ADL enlists city of Oakland to block Atzmon event

The Israel lobby in the San Francisco Bay Area has once again attempted to censor discussion of Zionism and the Palestine issue – this time by apparently pushing Oakland city officials to force a public event featuring the controversial Gilad Atzmon out of a city-run arts center.

gilad atzmon global march to jerusalem
 

The Israeli-born Atzmon – a world-renowned saxophonist, an outspoken critic of the lobby and all forms of Zionism , and most recently author of a book on Jewish identity politics called The Wandering Who? – was scheduled to appear on Saturday, Feb. 25 in a program of poetry, music and conversation with Dennis Bernstein, host of the Flashpoints show on Berkeley-based KPFA radio. On Feb. 6 organizers of the event, a benefit for the March 30 Global March to Jerusalem, had reserved a hall at the Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts (MCCA), a downtown Oakland facility operated by the city’s Parks and Recreation Department. The next day the organizers sent a check for the rental fee and began advertising the location.

Two weeks later, on Feb. 21, the San Francisco branch of the Anti-Defamation League issued a statement condemning the event, accusing Atzmon of “demonizing Israel, Zionism and Jewish culture and identity.” While the the ADL claimed it did “not question Atzmon’s right to speak,” it challenged city officials to “react as forcefully” to his visit as they would “if a virulently racist speaker were coming to town.” (To longtime Bay Area activists, the ADL’s pose as an opponent of racism was particularly ironic because in 1993 the District of Attorney of San Francisco released 700 pages of documents implicating the organization in a vast spying and informing operation directed at critics not only of Israel but also of apartheid South Africa.)

Two days after the ADL statement, just 48 hours before the event was to take place, the city indeed reacted forcefully, if deviously: the arts center informed organizers that it had suddenly found a “problem” with their room reservation. Claiming that it lacked “the proper permit” – although events are routinely held at the center without a special permit – they insisted that the meeting be postponed. Effectively, postponement would have meant cancellation of the event, because Atzmon, on tour to promote his book, is in the Bay Area for only a few days, but management refused to budge.

Fortunately, this maneuver didn’t succeed in killing the event. The Islamic Cultural Center of Northern California, located just a couple of blocks from the original site, had a beautiful room available, and management there courageously agreed to rent it for the evening – even after being warned that doing so would surely spark controversy. Indeed, about 20 activists from StandWithUs and other hard-core Zionist groups showed up – first at the MCCA, then at the Islamic Cultural Center – to protest, and attendance at the event was less than expected, no doubt partly because of the last-minute change of venue.

Still, both organizers and 35 or so attendees were pleased to have circumvented the attempted censorship, and everyone appeared to enjoy the program, especially the music of Atzmon and his accompanist, Daniel Raymond, and poems Bernstein read from his recently published collection Special Ed: Voices from a Hidden Classroom.

Granted, Atzmon is truly controversial, not only among ardent Zionists but even within the Palestine-solidarity community. But as the American Civil Liberties Union puts it, “The First Amendment exists precisely to protect the most offensive and controversial speech from government suppression.” In this case, Oakland officials chose to disregard the Constitution and instead collaborate with the ADL’s outrageous attempt to block a speaker simply because they don’t like what he has to say.

Organizers of the event have issued a forceful statement on the incident, under the headline “SHAME on You MCCA Management – You Dishonor Malonga Casquelourd.” Some excerpts:

Malonga Casquelourd was a world famous Congolese dancer, drummer and teacher. After spending years in Europe and New York he came here to Oakland where he played an inspirational role in developing the Congolese Dance and Drum Workshop and Alice Center for the Arts.

Malonga fought for culture, peace, and equality. He championed the preservation and development of ethnic culture against city bureaucracy wanting to gentrify Oakland. Tragically, Malonga died at age 55 in a car crash in 2003. The former Alice Center for the Arts was renamed in his honor.

A great dishonor to Malonga’s name and spirit was done this week….

We do not know if it was through bribery or threats but one way or another, ADL and its supporters corrupted the integrity of Oakland Parks and Recreation, which manages the Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts. The 1% has again demonstrated its influence and insidious power.

Shame on you, MCCA and Oakland Parks and Recreation management.

Want to comment or tell them what you think? Call Director of MCCA Darrin Hodges at 510.238.7526 or Oakland Parks Manager Karis Griffin at 510.597.5027.

Posted in American Jewish Community, Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine, US Politics

{ 230 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Newclench says:

    “We do not know if it was through bribery or threats” but that won’t stop us from insinuating that it is one of these two things. Heaven forfend it stem from principled opposition to giving a stage to a noted anti-Semite. Even having the ADL as an opponent can’t give Atzmon a hechsher.

    • All the Atzmon-haters have been summoned out in force, here and immediately below. Gilad is not a “Holocaust-denier.” How many times do you have to be told that? If you don’t like Gilad’s ideas, describe the ideas and state what you object to. Otherwise, would you please just go suck your thumb elsewhere?

    • Danaa says:

      Newclench – if you call Gilad an anti-semite please back it up. What if I were to say that it is you who is the real anti-semite, based on your commentary here, that insinuates and undermines common human values, showing jewish pewople in a very bad light. The name calling from the likes of you is really beyond the pale and should, by rights, be a banable offense.

      • This was posted today on the Monthly Review blog. I thought it was helpful in outlining Atzmon’s views (link to mrzine.monthlyreview.org):

        Not Quite “Ordinary Human Beings” –
        Anti-Imperialism and the Anti-Humanist Rhetoric of Gilad Atzmon

        Attempting to latch onto the just, vital, and growing movement in support of the Palestinian national liberation struggle, Gilad Atzmon is one of a very small and unrepresentative group of writers who have argued (in agreement with many Zionists) that there is no meaningful distinction to be made between Jews in general and Israeli atrocities. According to Atzmon, the latter are simply a manifestation of Jews’ historic relationship to gentiles, an authentic expression of an essentially racist, immoral, and anti-human “Jewish ideology.”

        Atzmon’s statements, besides distorting the history of Jews and constituting a brazen justification for centuries of anti-Jewish behavior and beliefs, also downgrade anti-Zionism to a mere front in the broader (anti-Jewish) struggle. Atzmon has specifically described Zionism not as a form of colonialism or settlerism, but as a uniquely evil ideology unlike anything else in human history. In addition to any ethical problems, this line of argumentation actually strengthens Zionism’s grip and claim to be the authentic representative of Jews. It obscures the reality that Zionism is an imperialist and colonialist enemy of Jewish people and Palestinians, as well as the Arab people generally and all those oppressed and exploited by imperialism.

        In his online attack on Moshe Machover, a Jewish Marxist and founder of the anti-Zionist group Matzpen, Atzmon states:

        Machover’s reading of Zionism is pretty trivial. ‘Israel’, he says, is a ‘settler state’. For Machover this is a necessary point of departure because it sets Zionism as a colonialist expansionist project. The reasoning behind such a lame intellectual spin is obvious. As long as Zionism is conveyed as a colonial project, Jews, as a people, should be seen as ordinary people. They are no different from the French and the English, they just happen to run their deadly colonial project in a different time.1

        For Atzmon, such views are “pretty trivial” and “lame” because he holds that Jews are in fact radically different from the French and the English. Of the many quotes we could provide in this regard, here is a small sampling:2

        In order to understand Israel’s unique condition we must ask, “who are the Jews? What is Judaism and what is Jewishness?”3

        Zionism is a continuation of Jewish ideology4

        The never-ending robbery of Palestine by Israel in the name of the Jewish people establishes a devastating spiritual, ideological, cultural and, obviously, practical continuum between the Judaic Bible and the Zionist project. The crux of the matter is simple yet disturbing: Israel and Zionism are both successful political systems that put into devastating practice the plunder promised by the Judaic God in the Judaic holy scriptures.5

        Sadly, we have to admit that hate-ridden plunder of other people’s possessions made it into the Jewish political discourse both on the left and right . The Jewish nationalist would rob Palestine in the name of the right of self-determination, the Jewish progressive is there to rob the ruling class and even international capital in the name of world working class revolution.6

        Were Jewish Marxists and cosmopolitans open to the notion of brotherhood, they would have given up on their unique, exclusive banners and become ordinary human beings like the rest of us.7

        I do not consider the Jews to be a race, and yet it is obvious that ‘Jewishness’ clearly involves an ethno-centric and racially supremacist, exclusivist point of view that is based on a sense of Jewish ‘chosen-ness’.8

        At the most, Israel has managed to mimic some of the appearances of a Western civilisation, but it has clearly failed to internalise the meaning of tolerance and freedom. This should not take us by surprise: Israel defines itself as a Jewish state, and Jewishness is, sadly enough, inherently intolerant; indeed, it may be argued that Jewish intolerance is as old as the Jews themselves.9

        Israel and Zionism then, has proved to be a short lived dream. It was initiated to civilise Jewish life, and to dismantle the Jewish self-destructive mode. It was there to move the Jew into the post-herem10 phase. It vowed to make the Jew into a productive being. But as things turned out, neither the Zionists nor the ‘anti Zionists’ managed to drift away from the disastrous herem culture. It seems that the entire world of Jewish identity politics is a matrix of herems and exclusion strategies. In order to be ‘a proper Jew’, all you have to do is to point out whom you oppose, hate, exclude or boycott.11

        The conclusion to such views is not difficult to draw:

        The endless trail of Jewish collective tragedies is there to teach us that Jews always pay eventually (and heavily) for Jewish power exercises. Yet, surprisingly (and tragically) enough, Jews somehow consistently fail to internalise and learn from that very lesson.12

        More precisely, commenting on the climax of State violence directed at Jews in the 1930s, most famously by Germany, but also in most other European nations, Atzmon is clear:

        The remarkable fact is they don’t understand why the world is beginning to stand against them in the same way they didn’t understand why the Europeans stood against them in the 1930s. Instead of asking why we are hated they continue to toss accusations on others.13

        Within the discourse of Jewish politics and history there is no room for causality. There is no such a thing as a former and a latter. Within the Jewish tribal discourse every narrative starts to evolve when Jewish pain establishes itself. This obviously explains why Israelis and some Jews around the world can only think as far as ‘two state solution’ within the framework of 1967 borders. It also explains why for most Jews the history of the holocaust starts in the gas chambers or with the rise of the Nazis. I have hardly seen any Israelis or Jews attempt to understand the circumstances that led to the clear resentment of Europeans towards their Jewish neighbors in the 1920′s-40′s.14

        It is, as such, not surprising that Atzmon’s work has received enthusiastic reviews by such prominent members of the racist right as former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, Kevin MacDonald of the Occidental Observer, David Icke, and Arthur Topham’s the Radical Press. It should not be surprising that Atzmon has distributed articles defending Holocaust deniers and those who write of “the Hitler we loved and why.”15 These connections ultimately serve the interests of Zionism, which seeks to conflate anti-Zionism with anti-Jewishness. Zionist agents have repeatedly attempted to ensnare and link Palestinian, Arab, and/or Muslim rights advocates to Neo-Nazism, through dirty tricks and outright lies.

        It is more surprising and disappointing, then, that a small section of the left has opted to promote Atzmon and his works. In the UK, the Socialist Workers Party promoted Atzmon for several years16 before finally breaking with him; his latest book The Wandering Who? has been published by the left-wing Zero Books (a decision that elicited a letter of protest from several Zero authors).17 In the United States, the widely-read Counterpunch website has repeatedly chosen to run articles by Atzmon. Currently, in February and March 2012, Atzmon is on tour in North America, where several of his speaking engagements are being organized by progressive anti-imperialists whom we would normally like to consider our allies.

        While perhaps well-meaning, operating under the assumption that any opposition to Zionism is to be welcomed, progressives who promote the work of Atzmon are in fact surrendering the moral high ground by encouraging a belief-system that simply mirrors that of the most racist section of Israeli society. Anti-racism is not a liability; on the contrary, it is a principle that makes our movements stronger in the long fight for a better tomorrow.

        As political activists committed to resisting colonialism and imperialism — in North America and around the world — we recognize that there can be different interpretations of history, and we welcome exploring these. Without wishing to debate the question of whether far-right and racist ideologues should be censored, or how, we see no reason for progressive people to organize events to promote their works.

        In our struggle against Zionism, racism, and all forms of colonialism and imperialism, there is no place for anti-Semitism or the vilification of Jews, Palestinians, or any people based on their religions, cultures, nationalities, ethnicity or history. At this historic junction — when the need to struggle for the liberation of Palestine is more vital than ever and the fault lines of capitalist empire are becoming more widely exposed — no anti-oppressive revolution can be built with ultra-right allies or upon foundations friendly to creeping fascism.

        1 Gilad Atzmon, “Tribal Marxism for Dummies,” originally published in June 2009, republished on his Web site on April 24, 2011.

        2 Many more quotes like these could be provided, but we assume this is enough to show that these are not out-of-context or out-of-character remarks. If not, readers may wish to peruse the section of Atzmon’s website on “Jewishness” at .

        3 Gilad Atzmon, “Tribal Marxism for Dummies,” Atlantic Free Press, July 2, 2009.

        4 Anayat Durrani, “Exposing Dangerous Myths,” Interview with Gilad Atzmon, originally published in Al-Ahram Weekly (May 19-25, 2011), republished on Atzmon’s Web site on May 19, 2011.

        5 Gilad Atzmon, “Swindler’s List: Zionist Plunder and the Judaic Bible,” Redress Information & Analysis, April 5, 2008.

        6 Ibid.

        7 Ibid.

        8 Gilad Atzmon, “An Interesting Exchange With A Jewish Anti Zionist,” Atzmon’s Web site, August 17, 2011.

        9 Gilad Atzmon, “The Herem Law in the context of Jewish Past and Present,” Atzmon’s Web site, July 16, 2011.

        10 “Herem” is a Hebrew word that refers to banning or excluding someone; it is also the name of the repressive legislation Israel recently passed to enable punitive lawsuits against those calling for a boycott of the apartheid state. For Atzmon, this law is just one more example of Zionism’s Jewish uniqueness (guess he never heard of SLAPPs), as he concludes that “this is what Jews do best: destroying, excluding, excommunicating, silencing, boycotting, sanctioning. After all, Jews have been doing this for centuries.”

        11 Ibid.

        12 Gilad Atzmon, “A Warning From The Past,” Atzmon’s Web site, May 26, 2011.

        13 Quoted in Shabana Syed, “Time for World to Confront Israel: Gilad Atzmon,” Arab News, June 14, 2010.

        14 Gilad Atzmon, “Jewish Ideology and World Peace,” Atzmon’s Web site, June 7, 2010.

        15 “Gilad Atzmon, the SWP and Holocaust Denial,” BobFromBrockley, June 13, 2005.

        16 “Gilad Atzmon and the SWP: a Brief Chronology,” BobFromBrockley, October 5, 2011.

        17 “Zero Authors’ Statement on Gilad Atzmon,” Lenin’s Tomb, September 26, 2011.

        Dan Berger, Wild Poppies Collective, Philadelphia PA
        Susie Day, Monthly Review, New York NY
        Todd Eaton, Park Slope Food Coop Members for Boycott/Divestment/Sanctions, Brooklyn NY
        Elizabeth Horowitz, solidarity activist, New York NY
        Kay Kersplebedeb, Left Wing Books, Montreal
        Mark Lance, Georgetown University/Institute for Anarchist Studies, Washington DC
        Bob Lederer, Pacifica/WBAI producer, Queers Against Israeli Apartheid, New York NY
        Matthew Lyons, Three Way Fight, Philadelphia PA
        Matt Meyer, Resistance in Brooklyn, New York NY
        Michael Novick, People Against Racist Terror/Anti-Racist Action, Los Angeles CA
        Liz Roberts, War Resisters League, New York NY
        Emma Rosenthal, Café Intifada, Los Angeles, CA
        Joel Schwartz, CSEA Local 446, AFSCME, New York NY
        Simona Sharoni, SUNY/author, Gender & the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Plattsburgh NY
        Laura Whitehorn, former political prisoner, NYS Task Force on Political Prisoners, NY

        Organizations Listed for Identification Purposes Only
        Contact us at: .

        • Sand says:

          Adam this is hardly a balanced article on Atzmon. Also, with these kind of quotes I would expect links to provide some context around his remarks.

          I’ve just finished listening to the Flashpoints interview with Atzmon and Lerner.

          Lerner: ‘Israel should be regarded as an affirmative action State for Jews’ – interesting Zionist excuse (February 27, 2012 at 5:00pm). We’re not talking about a university here — but a STATE. okkkk….
          link to kpfa.org

          I don’t hear a venom spitting anti-semite. The guy has a history, a Jewish history, and he’s obviously struggled with that history. I have not lived in Israel. I’ve not been a member of the IDF, nor heard the things goyim are not privy too — Atzmon has. Maybe he’s just aired too much dirty laundry for some people to bear as well as advocating for a democratic one-state solution? I want to hear more.

        • Sorry, the links didn’t come through here but you can see the links to the original material they quote here – link to mrzine.monthlyreview.org

        • Sand says:

          Also, sorry I see absolutely no similarity between Atzmod and Kevin MacDonald – I’ve just been to his ‘White Identity’ blog. Holy Crap — and this guy is in academia.

        • I don’t think they’re saying they’re necessarily similar, but just that MacDonald likes Atzmon. I don’t think guilt by association is a particularly strong argument on the writers behalf, it’s stronger when they stick to Atzmon’s own words.

        • Danaa says:

          Adam – from the cited article on Atzmon

          “Gilad Atzmon is one of a very small and unrepresentative group of writers who have argued (in agreement with many Zionists) that there is no meaningful distinction to be made between Jews in general and Israeli atrocities. According to Atzmon, the latter are simply a manifestation of Jews’ historic relationship to gentiles, an authentic expression of an essentially racist, immoral, and anti-human “Jewish ideology.”

          There is something here that I feel needs to be made clear. Gilad is from Israel. What you are taught in Israel is much as he says: “[Israel as] a manifestation of Jews’ historic relationship to gentiles, an authentic expression of an essentially racist, immoral, and anti-human Jewish ideology”, minus perhaps the last two words**. The history we learnt in Israel was portrayed entirely from the Jewish viewpoint, the essence of which can be summed up as “all goys are anti-semitic at heart, and cannot be trusted. They resent us Jews because, well, we are so superior, and because we, not they, were chosen”. We learnt little that was not through the lens of persecution of the Jews, and what persecution there was was amplified a thousand times over through repetition and cultural references, all backed by the Holocaust as an exclamation mark. To learn about humanity through this lens is a kind of soul-killing distortion of the reality of Human history. It was – and is – akin to brain-washing of children – literally from infancy.

          I too went through this indoctrination process, and it worked well enough until one day, it didn’t. And when I woke up, the anger over having been sold a bill of goods was, well, like that of anyone’s who escaped from the clutches of a sect. And this you may not understand, Adam, being a nice American and all, who learned of the values of liberty and justice and the pursuit of happiness as your individual birthright. For you, to be Jewish did not feel like the death of free thought. there were elements of choice – and a softening of any of Judaism’s messages, many of which were presented such that they seemed to resonate with American values, even reinforce them. But to me and to the millions who grew up in Israel, Judaism itself came to be seen as a soul killer. What we, as secular people, took away from our education, is that human solidarity is fundamentally suspect, because in the end – “they” are bound to rise and ask for your life. Why? becvause that’s who and what “they” are – goys, forever the unchosen.

          The feeling of having – barely – escaped soul-crunching death is why Gilad resonates with me. It’s not always the words he chooses to say it (some of which I’d definitely quibble with) but the rage behind the words – it is there, unmistakable, and I think I know where it comes from. I am subject to it often enough which cause me to go all intemperate (at least till I remember I am still a recovering zio-addict).

          This is where we, who grew up from very young age in Israel (and the age does matter) differ from Jewish people of the world. many of whom take umbrage with being described as belonging to an “immoral, racist, anti-human ideology” (Gilad’s words), and perhaps understandably so. You have had your Tikun Olam. We had nothing of the sort. We did too see Israel as the inheritors of the Maccabbi warrior traditions which we were taught to admire. We did too despise the Arabs and Palestinians as a lower caste of humans. And, to make matters worse, we also learnt to hold in contempt our fellow Jews who happen to reside outside the Israeli bubble. They were diaspora jews. Yehudim galutim miskenim.

          On that last one, no Jewish person living in the UK or the US can possibly process just how deep the contempt is israelis feel towards them – the zionists and non-zionists alike. You won’t see that on +972 or in Gorenberg’s writing because they are, for the most part, Anglo acculturated. But what I see when I hear of AIPACers supporting israeli atrocities are the screeches and the braying for blood from the old killing fields of Judea. I hear echoes of god’s admonitions to Joshua to kill every living soul in the promised land. We learned that piece of beauty first when we were under 10 years of age. To be repeated twice over – in greater details – as we went through school. With nary a caveat or spiritual retreat. Just straight – like pure vodka served to babes.

          All I want now is for the good Jews of the world is to accept that not only have they have taken a poisonous viper to their chest, but that they were complicit in the effects this poison has and is having on their much prized habitats. That in the hope that they can go on to forge their own destinies intertwined with those very excellent habitats – the US included.

          ____
          ** for the record I really don’t like expressions like “Jewish ideology”. Way too imprecise, and way too open to misinterpretation. Plus, I don’t think there’s something like “A” Jewish Ideology. There are thousands of them, and most are not, by rights, what we’d call “ideologies”. But I also understand the temptation to come up with a single descriptive expression. It’s not one that’s always easy to resist. I hope Gilad will learn to resist as he goes traveling through the valleys of the shadows, within and without.

        • Danaa says:

          Sorry, it looks like the comment went up twice. Oh well, let that be my worst offense.

        • Sand says:

          “…it’s stronger when they stick to Atzmon’s own words..” Or, maybe its the discomfort when he doesn’t speak the words you expect to hear. He doesn’t like to be cornered that’s for sure.

          Atzmod: “…My primary issue is concerned with the freedom to wander/wonder, and to raise possible dilemmas without being terrorised by the ‘Holocaust censorship police’ or any other form of thought dictatorship.

          …I would argue instead that raising the right questions is far more important than repeating the ‘right’ answers…”

          I haven’t read all the links — One that I did flag was footnote 8…

          I do not consider the Jews to be a race, and yet it is obvious that ‘Jewishness’ clearly involves an ethno-centric and racially supremacist, exclusivist point of view that is based on a sense of Jewish ‘chosen-ness’.8

          Winging it. From Azmon’s perspective it would seem he has observed – “Jewishness’, Jewish ideology and Jewish political identity.…” as being ‘predominately’ at this time Zionist (tho’ not totally?) — Zionism being only a part of Jewishness — only a part of being considered Chosen(?) I don’t necessarily understand his point on Judaism? I often correlate Judaism (right or wrong) with synagogue — by noting that the vast majority of the ’50 most influential Rabbis in America’ are Zionists* — expecting their Jewish synagogue members are too – else why would they remain there knowing full well what Israel has become? But, a synagogue is just a building, a meeting place. Also, the Chabad-Lubavitch movement is pretty much into exclusiveness. He’s not much of a straight talker.

          I guess I have to buy the bl**dy book.

        • omg..there is so much here..so much i have to take it in steps

          “all goys are anti-semitic at heart, and cannot be trusted. They resent us Jews because, well, we are so superior, and because we, not they, were chosen”. We learnt little that was not through the lens of persecution of the Jews

          so sad , so devastatingly sad. and to think i was raised with no awareness of jews, not pro or con, just nothing. just as much as perhaps a buddist or a christian scientist or a catholic which is essence meant…nothing. because we didn’t really talk about religious people and we didn’t really talk about ethnic people. there were kids in my neighborhood who went to catholic schools and wore uniforms and we played together after school but i never really understood why we were kept apart during school or why their parents sent them there. i did not know my jewish friends in childhood were jewish. why would i know this? to think..to think children were taught we didn’t like them..when i didn’t even know, or learn to identify them..is so strange. and so sad.

          i will read the rest of your comment..but i just had to say this is really sad. just so sad.

        • Donald says:

          For what it is worth, As’ad AbuKhalil (The Angry Arab blogger) thinks Atzmon is an anti-semite and doesn’t think the pro-Palestinian movement should have anything to do with him.

          link

          I read the quotes in the Monthly Review article and this one stood out, taken from another publication. It seemed to be in context, unless the other publication screwed up. Anyway, Atzmon is reported to have said–

          “The remarkable fact is they don’t understand why the world is beginning to stand against them in the same way they didn’t understand why the Europeans stood against them in the 1930s.”

          Does anyone on the pro-Palestinian side really want to identify our anger with Israel with the European anti-semitism in the 1930′s? If so, you’ve just endorsed the ADL’s view of the pro-Palestinian movement. Atzmon is linking a modern movement in favor of justice and universal human rights with the feelings in Europe that led to ethnic cleansing, mass killing, and genocide. Personally, I don’t find this helpful. It also seems implausible. Your typical Amnesty International member probably doesn’t view the world the same way as the person who applauded Kristallnacht.

          The fact that Atzmon says some things critical of Israel that we might agree with doesn’t cancel out the nasty things he also says. Or it shouldn’t.

        • and one more thing. i never learned anything about jews being ‘superior’, or thinking they were, or thinking we thought they were,until the discussions here on mondoweiss..from phil’s ‘notes on my racism’. nobody ever told me. i thought jews were persecuted because people thought less of them, like blacks/jim crow..like lesser beings. that kind of racism. i thought that re the holocaust. i really had no idea of ‘chosen-ness’.

          these kinds of ideas have to be taught and lots of parents do not teach their children this stuff. i am quite certain my parents did not teach it to me because they did not know it. they didn’t hide this from me, they just didn’t have this awareness..they passed on this unawareness to me and i passed it on to my own son. i taught my child what i was taught..that he was special. i learned i was special from my parents and that is what every child should learn from their parents. every child is chosen and special.

          i really never heard jews were more special til my 50′s, right here on this site. and i don’t believe it.

        • marc b. says:

          “The remarkable fact is they don’t understand why the world is beginning to stand against them in the same way they didn’t understand why the Europeans stood against them in the 1930s.”

          excellent pull, donald. it’s these ridiculously racist and inflammatory comments that cause me to question atzmon’s bona fides (and that of the likes of israel shamir) in the first instance. he makes some extremely critical, but accurate, observations about the rigid orthodoxy (not in the religious sense per se) of some influential jews, and then pisses all over the salient points with this insanity. whatever his motivation, i would not rely on atzmon as the source of anything, or wish to associate him with the cause of palestinians or anti-zionism more generally.

        • I think you sum it up in your last comment. If Atzmon is talking about Israeli Jews then say it, if he is talking about Zionism then say it, but he refers to all Jews and Judaism. He believes Judaism is evil and Jews are not ordinary humans. It’s ignorant and clearly anti-Semitic in the same way that making a broad generalization about any group of people based on a shared characteristic is clearly racist. I think it’s clear cut.

        • Western Sky says:

          Unfortunately, the content here has cultivated an atmosphere where a large majority seem to agree with, and trumpet, Atzmon’s anti-Semitism.

        • Bumblebye says:

          I thought I’d fallen into some kind of spoof site the first few times i went to his site. He takes a lot of getting used to. I expected my computer to be zapped by all sorts of viruses or whatever for venturing there! He’s difficult to read and harder to understand at times. However I’m not sure it’s Judaism so much that he has a problem with as ‘Jewishness’, he tries to separate the two and comes up with his own definitions. Maybe he’s one of Gladwell’s ‘outlier’ types. But then, he is often provocative in the way he frames things. There is a lot of valuable stuff I’ve found there, usually that he’s caught from elsewhere.

        • Gilad is not a hater. He is, however, an advocate of rigorous self-examination. He believes in the freest inquiry, unencumbered by taboo and political correctness.

        • Unfortunately, the content here has cultivated an atmosphere where a large majority seem to agree with, and trumpet, Atzmon’s anti-Semitism.

          western sky, i do not think you are qualified to determine what a large majority of posters here agree with.

        • Just straight – like pure vodka served to babes.

          startling commentary danaa.

        • Mooser says:

          “Gilad is not a hater. He is, however, an advocate of rigorous self-examination.”

          Very true! There are few men alive today who have spent more time delineating every corrugation of their umbilicus. When he shifts his gaze down to the acroposthion, watch out!

        • salwa says:

          Thank you, Danaa, for putting it all down so clearly for us. It gives some of us on the outside a little better understanding of the extent of the sad indoctrination of Israeli children and the type of adults most of them become. Sad, indeed. Fortunately, some minds escape, and you made a good case against those on the outside who proffer facile, uninformed judgment.

          I tried to find the video I had seen of the beautiful Israeli young woman, interviewed in sight of the then on-going attacks on Gaza, who seemed totally heartless. The attacks did not phase her in the least. She thought the entire place and its inhabitants should be totally wiped out.

          I embrace both you & Gilad as two people who have each forged a place in the larger human family.

        • Dan Crowther says:

          Danaa, was that all from Atzmon, or were you saying you’re Israeli?

        • CigarGod says:

          “It’s ignorant and clearly anti-Semitic in the same way that making a broad generalization about any group of people based on a shared characteristic is clearly racist.”

          True, but I suspect if I sat down with him, his generalizations would refine down to specific practices within certain Jewish texts/passages, groups and individuals…where his criticisms would be more valid.

          It might be that unless one is Jewish or very well informed, one might miss the value in his writings. I don’t expect the knowledge I gain to always come easy or from “approved” sources. I think he should be heard by anyone who wants to hear him. I’m not sure the extreme groups trying to shut him up, are serving their own cause/image by doing so.

        • CigarGod says:

          If you had lived next door to me growing up…you sure would have.

        • American says:

          “Adam Horowitz says:
          February 29, 2012 at 9:18 am

          ” but he refers to all Jews and Judaism. He believes Judaism is evil and Jews are not ordinary humans.”

          * I haven’t read Gilad but I listened to his radio interview the other day and didn’t get that impression. My impression was he was saying Jews can be just as evil as anyone else. Big difference. Do you agree that Jews as individuals or as a group can be as evil as a gentile individual or group, or a Hispanic or Catholic individual or group or not?
          I think he was making the point that some or many Jews deny this universal truth about basic human natures applies to them.
          Can Israeli Jews and US Jews as a group be held collectively as guilty for Palestine as the world judged ordinary Germans guilty for the holocaust? What are the numbers or percentages for holding a ‘group’ responsible? If 50 Germans out of a 100 supported the holocaust is that enough for total group responsibility? If a 1000 out of 10,000 Jews don’t support Israel zionism if that enough to absolve the total group from blame?
          If 50% of all Jewish synagogues fly the Israeli Flag at their religious institutions is that enough to say the Jewish community is Israel first or would you say it would have to be 100%?
          You can’t have it both ways—collectively blaming entire other groups and refusing to have it applied to your own. Or you can but no one will buy the hypocrisy.

          “It’s ignorant and clearly anti-Semitic in the same way that making a broad generalization about any group of people based on a shared characteristic is clearly racist.”

          *The most ‘broad” generalization of ‘others” ever made in the world by any people was Jewish zionism. And it continues to be propagated to this day. It is the ultimate racism against “All others”. You can try to keep inverting that into your racism was a response and not an inherent attitude of Jews towards others in the way you claim that anti semitism is an inherent attitude of others and push the anti semitism and racism of others till your dying day but as I said people won’t buy the pot calling the kettle black hypocrisy.

          It works this way ….”It’s ignorant and clearly anti-Gentile and anti- All Others in the same way that making a broad generalization about Jews people based on a shared characteristic is clearly racist.”

          What’s clear cut is this..those who refuse to look at themselves and be honest about their own attitude and prejudices, will eventually have only their own small like minded choir to preach to and will be left out of the larger American and wider world conservation.

        • dan, danaa was raised in israel.

        • Dan Crowther says:

          WOW!!!! (thanks annie)

          FCKIN A DANAA!! Critical of israel and zionism/”jewishness” without mentioning being israeli or jewish?? What a radical idea. Holy sheeeit.

          Wow, just wow. I mean, Danaa is the real deal, man. I dont want to over do it here, but the idea of jewish cats not mentioning their jewishness constantly is a bit of a departure from what I am used to. These american’s wont shut up about it!!! haha.

          In any event, Danaa has always been a favorite of mine – finding out danaa is israeli this way, instead of being told (all the time) is to me, the ultimate feather in danaa’s cap. Just a person, no more, no less. Beautiful.

        • Danaa says:

          Dan, sorry if it wasn’t clear. Only the quoted part upfront is from Gilad (actually from the critical article Adam cited). The plaintive missive is all mine (you can tell from the multiple embedded parentheses and mixed-up syntax…)). And yes, I’m from Israel originally. Made aliyah to the great US of A, also known as Second Zion, some [quite a] while back.

        • Dan Crowther says:

          Well, glad to have you aboard in the US of A Danaa!!

          That was a tremendous post (per usual) you wrote.

          Cheers!!

        • Frankie P says:

          Adam and Phil,

          Get this comment from Danaa and put it up as a post, as soon as possible. You owe it to yourselves, this blog, and the truth to offer the point of view of an ex-Israeli who intrepidly shows the indoctrination that occurs in that country. These bare facts that Danaa lays out no doubt leave you feeling uncomfortable, but you should still do the right thing and share them prominently with the Mondoweiss community.

          FPM

        • Newclench says:

          Danaa, you do a good job of explaining where you come from.
          “And when I woke up, the anger over having been sold a bill of goods was, well, like that of anyone’s who escaped from the clutches of a sect. ”
          I get, I can empathize and recognize that there is a community of people who share this sensibility. Please know that it is possible to grow up in Israel, suffer the indoctrination, become an anti-Zionist, and yet not fall victim to this anger. The rage and anger introduce a distortion that in Atzmon’s case renders him beyond the pale. For many of us, the 2k years of Jewish history are the alternative to Zionism, not any sort of logical conclusion. Interestingly – that’s the same view of the political Zionists, who were pledged to breaking with what came before, not continuing it.

        • Danaa, yours was an outstanding defense of the authenticity of Gilad’s ideas, if not their validity. No one could have said it better, or is better qualified to do so.

          If one wants to understand Gilad’s views of ‘Jewish culture,’ one must start with a consideration of his own experiences as a Jew, both within Israel and outside it. Having done so without prejudice, one need not agree with his viewpoints and feelings to recognize their authenticity from his real perspective.

          Gilad Atzmon is hardly the first intelligent Jew to become a severe critic of ‘Jewish culture.’ From my standpoint as an inquisitive person, I want to see broad discussion of this and all other important social phenomena. I loath censorship.

        • ToivoS says:

          If anyone wants to see what Atzmon represents please check out his backing for Paul Eisen. The story is described here: link to ucimc.org

          This is some of the most basic holocaust denial. The sources that Eisen cites are without any doubt basic neoNazi sources. To allow Atzmon into the discussion is to open a number of questions that should have been settled decades ago: e.g. the Jews were responsible for the holocaust, er no, the holocaust really didn’t occur, the Auswitz gas chambers were really, really simple shower stalls and couldn’t kill anyone. To engage Atzmon means you have to engage these questions. That is, Nazi Germany did not kill Jews. Or if they did, then the Jews deserved it.

          Sorry, this is pathetic. I wish MW would stop providing this Atzmon maniac more band width. He deserves to be ignored. And to think my latest post referring to “jackboots” was scrubbed.

        • Pixel says:

          Sheldonrichman:

          “Gilad is not a hater. He is, however, an advocate of rigorous self-examination. He believes in the freest inquiry, unencumbered by taboo and political correctness.”

          If I may add, rigorous and radical self-examination.

          I agree with your comment and would add that Atzmon is so far out in front of the game that many people can’t/don’t want to/chose not to follow where he’s coming from.

          This guy sees right through to the heart of things and, while he can be difficult to read and sometimes hard to follow, the clarity of his vision is breathtaking.

        • Re: “Do you agree that Jews as individuals or as a group can be as evil as a gentile individual or group, or a Hispanic or Catholic individual or group or not?”

          Of course I believe individual Jews can be as evil as anyone else in the world, and I don’t believe that broad groups of people should be considered collectively evil in any example.

          Not sure what you mean by “The most ‘broad” generalization of ‘others” ever made in the world by any people was Jewish zionism,” but as far as I do understand it I think you make my point. You differentiate between Zionism and Judaism. Atzmon doesn’t.

        • Henry Norr says:

          Adam wrote “If Atzmon is talking about Israeli Jews then say it, if he is talking about Zionism then say it, but he refers to all Jews and Judaism.”

          I have my share of problems with Atzmon, but in the interests of accuracy and fairness, I have to say that that statement is just true. Have you read his book, Adam, or sat through any of his talks? On page 16 of his book, as well as in many if not all of his public appearances, he has explained clearly that he divides those of us who consider ourselves Jews into three conceptual categories:

          1) those who adhere to Judaism as a religion;

          2) those who regard themselves as “human beings who happen to be of Jewish origin;”

          3) “those who put their Jewish-ness over and above all of their other traits.”

          (Personally, I don’t think these are really parallel categories, because members of #1 could be in #2 or #3, but that’s a side issue in this context.)

          Over and over in his talks and interviews he explains that he doesn’t have any problems with groups 1 and 2 and that his critique is directed at what he calls “category 3 Jews” – it’s that group he accuses of tribalism, racism, arrogance, greed, brutality, etc.

          Granted, he sometimes drops the qualifier and refers to the people about whom he’s making these very negative generalizations simply as “the Jews.” Obviously, that’s a major problem, because a lot of people hear – and repeat – those remarks without paying attention to the conceptual framework he’s laid out earlier or elsewhere. But if you actually care to understand his framework, it’s clear that he’s not talking about all Jews and Judaism.

          Though he doesn’t claim to be doing empirical sociology, I’m pretty sure that if asked he would put the overwhelming majority of Israeli Jews in his category 3, but in my opinion and experience over there, he’s got good grounds for doing so – see Danaa’s powerful comments in this thread. As for American and European Jews, I suspect he’d put a majority in category 3 – and contend that many of us who would put ourselves in category 2 are infected to one degree or another by category 3 thinking. Again, while I’m sure I disagree with him in some cases about where that’s happening and how to respond, I think he’s definitely on to an important reality. I know that a lot of my own upbringing, even though it was more assimilationist than Zionist, included a lot of the attitudes he associates with category 3.

          In fact, I think part of the appeal of this site to those of us of Jewish origins is that it helps us wrestle with that dialectic in our own consciousness, our families, and so on. For sure I see that in a lot of Phil’s posts about his family and community, past and present. (To be clear, that’s just my interpretation – I’m not saying Phil sees any value in these categories or anything else in Atzmon’s work. Care to comment, Phil?)

        • American says:

          What I meant Adam was that Zionism was based on the idea (and sold to the Jews on the idea) that Jews could never be safe among non Jews. In effect saying that all non Jews were anti semites in- waiting to do them harm.
          So basically Zionism said that ‘all others’ were bad baddies….which is the anti semite flip side of saying all Jews are bad. I call them the evil twins.
          Both of them condemn the other collectively.

        • Gilad says:

          Adam, you clearly didn’t read a single paper by me. Where did you find this-”He believes Judaism is evil and Jews are not ordinary humans”?

          None of that in my writing? I am not critical of Judaism and never write about Jews,, I write about Jewish ideology!!! in the list of quote you circulated above, there is not a single criticism of Jews (as people) or Judaism but only criticism of J ideology, culture and discourse!!!

        • Eva Smagacz says:

          Here is video you refer to:

          She is “a little bit fascist”.

        • ritzl says:

          Well and timely said, Danaa.

        • ritzl says:

          @Newclench

          I pretty much understand where you are coming from (“rise above the hate…”) as a sentiment, but put it to the test and reduce your water consumption (assuming you live in Israel) by about 80% for even a month, and see if you don’t get a bit irritated and all “finger-pointy.”

          Your counsel seems to have the loftiness of a comfortable lifestyle, borne by others’ hardship.

        • Got it. I agree with you.

        • Sorry, that was unclear. It was in response to American.

        • Gilad, did you write, “As long as Zionism is conveyed as a colonial project, Jews, as a people, should be seen as ordinary people”? I believe Zionism is a colonial project and that Jews are ordinary people. It would seem you don’t agree.

          Also, your distinction between Judaism vs Jewish ideology and culture is meaningless. I thought Gabriel Ash said it well here, “Antisemitism is fundamentally a political analysis that explains social and political pathologies as effects of some essential Jewish attributes. This is Atzmon’s core idea” link to jewssansfrontieres.blogspot.com

          Gilad, I published this post above because I think you should have been able to speak. I also agree with the analysis in the MRZine piece and Gabriel at JSF.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          Adam, what you need to do is prove that there is Jewish ideology and political influence that exists independently of Zionism. Because so far, you haven’t. You and Phil have aptly demonstrated that, no matter how much distance you perceive between yourselves and Zionism, you still shoulder the yoke to maintain “credibilty” with Zionists.

          I know there used to be Jewish identity that existed separately from Zionism. It kind of looks like it’s died though.

        • Mooser says:

          Looks like I was right. Atzmon may or may not know a whole lot about Judaism, and he may or may not claim he penetrated to its center, but he know a lot about Israel, there’s no denying that. Grew up there, served in the IDF. He should know what’s going on.

        • Mooser says:

          The Lone Atzmon: Adam, my native compendium, it looks like we’re in real trouble this time.
          Adam: What you mean-um “we”?

          I make light of it, but I can certainly understand the impulse to say “Hey! Them’s not us!” when it comes to Israel.
          Of course, we’re not under any compulsion to actually stand up and reject Israel and Zionism, cause that would make us the anti-Semites!
          See, in order to destroy Zionism and Israel, we must love Zionism and Israel…..

  2. carnas says:

    When was the last time you spoke up for the KKK to have their right to free speech?

    • Danaa says:

      Ha! another American hater – carnas came in to share some creepy-crawly commentary. The comparison to the KKK is more apt for the AIPAC annual gathering where they gather every year to denounce humanitarianism and people who happen to be non kow towing Americans.

      AIPAC and its minions are the KKK equivalent. because they are racist to the core. It is unfortunate they – and their screeching supporters get a platform every year to which they summon American politicians and representatives so they can be whipped until they cry and profess undying love for the ethnocracy that is Israel.

      If there was justice and fortitude to administer it in the US, the AIPAC organizers and the organizations that support them would be facing judges and juries in courts houses across the land. The crime? – the ongoing attempt to destroy this country’s laws, solidarity and shared values, while serving as the agent largely responsible for more than 4000 dead American soldiers, countless wounded and the humbling of the entire US military.

      I’d call that treason all right.

    • Chaos4700 says:

      When was the last time you have?

  3. Western Sky says:

    I mean…..the man is a Holocaust-denier and an anti-Semite. I think it actually reflects badly on the Islamic Cultural Center of Northern California for hosting the event. It sure won’t bring the areas Jews and Muslims together.

    • gamal says:

      .”the man is a Holocaust-denier and an anti-Semite” and Israeli, isnt it weird that the worlds most celebrated current anti-semites are both Israeli Jews, Atzmon and Shamir, (leaving aside Paul Eisen of deir yassin remembered).

      As to bringing Jews and Muslims together that train ran off the lines sometime ago, i think you’ll find Muslims arent that interested in getting close anymore the last dialogue i participated in was 1996, in Germany, the Israelis behaved abominably and the Germans stroked them like cats. they fought with the British Jews which was quite funny but not very productive.
      We would like to you to sort your shit out, we dont really want to be friends you are not all that, i personally like to hang with Jamaicans, uptight self righteous and paranoid Jews constantly seeking affirmation and checking me for acceptability are a drag, the Sikhs might be good for a date though, or perhaps the Jains.

      • Western Sky says:

        It’s one thing to not want to be friends. It’s another to warmly welcome a Holocaust denier into your space.

        • Danaa says:

          Western sky – who is the holocaust denier? Dersh? the Defamation league? what the heck are you talking about?

          If you are calling people names, you should support your hate-speech with quotations. You won’t find any because there isn’t any from Gilad.

          It’s anti-American values thugs like Foxman who despise liberal speech values and supports the thuggish theocracy of Israel – now hell bent on destroying Iran and murdering its people – that are the bad guys here. In fact, I believe Foxman’s actions and words at times are just short of traitorous. I have never seen a thing from him that would show him to be a man of values. Other than tribal ones, that is. Such as those are.

    • Mooser says:

      “I mean…..the man is a Holocaust-denier and an anti-Semite.”

      Oh, don’t be such a fuss-pot! Everybody has their little quirks.

  4. hophmi says:

    But on Mondoweiss, antisemites like Gilad Atzmon are OK.

    • Newclench says:

      Actually hophmi, MW is not a great place for Atzmon, and you know better. Crap here if you like, but at least it ain’t counterpunch.

    • Danaa says:

      On Mondoweiss, ethnic cleansing promoting, atrocity advocating, hasbara spewing humanoids like you are also OK. Well, not really, but you are still here despite a long string of hateful and hate promoting speech bites. Personally, I don’t think you should be allowed this platform for your villainry-coddling attitudes, but then again, at least we can see and observe what hatefullness is like, through your posts, so perhaps it’s a good teachable series of lessons in what soulessness looks like .

  5. tokyobk says:

    Atzmon demonizes Jewish culture and religion.

    He is an ex- Jewish Nonie Darwish or Walid Shoebat.

    He should not be censored. He should be recognized for what he is, however.

    Those who indulge him reveal themselves.

    • kalithea says:

      “Those who indulge him reveal themselves.”

      Truly ignorant comment.

    • Mooser says:

      “Those who indulge him reveal themselves.”

      Jesus Christ, Tokyobk, if you want the man killed, just come out and say so, don’t give us this who-will-rid-me-of-this-turbulent-priest crap.
      Thodr eho indulge him reveal themselves. Man, I’m no Atzmon fan, but do you have any idea you need a sock stuffed in it?

    • Mooser says:

      “Atzmon demonizes Jewish culture and religion.”

      No, he demonises (or describes according to his experience) Israeli culture and religion. That’s probably pretty different, radically different from Jewish culture and religion.
      Don’t defend Israel at the Jews expense, tokyobk. It won’t work.

  6. marc b. says:

    yes, atzmon is a turd, but certainly no more despicable than dershowitz or any number of israel ‘defenders’ (and racist ivy league professors) who are regularly given a platform, microphone and MSM coverage. he could choke on his saxophone reed for all i care, but if any of you think that the ‘unavailabilty’ *ahem* of the original venue wasn’t cooked up behind the scenes, well then… and that my friends is how the 1st amendment works in these United States.

  7. RE: “the ADL’s pose as an opponent of racism was particularly ironic because in 1993 the District of Attorney of San Francisco released 700 pages of documents implicating the organization in a vast spying and informing operation directed at critics not only of Israel but also of apartheid South Africa.” ~ Sterling & Norr

    DAVID BYRNE SEZ: “Same as it ever was…Same as it ever was…Same as it ever was…Same as it ever was…
    Same as it ever was…Same as it ever was…Same as it ever was…
    Same as it ever was…”

    Talking Heads: Once In A Lifetime (VIDEO, 05:19) – link to youtube.com

    SCORE BY DAVID BYRNE; ACTING BY TITILLATING TILDA:
    Young Adam, 2004, R, 97 minutes
    A young drifter named Joe (Ewan McGregor) finds work on a barge that travels between Glasgow and Edinburgh. But when the corpse of a young woman is found floating in the river, is Joe really telling everything he knows? Making things even messier is the unspoken attraction that develops between Joe and Ella (Tilda Swinton), one of the barge’s owners, in the barge’s claustrophobic confines. Emily Mortimer and Peter Mullan co-star.
    Director: David Mackenzie
    Netflix Availability: DVD
    NETFLIX LISTING – link to movies.netflix.com
    Young Adam Theatrical Trailer (VIDEO, 02:06) – link to youtube.com

  8. There is very good debate with Gilad Atzmon and Rabbi Michael Lerner on Dennis Bernstein’s Flashpoints show last night.

    They both comment on the vitriol and suppression seen in comments above.

    Interview starts about 5 minutes in …
    link to kpfa.org

    It’s a passionate and compassionate debate/discussion.

  9. salwa says:

    What happened to freedom of speech, not to incite to violence or plan violence, but “freedom of speech,” a Constitutional Right in this country. It seems that open and free discussion is anathema to many who commented. Some are trying to make it so in universities, in society as a whole. Those who disagree with Gilad Atzmon certainly should go to the talk and speak out and show him for whatever you think he is or to give the reasons they disagree with him.

    I can understand that some of you disagree with his ideas, but what about people who want to hear him? What if I tried to keep people you support from speaking. Where would we be?

    If whatever anyone believes is accurate, it should survive scrutiny or the light of day. If it is only an opinion, we are all entitled to our opinions.

    May peace live in all hearts.

    • hophmi says:

      Like many people, Salwa, you confuse giving someone a platform with freedom of speech. David Duke has the right to utter whatever neo-nazi garbage he wants to. He does not have a right to do it on Pacifica (or should I say Pacifikkka given Gilad’s appearance there).

      • you’re in Israel, right hophmi?
        Isn’t that the place where peaceful protesters get their faces blown off with tear gas canisters?

        that makes two reasons why you have no say in how the US respects the right to free speech. Please don’t presume to lecture Americans on their Constitution.

        • Bumblebye says:

          When did hophmi move from New York? He’s just another Israel firster in the US who can see no wrong ever in anything Israel does.

        • hophmi says:

          “you’re in Israel, right hophmi?”

          Um, no. I’m in America.

          And like a lot of people, you simply don’t understand the First Amendment very well. The First Amendment entitles a person to say what they want. It does not entitle them to be given the opportunity to say it on the radio or on television. Gilad has a perfect right to say whatever garbage he wants about how Jews are responsible for their own persecution. He doesn’t have the right to say it on KPFA, at a BDS meeting, or at a synagogue. Platforms like these are privileges, not rights. And Atzmon the antisemite does not deserve the privilege of spewing his hate.

        • Woody Tanaka says:

          “He doesn’t have the right to say it on KPFA, at a BDS meeting, or at a synagogue.”

          False. He does have the right to say whatever he wants at all of those locations. He doesn’t have the right to be invited to do so. An important distinction.

        • Danaa says:

          hophmi, if you are against giving Gilad, who speaks for his own humanitarian concerns, a platform to address those concerns, then are you also against giving traitors like Dersch, Adelson, Jeffrey Goldberg and crazies like Cantor a platform? these are all deniars of Nakba, are pro-atrocities, are openly anti-American and are also seriously anti-semitic because they present jewish people in a very bad light.

          In fact, it’s hard to understand why people like John Bolton, Feith, Cheney, Santorum and Gingrich are not sitting in jail somewhere for actively aiding and abetting more killing of American soldiers as ordered up by a Yahoo from a tin pot theocratic ethnocracy in the ME.

          You hophmi. know nothing about Gilad’s writings, and can’t hold a candle to this man’s courage. By choice you represent the most xenophobic of tribal ethnic impulses. No wonder you take an issue with Gilad, who may have done quite a bit to expose the corruption and soul-crashing wagon circling, American democracy threatening, cabalistic war mongering world lobby, in all its mendacity and anti-human, blackmailing nefariousness.

          It is unfortunate that you care nothing about Americans, or for that matters humans who happen not to be not zealot Jews or Middle eastern Judeans who care nothing about the world outside their narrow enclave. You, as an individual, based on your comments on this blog, have done much to show many followers of Judaism to be members of a sect. A very dangerous one at that, with nuclear weapons aimed at just about every capital they can reach, and the ability to threaten global calamity, just because they want a little more land.

      • hophmi, explain why you think Gilad would not have the right to speak on Pacifica. Where are you from and where do you live?

        • hophmi says:

          No one has a First Amendment right to speak on the radio. Dennis Bernstein is not obligated by the First Amendment to give Gilad a platform.

        • hophmi, you have again revealed your ignorance. No guest speaks on the radio unless he is invited. Like everyone else, Gilad has a First Amendment right to speak on the radio if he is invited.

        • marc b. says:

          No one has a First Amendment right to speak on the radio. Dennis Bernstein is not obligated by the First Amendment to give Gilad a platform.

          this is your interpretation of the 1st amendment? atzmon has a right to voice his opinions . . . in a closet? or preach to all of god’s creatures in the middle of the forest? i see, so only people who can afford to buy a radio station, or newspaper, those who have the privilege of money and connections, and who ultimately decide what gets published, are the only true beneficiaries of the 1st amendment. with all due respect to the atzmon defenders here, he’s a piece of crap in my opinion, but i don’t need the likes of hopmee defining the parameters of the 1st amendment. no wonder this country is so f*cked up, with the slave mentality of hopmee et al.

      • salwa says:

        My sincere apologies, hophmi, I thought everyone who made comments must have read the article. Let me help you by a few quotes from it:

        “The Israel lobby in the San Francisco Bay Area has once again attempted to censor discussion of Zionism and the Palestine issue – this time by apparently pushing Oakland city officials to force a public event featuring the controversial Gilad Atzmon out of a city-run arts center.

        “. . . as the American Civil Liberties Union puts it, ‘The First Amendment exists precisely to protect the most offensive and controversial speech from government suppression.’ In this case, Oakland officials chose to disregard the Constitution and instead collaborate with the ADL’s outrageous attempt to block a speaker simply because they don’t like what he has to say.”

        The article is really putting it mildly. Now, I see that your concern is about “Pacifica.” Take heart my dear fellow, the airwaves are full of all sorts of stations & programs & many will be to your liking. However, I really would sincerely advise you to give up on Pacifica because they’ve been hopelessly airing what they believe to be consequential and in the public interest to know for over half a century now.

  10. “implicating the organization in a vast spying and informing operation directed at critics not only of Israel but also of apartheid South Africa”

    Time to shut this fake shop down and free society from a major obstacle to rational discussion.

  11. Dan Crowther says:

    I dont know man, Ive read the comments here (most from hasbara-ists) and I have to say, are we talking about the same Gilad Atzmon? Ive never heard or read about him “denying the holocaust” took place, but I have heard him question why its so important to some that it be considered the “crime to end all crimes” – whatever else is true about this “debate” (between people who DO NOT “deny”) the idea of ranking genocidal mass murder through the course of history is to me, very distasteful.

    Of course, many jews here will scream and yell about Atzmon – saying this and that, but they never mention that the guy was in the IDF, lived in Israel and “did the do” for most of his life. Im a recovering catholic who generally despises institutional christianity, does that mean I am a self hater? A bad guy? Maybe; but again, whatever else is true about me, I am entitled to my own opinion.

    I mean God forbid a guy who happens to be jewish demands that he be identified that way. If someone wants to show examples of Atzmon’s “rabid anti-semitism” or incitement against Jews, I will of course change my mind, but I havent seen it. Is he a bit of a conspiracist? Yea, maybe. But an anti-semite etc? C’mon.

    • Gilad says:

      If someone wants to show examples of Atzmon’s “rabid anti-semitism” or incitement against Jews, I will of course change my mind, but I havent seen it.

      The same here,,, have never seen a single proof of myself being antisemite or HD…

      • Dan Crowther says:

        for real man — in this context it is definitely not enough to make summations of what you say. your a hell of a musician too brother, btw.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          I think it says a lot that Gilad Atzmon actually came here to speak for himself after Adam Horowitz and his “friends” newclench, Western Sky and hophmi pelted him with spitwads behind his back

  12. I sense a bullying quality to Hophmi and a few other comments. I would bet Hophmi has not read Gilad’s book nor has he listened to yesterday’s radio interview/debate with Lerner. Yet he KNOWS, he absolutely KNOWS, that Gilad is anti-semite, kkk, blah blah blah. The logic leaps from objecting to Gilad to associating Pacifica radio with the KKK because they allow him to be interviewed.

    If you listen to Gilad it is soon clear that …. despite some provocative comments plus questionable claims and theories ….. his beliefs are basically humanitarian and he is raising some valid issues. It’s a sign of weakness to be unwilling to listen or debate. Try reading the book or even listening to the radio interview. You won’t be contaminated and might even learn that you had some misconceptions.

    • chauncey says:

      For the moment, Rick, you have the last word, and I second it. I see no evidence of holocaust denial, and I see basically a humanitarian. Thanks for the post.

  13. hophmi says:

    “I sense a bullying quality to Hophmi”

    Who am I bullying? LOL. What are you, twelve? When someone takes issues with a point you made, it is not bullying. Grow up.

    “Yet he KNOWS, he absolutely KNOWS, that Gilad is anti-semite”

    When someone says Jews are the source of their own persecution, I consider that person an antisemite. When they say that the Jews killed Jesus, I consider that person an antisemite. When they say Jews (and not Zionists or Israelis) are arrogant and shut down anyone who disagrees with them, I consider that person an antisemite. When they say they’re proud to be a self-hating Jew, I consider that person an antisemite.

    “his beliefs are basically humanitarian and he is raising some valid issues”

    It just goes to show you that as long as someone uses a few leftist buzzwords, he can any sort of garbage and gain an audience on the left. Welcome to the cult.

    ” It’s a sign of weakness to be unwilling to listen or debate.”

    It’s a sign of idiocy to be unable to tell when someone is clearly a bigot.

    I listened to radio interview, buddy, and that was more than enough.

  14. hophmi says:

    These are some of the things Atzmon said on Bernstein’s show:

    “There is a strong element in Jewish culture of pre-traumatic stress disorder. Jews . . .culturally manage to bring on themselves quite a lot of problems. And we already spoke here about the arrogance and intolerance they perform against you and many others they don’t agree with.”

    “‘Blaming the victim’ is an argument that allowed Jews to stop reflecting for hundreds of years. They always come to the conclusion that the Goyim, the gentiles are a bunch of murderers. I cannot accept it . . . because the Goyim . . . are actually humanity. And it stops Jews from assimilating, and this is probably the problem we see with the emancipation of Jews. . .we have to stop to blame Goyim.”

    • hophmi, I haven’t listened to the radio broadcast you provided excerpts from, but I’m wondering why you are so upset by what you presented above. They are not things I, as a non-Jew, would want to say on the radio (not so well informed), but I certainly think Gilad Atzmon should be able to express his opinions on these subjects without receiving such ad hominem attacks from people like you. The guy is a former Israeli who served in the IDF. He has been deeply scarred by his fellow Jews for expressing what I think are his honest opinions and feelings. I understand that you don’t share those feelings, so no need to explain that.

      Is it your position that Jews should not engage in criticism of (some or most) other Jews or Jewish culture/values in public forums? Why? If I were a Catholic, do you think it would be evil of me to bitterly criticize Catholics and long-held dogmas of the Catholic Church on the radio – even if I had suffered great emotional pain at the hands of the Church?

      I think your perspective lacks maturity.

    • Danaa says:

      These were reasonable statements from Gilad. Not perfectly artful, in places, but true enough.I especially like this (paraphrasing):

      “The Goyim…are actually Humanity”. To consider them murderous at heart is to separate yourself from humanity.

      The corrolary is that Jews stand apart from the rest of humanity. Which does go to the heart of what “choseness” means.

      I would not however use the word Gilad chose “assimilate”. Rather, I’d say something like “…it stops jews from joining humanity – as equals”. Because that’s the crux of the matter – if the Goyim be Guilty of murderous intentions, so are the Jews, as Israel proves, quite conclusively. Murderous intentions towards fellow humans is our inheritance as Homo Sapiens. But to know it, is to accept it. And to accept is to begin to undo the bad intentions, and arrest the damage in its tracks. And this is something Jews must do – whether Israelis or of the world – as much as anyone else.

      That is part of what joining with humanity means. Perhaps only my interpretation, but it seems to me Gilad was trying to say something along these lines.

  15. hophmi says:

    When someone says the Jewish ideology and Nazi ideology are similar, they’re an antisemite.

    link to gilad.co.uk

  16. quebecleft says:

    i had the privilege to listen to Gilad in Toronto and there is absolutly nothing anti-semitic about him,no sorry anti-semitic is a non-signifier,there is nothing racist about him.He is not controversial in the least,what he does is challenging jewish identity politics and by reading the posts here he has some very serious points.The palestinian solidarity that have a problem are the ones controlled by jews and they are so busy defending jews they have no time for the palestinians. Can’t anybody see the irony on this and this is exactly what Gilad is talking about.just let go already you will all feel so much better when you give up

  17. quebecleft says:

    Well i saw Gilad in Toronto and i did not see anything controversial about him.I mostly saw a very generous man,a universalist and a member of the human race.In fact somebody that his jewish mother should be very proud of.as palestinian organisation goes the only ones that have a problem with him are the ones controlled by jews and this is the essence of his dialogue.he invites everybody to it and of course he is getting the Spinoza treatment.Peace and justice does not spells out Israel unfortunatly

  18. piotr says:

    Gilad Atzmon denies Holocaust in the same sense as “Pacifikkka” or Norman Finkelstein. This is simply slander with ostensible proofs that an actual denier either cited or was cited, and that contaminated a person to be “denier” who in turn cited or was cited by the next person etc. We are all Holocaust deniers in that fashion.

    I think that Atzmon in his writing mixes genuinely interesting personal experience with scholarship that is … well, he is a musician not a scholar. Exactly the kind of person who is interesting and controversial. This business of “Jewish community” running around and bestowing or withholding kashrut certificates on all and sundry is really tiresome. Children of Gaza did not deny Holocaust in their pictures, but they were censored as “not balanced” or some such.

    Concerning anti-Semitism, “professional anti-anti-Semites” have to learn how to rebut or accept charges about actual characteristics of Zionism and Judaism. The same way as “professional anti-anti-Christians” and anti-anti-Muslim. It would actually be nice to see people accepting that yeah, there are some skeletons in their closet. There has to be a middle way between demonization and adulation. What we see are demands of adulation. It is un-American not to adulate Israel.

  19. RoHa says:

    There is only one really important question about Atzmon.

    Is he right?

    • American says:

      That is a question isnt’ it?
      It appears to me the man is saying to Jews, you should examine yourselves and your own ‘ages old’ prejudices.
      I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again…it would be comedy if they weren’t serious about it, to claim or ask the world to believe that there exist a “people” who have been hated since time began for absolutely no reason by all other peoples of the world because all other peoples are evil haters except them, who have always been totally innocent of creating any animus toward themselves.
      I don’t know any sane person, much less any sociological experts, who would believe the fantasy that such a “people’ exist or could possibly exist or the fantasy that ‘entire’ rest of the world was born united in a “universal”, instilled at birth hatred of Jews.
      And yet there are some Jews who claim this, many who believe this myth and to them if you don’t believe this myth of mystical eternally innocent victims then you are a anti semite.
      Utterly insane. So fanastical my mind literally recoils from imagining the kind of person or mentality that would subscribe to this kind of myth.

      • … to claim or ask the world to believe that there exist a “people” who have been hated since time began for absolutely no reason by all other peoples of the world because all other peoples are evil haters except them, who have always been totally innocent of creating any animus toward themselves.

        This point is a matter of curiosity for me, too. All my reading in and around that question suggests that the standard “reason” put forth by Jews themselves is the allegedly common belief of Christians that Jews are/were ‘Christ-killers.’ But then there’s also that ‘inherent’ business, isn’t there? And one shouldn’t forget the ‘jealousy’ thing.

        I should add that I question the premise of the question. [Apply fog here.]

        • Mooser says:

          You want to know what went wrong? It’s easy to describe: Sometimes things don’t turn out for the best and this is not the best of all possible worlds.

          Maybe the reasons for why the Jews were persecuted are the same ones which selected South American natives to die by the millions during the colonial period there? Or the same reasons Africans could be declared less than human, and without rights.

    • Gilad says:

      I agree? this is the only relevant q

  20. It was a mistake for Gilad Atzmon to be invited to speak from a stage that is paid for by taxpayer funds. The usage of power to rectify that mistake was clumsy.

    Atzmon is a snake. He calls Jews “Christkillers”. Any time any where, any time any Jew was called a Christ killer is okay in Atzmon’s book, because of Zionism’s crimes.

    Atzmon is a snake.

    • piotr says:

      I cannot comment on Atzmon being a “snake”. However, he did not deny Holocaust and he did not call Jews “Christkillers”.

      For that matter, to call Jews “Christkillers” you would need to operate under the assumption that New Testament is historical. I think that he clearly made a figure of speech that IF Israeli Jews identify themselves with historical/mythical characters from 2000 years ago, then they are all suicidal Zealots and they are all Judases who betrayed Christ. This is called reductio ad absurdum. You are what you are today, not what mythical “you” were 2000 years ago. And hopefully you are not the mythical genocidal “you” of 3000-4000 ago (there are good reasons to believe that Joshua was less historical than King Arthur).

      I grant you that Atzmon is weird. But nowhere I have seen him justifying, glorifying and demanding violence, which is Zionist staple. Harvard Law professor Alan Derschowitz presented humanity with such progressive concepts as “torture warrant” (tell the judge that a bomb is ticking, get the warrant and torture the guy for a year or two) and “continuum of civilianality” (how to figure that enemy civilians are no civilian after all while our soldiers are in actuality civilian). He may be just a crank who got tenure and subsequently went bonkers, but Israel seriously considered him for UN ambassador (according to Dersh, so perhaps a lie). As long as such creatures infest lecture halls etc. how should we begrudge a reservation of a room for Atzmon lecture?

      And learned professor from Harvard is but one of many. At least he is not advocating tossing nukes left and right like Louis Rene Beres, professor at Purdue, member of innumerable think tanks, advisor to Israeli government. Notably, member of Freeman Institute, the home of Sampson option. Or professor Ruben Gur of U Penn who wrote “The macabre sight of the likes of Stella Kübler, (arguably Hannah Arendt) and the Capos in the extermination camps is about to be replayed here at Penn.” For information: Stella Kuebler was a Berlin Jew betraying her classmates to Gestapo, Hanna Arendt known humanitarian and both the same for Prof. Gur.

      • piotr- I have noted your assertion that speakers other than Atzmon are more offensive.

        Atzmon emits hatred for Jews. I will let the intellectuals dissect his words and figure out their value and how many grains of hatred he has per thousand words. If I sit next to someone on the subway and it smells I move. Atzmon stinks of Jew hatred. I don’t need to identify how much is body odor and how much is excrement or wine or vomit or urine. It stinks and I move.

        I focus on the Christ killer comments of his in order to bring my full emotions to bear. In Atzmon and Jewish identity on this website on June 23, 2011 I began to explain to Mister Atzmon how the Christkiller epithet might bother other Jews, his response was basically: I am a musician, I emit certain notes. I apologize for none of them. That is fine for a musician. But he is a Jew hating political character who emits a stink of Jew hatred like a smelly man on the subway who normal people avoid.

        • I think that he clearly made a figure of speech that IF Israeli Jews identify themselves with historical/mythical characters from 2000 years ago, then they are all suicidal Zealots and they are all Judases who betrayed Christ. This is called reductio ad absurdum. You are what you are today, not what mythical “you” were 2000 years ago.

          wj, would you please indicate whether you wish to dispute this quite reasonable interpretation of what Gilad meant, rather than simply asserting without supporting quotes or links your belief that he seriously called Jews “Christ-killers”?

          Your response about smells in the subway was repulsive, and seemed out of ‘persona’ for you.

        • Thomson- on June 23, 2011 I had a discussion with Atzmon on this web site. Did you read that discussion? When you have read it then you can come back to me and discuss his usage of the term Christkiller. I don’t have the energy or the desire to go back to Atzmon’s original words and statement regarding Christkiller. In June Atzmon asserted, my wife and children and I never get called Christkiller, so anyone who was called Christkiller at some other point in history must be less innocent than my wife and I.

          Let me clarify about Atzmon- as far as I know he has never murdered anyone and in fact Israel is in the business of fighting wars and killing people. Maybe when Israel dehumanizes its soldiers in order to kill it also dehumanized Atzmon and it is that dehumanized aspect of his personality that he brings to discussions of Jews.

          I admire Michael Lerner for his equanimity and love in facing off against Atzmon.

          I consider Atzmon a stinker. if my imagery describing his stink was too strong, maybe next time I will avoid the next discussion of that dehumanized hater who avows to speak in the name of love the next time he is featured on this site.

        • Gilad says:

          You are wrong, i am a self hater not a jew hater,,, the question is why me hating myself annoys so many Jews?

        • Cliff says:

          @WJ

          You say:

          I will avoid the next discussion of that dehumanized hater who avows to speak in the name of love the next time he is featured on this site.

          Your disagreement with Atzmon is political. Not moral.

          Have you expressed the same vitriolic outrage towards Dershowitz or Pam Gellar or Caroline Glick or your ideological allies in the comments section here like ‘eee’ (when he defined who was and was not a Jew, did you object to the entire circus of that designation?)?

          Save your indignation.

          You – the same person who justifies terrorism against Iran, and by definition, a substantial percentage of the 9/11 attacks (against the ‘technocratic elite’ who power the American empire) – have no moral high-ground.

        • Mooser says:

          “the question is why me hating myself annoys so many Jews?”

          Because it makes you seem ordinary. That’s the ultimate sin. But hang on there Gilad! Look at me, I hate myself, and I’m really dumb for a Jew, and I’m a lousy organist. At least you’ve always got your playing to fall back on.

  21. Danaa says:

    Adam – from the cited article on Atzmon

    “Gilad Atzmon is one of a very small and unrepresentative group of writers who have argued (in agreement with many Zionists) that there is no meaningful distinction to be made between Jews in general and Israeli atrocities. According to Atzmon, the latter are simply a manifestation of Jews’ historic relationship to gentiles, an authentic expression of an essentially racist, immoral, and anti-human “Jewish ideology.”

    There is something here that I feel needs to be made clear. Gilad is from Israel. What you are taught in Israel is much as he says: “[Israel as] a manifestation of Jews’ historic relationship to gentiles, an authentic expression of an essentially racist, immoral, and anti-human Jewish ideology”, minus perhaps the last two words**. The history we learnt in Israel was portrayed entirely from the Jewish viewpoint, the essence of which can be summed up as “all goys are anti-semitic at heart, and cannot be trusted. They resent us Jews because we are so superior”. We learnt little that was not through the lens of persecution of the Jews, and what persecution there was was amplified a thousand times over through repetition and cultural references, all backed by the Holocaust as an exclamation mark. To learn about humanity through this lens is a kind of soul-killing distortion of the reality of Human history. It was – and is – akin to brain-washing of children – literally from infancy.

    I too went through this indoctrination process, and it worked well enough until one day, it didn’t. And when I woke up, the anger over having been sold a bill of goods was, well, like that of anyone’s who escaped from the clutches of a sect. And this you may not understand, Adam, being a nice American and all, who learned of the values of liberty and justice and the pursuit of happiness as your individual right. For you, to be Jewish did not feel like the death of free thought. there were elements of choice – and a softening of any of Judaism’s messages, many of which were presented such that they seemed to resonate with American values, even reinforce them. But to me and to the millions who grew up in Israel, Judaim itself became a soul killer. What we, a secular people, took away from our education is that human solidarity is fundamentally suspect, because in the end – “they” are bound to rise and ask for our life. Why? because that’s who and what “they” are – goys, forever the unchosen.

    The feeling of having – barely – escaped soul-crunching death is why Gilad resonates with me. It’s not always the words he chooses to say it (some of which I’d definitely quibble with) but the rage behind the words – it is there, unmistakable, and I think I know where it comes from. I am subject to it often enough which cause me to go all intemperate (at least till I remember I am still a recovering zio-addict).

    This is where we, who grew up from very young age in Israel (and the age does matter) differ from Jewish people of the world. Many of whom take umbrage with being described as belonging to an “immoral, racist, anti-human ideology” (Gilad’s words), perhaps understandably so. You have had your Tikun Olam. We had nothing of the sort. We did too see Israel as the inheritors of the Maccabbi warrior traditions which we were taught to admire. We did too despise the Arabs and Palestinians as a lower caste of humans. And, to make matters worse, we also learnt to hold in contempt our fellow Jews who happen to reside outside the Israeli bubble. They were diaspora jews. Yehudim galutim miskenim.

    On that last one, no Jewish person living in the UK or the US can possibly process just how deep the contempt is israelis feel towards them – the zionists and non-zionists alike. You won’t see that on +972 or in Gorenberg’s writing because they are, for the most part, Anglo acculturated.

    That aside, what I see when I hear of AIPACers supporting israeli atrocities are the screeches and the braying for blood from the old killing fields of Judea. I hear echoes of god’s admonitions to Joshua to kill every living soul in the promised land. We learned that piece of beauty first when we were under 10 years of age. To be repeated twice over – in greater details – as we went through school. With nary a caveat or spiritual retreat. Just straight – like pure vodka served to babes.

    All I want now is for the good Jews of the world is to accept that not only have they have taken a poisonous viper to their chest, but that they were complicit in the effects this poison has and is having on their much prized habitats. That in the hope that they can go on to forge their own destinies intertwined with those very excellent habitats – the US included.

    ____
    ** for the record I really don’t like expressions like “Jewish ideology”. Way too imprecise, and way too open to misinterpretation. Plus, I don’t think there’s something like “A” Jewish Ideology. There are thousands of them, and most are not, by rights, what we’d call “ideologies”. But I also understand the temptation to come up with a single descriptive expression. It’s not one that’s always easy to resist. I hope Gilad will learn to resist as he goes traveling through the valleys of the shadows, within and without.

    • American says:

      Very moving Danaa.

    • Bumblebye says:

      Thanks Danaa.
      That contempt of diaspora you write of – that was ever present in “eee”s comments. Even for the victims of the holocaust (tho he exempted children).

    • kamanja says:

      Excellent post, Danaa, one caveat:
      “all goys are anti-semitic at heart, and cannot be trusted. They resent us Jews because we are so superior”
      is not a Jewish viewpoint, as you yourself point out in your post-script, although you substitute the word ideology and then qualify even that.

      The education system that avowed center-left, tolerant, westernized Labor-led governments installed during their heyday will provide interesting material for study one day.

      • Danaa says:

        kamanja: you are right, of course, in that the statement cannot be applied to all “Jews”, and certainly not in that simplistic sense. But the preamble, I hope, made it clear that this was in the context of “Israeli Jews”, and not just any of those, but the ones who went through the educational system from say, kindergarten, so they had very little resistance to whatever “programming” they were put through.

        That’s the funny thing about the way people in that Hall of Mirrors called Israel contextualize themselves in the larger world: on the one hand they (meaning the secular ones) accept being “Jewish” though they may despise everything “Judaism” as religion represents. On the other hand they view themselves as Judeans, there to redeem the sad, pathetic history of the Jews in exile” (which is what to them are the Jews of, say, America). So when I use the deliberately over-simple sentence “we, Jews are so superior”, I meant “we Israelis who are more or less Jewish, but really nothing like those other Jews who walk our beaches in their silly-looking Bermuda shorts”. If you force them to think for a second, they may come with something like: well, the bermuda-shorts-wearing Jews may also be superior, but only relative to Bermuda-shorts-wearing goys, not, heaven forbid, relative to us, the speedo-wearing improved variety.

        Of course, if you press further for more detailed impressions, you’ll get the ever-convenient “It’s complicated”.

        Gilad may have been trying to uncomplicate things at least for himself, but alas, sometimes he forgets the qualifiers, and mixes the metaphors some.

      • kapok says:

        Never mind Ghandi, where is our Tacitus?

        • Mooser says:

          “Never mind Ghandi, where is our Tacitus?”

          Never mind that, where’s my Aeanid? Without it, I’ll lose my virgility!
          (oy, strictly from hunger)

    • Woody Tanaka says:

      ” The history we learnt in Israel was portrayed entirely from the Jewish viewpoint, the essence of which can be summed up as ‘all goys are anti-semitic at heart, and cannot be trusted. They resent us Jews because we are so superior’.”

      What a bizarre, bizarre statement, on two grounds. First, the fact that there are people who believe that such blanket, bigoted statement is true. But second, that someone would actually believe it COULD BE true. It may be garden variety bigotry to hold the opinion of one’s people as being “superior.” But one would have to be seriously delusional, pathological narcissistic, to hold the view that the rest of the world thinks about you as a people enough to generate such resentment. I mean, let’s face it, Jews, as a people, are no more or less interesting than any other people in the world. That’s some heavy duty paranoia.

      • American says:

        “‘all goys are anti-semitic at heart, and cannot be trusted. ”

        This was after all the idea behind Zionism to begin with.
        It would be an interesting study to list all the persecutions of Jews from day one in history and also list for comparions other persecutions of other groups that also went on from day one.
        Every time I wander back into history I find all kinds of groups and religions besides the Jews that were persecuted/ discriminated against or in conflict with and massacered by others , particulary in early history.
        In ancient days tribal conflict was a way of life.
        In modern days there is no group except maybe Whites or Anglo Saxons that hasn’t been discriminated against and even there they discriminated against each other – Irish vr Italians and so on.

        • American- If I could reinterpret Zionism it would be not
          “all goys are anti semitic at heart and cannot be trusted”, it would be “anti semitism is a dangerous and hardy disease amongst nonJews and although attempts might be made to defeat it, such attempts ultimately will not succeed and thus the danger must be reckoned with.”

          I think the Zionists were proved right (in the short time frame of half a century) by the Holocaust- that antisemitism in the short range could not be defeated and it indeed proved extremely dangerous. Whether hatred of Jews can be defeated is a question worth asking. Not that all nonJews hate Jews but whether a sufficient hatred will persist to prove dangerous. I think in America and Canada the danger posed by Jew hatred is not dangerous in the short range. Neither is it a danger in Western Europe. I cannot accurately gauge how dangerous it is in the Arab world because of the confusing factor of Israel’s existence and also because I never lived in an Arab country (unless you count Palestine) and have no way of gauging what role it might play in the future in those societies.

        • I think in America and Canada the danger posed by Jew hatred is not dangerous in the short range.

          wj, how about the long range? If you suspect that genuine anti-Semitism will be dangerous in the long run, I would be very interested to know why you think so. Just asking.

        • American says:

          “it would be “anti semitism is a dangerous and hardy disease amongst nonJews “…..WJ

          So all non Jews have some vile disease? You think that sounds better? LOL.
          Hopeless.

        • Thomson Rutherford- I use the term short range because I can only see the short range. In the long range I have worries about America because of polarization of communities and declining wages. I think America has the wherewithal to meet its challenges without dipping into chaos and violence, the situation in which any hatred including Jew hatred would find adherents.

        • American- If I was not clear, I will clarify: “antisemitism is a dangerous and hardy disease amongst some nonJews.”

          If i write “Cancer is a dangerous and hardy disease amongst the human race” that would not mean that all humans get cancer, but rather that it is common enough and deadly enough to be worrisome.

          Me thinks you understood that and are merely being obtuse.

        • Mooser says:

          “If I could reinterpret Zionism…”

          But you can’t. It is what it is. Or shall we all take a trip into your wonderful imaginings of what Zionism could be in the best of all possible worlds where everything turns out for the best.
          Tell it to Candide, “wondering Jew”. Tell it to Candide.

        • Mooser says:

          Oh BTW, is “yonah fredman” aka “wondering jew” posting under two accounts? Or do supporters of Israel get to do that?

      • Danaa says:

        Woody, you may have misunderstood the intent in my sentence that you highlighted. Please see my reply to kamanja just above your post for a little clarification.

  22. ToivoS says:

    I do wish MW would stop giving bandwidth to Atzmon. He does not deserve it. He is despicable pig that does not deserve our support at any level. Even if he is an Israeli he supports some of the worst forms of antisemitism. His backing of Eisen should be sufficient to remove him from any serious discussion.

    • Mooser says:

      “Even if he is an Israeli he supports some of the worst forms of antisemitism.”

      TovioS, my friend, this is probably very dumb for me to say, but I think you’ve got it backwards. To me, it doesn’t matter what opinions Atzmon holds. He could be anti-Zionist as all get-out (was that pun intended?) but he’s still an Israeli.
      And that, to me, more than any particular opinion he happens to hold, puts him beyond the frozen limit.
      An Israeli anti-Zionist will do his anti-Zionism like an Israeli, that’s what he knows and how he was brought up. Let’s just say I would expect an Israeli anti-Zionist to be just as honest and deep in his thought as an Israeli Zionist.

      • Danaa says:

        Mooser: “An Israeli anti-Zionist will do his anti-Zionism like an Israeli, that’s what he knows and how he was brought up.”

        Now there – you put your finger on it in one sentence better than I did in a 100 (and then some). Thanks – may I just quote you from here on so I can get to the next item more speedily?

        But oops, then there’s this ” Let’s just say I would expect an Israeli anti-Zionist to be just as honest and deep in his thought as an Israeli Zionist”.

        Not fair! she says. Lumping all into one, now? care to make a couple of exceptions? only one? half of one?

        • Mooser says:

          Danaa your post above on growing up Israeli was searing. An experience I couldn’t even imagine. I don’t think I would have had the stability or the intelligence to survive it.
          I apologise for my despicable habit of being suspicious of Israelis. It doesn’t speak well of me, I know, but there it is.

    • Gilad says:

      out of interest, did you read Eisen?

  23. piotr says:

    RaHa: I think that Atzmon is right about certain things, but he is also weird.

    The charge that Atzmon denies Holocaust is absurd. Atzmon is making an explanation (but not justification) for Holocaust. I did not read a lot on his website, but one of his claims is that Jews view themselves as superior to all others and hated all others, so it is not particularly surprising that some of those others hated Jews. To truly justify Holocaust, you would need to make two extra steps that Atzmon did not do, namely that non-Jews should hate Jews, and that if they had a good reason to hate, they should exterminate them.

    I am simplifying, but if you take this claim as a working hypothesis and go through opinion articles in Ynet.com and Jpost.com, and look at the comment sections, you figure that Atzmon hit nail on the head. But he is also wrong. Atzmon thinks that Jews are exceptional in thinking about themselves as exceptional, and in some sense, it is “very Jewish” of him, while in fact Jews are not so exceptional in the exceptionalism department. More importantly, it is but an element of the tradition and identity of Poles, English, Jews, Americans, Lithuanians etc.

    When Atzmon criticizes “Jewish Marxist” Machover, he goes bonkers. In a nutshell, he recapitulates the Machover’s characterization of the conflict between Jews and Palestinians, which to me looks like “standard Marxist approach”. Then he argues that this characterization is horribly wrong — to me, this is a matter of opinion. The same piece of cheese can be sliced, but also diced. THEN Atzmon argues that the errors of Machover analysis stem from his horrible Jewish bias, which seems patently false at least if you believe Atzmon’s own synopsis of Machover.

    I never heard about Machover before and after, but this shows the weakness of Atzmon approach and temperament.

    Basically, enemies of Atzmon are proving that he is right (Jews always curse and cast out their heretics). Atzmon left alone on his book tour to present his views anytime and anywhere is wrong.

    The Zionist discourse is proving Atzmon right. Who is a better Jew? What are Jewish values? How to be fully Jewish? Why Norwegians hate Jews? Why are we surprised that Norwegian hate Jews? Why there are Jews that accept dirty Norwegian kronor to spun propaganda that puts Jews in bad light? Is it nobler to punish Jews who accept dirty … or to suffer their contumly and thus prove that Jews are most democratic and moral (especially compared to the meddlesome and hypocritical Norwegians).

  24. salwa says:

    Danaa, you have very well expressed the torment you have felt and that, also, Gilad must be feeling. You are both magnificent survivors and have turned and are turning a bitter experience into thoughtful contemplation of life and the world.

    Here is part of one of my favorite quotes from Swami Vivekananda who died at a relatively young age in the early 1900′s. I hope you find the beauty and the power in it that I feel:

    “‘The whole of life is only a swan song! Never forget those lines

    The lion, when stricken to the heart,
    gives out his mightiest roar.
    When smitten on the head, the cobra lifts its hood. And the majesty of the soul comes forth,
    only when a man is wounded to his depths’.”

    I believe the majesty of your souls has truly come forth.

    • Danaa says:

      salwa – thanks – that’s one good quote. I’ll put in my treasure chest.

    • Mooser says:

      “The lion, when stricken to the heart,
      gives out his mightiest roar.
      When smitten on the head, the cobra lifts its hood. And the majesty of the soul comes forth,
      only when a man is wounded to his depths’”

      And then a rattle comes out of your throat, you spasm, exsanguinate, your bowels and bladder evacuate, and you’re dead. And you didn’t tell us if the revelation was worth it! That’s a hell of a system, Swami, if you ask me. Have you personally tried it?
      Hey, don’t get me wrong! How I love ya, how I love ya, my dear old…

      • That’s a hell of a system, Swami, if you ask me. Have you personally tried it?
        Hey, don’t get me wrong! How I love ya, how I love ya, my dear old…

        Mooser, on a good day you are great! You should be in Vaudeville. Know any other song and dance? Maybe we can get you a spot in the next show, perhaps as a warm-up for Durante.

      • salwa says:

        I just saw this. Actually, I don’t know if anyone is still on this forum because there is an important video I may want to post.

        You’re v. funny, Moser. I’m sure you’re a hoot to be around. However, that partial quote was addressed to Danaa, who I think might appreciate it a bit more in light of the courage she had to summon in order to overcome. It is exhorting people not to be afraid and summon the needed courage to eventually reach loftier heights. Sometimes, we tend to ridicule that which is beyond our comprehension. I will refrain from writing any more.

        • Mooser says:

          “Sometimes, we tend to ridicule that which is beyond our comprehension.”

          You got me, dead to rights. I am so afraid of Zionism, and nationalistic Judaism, that I go way overboard on defensiveness. And yes, I have a definite prejudice and suspicion of Israelis, and I very much want to ridicule them, very often quite unjustly. I’d be a fool to try and deny it, they scare me to death.

  25. kalithea says:

    Atzmon went all the way. He didn’t cling on to a lingering shred of insecurity or ego, in otherwords, his “choseness”. He surrendered completely to the unknown and discovered — humanity. So don’t blame him if now his contempt for the other side has become his mission. His clarity is painful; his words cut like a razor-sharp knife. He went so far that his words sound like heresy to those still trapped inside the cult-like, tribal thinking. What he says isn’t shocking; it’s truth. Truth can sound like blasphemy; truth is shock treatment that gets you to where you were meant to be. George Bernard Shaw: “All great truths begin as blasphemies.”

    Either you embrace truth no matter how blasphemous it sounds or difficult to swallow or suffer more karma. What’s it gonna be? The karma seems to only get worse; I’d run to the truth by now.

    • piotr says:

      Hophmi complains about Atzmon’s words ” ‘Blaming the victim’ is an argument that allowed Jews to stop reflecting for hundreds of years. They always come to the conclusion that the Goyim, the gentiles are a bunch of murderers.” More precisely, Goyim hate Jews because they know their own inferiority and periodically act on their feelings.

      But this weird historiography is the standard Zionist teaching. I disagree with reasons that Atzmon postulates, but nevertheless his starting point was what he learned in school: that Goyim never had a reason.

    • Mooser says:

      “Atzmon went all the way.”

      Well, so did I, eventually. Sure it took until well into my twenties, and it was one hell of a mess, but I did it! Anyway, I got it over with. Was it good for her? Hell, it wasn’t good for anybody! I hope Gilad had better luck.

      • Was it good for her? Hell, it wasn’t good for anybody! I hope Gilad had better luck.

        WTF!!! You didn’t care for the issue? Might there not be another self-interested point of view here?

        • Mooser says:

          “WTF!!! You didn’t care for the issue?”

          I don’t know who cared for the issue. Of course, this was the days before DNA testing.

  26. itamar says:

    What is the truth? That European Jews brought the Holocaust on themselves? That they made the gentiles hate them? That they “may” have used non-Jewish blood in their cooking? These are all things that Atzmon has said!

    As a pro-Palestine Jewish-Israeli activist, I am appalled that so many people (mostly whitepeople it seems) either don’t care or justify Gilad Atzmon’s anti-Semitism as if it has anything to do with Palestinian liberation. It’s a blow to all people who see the movement as an anti-racist movement, not just a movement to end the Israeli occupation but capable of enlisting Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism to advance this cause.

    • Shmuel says:

      As a pro-Palestine Jewish-Israeli activist …

      That’s what you think. In fact, you are just another “third category Jew” subconsciously obeying the will of the “Zionist organismus” – and your very opposition to Atzmon proves it ;-)

      Welcome, Itamar :-)

      • Mooser says:

        “As a pro-Palestine Jewish-Israeli activist…”

        Whose web handle is the name of one of the foremost illegal settlements? Yeah, there’s no pro-Palestinian like the ones who have stolen their land and houses.
        BTW, do you and Shmuel know each other, from back at the home place?

        • Shmuel says:

          Whose web handle is the name of one of the foremost illegal settlements?

          I’ll go out on a limb here and guess that Itamar (one of the sons of Aaron in the Bible) is actually his name.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          I still don’t fathom why people on our side are still willing to go out on limbs when they can see people with saws on polearms at the base of the tree.

        • Newclench says:

          Silly comments about people’s names or handles is what passes for discourse here. Much more satisfying – if you’re a bully!

        • Shmuel says:

          I still don’t fathom why people on our side are still willing to go out on limbs when they can see people with saws on polearms at the base of the tree.

          Who would be the one with the saw? Itamar? What makes you think that he is not on “our side” and Atzmon supporters are not the ones with the saws (as Itamar explains in his comment)? Because of his name? Because he dares to criticise Atzmon? To the extent that you had some point when it came to engaging liberal Zionists, here you’re making no sense at all.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          Be patient, Shmuel.

        • Mooser says:

          “Much more satisfying – if you’re a bully!”

          Newclench, given the equipment you bring to this “battle of ideas” it doesn’t surpise me you feel bullied.
          Sure Newclench, the discourse tastes like poison, and the threads are so damn short.

    • Woody Tanaka says:

      “What is the truth? That European Jews brought the Holocaust on themselves? That they made the gentiles hate them? That they “may” have used non-Jewish blood in their cooking? These are all things that Atzmon has said!”

      I would be interested in seeing where these statements were said. I have limited familiarity with his work and the last time I asked, the poster cited material that was out of context. I have no ax to grind either way, I am just interested to see where these statements appear and in what context.

    • kapok says:

      From the horses mouth:

      link to tinyurl.com

      He “wondered out loud” in school as a teenager. Somewhat different than what you have implied.

    • kalithea says:

      “mostly whitepeople it seems…BLAH-BLAH”
      “not just a movement to end the Israeli occupation but capable of enlisting Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism to advance this cause…blah”

      Oh, this is rich…ignorance like this gets posted around here, but my comments are censored.

      Let me tell you something: THE OCCUPATION IS HERE TO STAY. ZIONISM IS HERE TO STAY. The reason being is that IGNORANCE, HYPOCRISY AND DISHONESTY (as displayed by many here like yourself who pretend to care about the fate of Palestinians) WILL TRIUMPH. SO YOU CAN SLEEP EASY…FOR NOW. But know this, THE TRUTH WILL NOT BE DENIED, and KARMA will ensure that! Let history be your guide; although I understand I’m addressing a brick wall, WALL being the operative word. The longer you run from it, THE MORE KARMA YOU’LL ACCUMULATE.

      YOU ARE HOPE………LESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS. But don’t despair, you are in GREAT COMPANY, because individuals whom I believed much more intelligent than you actually agree with YOU (ugh!) and that’s why injustice and inhumanity will persist over humanity!!!!

      SHAME ON YOU!!! Now I think I’ll go over to Atzmon’s blog and get some FRESH AIR!

      • salwa says:

        Unfortunately, I agree with you about the occupation, Kalithea. I have seen nothing on Israel’s part that indicates otherwise. They are out for more of everything–more power, more land, more countries to destroy as evidenced by dispossessing more Palestinians of their homes & land as well as their constant exhortation for war against Iran. And unfortunately, they are growing a type of robotic population, as I have seen in videos, etc., and as Danaa has described here, callous to human suffering, except, of course, for those who could not stomach it & have left.

        I remember some years ago, I read about the Bedouins totally cooperating with the Israelis because they thought they would be left alone. Unfortunately for them, now they are being forcibly moved off their lands, where the Israelis want to build some kind of a grand-scale development.

        These are not opinions. They are facts. For those who are not aware of such, here is a link to an article by Oded Yinon, Israeli journalist & former member of the Knesset, written in 1982, planning the destruction of ME countries, with Iraq as their first target. Unless a person has been asleep, they know the rest as to what happened and is still happening with the who and why. link to cosmos.ucc.ie

    • Mooser says:

      “As a pro-Palestine Jewish-Israeli activist…”

      Stop, stop, you’re killing me. Please, no jokes until I’ve had some coffee.
      Although, I must admit, that would make a great opening for a letter to the Penthouse Forum! Oh, BTW shouldn’t that be “pro-Palestinian Jewish-Israeli-American activist, or isn’t that “American” even important enough to be included?

    • Mooser says:

      “That they “may” have used non-Jewish blood in their cooking?”

      What a disgusting thought! Even tho my wife is herself Gentile (look, that’s what she told me, you want I should hire a shamus or something? She says all AG church members file their teeth after confirmation) I insist she use nothing but real Jewish blood in her cooking. As if I couldn’t tell the difference. Of course, you run out, there’s no beef or chicken base in the kitchen, you’ve got a dinner party, well, you use what you can. Frozen plasma will work, if carefully defrosted and brought to room temperature before combining in a recipe.

    • Danaa says:

      itamar, what I would like to know is why you as a “pro=palestinian Jewish-Israeli” care so much about Atzmon, that you attribute blood-libel to him. Why not anyone else? It is a bit curious that people, on the one hand, discount everything Atzmon says as careless, non-scholarly anti-semitic generalizations, and on the other hand, take him seriously enough to go all bat-s*it crazy over a single artless sentence.

      There are many polemicists out there, including some Jewish ones who vehemently criticize Judaism, Jews, israelis etc., and no one here ever brings up their name.

      It is interesting that you are among the many who wandered in here on this occasions alone, brought in by the Atzmon stork. It is especially interesting that ones who are so “offended” by one or two things Gilad may have said, or could have said, fail to take offense at the numerous under the belt insidious pronouncements by the likes of Foxman of the defamation league. Somehow, Gilad offends the delicate sensibilities of certain so-called “pro-palestinian Jews” and on the other hand, outright defamation of individuals and groups as issued forth from the Defamation artists – often against other jews who dared to go “too far” in criticizing the anti-semitic AIPAC and friends, leave them indifferent.

      It is the over-reaction from certain quarters that make me suspect they all see something significant in Atzmon, out of all others. That makes the interesting question: what is it about Atzmon that drives you all crazy?

      BTW, Atzmon gave several interviews – in print and on the radio in Israel. Some didn’t like what he had to say, some shook their heads, and most said, whatever. As far as the people of israel are concerned, by definition someone who left Israel is not going to say friendly things about it – or Jews in general. Overall, the reception he got in Israel was no better or worse than anyone else – including people like Burg or Avneri – who are known to be way on the left. As the saying goes – they don’t like israel much or Jews in general – so what else is new?

  27. Cliff says:

    I’ve never really paid much attention to Gliad although I was always aware of him (via Tony Greenstein and JSF).

    It’s just ironic that Zionists have no problem inviting Darwish, Shoebat, et. al. and silencing Palestinian children’s art exhibits and all the rest, but flip their lid when Gilad comes to town.

    Whatever salient comparison there may (or may not; since I don’t if he’s a Holocaust denier or a person who said Jews killed Christ or w/e else is said about him) be to Aztmon w/ respect to the crazies on the Zionist side – Zionists censor EVERYTHING.

    It doesn’t have to be Gilad. It could be as I said, an art exhibit by Palestinian children.

    It could be an SAT question referring to Edward Said. It could be a book from the perspective of a Palestinian girl, being read in Canadian schools.

    I remember after/during Cast Lead, a small vigil was held for the children in Gaza, and a group of Jewish people having a separate vigil for Israeli children came over to the first group and kept asking them to make a joint vigil. It was a repulsive because it turned out that they Israeli children they were holding a vigil for, were simply all the Israeli children who had died since the 2nd Intifada whereas the 300ish Palestinian children the first vigil was mourning had died in 2.5 weeks.

    It’s on YT. I’ll find it.

    Back to censorship though.

    It could be any kind of non-violent resistance vis a vis the BDS implementations/initiatives.

    Just as they stomp dissent (violent or non-violent) in Israel/Palestine, they censor every/anything here.

    The basic point is to control the narrative absolutely.

    That’s why all these pro-Israel groups like SWU or the ADL primarily deal in censorship and gate-keeping.

    They should put out a sincere (but that which will ultimately be mocked) pamphlet of guidelines to criticizing Israel.

    Would be hilarious.

    First rule of Zionism is, you don’t criticize Zionism.

    Second rule of Zionism is, you do NOT criticize Zionism.

    • kalithea says:

      “I’ve never really paid much attention to Gliad…”

      Neither have I, but ironically, after having most of my comments CENSORED on this thread, I WILL BE VISITING HIS SITE MUCH MORE OFTEN FROM NOW ON! In my opinion, he represents HONESTY, INTEGRITY AND COURAGE! Most importantly he speaks THE TRUTH.

      • Most importantly he speaks THE TRUTH.

        I think Gilad speaks part of the truth. But THE TRUTH in matters of opinion is mostly subjective. Gilad speaks HIS truth, for what it’s worth. The truth is quite elusive, and no writer, with the possible exception of Shakespeare, has ever succeeded in corralling the whole truth and no critter but the truth. Man, he was some cowboy!

    • Mooser says:

      “I’ve never really paid much attention to Gliad although I was always aware of him (via Tony Greenstein and JSF).”

      Well, what are you waiting for?

  28. Cliff says:

    Here’s that video.

    On the 40th day after the first child in Palestine was killed in Gaza during the most recent Israeli military offensive, this vigil remembers all the children who died in Gaza. Some members of the Jewish community also showed up and read a composite list of names of Israeli children who have been killed.

    The description does not explain (but the video clearly shows), that some members of the Jewish gathering kept interrupting the moment of silence. One of the members of the original vigil asked one of the Jewish members if the list they had prepared was for the same time period and of course it wasn’t. It was all the Israeli children who had died since the 2nd Intifada.

    There’s that Zionist ‘balance’ and ‘dialogue’ at work.

    During the First Intifada, I think around 300 Palestinian children alone had died. 160 Israelis died in total during the First Intifada. 100 Israeli civilians were killed by Palestinians.

  29. In my view Gilad makes a very important contribution to the discussion, and I am happy to come to his defense. I see him in the tradition of Spinoza, Karl Kraus, and Israel Shahak — wise and courageous. The lies about him are ridiculous, and those who spread them mostly likely have not read his book.

    • MHughes976 says:

      I would add Freud to this list, since he thinks (Moses and Monotheism) that Jewish religion and culture involve both intense guilt and a sense of superiority.
      I have a problem in not entirely knowing what a sense of superiority feels like or how it is expressed.
      The standard view on Mondoweiss, I think, is that Zionism is a mistaken or inauthentic form of Jewish culture, that the propositions accepted with authentic Jewish culture do not imply the propositions of Zionism. GA, as I understand him, keeps clear of the religious side but is convinced that Zionism is a fully authentic and logical expression of that secular Jewish culture. To this extent he is fully in agreement with most Zionists, I would say. But since he thinks Zionism is a bad thing, he also thinks, as logic goes, that secular Jewish culture is also false and dangerous.
      I think that authenticity claims are very difficult to prove. I’m not sure I want to get into discussions about it. I do want to say that true anti-racism is not really admiring people who are Jewish but admiring people who deserve it whether they are of this race or that race, Jewish or not.
      I think that free speech is indivisible and I have defended that view with audiences that don’t sympathise.

      • Mooser says:

        “that Jewish religion and culture involve both intense guilt and a sense of superiority.”

        Hmmm, I’ve always been pretty incapable of remorse or guilt, and I have a distinct sense of inferiority. Maybe I should investigate Christianity, I don’t seem cut out to be Jewish, or something.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          Well don’t bother with Catholicism, Mooser, if you can’t feel guilt then you’re not allowed to have half of the Sacraments done for you. ;)

        • salwa says:

          Chaos4700, I grew up Catholic even though I walked away from the Church yrs ago. I think, “confession” served to absolve one from guilt and sort of prepared one, for life, to admit when they committed sthg considered wrong.

          I came to this realization when I was married to a WASP who could never admit anything he had done or apologize. It took years to get him to apologize. This could possibly be a male characteristic.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          Well, I do poke fun at the religion I grew up in too, but I do recognize there are some good qualities too.

      • GA, as I understand him, keeps clear of the religious side but is convinced that Zionism is a fully authentic and logical expression of that secular Jewish culture. To this extent he is fully in agreement with most Zionists, I would say. But since he thinks Zionism is a bad thing, he also thinks, as logic goes, that secular Jewish culture is also false and dangerous.

        while it may be a a fully authentic and logical expression of secular jewish culture i do not believe it is inherent, but there are many zionists who argued that it is. i don’t see how it is any more antisemitic to assert this whether one is pro or anti zionist. both positions attach a inherent-ness about it that’s unnatural.

  30. kapok says:

    Went out on the web to dig up dirt on Atzmon. Found this:

    “An antisemite used to be someone who hates Jews; nowadays an antisemite is someone Jews hate.” link to guardian.co.uk

    Brilliant!

  31. Mooser says:

    I just want to know one thing. Why is Gilad Atzmon’s attributes as a musician (multi-horn player, arranger, composer, eclectic mixer of Middle East musical influences, and straight-ahead jazz player) so studiously ignored on this site? That is, after all, what he’s known for and how he makes his living. Long after Israel becomes just another thing Jews pretend never existed, that’s what Atzmon will be remembered for.
    Yet that subject is tabooten at Mondoweiss. Why not install Atzmon tracks as background music for this thread?

    • Mooser says:

      Look, you might as well face up to it: There’s a good reason why the words “Jews” (Juzz) and “Jazz” are so close. I forget which famous Rabbi or sage said it, on which album, but I’ll never forget my Mother endlessly repeating it as a kind of (a praying mantrass? Hmmm…) invocation as she went about the household chores to her Stan Getz and Benny Goodman records: “Jazz is good joo-joo for Jews”. My Mom, gosh how I miss her! An errand girl for rhythm if there ever was one. Oy such is life. One bag of undercut skag, and I’m an orphan! (Just kidding, Mom!)

    • piotr says:

      So you say. The standard reply is: really? link please. One that one can actually hear the trumpet or whatever he is using (I can only say that Sarah Gillespie looks better than Atzmon when they act together).

      • Frankie P says:

        @mooser & @piotr,

        Here are a few links of the recent concert in NYC with the Meetinghouse Jazz Orchestra. That is the same concert that attracted the Dersh in all his royal hissiness, attacking the good Quakers for hosting the notorious antisemite. The solos GA takes on his compostions Ouz and Le Cote Mediterranee on “the trumpet or whatever his is using” are soaring and exquisite. He is truly one of the most important jazz improvisers / composers active today.

        link to youtube.com

    • Frankie P says:

      @mooser,

      Horns are those things growing out of the heads of oxen; they’re a bovine version of your antlers. Gilad is a reed or woodwind player.

      FPM

  32. Keith says:

    In many ways, the most significant thing about Gilad Atzmon is the reaction to Gilad Atzmon. There is nothing about him which can possibly explain the extent of the vitriol and demonization. Something happening here, what it is ain’t exactly clear.

  33. David Samel says:

    Lots of interesting opinions here, and Danaa’s is particularly moving and informative but I think she is wrong. Supporters of Israel instinctively jump on critics as antisemites. The accusation is losing its sting as more and more wake up to the fact that the accusers are dishonest smear artists. Along comes Atzmon, with a myriad of quotes that can legitimately be interpreted as antisemitic. He is a gift presented on a silver tray to people like Dershowitz, who for once has a target, Atzmon, whose views need not be distorted beyond recognition. Is there any value in Atzmon’s writings? Probably, but the value is outweighed by his deliberate flirtation with rank bigotry. He singlehandedly legitimizes the antisemitism smear. This isn’t about Atzmon and whether he’s clever enough to explain why his views on Jews and Jewishness should be acceptable in public discourse. This is about Palestinian freedom, justice and equality, and Atzmon hurts a lot more than he helps.

    As for Danaa, her description of the indoctrination of Israeli children is vivid, but it does not excuse the sentiments expressed by Atzmon. Moreover, is it significantly different from Christians who teach their young that those who do not accept Christ as their savior will be punished with eternal damnation? Or equally foul teachings of superiority in other religions? Is the concept of chosen-ness so exclusive to Jews? In fact, what about the super-privileged in almost every country on earth who preach their own superiority over the mass of fellow citizens? This is an ugly human trait, not a Jewish one.

    • I agree 100% with your comments about Atzmon. The guy is clearly antisemitic, fully hurtful to the PSM and to an extent it’s a disgrace that a post like this was even published on Mondoweiss. It’s the crossing of a red line and I expect some kind of apology from the blog’s top guys.

      That being said, I don’t agree that the kind of indoctrination you find in the Jewish community is the same that you would find in other communities. Intermarriage and Israel, in particular, are two topics the official Jewish community has very weird ideas about.

    • Shmuel says:

      This isn’t about Atzmon and whether he’s clever enough to explain why his views on Jews and Jewishness should be acceptable in public discourse. This is about Palestinian freedom, justice and equality, and Atzmon hurts a lot more than he helps.

      Precisely.

      I agree with Danaa’s explanation of Atzmon’s approach (that it is thoroughly Israeli), but that doesn’t make it right – whether it comes in a Zionist or an anti-Zionist wrapper.

      • Hi, Shmuel. This comment is directed to both you and David Samel.

        I suspect from reading the above thread that most of the people condemning Gilad as ‘beyond the pale’ have read little or nothing of what the man himself has written. I am holding in my hand a copy of his book, The Wandering Who?: A Study of Jewish Identity Politics. (Perhaps the title itself is verboten territory, Shmuel?) It’s not great literature, but such as that is rare these days.

        To help the discussion along, perhaps, I shall quote the beginning paragraphs of the book. (I see nothing terribly objectionable there, if one is willing to make allowances for occasional over-generalization, so I hope the management will not object.)

        In London, in what I often define as my ‘self-imposed exile,’ I grasped that Israel and Zionism were just parts of the wider Jewish problem.

        Israel is the Jewish state, at least that is what it claims to be. Israel is largely supported by world Jewry institutionally, financially, and spiritually. Zionism and Israel have become the symbolic identifiers of the contemporary Jew. And yet, in spite of Israel being the Jewish State, in spite of its vast support by Jewish lobbies around the world, hardly any commentator is courageous enough to wonder what the word Jew stands for. This question, it seems, is still taboo within Western discourse.

        In this book, I will try to untangle the knot. I will present a harsh criticism of Jewish politics and identity. Yet, it is crucial to mention at this early stage that there will be not a single reference to Jews as ethnicity or race. In my writing, I differentiate between Jews (the people), Judaism (the religion), and Jewish-ness (the ideology). This book doesn’t deal with Jews as a people or ethnicity. If anything, my studies of the issue suggest that Jews do not form any kind of racial continuum. In short, those who are searching for blood or race-related interpretation of Zionism will have to look for it in someone else’s work.

        In my work, I also refrain from criticizing Judaism, the religion. Instead I confront different interpretations of the Judaic code. I deal with Jewish Ideology, Jewish identity politics, and the Jewish political discourse. I ask what being a Jew entails. I am searching for the metaphysical, spiritual, and socio-political connotations.

        I launch my journey raising a relatively simple question. Who are the Jews? Or alternately what do people mean when they call themselves Jews?

        As you and Danaa have noted, Atzmon writes from the unique viewpoint of one particular Israeli expatriot. Are these not interesting questions he raises?

        I have read many controversial works by Jewish writers, and this one does not strike me as being more inadmissible than many that seem to have received far less calumny. As Keith said above, there seems to be something going on under the surface here. IMO, the book is worth a read, if for no other reason so one will know more accurately the person he is condemning.

        I didn’t realize that discussion, by a Jew, of Jewish identity, Jewish identity politics, and Jewish political discourse was verboten. Is it?

        P.S. – The quotation before the Foreword should be noted:

        “The Nazis made me afraid to be a Jew, and the Israelis made me ashamed to be a Jew.” – Israel Shahak

        • Shmuel says:

          Thomson,

          I think I’ve read my fair share of Atzmon (although I haven’t and don’t intend to read The Wandering Who). He asks some good questions, and even offers some good answers and insights, but his entire perspective is warped (Danaa has put her finger on the reason) to the point of rendering the whole racist or, at the very least, a kind of enfant terrible flirtation with racism. May he enjoy it in good health. I don’t find his viewpoint particularly interesting or worth engaging with.

          My sole interest in him concerns the damage that he and his followers cause to the fundamentally anti-racist struggle for Palestinian rights.

          As David put it:

          This isn’t about Atzmon and whether he’s clever enough to explain why his views on Jews and Jewishness should be acceptable in public discourse. This is about Palestinian freedom, justice and equality, and Atzmon hurts a lot more than he helps.”

        • David Samel says:

          Thomson, the beginning of Atzmon’s book that you quote reminds me of Shlomo Sand’s quest to find the roots of Jewishness. The huge difference is what follows. As I said before, Alan Dershowitz has a variety of Atzmon quotes he need not distort or take out of context to display as evidence that anyone who associates with Atzmon (including Mearsheimer) has crossed a red line. Of course his larger message is that this is the true face of Palestine Solidarity activism. btw, I single out Dersh but he surely is not alone.

          Shmuel puts it elegantly: Atzmon has an “enfant terrible flirtation with racism.” It reminds me of Lars von Trier’s stupid comments about Nazis, and John Mayer’s idiotic comments about having a racist penis and his liberal use of the word “nigger.” These guys are saying “I’m so cool I can get away with this.” Maybe, maybe not. The big difference is that neither of them are associated with any political movement. Atzmon is, and he is shooting it in the foot.

          As for Sand, his book is very interesting and thought-provoking. While I’m sure he has had to endure his share of name-calling, so has Jimmy Carter, Desmond Tutu, and a host of sincere, decent people. What worries me about Sand is that some might interpret his thesis as definitive in the I/P conflict. In other words, they may think that if Sand is wrong, and virtually all present-day Jews are descended from the people exiled from the area thousands of years ago, they really did have the right to return in the 20th century and conquer, subdue, and dispossess those who have been merely “squatting” on the land for centuries. But that certainly is no reason to condemn Sand himself. With Atzmon, it’s quite different.

        • David and Shmuel, I think both the Sand and Atzmon books are valuable (maybe because I’m not Jewish?), but I see little basis for meaningful comparison. The Gilad book is a personal story intertwined with powerful, contemporary social forces. The fact that his consciousness may have been “warped” by his experiences does not destroy the significance of his thinking.

          I recognize your (and Hasbara Buster’s) concerns about real or potential damage to the PSM, but I don’t think I agree. That’s probably because, fundamentally, I see the effort to diminish the political power of Zionism occurring on a broader battleground than you do. However, I still have an open mind about the net resultant value of Gilad toward the objective of bringing down Zionism.

        • Gilad says:

          Shmuel, can you please point out a single racist reference in my entire work?

    • Donald says:

      I agree with David Samel about Atzmon. As for the ADL, if they had any sense they’d be defending Atzmon’s free speech rights–from their perspective he’s like a dream come true, the man who explicitly links anger at Israel today with European “anger” at Jews in the 1930′s. Pure propaganda gold. They should secretly pay his airfare and put him up at the best hotels anytime he wants to speak at an anti-Zionist event.

      • Chaos4700 says:

        The ADL isn’t about free speech and that’s the problem, ultimately, Donald. That’s the elephant in the room.

        What hurts the perception of Jewish people more? The musings of one man, or whole Jewish organizations exerting titanic gravitational pull on American politics to make the US a virtual proxy for the policies of the self-styled “Jewish nation?” To the point where American troops will be dying in Iran because Israel wants that?

        • Donald says:

          “What hurts the perception of Jewish people more? The musings of one man, or whole Jewish organizations exerting titanic gravitational pull on American politics to make the US a virtual proxy for the policies of the self-styled “Jewish nation?” To the point where American troops will be dying in Iran because Israel wants that?”

          I agree that AIPAC and others are a much bigger problem than the anti-semitic ravings of one solitary attention-seeking jazz musician, but I would put it differently. Think of it this way–it’s true that the actions of Islamic suicide bombers cause a problem for the perception of Muslim people, but that is no excuse for Islamophobia. One should keep the issues separate. Terrorism in the name of Islam is a problem, but it’s no excuse for Islamophobia and we should come down like a ton of bricks on anyone who thinks it is. The same is true of Israeli crimes and anti-semitism. Now I happen to agree with the consensus of people in this blog that in the US at least anti-Arab and/or anti-Muslim sentiment is a far greater danger to human life than anti-semitism in the US happens to be–we start wars in part because of Islamophobia, but aren’t going to start wars because of anti-semitism. So that’s why I’d say AIPAC is a much much bigger problem than Atzmon. It still doesn’t excuse Atzmon.

          Everyone else should speak out against the crimes of terrorists and those people who actually support them, and everyone should speak out against the crimes of Israel and the people who support them, and everyone should speak out against Islamophobes who use the crimes of Muslim extremists as an excuse for bigotry and everyone should speak out against anti-semites who use the crimes of Israel as a reason for making anti-semitic generalizations about Jews. Okay, that sentence was way too long, but I don’t have time to think about how to be pithy here.

          Anyway, the problem with Atzmon is not that his views are likely to spread–until I came to this blog I never even heard of him and anyway, I think that if people notice his more unsavory comments they will just write him off as a nut. The problem is that if anti-Zionists start inviting this guy to conferences to give talks, he can be used to discredit anti-Zionism as anti-semitism.

          That’s enough about him. What really bothered me today was seeing that op ed piece by the Israeli guy in the NYT justifying war with Iran, but I see Phil put up a piece by David Bromwich on that.

    • Danaa says:

      David:

      Is there any value in Atzmon’s writings? Probably, but the value is outweighed by his deliberate flirtation with rank bigotry. He singlehandedly legitimizes the antisemitism smear.

      I beg to differ on this very point. Just because some people posit as fact that Atzmon “flirts with bigotry”, and just because some people are oversensitive to any critique that has but a smidgen of that mysterious “anti-semitic” scent, does not a stormy cloud make. It is perhaps to be expected that a belly-gazing quality attaches to those who treasure the precariousness of a group defined identity above that of their all too generic fragility as simple individual humans. Oh, so piercingly poignant in one case, and oh so drably common in the other. So yes, there will be those (best exemplified in the reverse towering person of Jeffrey Goldberg) who will seek and find in Atzmon a cudgel with which to strike at all these would-be “universalists” who dared to be as much as seen in the company of such. But I say that the Israel-firsters (good word there, right?) don’t need an Atzmon to shut down the conversation about the persecution of the Palestinians. They have done quite well disappearing the critics of Israel’s dastardly deeds and their own complicity in them long before Atzmon showed up on the scene. I suspect, that even without an Atzmon to wave frantically, around, why, the AIPAC crowd and sympathizers might figure that one David Samel, with his keen eye for dissecting the absurdity of their positions, might do just as well as a “legitimizer of anti-semitic smears”. The only difference is that they might have to work a bit harder to find some Samel-Pearls that could be fashioned into poison darts.

      Actually, when it comes to the treatment metted out to Gilad Atzmon by some of the better not-so-zionists around, I think I see some parallels to what Spinoza had to endure at the hands of his own community. Yes, his philosophy was not only sacriligous to the rabbis of a congregation that has fled spain/portugal not long before. But his pronouncements on the place of religion in general caught the eyes of the Dutch who deemed them quite heretical to their own Christian sensibilities. Thus the decision was made to put Spinoza in herem not only because the Jewish power brokers found his views antithetical to their newly found, much treasured Judaism, but because they feared that it might draw the unwelcome attentions of the church going crowd around them and raise their so-far-latent anti-semitism. Nowadays we read about this period and we find the treatment of Spinoza – a towering intellect whose only crime was to live 100 years too early – to be despicable. No, Atzmon is no Spinoza, but putting him in herem because his views might give comfort to anti-semites, is just as contemptible. Personally, I expect that this is the verdict history will deliver, when the time comes.

      Which is why it behooves us – on the progressive side – to stop the frothing and thrashing about this one man. Let him say his piece in peace. Feel free to ignore, critique or take issue with his choice of words and expressed opinions. They are opinions after all, not facts of nature or mathematical theorems. A point of view does not a Law of Physics make. If we continue in this vein – splitting into factions that spit insults at each other over someone’s choice of definitions (cf. “Jewish-ness”) then those arrayed against us, far greater in numbers, wealth and power, will have achieved their aim. In the case of Gilad Atzmon, it may be better to agree to disagree, just as some of us do on BDS for example, in the interest of saving the greater ire for the greater enemy.

      • Shmuel says:

        Danaa,

        Are there any limits? At the risk of expanding the discussion, what about Israel Shamir, Paul Eisen, David Duke, Ernst Zundel? What about people who do not merely question the libel part of the blood libels, or affirm the fundamental truth of the Protocols while admitting that the actual document is a forgery, or use the epithet “Christkillers” rhetorically, but actually embrace such things as God’s own truth? Should their support for Palestinian rights be welcomed, promoted on sites such as MW, given anti-racist platforms?

        I’ve come across some pretty vile supporters of Palestinian rights – including real live fascists (beat up immigrants on Saturday, march for Palestine on Sunday, celebrate Mussolini’s birthday on Monday). Such people and organisations are generally shown the door by Palestinian activists. Would you say that they too are put in “herem”? Compare them to Spinoza? And what about those who merely befriend them, defend them, and intimate that they may have a point or, at the very least, argue that they should be honoured as “enemies of my enemy”?

        • Danaa says:

          Shmuel:

          Are there any limits? At the risk of expanding the discussion, what about Israel Shamir, Paul Eisen, David Duke, Ernst Zundel? What about people who do not merely question the libel part of the blood libels, or affirm the fundamental truth of the Protocols while admitting that the actual document is a forgery, or use the epithet “Christkillers” rhetorically, but actually embrace such things as God’s own truth?

          And if Hitler or Stalin rose from their graves and marched for the Palestinians, should they be welcome?

          Com’on now – what’s this reductio ad absurdio pilpulato we are doing here? have I even heard of Eisen before this thread? and who the heck is Zundel shmundel?

          The ultimate question: who is on the “welcoming” committee? is there one? is that what’s important? if Shahak wants to march, let him march (I think you have little to worry about Duke though – he don’t march much). Doesn’t mean everyone has to have a platform everywhere with the mike in hand.

          The biggest problem the left has had (from time immemorial it seems) is this predilection to purity tests. Hey – goes back to the early Bolsheviks – Lenin and Trotsky had a little fight, and into the breech marches Stalin – ain’t that dandy?

          I’ve learnt one thing from my daughter’s coach, who kept exhorting – “don’t worry about what the competition does, just concentrate on what you need to do!”. Or, to use hyperbole (since that’s what we seem to be doing here) – may be we should stop worrying so much about what the Dersh says and worry about what we need to do.

          As for purity tests – cross that bridge when you get to it (ie, send me a telegram when Duke show up for the weekly march at Sheik Jarrah and I’ll figure something to do about it).

        • Shmuel says:

          Danaa,

          No “pilpulato” (or “Talmudic dialectic”, if you prefer). Just asking if there are any limits to those you think MW or other anti-racist forums should give a platform to. Is it an absolute matter of principle, or is it just a matter of where one draws the line?

          When a leader of the Italian far right requested a meeting with the Palestinian ambassador to express his “solidarity”, the ambassador acquiesced, and was sharply criticised by Palestinian solidarity groups (predominantly made up of staunch anti-fascists – a term that still has some meaning in Italy). When fascist or neo-fascist movements ask to add their names to pro-Palestinian petitions or sponsors of pro-Palestinian events, they are regularly rejected. Abunimah, Halper and others have distanced themselves from “Deir Yassin Remembered”, due to the involvement of Shamir and Eisen.

          It’s not about purity. It’s about the moral basis for a struggle – and, Spinoza or no Spinoza, it is about shooting yourself in the foot.

        • Newclench says:

          What’s the word – “l’hitamem”? To “make oneself innocent” in violation of the actual facts? Danaa can’t really be arguing that there are no limits. But to say that ‘limits and purity are the problem’ is to pretend otherwise.
          My moral basis for struggle is to look at every group and every human being as a subject, not an object. That includes the Palestinians, the Israelis, the Jews – everyone. And it excludes folks like Atzmon, and Zundel, who aid and abet the transformation of Jews from subjects to objects of struggle. And of course it excludes the right wing Zionists who treat Arabs, Palestinians and Muslims the same way, performing mental gymnastics to treat a group as less viably entitled to full consideration.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          Oh please. Atzmon didn’t turn Jews into victims, after the Holocaust. Israel has. Your country wants Jews to find anti-Semitism in their own shadows.

          Atzmon isn’t the Holocaust Industry and Atzmon isn’t the “Jewish” Lobby.

        • Mooser says:

          Not just any old ordinary person with their ordinary mixture of motivations, prejudices and fears is good enough to activate against Israel.
          No, those who seek to bring down the Zionist entity must be like worthy of the endeavor. Only the pure in heart and chaste, those who have kept the vigil, are worthy of going up against Israel!

          Yup this is gonna be a very interesting struggle. On the one hand, a adversary which needn’t even count the cost of lives they take, and on the other, a movement which must account for every goddam word.

    • Danaa says:

      More David Samel:

      This is about Palestinian freedom, justice and equality, and Atzmon hurts a lot more than he helps.

      No argument about what this is about. But I take an issue with your statement about Atzmon hurting the cause, because I think it is not up to any of us to draw red lines and decide who to keep in and who to exclude. Though it may seem like the noise of a multitude, the sad truth is that our numbers are small, and are not increasing nearly as fast as needed to make a big difference. Finkelstein has just denounced BDS as “hurtful” to the “movement”, and you and Shmuel feel Atzmon is “hurtful”. Others feel that discussions of one state are “hurtful” and still others believe overt criticism of the Israel-supporting Jewish community is “hurtful”. By the time we are done excluding all these “hurtful” elements there’ll be but a thin sprinkling of the “truly progressive” left standing. Kind of counter-productive, no?

      The ultimate test of a movement is its ability to sustain a sufficiently big tent. I am not suggesting that it behooves you, Shmuel or Donald or Adam to offer a hearty defense of Atzmon. But I am suggesting that you withhold the ire, at least till we have some substansive victories to point to (and I don’t see much, as of yet, and it surely not because of Atzmon that AIPAC’s numbers are even larger this year). If some of us like some of what Atzmon has to say, so be it.

      I happen to think that discussions of Jewish identity are essential to the fight against zionism and the persecution of the palestinians because Jewish identity was effectively hijacked to support – passively, if not actively – some very bad deeds committed and planned by Israel. I view such discussions as a necessary exercise in deconstructing just what it is that gives Israel such total cover to commit crimes against humanity as it is doing daily. Others may feel that giving much bandwidth to this type of discussions is beside the point and/or too divisive, and that we should concentrate on activism supporting the Palestinians’ quest for dignity, justice and liberty. I see absolutely no reason we can’t each carry on as we feel we must, without constantly second guessing how “the other side” might react to this, that or the other. As a tactic, I certainly doubt that throwing Atzmon to the wolves will buy you or Adam or any one of us any points.

      For an interpretation of what Atzmon’s book is and isn’t about, I offer the great Mearsheimer himself, cogently defending his blurb on the the book’s cover against the pernicious charges of one, Jeffrey Goldberg, as it appeared on Walt’s blog:

      link to walt.foreignpolicy.com

      A few excerpts:

      Finally, let me address the charge that Atzmon himself is an anti-Semite and a self-hating Jew. The implication of this accusation, of course, is that I must be an anti-Semite too (I can’t be a self-hating Jew) because I agreed to blurb Atzmon’s book. I do not believe that Atzmon is an anti-Semite, although that charge is thrown around so carelessly these days that it has regrettably lost much of its meaning. If one believes that anyone who criticizes Israel is an anti-Semite, then Atzmon clearly fits in that category. But that definition is foolish — no country is perfect or above criticism-and not worth taking seriously.
      The more important and interesting issue is whether Atzmon is a self-hating Jew. Here the answer is unequivocally yes. He openly describes himself in this way and he sees himself as part of a long dissident tradition that includes famous figures such as Marx and Spinoza. What is going on here?
      The key to understanding Atzmon is that he rejects the claim that Jews are the “Chosen People.” His main target, as he makes clear at the start of the book, is not with Judaism per se or with people who “happen to be of Jewish origin.” Rather, his problem is with “those who put their Jewish-ness over and above all of their other traits.” …In other words, Atzmon is a universalist who does not like the particularism that characterizes Zionism and which has a rich tradition among Jews and any number of other groups. He is the kind of person who intensely dislikes nationalism of any sort. Princeton professor Richard Falk captures this point nicely in his own blurb for the book, where he writes: “Atzmon has written an absorbing and moving account of his journey from hard-core Israeli nationalist to a de-Zionized patriot of humanity.”

      Atzmon’s basic point is that Jews often talk in universalistic terms, but many of them think and act in particularistic terms. One might say they talk like liberals but act like nationalists. Atzmon will have none of this, which is why he labels himself a self-hating Jew. He fervently believes that Jews are not the “Chosen People” and that they should not privilege their “Jewish-ness” over their other human traits. …

      …. In effect, Atzmon is telling the story of how he wrestled with his own identity over time and what he thinks is wrong with how most Jews self-identify today. It is in this context that he discusses what he calls the “Holocaust religion,” Zionism, and Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. Again, to be perfectly clear, he has no animus toward Judaism as a religion or with individuals who are Jewish by birth. Rather, his target is the tribalism that he believes is common to most Jews, and I might add, to most other peoples as well. Atzmon focuses on Jews for the obvious reason that he is Jewish and is trying to make sense of his own identity.

      In sum, Goldberg’s charge that Atzman is a Holocaust denier or an apologist for Hitler is baseless. Nor is Atzmon an anti-Semite. He has controversial views for sure and he sometimes employs overly provocative language. But there is no question in my mind that he has written a fascinating book that, as I said in my blurb, “should be widely read by Jews and non-Jews alike.” Regarding Goldberg’s insinuation that I have any sympathy for Holocaust denial and am an anti-Semite, it is just another attempt in his longstanding effort to smear Steve Walt and me.

      A big part of Mearsheimer’s defense against Goldberg is that none of the smears leveled against Atzmon are to be found in the book The wandering Who? but rather were statements taken out of context from Atzmon’s blog. And those out of context statements form the essence of the more insidious accusations against him also here, on this blog .

      • David Samel says:

        Danaa – I don’t want you to think that I do not appreciate your thoughtful and elegant responses, but I just belatedly noticed them and am struggling to complete a brief. I will reply later this afternoon.

        • David Samel says:

          Danaa, I composed an eloquent, comprehensive, and overpowering answer to you but when I tried to submit, my computer failed and I had no copy, so here’s a tired, frustrated response instead. You seem to raise three primary issues – forgive me if I miss any other big ones.

          First, you sensibly point out that there are Zionist smear artists who will sharpen their knives at anyone, so Atzmon is not special. True, but each time a baseless accusation is hurled at someone like Carter, Tutu, M & W, Goldstone, the anti-semitism smear becomes less potent, even laughable. Atzmon is doing his best to restore at least some legitimacy. It’s not so much that he’s clearly antisemitic himself – on that I’m agnostic – as much as he enjoys stating his opinions in outrageous ways that can genuinely be attacked as antisemitic.

          Second, you misconstrue my point, and I think others as well, when you say we fear that Atzmon’s writings might give comfort to antisemites. I don’t care about that or them at all. What I am worried about is that Atzmon gives comfort to those who reflexively hurl accusations of antisemitism. As I said before some of his writings are a gift on a silver platter to people like Dersh.

          Finally, as for the big tent, I agree in principle and think that one-staters and two, and pro-BDS and anti, should engage in respectful discourse rather than fratricidal and ego-driven rivalries. But Atzmon is one person, and whether or not he himself is welcomed into the tent is inconsequential, but whether he adds or diminishes the number of the people in the tent is far more important. You and I may have difference opinions on this question, but I think he’s a much bigger problem than an attraction.

          I had lots more fascinating things to say, but they are forever lost in cyberspace.

        • salwa says:

          David, Even though you address your comments to Danaa, who I’m sure will have her own response to you, some of them are general enough for the rest of us.

          David wrote: “Atzmon gives comfort to those who reflexively hurl accusations of antisemitism. As I said before some of his writings are a gift on a silver platter to people like Dersh.” Just think about this. First of all Atzmon can handle himself against Dersh. I have read where he offered to debate Dersh anywhere, anytime, but so far Dersh has not taken him up on it. We’ll leave the reasons alone. Second, you’re trying to blame Atzmon for Dersh’s behavior, Dersh who has so much power & money backing him up and open welcome to all the compliant MSM & feels comfortable spewing any rubbish against anyone at anytime. Yet, those of us who supposedly want AIPAC & the Israeli Yoke off this country’s & others back, we bicker among ourselves on each detail.

          “But Atzmon is one person, and whether or not he himself is welcomed into the tent is inconsequential, . . .” I do believe you’re v. wrong there. We are not all equal. I can be kicked out of the tent with not much consequence. However, Atzmon brings to the “tent” a lot of knowledge, insight, acute powers of observation & analysis & a certain tenacity that some of us do not possess. I think it is v. consequential if Atzmon or people like him are left out.

          Frankly, his writing on “Jewishness” is totally outside my frame of thinking, but possibly he has hit a raw nerve somewhere. I’ll let those more knowledgeable deal with it. The subject matter of this short video is my main concern. How is it they got so much control in this country that they can tell Congress, the President and whomever what US policy should be?

          link to commondreams.org

          So, are we going to go on bickering and malign a person of great abilities because he does not behave in every way according to what is proscribed? I should hope not. Such people are greatly needed.

  34. Recently Atzmon linked to one of my articles.

    Am I an antisemite?

    • THB,

      I really don’t know if you are anti-Semitic, as you ask, nor if Gilad Atzmon is anti-Semitic, as you claim above. But this I do strongly believe: Discussions about Jewish identity and ‘Jewish culture,’ which are so common on this blog, are not irrelevant to Israel/Palestine issues.

      On the contrary, questions about Jewish identity are central to the phenomenon of Zionism, and the problem of Zionism is central to the cause for Palestinian rights. Unless political Zionism can be thwarted in the United States, good luck with any meaningful efforts to obtain justice for the Palestinians.

    • David Samel says:

      Ibrahim HB, in Dersh’s eyes, you most certainly are. Has David Duke ever linked to one of your articles? If so, you are even more of an anti-semite than Ahmadinejad, and he’s a modern-day Hitler. Shame on you!

      • salwa says:

        “Has David Duke ever linked to one of your articles?” wrote Samel.

        Excuse me, but that is not a worthy argument. David Duke or anyone else can link to anything that is publicly available. If that is the best evidence you have to proffer, it isn’t v. much, is it? David Duke is anti-Zionist as is GA, but that is where the similarities end. David Duke is a white supremacist unless he has changed, advocating keeping the races pure, etc. Guilad A is a humanist and very inclusive.

        your implication is that this is evidence that GA is anti-Semitic as Duke is,

        • Donald says:

          “Excuse me, but that is not a worthy argument.”

          Salwa, David was joking.

        • David Samel says:

          salwa – Hasbara Buster and I were both kidding about the way people like Dershowitz play guilt-by-association games. It was not meant to be taken seriously.

        • salwa says:

          Donald & David – Glad to know that, even if I didn’t get it. Much better to have it your way than the alternative.

          There have been so many comments that it’s difficult to keep things straight.

          My total apologies.

  35. RoHa says:

    Yes.
    Everyone is, even without Atzmon’s links.

    • Tuyzentfloot says:

      Everyone is, even without Atzmon’s links.

      Obviously, since someone is either a jew or an antisemite. Still one has to point out that the majority of antisemites are latent antisemites, and these people really say or do nothing wrong. For all purposes these people are perfectly alright. Still , you have to watch out with them.

      Then there are sublimated antisemites, they have turned their antisemitism into a positive force, such as support for human rights all over the world. This sublimation doesn’t always work well, because sometimes these people will still turn against Jews – only they’ll deny their antisemitism.

      Maybe you won’t entirely agree with my classification – prove me wrong though.

  36. Miriam says:

    I was remembering back- perhaps 15 yrs ago or so, to a used bookstore with a relative, asking her if she’d read the book I was pointing to by Chomsky. To which without hesitation she immediately explained he was anti-Semitic. She is one of those I now think of as a gate-keeper. I remember pulling my hand back from that book in slow-motion, wondering how she knew, as she wasn’t a particularly committed Jew or Zionist and not a dedicated history/non-fiction reader as I was, yet I deferred to her age and determined “knowing” rejection. I remember that as the moment I decided that never again would I ask but that I would begin my reading program of writers so identified to learn for myself. The memory is shameful to me now as I was the reader and a librarian connected to libraries for decades.
    But that was long before the 2000 intifada, and long before I’d begun to fill in the blanks…the ‘missing history’ which became easier to learn about and eventually more available thanks to the internet, where I was sent a book lists of titles unknown to me, obscured by time or ‘disappeared’.
    That memory returns each time I read these on-going debates.
    There was a deeply buried sense that if one raises certain questions related to issues of Jewish identity and Jewishness one is labeled pariah, self hater and betrayer to the Tribe as I am in my own family of origin.
    However, something deeper is beginning, which has its roots in the rich intellectual soil where Gilad courageously plants his questions, challenges, doubts, internal struggles for public consumption.
    He stirs the pot much to our good fortune, to have his provocative voice in our midst in these very dark times.
    The biggest problem however, remains intractable…as long as people are willing to take the A-Train…( “A” train that toots “Atzmon” the “A”nti-Semite) …without having READ ‘Wandering Who’ for themselves.
    It’s Ironic, actually that many jump on that ‘hate Atzmon train’ without someone else’s PRE-DIGESTED interpretation of what Atzmon “really” is saying.
    So many ‘progressives’ available to explain what Gilad’s real intent and meaning.
    That is not okay.
    Digging deep putting his own internal dialog in print takes courage, ability and an abiding sense of wanting to create a more just & honest world.
    To not be the carrier of mythology, hasbara, propaganda, indoctrination or well intentioned (or not) brain-washing.
    Whether we were born in Israel or elsewhere, many were so indoctrinated but now want to purge ourselves of the lies and myths and get to the “other side” in order move forward, CHOOSING a braver new world minus the old familiar victim mentality.
    My indoctrination took place in North America but never did I hear the words, Palestinian, occupation, or transfer until 2000.

    That was when I chose my own “new beginning” tentatively at first, trying to gather reading material to study after being given a specific list of 9 titles thanks to an online discussion group I found that year of informed people, who were mentors to ‘new-comers’ at the start of the latest American anti Zionist movement.
    It took me almost 2 years to find those powerful “disappeared” titles and the beginning of my sense of outrage/rage at having believed so many half truths and outright lies as propagated for decades with little to no counter argument or even discussion. To question was to be disloyal.

    As time went on there was no diminishment of my sense of being betrayed.

    Now looking back it seems as if I am remembering another person who had internalized so many fallacies, so many spinning versions of what used to be a simple identity….Judaism as a humanistic religion based on the pursuit of Justice and concern for the Other…who could hate such special people who have been persecuted ?
    I’d hoped that the progressive progressives would be the first to want to read the shared inner dialogs that Atzmon has placed in front of us; Read them FIRST-hand not second or third hand from the ever present ‘other’ who knows more — who protect us from Atzmon’s self hating professions — and thus spare us from truly looking into the Mirror.
    With the sole hyper-power in lock step with the neocon plan which was spawned from Oded Yinon’s 1982 WZO Kivunim Jnl’s – expansion plan for greater Eretz Yisroel to fulfill this divide/destroy all of Israel’s enemy/neighboring states….this ‘debate’ that arises whenever Gilad tours North America to play his soaring magnificent saxophone/clarinet Jazz …is wasteful, shameful and pure folly.

    The old doomsday clock on the wall tells us that we are only minutes from a nightmare scenario that has at its heart, a vast nation that has mistakenly embraced felonious lies as “gospel” and reject again another prophet. I think of him as an exJew, expat Israeli British Pied Piper prophet.
    Get a copy of Wandering Who and read it for yourself. Now.
    There isn’t a minute more to waste.
    As Eldridge said: if You ain’t part of the Solution you are part of the Problem and Palestinians are waiting.

    • As time went on there was no diminishment of my sense of being betrayed.

      Miriam, I found your testimony very moving. I think this sense of betrayal is what also animates Gilad and commenter Danaa, as deeply-wounded former Israelis.

    • American says:

      Me too, I say BRAVO.
      The bravest people on earth are those who let go of lies they once believed with all their hearts.

      • salwa says:

        I second the praise above for Miriam, Danaa, and of course, Gilad, who has started this entire dialogue. They are all gifted self examiners, observers and analysts of their original culture and society and their place in it & have so eloquently made the world privy to it. Danaa and Miriam, you have both expanded this discussion with keen articulation and should do it for a bigger audience if at all possible.

        If we truly believe in freedom of expression, it should apply to all and not just to views that we support. I have been following the comments here from the beginning of the discussion, and a few of them were quite vitriolic.

        As a human being, my sympathies are always with the victims. As such, “Jewish” identity was never in my sphere of thought. However, Israeli actions and Zionist insidious expansion, as in those science fiction movies of old, should be a concern to us all. That article by Oded Yinon that was referred to above was quite an eye opener.

        I have heard Gilad say that approx. 95% of British Jews support Israel. I do wonder if there is a figure for the US.