feel like that too if i were in your shoes. here’s the thing..i am not in a darkened room, i did not go looking for the american jewish voice, it found me. what am i supposed to do? run? do i create a past that competes? do i create maladies that compare? face it, jews of my generation were raised in the shadows of the holocaust, palestinians the nakba. there’s nothing in my past that compares to that. everything notable in my past re family goes to the civil war era and abolishionist/freedom trains. my dad and grandfather were named after ulysses grant. my mothers family owned slaves. they hung a child in their backyard. all stories i learned in my adulthood. what do you want me to put on the table because i don’t have, i wasn’t indoctrinated i was protected. i was taught we were all equal and i could be and aspire to be anyone. the world was my oyster and fear did not exist.

        what do you want from me?

      • Elliot
        June 30, 2011, 7:52 am

        Evildoer,
        I doubt that Phil would argue with you about the evils of American empire. But exploring the Jewish angle is what interests him, and it’s his blog. This is what interest me too, and that’s why I participate. I love talking through the what it means to be Jewish with Jews and non-Jews. Also, “Jewish” here stands for White privilege, empire, mindset and much more. This seems to me to be a rich vein for broad discussion. We certainly don’t seem to be running out of steam.
        I’m also interested in other topics, particularly the Palestinian perspective and other narratives that have been repressed. This is all interesting stuff.

        Clearly you know how to write and are erudite. If you want to explore the big picture of American genocide and oppression as it relates to the Middle East, why don’t you send Phil a post on that? I’d be interested in reading that.

        However, I don’t think that having your posts on the subject included on this blog, or, even having Phil and Adam write about that will fix the ad hominems and the bullying mob mentality that crop up from time to time. Seems to me just like a part of human nature.

      • Citizen
        June 30, 2011, 8:34 am

        Evildoer: What does this mean within the confines of your metaphor?

        ” And some of them get extremely touchy over the suggestion that they might want to share the stage.”

        At one time, WASPS were asked to go on the lit stage and undress, as you put it, while those annoyed and frustrated at where the WASPS took America at home and abroad were the cabaret’s customers sitting away from the kleig light.

        Please elaborate. Like annie, I didn’t grow up with any sense of my ethnic identity; the prevailing petri dish for me was the old melting pot notion. The instructions at home in childhood were to pay for my own dreams, to bring myself up by my own bootsraps. I had two large paper routes when I was 8 years old. To “be fair” was the other instruction “and don’t fight dirty.” I was in the US Army at 18, and lived there intimately with guys of every color and ethnic background; after I was discharged it became clear to me what we had in common was that we were all from low to lower middle class families, and none of us were politically connected in any way.

        Growing up, I never sent to summer camp. That was for rich boys who could be identified in the school Fall by the sailing rope burns on their arms. I was a cub scout for a short awhile but total diversity ruled there.

      • Donald
        June 30, 2011, 9:14 am

        “suggesting that intellectual agenda of the Palestine solidarity movement should be understanding the responsibility of Jews for getting murdered by the Nazis, is the same form of engagement, and has the same political motivation, as questioning the ideological use of the holocaust for the sake of justifying Western domination and Zionism, ”

        That wasn’t implied in any way by tree. However, it is something that pops up in the the comment section of mondoweiss from time to time–I saw a blatant example which was deleted some minutes later on this blog just a week or two ago. No, I can’t prove it. It was deleted. But that’s what I was thinking of when I asked this question–“I agree with tree’s point and yours about not elevating the Holocaust above all other monstrous crimes, which the standard narrative does. Is that the main complaint? Or do people have something else on their minds?”

        Furthermore, I know I’ve seen the same notion here in posts that were not deleted. There was a regular who used to appear here who vanished some time back who obviously had this notion in his head. I stopped seeing his posts after his passionate defense of David Irving and I’ve assumed he was banned.

      • Evildoer
        July 1, 2011, 4:57 am

        Annie,

        Thanks for this post. Because the thread is so old and because of time constraints I’ll be briefer that you deserve. I didn’t go to summer camp and my own personal experience of difference growing up was based on being Romanian. Ethnicity is a construct. So is any other identity term. Each identity can be experienced in a variety of ways, and these change over time and place and person. Yes, my family lived under Nazi occupation and the recollections passed to me from this experience had an impact on me. But that isn’t something everyone Jewish has, and it doesn’t mean that it had the same impact as on every other person who has a personal story about the Nazi regime. And there are plenty of Americans whose families visited hell, even if the Nazis were absent. American Jewishness is as much an American thing as a Jewish thing. All identities are hybrid, pieced together, complex, self-contradictory, layered, performative, and in flux. Some more than others. Some more consciously than others. But all are. The least I expect is that you don’t assumed to know too much about people because you know one identity that applies to them. You know something. Not much. And when someone comes up claiming that he has the key to who someone is based on one word, that you consider voicing your disagreement because that is abusive behavior.

        Another point about responsibility and culture. Putting aside economic interests and geopolitical facts (and that is putting aside a lot, because what politicians call “the American way of life” is sustained through mass murder and misery all over the globe, including within American cities, and that has to do something with the absence of a Jewish lobby in Finland.) but putting aside that and focusing only on culture. Would it be possible to dehumanize Arabs as “sand n**as” if the foundation of racism that is being evoked didn’t already exist? Does the fact that two million Americans, mostly with darker skin, rot in concentration camps where they are denied medical treatment and often die from treatable diseases, perhaps help explain the habits of mind that make it easier to ignore or rationalize the fact that two million Palestinians are locked in the “open air” prison of Gaza? When ultra right religious American Jews go to the territories, do they only revive a biblical Judaism? Do they not also revive a younger America, a romanticized American past in which murder, extermination and violence were experienced as opportunity and freedom? Aren’t the romantic idea of the cowboy, the togetherness of “circling the wagon,” the personal relation with a firearm, part of the attraction of the West Bank, part of the reason why so many of the settlers are American, and part of the reason Americans find it so easy to identify with Israelis and to consider Palestinians as inherently terrorist?

        The point is not to play hot potato with Zionism. But we have a world full of violence and oppression, and that inevitably means that we have a culture full of rationalizations and justifications for violence and oppression, and the best way to help guarantee that this violence doesn’t stop is to convince oneself that this has nothing to do with me.

      • Citizen
        July 1, 2011, 6:43 am

        Evildoer, it may also have something to do with annie that Obama is POTUS? And maybe with the notion that if the USS Liberty had been attacked by brown or black folks the incident would not have been muzzled? You want annie to lie and say she personally has acted in ways that encouraged racism or imperialism in her personal life? Why do you jump to the conclusion that annie think her political activism has nothing to do with her? That’s absurd. She’s not playing hot potato with Zionism at all–you need to click on her comments and read them all. Youthful naivety belongs to everyone. You might as well accuse her of being born to her particular family, culture, and environment and time and place. Why, maybe she’s really a Palestinian and should feel guilty for every rocket sent into Israel once she discovers that happens? If she were Palestinian, with her character and assuming her parents, she would not approve of those rockets.

      • annie
        July 1, 2011, 10:00 pm

        evildoer, your comment has a lot to it and excuse me for being thick sculled but i’m not quite sure where you are going with it. when i said i’m so immersed in my own identity i don’t recognize it. like an accent, one doesn’t recognize ones own. i didn’t mean to imply my particular ethnic american identification excluded me from the responsibility of america’s ills (past or present) because it has everything to do with me.

        not sure what you mean by ‘playing hot potato w/zionism’. do you mean discussing or criticizing it?

        When ultra right religious American Jews go to the territories, do they only revive a biblical Judaism? Do they not also revive a younger America, a romanticized American past in which murder, extermination and violence were experienced as opportunity and freedom? Aren’t the romantic idea of the cowboy, the togetherness of “circling the wagon,” the personal relation with a firearm, part of the attraction of the West Bank, part of the reason why so many of the settlers are American, and part of the reason Americans find it so easy to identify with Israelis and to consider Palestinians as inherently terrorist?

        yes, absolutely. i do not think all the american jews who become settlers do it out of religious fervor or biblical judaism, at all. i think there are plenty of rich american jews who might covet estates there simply because they can, because it is gorgeous and cheap and they do romanticize about it like someone might romanticize about having a second or third home near a volcano in hawaii.

        i think many american jews, just like myrads of other americans don’t think beyond the very surface of politics or human rights. they don’t question it any more than questioning going into iraq. but because they happen to be jewish they are targeted and conditioned to covet that land in particular. it is fashionable to a degree. and the whole conquering thing is very american. i don’t throw all jews into the same category any more than i would throw all republicans into the same category. there’s lots of americans who don’t like arabs and it has nothing to do w/their religion. they are just racist.

        but i’m not sure how that particular question applies to what i said. i wasn’t addressing zionism so much in that particular comment as i was the holocaust. i can’t recall really discussing zionism in this thread.

        personally i think most americans do not reject zionism because we’ve been conditioned for years to not really question it and to think of israel as ‘like us’ although in huge ways they are not. i very much prescribe to the theory of noura erakat in her article Constructing the prototypical terrorist in America…Guess who?.

        to me as an observer of ‘jewish identity’ there are many many aspects that identity, especially for secular jews, that have nothing to do w/religion per se. that’s my take on it. i’m can’t quite put my finger on it but it’s a part of jewish identity that has merged with an american identity the same way for example slang from the black culture has merged w/american identity. it’s a bunch of crossover stuff., but the things i said upthread about tribes and looking out for ones tribe wrt self interest still stand. i feel like i am part of a tribe, i think of this movement as a tribe. i just recognize that within my tribe there are people who have much heavier burdens to overcome than i do. it also bothers me to have people fight about it instead of examine it. i don’t like idea of shoving people out because there are not enough of us. we should be inclusive not exclusive.

        Yes, my family lived under Nazi occupation and the recollections passed to me from this experience had an impact on me. But that isn’t something everyone Jewish has, and it doesn’t mean that it had the same impact as on every other person who has a personal story about the Nazi regime.

        ok, i get that and i get that every person doesn’t freak out and go boncos and snarky and condescending and everything else in the presence radical holocaust queries. but hey, as an american i am conditioned to just not go there, ever. the idea someone could be jailed for their thoughts is strange to me tho, quite unacceptable and it does make one wonder why for that period of history exclusively? it’s natural to ask why, what could cause this, and for that someone might easily construe the responsibility was being questioned. it’s pretty easy to figure out how groups of people could be swept up in indecency and degradation living in this era we’re in right now but it’s nothing like imagining what forces were at play then, psychologically speaking and it’s a place you can’t ever really go safely outside of proscribed confines.

        thanks for addressing me politely. if you had a larger point that i missed dumb it down for me and i will try to address it.

      • MRW
        July 2, 2011, 12:09 am

        Evidoer, you’re putting one over on Annie with this:

        When ultra right religious American Jews go to the territories, do they only revive a biblical Judaism? Do they not also revive a younger America, a romanticized American past in which murder, extermination and violence were experienced as opportunity and freedom? Aren’t the romantic idea of the cowboy, the togetherness of “circling the wagon,” the personal relation with a firearm, part of the attraction of the West Bank, part of the reason why so many of the settlers are American, and part of the reason Americans find it so easy to identify with Israelis and to consider Palestinians as inherently terrorist?

        Your idea of “romanticized American past in which murder, extermination and violence were experienced as opportunity and freedom” is Hollywood-made history and your analogy does not fit the truth.

        The US created itself as a nation of laws, not men, in the 13 colonies in the 1700s. Outside the 13 colonies and a territory, the US was 75% Spanish until 1803, when the Spanish King gave the breadbasket (relabeled the Louisiana Purchase) back to France at the end of the year so Napoleon could sell it a week later to Jefferson for $15 mill. (The Spanish King hated the British; he wanted Napoleon to cream them; Napoleon need the money; Jefferson had the dough, and worked the deal.)

        But even with this purchase there was a great swath of this country that was not the US, which meant it was not protected by the Constitution or the Bill of Rights. As a matter of fact, people were never required, not then, to pledge allegiance to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, not even in the 13 colonies, which were cemented by these laws.

        They could act outside the law, but then they would be legally designated as “Outlaws.” Outlaws did not get legal protection, or access to the courts. They were Outside the Law. That’s why there were signs that said, “OUTLAW XXX Wanted: Dead or Alive.” Because if an outlaw harmed someone inside the Law, you could shoot him — all this got changed later, of course.

        The settlers you describe as romanticizing “murder, extermination and violence” as “opportunity and freedom,” this cowboy schtick, were, in fact, the outlaws in the early American West. They weren’t the Americans. They were the ones who chose not to become part of a society based on laws and instead live by their wits, and take their chances outside the law. They did it without the protection of laws that could save their lives if there was a mistake. If an outlaw harmed your property or stole from you, he or she would have to work for you to pay it back, as long as it took: they didn’t keep outlaws in jail for long — who was going to pay for that? — and you had the power of the gun to control him.

        So your analogy is as flawed as the historical knowledge of the Eastern European émigrés hired to write these Hollywood cock-ups 75 years ago.

        But don’t feel bad about not knowing this. 99% of Americans don’t. They believe Gene Autry, John Wayne, and John Ford.

      • annie
        July 2, 2011, 1:31 am

        mrw, i just realized while reading your response i misread evildoer’s text. i do think when ultra right religious American Jews go to the territories, they do it to revive a biblical Judaism. i don’t think all american jews who go to the territories are ultra right religious hence my response was directed at those who weren’t. just gangho colonial types who see an opportunity or seeking funded affordable housing.

        very interesting post of yours, i learned something. but as you stated most americans don’t know that and we are bred on an american myth and on american entitlement/exceptionalism which often segues with some of the what evildoer mentions. but i don’t see murder and extermination as an opportunity for freedom or as part of the american myth. in fact when i was growing up they never told us we genocided the indians.

        citizen, thanks

      • Citizen
        July 2, 2011, 4:39 am

        Yeah, MRW, before Hollywood, we had D W Griffith. Louis B Mayer bought the rights to distribute The Birth of a Nation in New England. With the money he made, he was able to begin his career as a producer that culminated in the creation of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios. Margaret Mitchell, who wrote Gone with the Wind, was also inspired by Griffith’s Civil War epic, which was based on The Clansman. Nothing but onward and upward for the idea that ideas with images have very narrow but long legs.

      • MRW
        July 2, 2011, 6:38 am

        Well, annie, we’ve even been lied to about the Indians. Yeah, we took their reservation land….if we could. It was plain ‘ole mano a mano, and ‘I’ll heap aspersions on you as you do on me’ kinda thing.

        But oddly enough, the Tyendinaga Mohawk (First Nation) were a different story, as were some of the other great Nation tribes that cover Canada. The Tyendinaga Mohawk straddled the current US-Canada border — still do — around The Thousand Lakes (Great Lakes) area, and at one time took up the entire NY state and a huge area straight above it into Canada. They fought as military allies of the British Crown during the American Revolution (against the French and Americans) — and many other wars for the British starting in 1722 — and when the British lost, the Brits gave up the Mohawk Valley lands in NY state to the Americans, which were promised to the Mohawk. The Brits, as a result of this blunder, promised the Tyendinaga Mohawk all sorts of land in Canada (Ontario) including the Bay of Quinte. Hundreds of thousands of acres. Then the British Loyalists from England showed up on the Bay of Quinte and absconded with it, no different than the arrogant settlers in the West Bank. So now (2011) the Tyendinaga Mohawk are down to something like 18,000 acres (don’t quote me). But the Tyendinaga Mohawk always remained loyal to the Crown. To this day, they get imperial silver sent to them from the Queen on special occasions, and one of the largest Church of England churches is on their reservation. Indian WASPs, if you will (using an American perspective).

        If you want to check your idea of what an Indian looks like, check these out. These are Tyendinaga Mohawk, first Nation Status Indians who maintain their language and culture:
        link to mbq-tmt.org
        link to mbq-tmt.org
        Pretty woo-woo, hunh. ;-) Not.

        Anyway
        The number one historical person, to this day, in the Tyendinaga Mohawk nation was Tekanawita, the Peacemaker, born in the Bay of Quinte, which is why it is so important to them. Tekanawita brought the original Five Nations Iroquois Confederacy under a constitution of peace in the 12th century. A document that they preserved and lived by before Whitey showed up.

        Here’s the kicker
        Tekanawita created the Great Law of Peace in the 12th C. I won’t go into the ins and outs of it, nor how it united the Six Nations in Canada and the US. But the US of America Founding Fathers (and the Canadian Founders) used Tekanawita’s concepts of representational government and division of governing bodies to create our founding documents, and create our government. Tekanawita was a political governing genius. That’s how impressed they were with them. How did they know about them? The British told them.

        But since this info hasn’t made it to Tel Aviv, you don’t know about this via the inserted MW talking points. They’re still talking Hollywood movies here because they are uneducated, and think some of us are too. Not.

      • MRW
        July 2, 2011, 6:51 am

        Edit this: How did they know about them? The British told them.

        To this:
        How did they know about Tekanawita’s Great Law of Peace concepts? The British told them about them, and the Tyendinaga Mohawk preserved those documents, and evidence of those conversations.

      • Citizen
        July 2, 2011, 8:39 am

        Mmmm, are those photos taken of full-blooded Mohawk Indians? Just asking. Are they really represented of “what they look like?” And always looked like too? And please give us an authoritive source for your claim the Founding Fathers gook their ideas of government from the Mohwaks. Thanks mucho!

      • MRW
        July 2, 2011, 3:57 pm

        Citizen,

        Full-blooded enough that Canada would give them Status Indian cards, which is an extremely hard card to get and is verified through birth certificates and bloodlines kept in an historical database. I have no idea if that’s what they always looked like. But few know that when they are driving through this really beautiful area between Toronto and Montreal (not the whole area, just a part around the eastern half of Lake Ontario) that they are driving through the Tyendinaga Mohawk reservation. If you look at a Google map of Rochester and Syracuse and go straight up over Lake Ontario, that’s Tyendinaga Mohawk land. Like, today. They have their own treaty agreements (300 years old) with the Canadian government so that driving through it is as seamless as driving from Springfield to Chicago. Who would know.

        As for the authoriitative documents, I saw them in their library, after I went through the massive Anglican Church that they built 200 or 300 years ago, filled with Georgian silver. They were aligned with the British Crown before the US became a country, and acted as their representatives at times, and certainly their military allies. The Canadian and US founding fathers didn’t copy Tekanawita’s form of government (we also used the Brit and French). They took the idea of representative government — everyone in the Tyendinaga Mohawk had an equal say, including women — and their division of governance (similar to our legislative, judicial, executive branches, etc). The Canadians kept the British parliamentary system (of course). We are a republic, and in the beginning still hewed to the idea that property owners had more rights. Under Tekanawita’s form of government, the people had the rights, not the leaders or the Elders, or the House of Lords and whatever the other half is under the British parliamentary system; you didn’t abdicate your rights when you elected someone to speak in your stead. So when the Brits, the French — don’t forget they were in Canada starting in the late 1400s — and the American Colonists had to deal with them (before they lost their NY land to the US) they had to appeal through their government process, their “congress,” and that’s how they learned about it. And that was going on for well over 100 years before we ever became a country.

        I was more blown away by the church. Just as I was many years ago when I went to St. John’s Newfoundland — incorporated as a city in either the late 1400s or early 1500s — and saw the original NYC St. Pat’s Cathedral. The New Yorkers copied the St. John’s version right down to the brick and molding, an exact copy. Who knew. I can’t remember but I think the St. John’s version was built 100 years before. Could have been 200 years.

      • MRW
        July 2, 2011, 4:17 pm

        Citizen,

        This history is available in the French histories of Canada (written mostly by the Jesuits), but we only speak one language of our ancestors here. We restrict our language to English. We don’t speak or read French and Spanish. So how would we know?

      • demize
        July 2, 2011, 7:14 pm

        Always interesting to read your comments MRW.

      • Evildoer
        July 2, 2011, 10:12 pm

        Annie,

        Yes, there are points that I get from your reply that make me think you misunderstood be, but my tendency to use shorthand is as responsible probably as your lack of familiarity with the topics. So don’t blame yourself. However, I’d rather not continue clarifying because that isn’t really the main issue. I don’t blame you for excluding yourself from responsibility. And this is my position as well. When I criticize Jewish infatuation with Zionism, I do so as a Jew in order precisely to make it clear that I do not exclude myself, even though I am not a Zionist. When I speak about whiteness I do so from the position that I am white. When I mention empire, I do so as someone whose material level of consumption benefits from the murders committed by the US. And that hardly means that I live up fully to my responsibility.

        What causes my exasperation and what I reacted to strongly, and I don’t retract that, even though perhaps I should have directed it more to those who did it and less to you for not seeing it, is the way quite many people here are deeply invested in brushing off anything that might implicate them. I think if you go back you can see that in most of what I said. But I’ll give you an example from what MRW did to my reply to you.

        It’s not the specifics, nor the facts that he brings, which I totally accept. Every argument presented in a sketch can be in need of tightening and completion. There are always other facts to bring in, contradiction to iron, etc. But beneath that is what animates the rhetoric. Where is the passion in the argument? For MRW, it is the desire to deny the validity of anything I said that might stain his sense of being American. In order to do that, he first has to assume that I believe that Hollywood Westerns are accurate representations of the past. That’s effectively calling me silly. Then he has to define the Americans who conquered the West, the cowboys, the settlers, the gold diggers, etc. as effectively “un-American.” (“They weren’t the Americans” he says, astonishingly) That means defining “American” history as only that aspect of American history that fits his arbitrary idea of what “American” stands for (a nation of laws). Then he has to make sure that the people who misrepresented that past are foreigners, “Eastern Europeans.” Jews, to be sure, but the important thing is that even though they lived in the US, acted in the US, used US historical material, however inaccurately, learned history from books written by Americans, participated in the US economy, appealed to an American public, for MRW they can be defined away as foreigners in order to defend his sense of what is pure about America. So much effort, and all put to work to prove that nothing I said could imply that he as an American can be implicated in either the murderous past of the American West, OR in the romanticized image of the past that plays some role in the oppression of Palestinians.

        This is just an example. This thread is full of arguments that boil down to the same motivation. That is why I think the appeal of Phil Weiss’s self-reflection to many here is that it relieves them of responsibility. He is willingly assuming all the guilt, and that provides many with the pleasure of feeling free of any. This is btw the purpose of the scapegoat in the Jewish ritual from which that is the origin of this term. And when someone challenges that division of labor, in which Jews take the blame and they take the feeling of being absolved, even victims, they get very testy. Instead of taking it as an invitation to be part of a process of change, they see it as a personal attack that anybody might say something bad about the US other that the fact that Jews are powerful.

        This is the sad and dispiriting part of it, that the moral fervor here is so often hollow at the center, because it is rooted in denial and self-defense. For me, perhaps I have too little faith, but I don’t think that this is curable through conversation. I feel the strength of this fear of being implicated as a black hole that sucks my spirit away every time I go near it. I’m sorry if that means that some of things we discussed remain hanging.

      • annie
        July 2, 2011, 11:56 pm

        I feel the strength of this fear of being implicated as a black hole that sucks my spirit away every time I go near it.

        that’s terrible, that’s horrible and i am very sorry to hear it and i mean that sincerely. i think i may have mentioned earlier i grew up w/very little fear. i was just largely unaware of pain in the world. i was happy and protected. in that sense i had an ideal childhood. it wasn’t until puberty i had even a concept of depression (others, not my own). then awareness of the outside came rushing in and it was many years, many decades before i even became aware of israel or even ever heard derogatory things about jews. i wasn’t that politically aware during all those decades as i was self involved but i knew enough. i knew the cia was bad, i knew we killed people and lied in south america. i knew we screwed over indigenous, things like that. so i have a healthy sense america is very much at fault, very much. not just the jews but all of us. being silent is a horrible crime against humanity. there’s anger all across america and bad people all across america but i guess i do believe in the power of goodness in humanity and i believe most people are good with good intentions and that goes for american too no matter what ethnicity they are.

        the conversation we started, for me, was not about zionism. i wrote something about zionism you can read it here. my main beef is not with zionism and i self identify as a non zionist not an anti zionist and i do that because my primary problem w/zionism is that it is manifested in palestine. iow i don’t really have an issue w/ethnic nationalism per se. if people want to live in a contained ethnic environment then ok. i don’t but if someone does it, whether it is on a commune or a santuary or a country as long as they don’t do it at others expense that is not my issue.

        i think it is quite probable western powers took a gamble w/israel. they saw an opportunity there to make their own footprint in the middle east so in that regard they used the jews for this purpose because they thought they had something to gain, and they still do (although they are probably more conscious they bit off more than they could chew). so the conversation about jewish identity and individual identity or american identity is a different one than a conversation about zionism, for me. unless ones identity is wrapped up in zionism and mine isn’t. that cannot be said for the jewish community whether one is a zionist or not. as a human being i know i am culpable for grief and pain in the world and that is one reason i am an activist.

        the american dream is not just an american aspiration, it embodies a human aspiration. this idea of freedom is much older than america obviously but we grabbed the mantel of it and branded it american, so be it. the cowboys, the conquering, the home on the range the wagon trains, the free land, the conflict w/the natives..it wasn’t invented in hollywood, hollywood just made images of it that fit our century but none of that is new. it’s just that something happened in the last century and is still happening wrt world and global awareness and it is in the nature of man to evolve and become more self aware although change doesn’t appear to happen swiftly normally. one problem w/zionisn and israel is it happened in the wrong century. but the story there is not new and it’s not jewish. it’s circumstance and drama with all the lead characters that could be in any era. we’ve got out religious fundies, our greedy politicians seeking power, our humanitarians and brave freedom fighters for justice, our thirst and lust for land our oppressed victims (who amongst them have brilliant courageous heroes too)..there’s nothing particularly jewish about that it just so happens it is going on right now in an era where the global community is more self aware. israel’s plans don’t stop at israel they also have a plan for the middle east just like the US has plans for the middle east and those plans do wrap around israel. so we have a timeless problem very much rooted in our time. and we are all, each and every one of us responsible and have a cross to bear. you can’t see it happening and do nothing.

        Every argument presented in a sketch can be in need of tightening and completion. There are always other facts to bring in, contradiction to iron, etc. But beneath that is what animates the rhetoric.

        well i think this is where we spun off because it was my interpretation assumptions were made about my positioning or opinion based on my decorum or push back. i entered this thread (as i recall) rejecting the ‘tightening’ of curtailing any conversation by just using a name. it was like “check mate”. one name. very much a tightening. and when you look at the way arguments are made and won it involves inching along and gaining ground and holding ground. so when someone claims to win an argument with one word, a name, an ad hominen punch, i lashed out and for that it was implicated i was having a tea party or being frivolous and i am not a frivolous person. i study human nature and generally i do not trust simple narrative although i may defer to it and accept it. because life isn’t always simple and human nature dictates we hide our flaws.

        so this has been an interesting conversation, one i wish i could continue face to face but alas that probably won’t happen but some things will probably remain just hanging.

        ciao

      • MRW
        July 3, 2011, 12:46 am

        Evildoer,

        MRW they can be defined away as foreigners in order to defend his sense of what is pure about America. No, no, no, no, no. What’s pure about America, for me, is the the raft of foreigners. That’s what I love about Manhattan. I am decidedly not an anti-immigrationist type; I don’t like the pure race concept.

        The fact remains that early talkies were written by Eastern European writers who could write English, friends of the Hungarian, Russian, and German directors giving them jobs. Movies were considered throw-aways. The silver halide film was never expected to last. You were looked down upon as a serious writer if you worked for film until they started getting film departments in universities, and the French philosophers started writing their incomprehensible treatises about the meaning of film in the 50s. Plays were the accepted art form, dahling. Books. Don’t bring being Jewish, or any religion, into this. This had to do with the hard times in between the two world wars, a huge immigrant population, and Hollywood paying better than the snobby and clubby NYC literary scene.

        Anyway, I want you to have some laffs. Watch Robert Wuhl in the HBO Special Assume the Position where he’s teaching history to NYU film students. I guarantee, absolutely guarantee, you will enjoy this, and it’s in the same spirit that I wrote all the historical stuff, although my tongue-in-cheek is someone else’s hammer. The subtitle is: The stories that made up America. And the stories America made up. Seriously, you’ll love it.
        link to video.google.com

      • Citizen
        July 3, 2011, 5:22 am

        Thanks for sharing this information, MRW; it’s extremely interesting. I found this version for kiddies (like me when it comes to your information on the natives of NY, who mostly moved to Canada):
        link to bigorrin.org

        I do think that the European Enlightenment played a part in the type of government the US Founding Fathers created. Still, I now see that the Mohawks had a highly developed form of democratic government, and it was linked to the larger Iroquois confederation. I can see why anyone would be proud to have Mohawk roots.

      • Citizen
        July 3, 2011, 5:56 am

        MRW,
        Thanks for sharing Wuhl’s video. “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend!” Great video. I consider it my birthday present; and since tomorrow is July 4th, my birthday and my nation’s birthday, I am going to send this Assume The Position video around to all my relatives and friends. Can’t thank you enough.

      • Shmuel
        July 3, 2011, 6:22 am

        Happy birthday, Citizen. Zolst leben biz hundert un tsvantsik yor!

      • Citizen
        July 3, 2011, 6:47 am

        Thanks, Shmuel, I think I’m well on my way there.

      • Citizen
        July 3, 2011, 7:11 am

        Evildoer, who the heck are you talking to? Neither annie or MRW has ever defended the culpability of America for its misdeeds; in fact, has anybody regularly on this site ever done so? There’s been plenty of us who have said, for example, that Bush Jr & Neocon Co should be tried as war criminals. And who of us has ever defended what was done to the native Americans? And which regulars here have ever denied the Shoa?
        Who here has even staunchly defended any war the US has entered into since WW2? Anybody here ever defended Jim Crow? Custer? There have been many books and articles written by Jewish Americans wrt how “the Jews”
        “invented Hollywood” and how they “created American pop culture, ” and detailing their roots in Europe. And so on. You’re wrestling with your own demons, not addressing the Mondoweissers.

      • MRW
        July 3, 2011, 8:29 pm

        Happy 21st Birthday, Citizen. ;-) And many more. ♫ ♫ ♫

      • Citizen
        July 4, 2011, 6:37 am

        Thanks, MRW! Love your notes! Music to my ears.

  37. Elliot
    June 28, 2011, 7:45 am

    Danaa –

    As you write, through emigration (of educated Israelis) and procreative abundance (of the Haredim and the settler-Orthodox), Israelis are getting deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole of anti-democracy. Secular Israelis rail against it but cannot bring themselves to move on.

    Your prescription for a positive change within (Jewish) Israel is interesting. It is telling that secular Israelis reject an alliance with secular Palestinians. Why do you think that has happened yet?

    Haredim, who previously defined themselves in opposition to Zionsim, are feeling increasingly at home with Zionist tropes: moving from the rest of the world to Israel, giving their children modern Hebrew names etc. So, Haredim and settler-Orthodox are in alliance – and the secular camp has nothing to offer to fight back.

    I think the rot at the root of all this is the secular Israeli need for a Jewish justification for Zionism. Until Jewish Israelis adopt a new identity vis-a-vis the Palestinians, they will not be able to free themselves from the Orthodox embrace.

    • Danaa
      June 28, 2011, 11:29 am

      “I think the rot at the root of all this is the secular Israeli need for a Jewish justification for Zionism. Until Jewish Israelis adopt a new identity vis-a-vis the Palestinians, they will not be able to free themselves from the Orthodox embrace.”

      Obviously, I agree with you on this. The Judaism that lies at the heart of zionist justification is like a golem; it will bubble up to devour everything else, because at its core, zionism didn’t bother to come up with alternative founding myths. Worse yet, the brand of Judaism rising in Israel is not a tolerant one, unlike the we see in the West. It’s a Judaism which defines itself by exclusion. Like many before me have said, Israel is erecting itself as a modern shtetl with a few high tech trappings and some consumer glitz. This shtetlt – or in modern parlance, a gated community – is IMO what’s leading to an ever accelerating divergence between the jewish-parochial model of Israel and universalist-Jewish models outside. I refer to that as “The great schism”. That’s why I consider threads like this, with Gilad agonistes pitted against detractors in a great battle for a winning narrative, to be a teachable moment. Some day, I’m convinced, it’ll be seen as the bellwether it is – a diaspora redefining itself as something other than a diaspora. And BTW, this may be not unlike what went on during the dawn of Christianity. many Jewish people in Babylon, Saloniki, Rome and the like started to deviate from the Israelite dogma, using Jesus as a lightning rod to secession of the souls. Centuries later, why, it all culminated in a new dogma known as the catholic church. This last one, BTW, is a just a hypothesis. I’m sure it was nothing that simple. But it’s one useful model about intra-religious schisms to hash things against.

      “It is telling that secular Israelis reject an alliance with secular Palestinians. Why do you think that has happened yet?

      That is actually easy to answer – it hasn’t become necessary yet. The seculars are still able to blind themselves to the impending realities. They read the same polls I do, they see neighborhoods being taken over, one by one, they see the bills enacted and proposed in the knesset. But they are not so desperate yet as to be willing to battle deeply held prejudices. People don’t reach across hetherto impenetrable boundaries to form new alliances unless they really do feel threatened enough to willingly cut across walls (Hadash is just a tunnel now). It’s just that it is yet as crystal clear obvious to the secular community at large that they are truly doomed unless they are willing to become more creative in their affinities. I give it a mere five years before we’ll start seeing some tentative movements in that direction – so start counting!

      • Elliot
        June 28, 2011, 1:24 pm

        Danaa –
        Amen to your analysis. I like “The Great Schism.”!
        I’ve stopped using the term “diaspora” and, instead, use “the world’s Jews”. This reverses the Zionism paradigm of center and periphery. Israel is the one which is “outside” right now and we are inside. I see the twinkling of a beginning of Israeli Jews seeing that, perhaps, maybe, who knows, the world’s Jews have got some stuff figured out that they might have missed. The next cognitive leap for them will be to see the world’s Jews as the heirs to the Jewish world the Zionists rejected in their late 19th century/early 20 century rebellion. OMHO, it’s past high time Israelis grew up and left their adolescent rebellion + resentment + dependence behind.

        As for you optimism in imminent change because of the ever-increasing presence and power of the Orthodox, I don’t see that happening any time soon. Minority rule has never been an issue in Israel and I can see the secular elite continuing to rule out of Tel Aviv. OTOH, miracles can happen. A new understanding between secular Israelis and Palestinians modeled (for the Jews) on traditional and contemporary Judaism around the world would be a refreshing breakthrough. With apologies to Amos Oz, and the Israeli diplomats who quote him, I will paraphrase the great Mr. Oz: “we, the Jews of the world are the stage and you, the Israelis, are in the audience. We invite you to get off your seats and come join us on the stage and become actors in the great drama of Jewish life.”

      • Citizen
        June 28, 2011, 2:51 pm

        I think there is much wisdom and insight in viewing the state of Israel as the new Jewish ghetto, although a significant difference is it is a nuclear-armed ghetto bristling with the most modern weapons that can reach around the world, and unlike the ghettos of old, inside its jurisdiction/controlled walls it harbors not a few paid goys to work on the religious days for the pious, but many oppressed Others. Too, unlike the old ghettos of Europe, a world superpower, not some regional royalty, is at its beck and call. I can’t help but think this is the worst of all possible worlds for everybody on earth, a reverse Pangloss POV.

  38. jayn0t
    June 28, 2011, 8:34 am

    Using psychoanalysis to delegitimize opinions you disagree with is an invalid method of debate: ‘defense mechanisms’, ‘fellating’. As opposed to ‘healthy’ people. One has to avoid the temptation to respond in kind. And you CANNOT talk to whomever you want, not even in the USA. There is one, just one, historical event which, if you have any doubt, or discuss with, or listen to, anyone who has any doubt, lefty Zios drop their masks and try to make you unemployed, etc.. Hiding behind a pseudonym is not a sign of a psychological problem, but common sense in the face of Jewish supremacy.

    • Evildoer
      June 28, 2011, 9:49 am

      Jaynot,

      let me psychoanalyze you and MB. As you know, psychoanalysis was invented by a Jew, and was even called a “Jewish science” by the Nazis, so by psychoanalyzing you and your creepy friends I am just being the kind of Jew who fits your fantasy of Jews. And this is exactly how I want to be. I aim to please.

      You and MB, unless you are a gay girl in Damascus, are white boys who grew up in the world where white privileges used to be normal and go without saying. Then, depending on your age, either the social norms changed around you, or your awareness of them changed as you grew up. White privilege still rules the world, and you still enjoy a great deal of it, but it is no longer unchallenged, and cultural norms impose on you feeling somewhat apprehensive and trapped about it. You no longer have access to the guilt-free enjoyment of your white skin privilege.

      The manifest content of your interest in this site is care for Palestinian suffering, but the latent content, of which this interest is a symptom, is the quest to regain the uncomplicated relation to the Phallus, that is to your whiteness, that you no longer have. That is why what really make you tick is discussions about Jewishness.

      In your fantasy, Jews deprived you of that enjoyment. They, the Jews, (at least all those “masked” lefty ones) promoted the “liberal” values that helped break the cultural invisibility of whiteness. They supported the civil rights movements, defended immigration, etc. But they themselves, thanks to their damned “holocaust,” got to keep the cake and eat it. They can now be part of the mainstream and enjoy the very privileges of whiteness that you are expected to feel guilty about, while they don’t need to feel guilty about because they can claim the “victim” status.

      In other words, the structure of your fantasy is that of castration. You feel that the Jews castrated you, took away your enjoyment, which they are now enjoying and you cannot. You envy their access to the Phallus, which you imagine that they have it because you want it. And you resent the Jews because they have what you desire. But since you cannot acknowledge your desire, because it is racist and socially unacceptable, “taboo,” you displace it on the Jews. That is why the word “taboo” tickles you so much. The “holocaust” taboo is a displacement of the real taboo that you want to break, but that castration prevents you from breaking, which is the taboo of enjoying your white privilege openly. That is why you obsess about the enjoyment of Jews, how they feel about themselves, how they feel about others, etc., because, in your fantasy, the Phallus is there, in the hand of the Jews, and if you fight them hard enough you can get it back.

      By the nature of US history, you are one of many, which means that smooth charlatans who can feed your castration fantasy with sophisticated cant are going to be popular for a long time to come.

      • MB.
        June 28, 2011, 10:08 am

        Evildoer, if I may say, you seem unnaturally obssessed with ‘the Jews’. You are coming up with all kinds of self centred, self important nonsense, about what you perceive to be the central role of ‘the Jews’.

        I feel sorry for you, and advise a visit to your doctor, where you can sit down and discuss your slef centred prejudices and ‘ethno centric’ fantasies together.

        And no, ‘the Jews’ do NOT run the world. Like David Duke, you seem to be projecting all kinds of central roles on ‘the Jews.’

      • Citizen
        June 28, 2011, 10:47 am

        Evildoer needs to get some Jungian awareness, not Freud’s.

      • tree
        June 28, 2011, 12:33 pm

        Shorter Evildoer: 3. You suck.

      • Antidote
        June 30, 2011, 8:54 am

        ” They, the Jews, (at least all those “masked” lefty ones) promoted the “liberal” values that helped break the cultural invisibility of whiteness. They supported the civil rights movements, defended immigration, etc. But they themselves, thanks to their damned “holocaust,” got to keep the cake and eat it.”

        The Dominican Republic was just about the only nation to offer refuge to Jews at the Evian Conference (1938).

        In 1937, DR President Trujillo wrote to AJC President Wise:

        “The Dominican people and government…expect to be able to offer a hospitable reception to that immigration of Jewish agriculturalists whom you propose to bring to my country to dedicate themselves to the land and development of industrial enterprises.”

        Trujillo wanted Jewish immigrants because they were white. Later that year, Trujillo’s troops massacred 12 000 Haitian peasants because they were black.

        source: Nicholson Baker. Human Smoke (2008)

  39. jayn0t
    June 28, 2011, 10:27 am

    This ‘Evildoer’ conforms to stereotypes, invites you to point them out, then ‘calls you out on your white privilege’ for doing so. For example, he uses left-wing politics to cover up Jewish power. If ‘white privilege’ still rules, why did the ‘white’ countries ditch white apartheid thirty years ago, but still back Jewish apartheid to the hilt?

    ‘Jews can now be part of the mainstream and enjoy the very privileges of whiteness that you are expected to feel guilty about, while they don’t need to feel guilty about because they can claim the “victim” status’. I wouldn’t put it quite like that, since I don’t think anyone needs feel guilty about anything, but that’s close to what I think.

    Evildoer thinks he is being funny saying ‘I aim to please’, meaning conforming to anti-Semitic stereotypes. I’m sorry, but if Jewish-led groups and movements oppose racism for everyone except themselves, promote white guilt, invent pseudo-scientific nonsense whenever it suits their interests, it’s not funny. It’s dishonest and dangerous.

    • Citizen
      June 28, 2011, 10:51 am

      Evildoer did aim to please himself. Pretty funny sight.

    • Evildoer
      June 28, 2011, 12:01 pm

      And just to confirm my analysis of your “Jewish” neurosis, I now notice that your avatar shows a Star of David with a phallic protrusion.

      • MB.
        June 30, 2011, 8:10 am

        Evildoer, I have to laugh,really — what are the JC/Harry’s Place headlines today by the way? Maybe our American borders can’t spot you and your kind, but I can spot your ultra right-wing London/Hackney cynical arrogant style a mile off. What a give away you are…. Oh well, ‘am yisrael chai’ and all that, evildoer…. Say hi to Jonathan Hoffman, Tony Greenstein, Stephen Pollard, Howard Jacobson and Geoffrey Alderman and all your pro Israel mates at CIF Watch for me, eh?

        Troll spotted.

        Go back to start.

      • Donald
        June 30, 2011, 2:45 pm

        MB, I think your eyesight needs checking. Evildoer is contributor to JSF, the anti-Zionist blog which identified for us the four rules of Zionist argument (we rock, they suck, you suck, we all suck) and they despise Harry’s Place.

      • tree
        June 30, 2011, 4:01 pm

        Actually, Evildoer is the author of the four rules. There are however, element in common between JSF and Harry’s Place in regards to gatekeeping. Harry’s Place is just much more broadly restrictive in that regard.

      • demize
        June 30, 2011, 4:30 pm

        You’re quite right. I posted a question there some time ago regarding Jeff Blankfort using the same moniker I do everywhere and got a similar response to the ones the anti Atzmon brigade are giving here; he is an antisemite and if you can’t see that than you are deficient.

      • Gilad
        June 30, 2011, 5:56 pm

        The differences are minor. They agree on everything to do with tribal affairs. They slightly disagree on Pls and the role of Zionism. This is really a minor internal Jewish affair. They make it look like a fundamental debate because it conveys an image of pluralism. It may as well be that they themselves believe that the differences are colossal.

        As far as I am concerned, Harry’s Place is well ahead of JSF just because it is at least coherent and open about everything. It is tribal, it is neocon, it is Zionist and exclusive. JSF and most tribal ‘progressive J poltical cells’ fall into the same old trap: they speak universal but the think tribal.

      • Citizen
        June 30, 2011, 6:20 pm

        LOL. Re: “…they speak universal but the think tribal.”
        That describes our anti-mascot here, Dick Witty.

      • Gilad
        June 30, 2011, 7:43 pm

        Tx Citizen..this is what i wrote about it when i was younger :)

        link to gilad.co.uk

        My new book will be out soon.. it digs into this identity and exposes its deceitful operational mode..

      • Donald
        June 30, 2011, 9:02 pm

        “The differences are minor. They agree on everything to do with tribal affairs. They slightly disagree on Pls and the role of Zionism. This is really a minor internal Jewish affair. ”

        Bullsh**. Take a look at what evildoer said about the Holocaust, Vietnam, Auschwitz, Zionism, etc in the June 28 10:01 PM comment above. Not at all what the Harry’s Place crowd would say. And unlike you, I don’t consider these differences trivial.

      • Gilad
        July 1, 2011, 1:05 am

        Yep, as i say: speak universal think tribal..
        In fact P Weiss provides us with an insight into this character, they act out of ‘Jewish self-interest’ Weiss Says. I guess that they also speak and write out of Jewish self-interest.

        Evildor seems to maintain the Shoa religion through a pseudo liberal text.
        Like most Jews he reduces the Shoa into a material concern (dead count in this case) but then through the back door he re-introduces the Holocaust commandments and the primacy of Jewish suffering. On the one end he says, oi vey, some other people also suffered and even lost more BUT, and HERE IS THE BIG BUT the Nazis were X, Y, Z.. I remind this strange character and yourself that after 10 years in Iraq and 1,5 million fatalities i do not detect much guilt in the USA or Britain. Also, i somehow find very little concern for the Pls plight amongst world Jewry or Israelis and this is after 63 years of state terror.

        In short, I am not impressed at all, and by the way, such a ‘liberal’ post could be posted on most Zionist site including HP. It conforms totally with Zionist H narrative.

      • Donald
        July 1, 2011, 11:50 am

        I reread it and there is a “But” in his piece because he’s pointing to a real distinction. The Nazis set out to deliberately murder Jews, whereas with US mass killings it’s more of a side effect–rather like the distinction between a serial killer who sets out to murder people for the fun of it and a bank robber who shoots people as something he needs to do to make a getaway. He then goes on to say that the moral distinction liberals make between the situations is exaggerated.

        Seems perfectly reasonable to me and it’s nothing like what a neocon would say. Not even remotely. To trivialize the distinction between evildoer and the neocons is nuts.

    • andrew r
      June 29, 2011, 11:13 pm

      Dumb sentence: “If ‘white privilege’ still rules, why did the ‘white’ countries ditch white apartheid thirty years ago, but still back Jewish apartheid to the hilt?”

      2011 – 1994 = 17 years

      Of course, that’s not what makes it dumb. A little technical mistake does not make an argument dumb. What’s dumb is the idea the colonial-settler states “ditched” apartheid at all. Last time I checked, the USA still has reservations.

      • Citizen
        June 30, 2011, 7:45 am

        andrew r, are you suggesting the native Americans should have their own state?

        That was tried, as to land of their own, in Oklahoma; if memory serves, for example, The Cherokees brought their own inter-tribal conflict there, and fought their own version of the Hatfields & McCoys wearing both butternut and union blue.

        The Rebs had a Cherokee chief who was one of the last Confederate Generals to keep fighting. Where would you like to put a native American nation?

        I’m really old, and during the course of my working life I had more black and female bosses than white male ones. Perhaps I’m unique?

      • andrew r
        June 30, 2011, 11:00 pm

        When I listen to native American activists, they aren’t demanding a state. What they want is their old way of life back, before the invading settlers.

      • andrew r
        June 30, 2011, 11:13 pm

        Say, I like how my message pointing out Gilad Atzmon is an ex-IDF soldier who served in Lebanon didn’t go through. This is a fact he’s acknowledged in public.

        link to arabnews.com

      • tree
        July 1, 2011, 2:49 am

        …pointing out Gilad Atzmon is an ex-IDF soldier who served in Lebanon

        So is Yonaton Shapira. So what is that supposed to mean? We are to ignore both Atzmon and Shapira because they both served in the IDF in Lebanon?

      • andrew r
        July 1, 2011, 4:25 pm

        That’s really for those working with Shapira to decide. If Atzmon is going to show here, the least someone can do is ask him what the hell he did in Lebanon. At the same time, I would hope any ex-IDF soldier isn’t embraced just because he grew a conscience without more scrutiny.

      • Gilad
        July 1, 2011, 8:11 pm

        Lebanon…
        the report is here
        link to gilad.co.uk

        Not exactly an IDF hero..

  40. demize
    June 28, 2011, 1:57 pm

    Just an addendum, I follow Hilarious Atzmon on twitter. I decided to make a comment to him there but searched for posts rather than users. His very name is being deployed to defame the Freedom Flotilla. A tweet is being retweeted amongst the anti flotilla mob that says and I paraphrase “noted antisemite Gilad Atzmon” supports flotilla or some such nonsense. While this may be true the use of his name as a negetive talisman by both the right and left is illuminating.

  41. demize
    June 28, 2011, 1:59 pm

    Gilad not hilarious.

  42. MB.
    June 30, 2011, 7:28 am

    Evildoer, do you write for Harry’s Place and the Jewish Chronicle?

    Thought so.

    Cover.

    Blown.

    Do not feed the trolls.

  43. jayn0t
    June 30, 2011, 9:14 am

    Andrew – Rhodesia was told to introduce majority rule by Britain, and South Africa was forced to leave the Commonwealth in 1965. From that point on, the ‘white’ countries, slowly but surely, increased the pressure on white Africans to change. The Jewish state was treated completely differently, and is still unconditionally supported. If it had been Israel that had been forced to abandon apartheid, and white apartheid was still subsidized by the USA, what would the ‘anti-racist’ left call it?

    They’d call it ‘white supremacy’. They’d point to the hypocrisy, in forcing Jews to give up the Jewish state, while allowing whites to bask in their privileges. But the opposite happened. Does the ‘anti-racist’ left call it “Jewish supremacy”, as they would, if they were consistent? They don’t, do they? The nearest they come to this is to try to make out that Jewish power is a subset of white power. This is more than logical inconsistency. It is racial discrimination – for Jews, and against white Europeans. Thus Palestinians and Western people have a common cause. The ‘anti-racists’ seek to hide this little truth. Until the left rids itself of ‘critical race theorists’ who talk about ‘white privilege’ it will fail to prevent the genocide of the Palestinians.

  44. Citizen
    June 30, 2011, 12:02 pm

    Atzmon is relevant to this thread because he delves into the ultimate explanation given by Israeli regime leaders & AIPAC as to why the US must support Israel at all costs: it’s a haven against past, present, and future inevitable anti-semitism, which they say naturally springs from the head of the goy like the snakes from Medusa’s head.

    Here’s What Atzmon said recently about that:

    “Instead of elaborating on the causes that may lead to anti Semitism, the discourse on anti Semitism is a unique chronological account that only ‘starts to tick’ as soon as an ‘anti Semitic’ event is detected. Everything prior to that is a blank slate – and so we are left, once more, none the wiser as to why people ‘turned against the Jews’ yet again.

    I’d like to suggest here, that for an academic study of anti Semitism to be scholarly and comprehensive, and if we are to even begin to understand the roots of anti Semitism, then primary attention must surely also be dedicated to the considerable body of anti-gentile views expressed within the Torah, Talmud, and within contemporary Jewish ideology and politics (Zionist and Jewish anti-Zionist alike).” link to veteranstoday.com

    I assume I don’t need to mention that the anti-semitism clock begins to tick every time somebody critizes anything at all that Israel does.

    • andrew r
      June 30, 2011, 11:29 pm

      “primary attention must surely also be dedicated to the considerable body of anti-gentile views expressed within the Torah, Talmud, and within contemporary Jewish ideology and politics (Zionist and Jewish anti-Zionist alike).”

      This would explain why historical anti-semites considered Jews a menace when they gave up their religion and attempted to assimilate into gentile society. Did I mention they gave up their religion, as in, had no Jewish education and would not know what’s in the Talmud, and they were still suspected of attempting to destroy gentile nations?

      Yet the contents of the Torah and Talmud itself are enough to explain eugenics. And the Torah was good enough to be part of the Christian holy book — why would Atzmon consider that a source of antagonism to gentiles?

      Also, he is dishonestly abusing Israel Shahak in that article. Shahak never suggested the Jewish holy texts were a cause of anti-semitism. That was not the point of his work at all. I bet Atzmon would really like this, “Modern racism (of which antisemitism is part) although caused by specific social conditions, becomes, when it gains strength, a force that in my opinion can only be described as demonic.” Isn’t the point of his writings that antisemitism is a rational reaction?

      And it figures that Max Nordau would “provide some adequate answers to questions regarding the origins of anti Semitism.” When Nordau himself detested the weakness of European Jews and wanted to shape them into Aryan supermen, albeit they’d be called Maccabean instead of Aryan.

      • Gilad
        July 1, 2011, 1:36 am

        AR: This would explain why historical anti-semites considered Jews a menace when they gave up their religion and attempted to assimilate into gentile society. Did I mention they gave up their religion, as in, had no Jewish education and would not know what’s in the Talmud, and they were still suspected of attempting to destroy gentile nations?

        G: Indeed and this is a very interesting topic that demands much attention. In short i would say that in many cases, Jewish secularism, is realised as leaving God behind, yet all the problematic symptoms of
        tribal exclusiveness remain intact. This may explains why many Progressive Jews prefer to operate in Jewish racially oriented cells (Jews for Pls, Jews for peace, Jews against Zionism and so on). MB spoke a few days ago about Elon’s Pitty Of It All, i think that you should read it and try to understand what assimilation meant for the Jews.

        AR: Yet the contents of the Torah and Talmud itself are enough to explain eugenics. And the Torah was good enough to be part of the Christian holy book — why would Atzmon consider that a source of antagonism to gentiles?

        G: It would be interesting for you to examine what Christianity took from the Torah and what it left for the Jews. There is doubt that, on the ideological level (as opposed to practice), Christians are basically (or supposed to be) Jews who love their neighbors.

        AR: Also, he is dishonestly abusing Israel Shahak in that article. Shahak never suggested the Jewish holy texts were a cause of anti-semitism. That was not the point of his work at all.

        G: Sorry, this is not in my text, you made it up. Shahak gives a very good account of the origin of East European antagonism towards Jews. He initially speaks about class struggle but then he explains it referring to the Talmud and its teaching (proximity to power and so on).

        AR: I bet Atzmon would really like this, “Modern racism (of which antisemitism is part) although caused by specific social conditions, becomes, when it gains strength, a force that in my opinion can only be described as demonic.” Isn’t the point of his writings that antisemitism is a rational reaction?

        G: So please enlighten us all and explain once and for all how do we deal with AS in case it is ‘irrational’? are we going to develop a new medical procedure for the Goyim? Should we try to convince every Goy to take a pill first thing in the morning? Don’t you think that it would be much easier to examine event historically and rationally.

        AR: And it figures that Max Nordau would “provide some adequate answers to questions regarding the origins of anti Semitism.” When Nordau himself detested the weakness of European Jews and wanted to shape them into Aryan supermen, albeit they’d be called Maccabean instead of Aryan.

        G: Indeed, many of the Zionists were romanticists. However, we don’t have to agree with Nordau’s solution but we could admit that he was critical of his people and there is nothing wrong with that (as far as i am concerned).

      • andrew r
        July 1, 2011, 3:34 am

        Just so you know Gilad, I have an extremely low bullshit tolerance. A remark along the lines of, “if we are to even begin to understand the roots of anti Semitism, then primary attention must surely also be dedicated to the considerable body of anti-gentile views expressed within the Torah, Talmud” is going to set off a red flag. When I evaluate someone’s writing, I start with the lowest common denominator and extrapolate from there. So you can’t tell me you aren’t associating Shahak with this garbage.

        Of course, you didn’t write explicitly that Shahak viewed Jewish holy texts as a source of antisemitism. All you did was suggest good research on antisemitism should go into such a topic, then a few paragraphs down mention Shahak as an example of a scholar who looked “for the root causes that may well have lead to an anti Semitic event, ideology or text.”

        Of course Shahak, as you put it, assumed “that, perhaps, anti Jewish feelings might well have root causes which could be rational, and could be explained and understood — yet not justified — in terms of causality and reason.” What he did not do was dedicate primary attention to the “considerable body of anti-gentile views expressed within the Torah, Talmud” as a way of explaining gentile antisemtism (He wrote on the Talmud for different purpose).

        Your article creates the impression that he did. All it does is paint Shahak as an accomplice to antisemitism as others have done before.

        By the way, if we are to understand Arab/Muslim hatred of the USA, maybe we should start by reading the Koran. That wouldn’t fly for 2 minutes around here. I usually don’t give the time of day to someone who suggests the Jewish holy texts can help us “understand the roots of antisemtism” anymore than someone who insists the Koran is the cause of terrorism.

      • Gilad
        July 1, 2011, 4:26 am

        Dont ve time for it now.. but her is the quote.

        “Instead of assuming that the Goyim are just a bunch of crazy blood thirsty lunatics that periodically just went mad again and again throughout history in their dislike for Jews, the scholars would rather be advised to look for the root causes that may well have lead to an anti Semitic event, ideology or text.

        Such a study then, would surely be academically and socially valuable, and I believe it would also be crucial for Jews and Israelis, so they may be enabled to understand the world they live in, and to grasp their role in it.

        Some commendable studies by Jewish academics have already been done in that area : The Jewish Century by Yuri Slezkine, The Pity Of It All by Amos Elon and Jewish History, Jewish Religion by Israel Shahak”

        The 3 authors above refer to the rationality rather than just Torah. Andrew. neither in this text or any of my writing did i justify any form of hatred including anti Semitism… Andre, I guess that English is you mother tongue.. you will have to dedicate more effort if you want to engage with me….

      • Citizen
        July 1, 2011, 6:28 am

        So andrew r of extremely low bullshit tolerance, are you an American? If so, do you think, for example, that M Bachmann’s Christian fundamentalism is just an act? And if so, if that helps her get to be POTUS, not to worry? Similarly, are you saying those folks who trace anti-semitism in part (or some more) to the story of JC’s crucifixtion imbibed at a child with mom’s milk are just full of BS?

      • Citizen
        July 1, 2011, 4:46 am

        andrew r,
        You blindly ignore that Atzmon addresses the overwhelmingly dominant narrative (used to justify, explain Jewish/Israeli exceptionalism) that anti-semitism has always and everywhere been due to the innate irrationality of the Gentiles–

        and their various
        character defects, such as sadism, jealousy, inferiority complex, ressentiment, proclivity for scapegoatism, tyranny over minorities, racism, mob conduct, ethnic chauvinism, etc.

        The exception (golden goy, righteous gentile) only proves the official and prevailing accounting of anti-semitism as a birth defect and/or mental sickness that should be in the DSM.

        It’s Atzmon’s POV that is the samizdat, and Phil & Adam’s blog here that is also samizdat.

  45. LanceThruster
    June 30, 2011, 3:05 pm

    I love Gilad Atzmon and from warm correspondences with him, consider him a true friend and teacher from whom I have learned much.

    A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house.

    • Citizen
      June 30, 2011, 8:56 pm

      Yep. LanceThruster, Gilad has tremendous moral and intellecutal character and his bravery is steadfast against all odds. He’s at the very top of Maslow’s pyramid.

  46. Gilad
    July 1, 2011, 1:07 am

    Ho, Tx both, you are very kind to me…

    • LanceThruster
      July 1, 2011, 12:03 pm

      You’re most welcome, Gilad…and thank you Citizen for the Maslow’s pyramid reference. I was totally unfamiliar with it. Very interesting, indeed (and I agree fully with your characterization btw).

  47. lysias
    July 1, 2011, 7:16 pm

    Speaking of Shabbetai Tzvi, Marc David Baer’s The Dönme: Jewish Converts, Muslim Revolutionaries, and Secular Turks is an interesting read.

  48. yrn
    July 7, 2011, 3:33 pm

    I think this Philip Weiss episode with Atzmon will be used by Atzmon as evidence and reference to critisize the progressive jews.
    I guess Philip Weiss is still a naive person, who has to do some home work when he deals with persons like Atzmon.
    The guy has an obsessed agenda and that’s his guide line.
    See how he works above with his partner MB.
    He asks the questions Atzmon wants to answer and then cuts and pastes his regular old agenda, nothing new.

    Go over to Veterans today and see his followers.
    You will be shocked what kind of anti Jewish racist comments are flying to the air and as those are his audience, they use him as the jewish anti Jew and he uses their hate to get his psychotic satisfaction.
    As comments there are moderated and deleted (that’s his cup of tea), the remains are the lowest anti Jewish spew mixed with conspiracy theories.

    Weiss and Horowitz’s site is performing an unequaled service in creating a space for discussion of the construction of Jewish identity in the post-war era, Atzmon jumps on the occasion, as he despises the Jews and especially the Jewish left.
    so he is the last one to consider talking to, as He just despises the Jews, Zionist or Anti Zionist (I guess he hates the Anti Zionist more as they try to take his credit as the Palestinian hero).
    Those days his target are the Jews and everything about it.
    Sorry Weiss was not mature enough to understand it.
    As this site has value, dealing with Atzmon, just lowered its credibility.
    I am reading the comments and can’t understand what value he brought up.

    • Gilad
      July 7, 2011, 4:59 pm

      And I thought to myself that this thread is dead by now..
      Yrn: “I think this Philip Weiss episode with Atzmon will be used by Atzmon as evidence and reference to critisize the progressive jews”
      Gilad: In fact I actually praised Weiss for being the only progressive Jew brave enough to tell the truth about Jewish self-interest… However you Yrn, actually prove anything I say about Prog Jews. Do you really believe that Prog Jews are beyond criticism? Are you really sacred? and if you are sacred, what right you have to criticise Zionists? they also believe to be sacred What makes MW different was the fact that it allowed this discussion. It popped out of the box, it drifted away from the mental shtetle you are locked in. It transcended itself beyond choseness…

      • Citizen
        July 8, 2011, 5:10 am

        Gilad, yes; yrn has his shiny name-calling substance gripped firmly in his hand, and he’s sticking to it! He’s like the monkey who got his hand stuck in the gourd. He’s trapped.

    • Citizen
      July 8, 2011, 5:02 am

      yrn, we really don’t find your slurs, your name-calling, helpful, whether it is directed at Phil, Atzmon, or the US Military veterans web site you tar-brush as jew-hating. That US veterans’ web site focuses on US foreign policy and US military veterans and current US military folks certainly have a stake in that policy. Support your slurs of those messengers. It’s not hard to imagine how you also slur the IDF veterans who participate in Breaking The Silence.

  49. yrn
    July 7, 2011, 6:52 pm

    Gilad
    What makes you think you are so special, I rea