It was probably the letter from Ali Abunimah and Hussein Ibish that first alerted me to the character of Israel Shamir. (see below) He is a man who is so thoroughly racist and anti-Semitic that he even criticised the BNP for being too pro-Jewish.
Shamir advocates an alliance in support of the Palestinians with the far-Right (most of whom support Israel!).
(see also The Irony of Israel Shamir
‘For as long as Richard Perle sits in the Pentagon, Elie Wiesel brandishes his Nobel Prize, Mort Zuckerman owns the USA Today, Gusinsky bosses over Russian TV, Soros commands multi-billions of funds and Dershowitz teaches at Harvard, we need the voices of Duke, Sobran, Raimondo, Buchanan, Mahler, Griffin and of other anti-bourgeois nationalists.’
In ‘Who Needs Holocaust’ he described Auschwitz as ‘an internment facility’ as opposed to the death camp it was. In February 2008, I wrote an article for Weekly Worker entitled ‘Israel Shamir - The ‘Unique & Advanced Thinker’ Behind Gilad Atzmon’. Atzmon is an ex-Israeli jazz player who is also anti-Semitic and politically close to Shamir. Shamir has had a baleful influence over a small number of Palestine Solidarity activists.
In Israel where Shamir spends at least part of his life, he was and is involved with an organisation called Deir Yassin Remembered. When other Jewish anti-Zionists like Jeff Halper, Michael Warshawski and Lea Tsemel, found out they resigned from the organisation.
In their joint letter Tsemel and Warschawski wrote, regarding the decision to appoint Israel Shamir to the advisory board of DYR:
“There is no room for a racist in an institution aimed to fight for the memory of the Deir Yassin victims of ethnic cleansing and massacre. We therefore ask you to clarify whether or not Israel Shamir is indeed part of DYR.”
Jeff Halper explained that Shamir
“deflects the discussion from the essentials of Deir Yassin onto the supposed characteristics of the perpetrators. To cast all ‘Jews’ as perpetrators of such heinous crimes … is racist, absolutely unacceptable and deflects entirely from the issue of Deir Yassin itself … Has Deir Yassin been hijacked by a cult more intent on pursuing hate campaigns against the fictive ‘Jews’ than in searching for the humanistic, universal, critical and truly relevant elements of the Deir Yassin story?’ Shamir is, in short, the last person that Wikileaks, under attack from the United States needs. He is, in short, a liability as well as being a fascist with about 6 different names. He spends part of his time in Sweden and originally came from the Soviet Union as a Jewish immigrant to Israel. He is the ‘content aggregator’ for Russia and has already faked at least one cable relating to the walkout at the UN when Ahmedinajad of Iran spoke. The article below, Assange's Extremist Employees is therefore extremely worrying to those of us who support what Wikileaks is doing. There is no doubt that it has seriously annoyed US imperialism by spilling the beans on what they actually think and do. But to employ or use an open fascist and anti-Semite, a conspiracy theorist who has his own agenda entirely, is to play into the hands of the Hilary Clintons and Congressmen like Peter King.
For the sake of his own credibility, Julian Assange should pick up the phone today and tell Shamir that he is cutting all links with him.
Last week, I wrote that the widely-linked article positing that the CIA was behind a Swedish woman’s accusation of rape against Julian Assange was authored by a Russian-born, Swedish-domiciled, multi-aliased anti-Semite and Holocaust denier currently writing under the name “Israel Shamir,” a.k.a. Adam Ermash or Jöran Jermas. The broader point had little to do with the efficacy or morality of WikiLeaks—there are plenty of debates available on the narrower issue of government transparency; this isn’t intended to be one of them—but was concerned with how ideology and confirmation bias (WikiLeaks is a good thing, therefore Assange must be defended, and the CIA has done bad stuff in the past so—cui bono?—Assange’s accuser must be a Langley asset) can lead mainstream media figures into the fever swamps of Internet conspiracy theory.
It is worrying enough when journalists, either by accident or design, consort with vulgar figures like Shamir. But it has now been revealed that Israel Shamir, when he is not accusing Assange’s accusers of setting CIA honey traps, works with WikiLeaks in an official capacity.
According to reports in the Swedish and Russian media, the broad strokes of which have been confirmed by a WikiLeaks spokesman, Shamir serves as the group’s content aggregator in Russia, the man who “selects and distributes” the cables to Russian news organizations, according to an investigation by Swedish public radio. In the newspaper Expressen, Magnus Ljunggren, an emeritus professor of Russian literature at Gothenburg University, outlined Shamir’s close ties to WikiLeaks and his position “spreading the documents in Russia.” (The article is illustrated with a picture of Assange and Shamir in an unidentified office.)
During an appearance on Echo Moskvy radio, Yulia Latynina, a reporter at the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta, wondered “What does it mean that Assange is allowing himself to be represented by an extremist?” Latynina also found that the Kremlin-friendly paper working with Shamir to promote the WikiLeaks material had already published “outright lies” Shamir claimed were supported by leaks. According to Latynina, Shamir faked a cable related to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s speech to the United Nations, which supposedly showed collusion amongst those who walked out of the talk in protest. That he would invent such a cable is perhaps unsurprising, considering Shamir has previously written an encomium to the “brave and charismatic leader” of Iran.
So let us quickly recap the foulness of Shamir’s political views. As I noted last week, he has called the Auschwitz concentration camp “an internment facility, attended by the Red Cross (as opposed to the US internment centre in Guantanamo),” not a place of extermination. He told a Swedish journalist (and fellow Holocaust denier) that “it’s every Muslim and Christian’s duty to deny the Holocaust.” The Jews, he says, are a “virus in human form” and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion is real.
But wait, there’s more!
The Swedish media has identified Shamir’s son, a disgraced journalist named Johannes Wahlström, himself accused of anti-Semitism and falsifying quotes, as a WikiLeaks spokesman in Sweden. Indeed, Wahlström has authored stories based on the WikiLeaks material for the newspaper Aftonbladet and is credited as a producer on a recent Swedish public television documentary about the group.
But while being the son of a famous Holocaust denier is perhaps only suggestive—Wahlström is surely not responsible for his father’s many sins—his celebrations of his father’s work in print and his contributions to Shamir’s website suggest ideological affinity.* Indeed, in 2005 Wahlström wrote a story for the leftist magazine Ordfront arguing that Swedish media, not known for being friendly to the Jewish state, was in fact being manipulated by Jewish interests on behalf of the Israeli government.
Three of the journalists interviewed for the story—Cecilia Uddén, Lotta Schüllerqvist, and Peter Löfgren—claimed that Wahlström falsified quotes, leading the magazine to withdraw the story and issue an apology. Heléne Lööw, a historian of fascism and European neo-Nazism, commented that the Wahlström story contained all the “elements that one would find in a classic anti-Semitic conspiracy theory.”
A member of Ordfront’s editorial board, writing in the newspaper Dagens Nyheter, lamented that the piece was ever published, citing Wahlström’s “close working relationship with Israel Shamir,” without pointing out just how close the two were.
Wahlström and Shamir, father and son, are the WikiLeaks representatives for two rather large geographic areas. According to Swedish Radio’s investigation, Wahlström is the gatekeeper of the cables in Scandinavia, and “has the power to decide” which newspapers are provided access and what leaks they are allowed to see. (At the time of filing, Wahlström had yet to respond to an email request for comment.)
In Russia, the magazine Russian Reporter says that it has “privileged access” to the material through Shamir, who told a Moscow newspaper that he was “accredited” to work on behalf of WikiLeaks in Russia. But Shamir has a rather large credibility problem, so Swedish Radio put the question directly to WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson.
Swedish Radio: Israel Shamir…Are you aware of him? Do you know him?
Kristinn Hrafnsson, Wikileaks spokesman: Yes. Yes, he is associated with us.
SR: So what is his role?
Hrafnsson: Well, I mean, we have a lot of journalists that are working with us all around the world. And they have different roles in working on this project. I won’t go into specifics into what each and everybody’s role is.
SR: Are you aware of how controversial Israel Shamir is in an international context?
Hrafnsson: There are a lot of controversial people around the world that are associated with us. I don’t really see the point of the question.
SR: Are you aware of the allegations that he is an anti-Semite?
Hrafnsson: I have heard those allegations…yes, yes. [Pause] What is the question really there?
SR: The question is, do you that that would [sic] be a problem?
Hrafnsson: No, I’m not going to comment on that.
Strip away the caginess and the obfuscation—remember, no one is allowed secrets but WikiLeaks—and Hrafnsson, who took over spokesman duties when Assange was jailed last week, confirms that WikiLeaks chose Shamir to work with their Russian media partners. After its investigation, the Swedish Radio program Medierna concluded flatly that "Israel Shamir represents WikiLeaks in Russia."
The forthcoming splinter group, OpenLeaks, led by WikiLeaks veterans tired of Assange's dictatorial style and obsession with being the organization's public face, claims to not be motivated by a particular set of political beliefs and promises to be transparent about its own operations and finances, something which WikiLeaks has been consistently—and credibly—attacked over. For those who think that leaking is, generally speaking, a positive thing, they should welcome an organization divorced from the ridiculous and amateur figure of Assange.
It's necessary for an organization like WikiLeaks, which claims to be creating new types of journalism (we do "scientific journalism," Assange declared triumphantly), to adhere to the basic principles of journalism. When asked about Shamir, Hrafnsson ducks and weaves, pretending that he is, like Assange, just a “controversial” figure, not an anti-Semite and semi-literate Holocaust denier with ties to both the extreme right and left and a well-documented penchant for lying.
So let’s treat the WikiLeaks organization like the journalists they insist they are, and ask the question put forward by Novaya Gazeta reporter Yulia Latynina: Out of all the competent journalists who are sympathetic to the WikiLeaks mission, why have Wahlström and Shamir—one a disgraced journalist, the other an extreme racist—been trusted with the largest intelligence leak in history?
- Soon after this piece was published, Wahlström told Swedish public radio that his "father is what I would call the Swedish equivalent to Salman Rushdie," noting that he is a "very polemical" person, which must contain both the most profane comparison and biggest understatement of the year.
Memo Accusing the BNP of not being Anti-Semitic Enough
From: Robert Edwards, England
Dear Mr Shamir,
Your true words are so statesmanlike. President Saddam Hussein will not be forgotten.
After Robert Edwards posted my mail and his response on a British Far Right list, he was rebuked by a Jewish overseer (yes, Victoria, not only in the Left, - even in the British National Party, the heir to Mosley’s fascists, there ARE Jewish overseers, and they head their legal department and fight antisemitism):
Ø ----- Original Message -----
From: "lj barnes"
To the Head of the Legal Department of the BNP: Lee, "Twat" is not the first description that springs to mind, mainly because your occasional use of the word tells us nothing. On the other hand, I have always found Israel Shamir to be a singularly strange anomaly ... the idea that a Jew can shed his Jewishness, as he claims, and become a devotee of the Orthodox Christian church. This implies that he was a religious Jew as opposed to being a secular Jew, as is the nature of Zionism
On the other hand, most converts to Islam are originally Christian believers. Very rarely do you find atheists or agnostics converting ... and very few Jews. The non-religious remain in the dark throughout their lives only screaming for their mothers in the last minutes of their empty lives
I can not see how Shamir can be a "self-hating Jew" (an epithet invented by Jewish extremists) if he has shed his Jewishness. You can not hate something that no longer exists ... a bit like punching the air or banging your head against a wailing wall. I have always said that being a Jew is a state of mind, usually within a cultural ghetto. That is why Jews huddle together away from the unclean goyim. Jewishness is a permanent state of cultural siege, a mentality that does not allow any form of give and take with the non-Jew. Love them as much as your stomach can take it but you will always be an unclean goy to them
I like this bit about "those whites who are so eaten up by anti-semitism" which is a mirror image of your own (and your leader's) tormented obsession with Islam and the way that you blame that religion for every ill on the planet. Anti-Islamism is indeed the new anti-Semitism (more correctly anti-Jewishness) and you all seem to be wallowing in this new-found hatred. Just as you see those "eaten up by anti-semitism" prostrating themselves before the Islamic invader, so do you fawn and lick the feet of the big Jews you now admire so much. We all know why you do this. Can you not see that you are no different to the "Judaeophobes" that people like you, Nick Griffin and John Bean now go on about these days ... you just interchange the words Muslim and Jew. The mindset is exactly the same ... the fanaticism as intense and the morality highly questionable
I responded to Israel Shamir and joined him in his dignified message of condolence. He responded in his usual sincere and polite way
Nowhere were there crocodile tears or any other kind of tears. You do not do that for one as courageous as President Saddam Hussein. The way he carried himself to the gallows ennobled him for all time and that is something you can not take away from the man. Those who recorded those last scenes did him the greatest honour whether they realised this or not. In fact, if you are a sincerely religious person you would be pleased for the man, knowing that the true warrior would enter Paradise without any problem at all. If you are not religious then you only see the same empty blackness that awaits yourself one day
In his twenty-odd years of rule he certainly handled many people roughly but perhaps he felt this was necessary in order to keep Iraq together. Without him, Iraq is in meltdown with the foreign invader tearing it apart
I shall be honouring the great man in the next editorial of European Action, out in a couple of weeks
Regards, Robert ---
From LJ Barnes, BNP:
I saw your comments to my private e mail on the response page to your article after Robert Edwards posted up my private and confidential internal e mail on a private e mail list without my permission on your site.
You wrote ;
After Robert Edwards posted my mail and his response on a British Far Right list, he was rebuked by a Jewish overseer (yes, Victoria, not only in the Left, - even in the British National Party, the heir to Mosley's fascists, there ARE Jewish overseers, and they head their legal department and fight antisemitism) :
The fact is ;
1) The BNP is NOT the heir to Oswald Mosleys fascists. The BNP is nationalist and not fascist. There is no ideological connection to the BUF or any fascist organisation in any way. Therefore it is not incumbent on us to defend any historical fascist parties or fascist ideological policies.
2) I am not Jewish, and calling me Jewish is just another exmple of the nationalist variant of the Marxist Leninist 'Terrorism of the Word' used by the Left and those who have to resort to infantile invectives to avoid debating like a rational human being. Calling someone on the Right a ' Jew ' in a debate is actually a highly efficient way of saying 'I am an idiot and cannot win the debate with logic or argument, so therefore I will resort to mere abuse to cover up my intellectual vapidity '. It merely reinforces the fact you are either a twat or an idiot. Usually both.
3) I dont fight ' anti-semitism ' I fight idiocy and irrationalism regardless of whether it arises on the Left or the Right. I support free speech and if that means those on the Right talk nonsense then I will tell them that they are talking nonsense. The fact is that the left do not hold the monopoly on stupidity, as is so often demonstrated by those that embrace facile conspiracy theories and reject logic for hatred.
4) The fact is that eulogising Saddam Hussein is idiotic. For decades he was a stooge of the US and USSR and was more than happy to be the puppet either of Moscow or Washington whenever it suited him. How that makes him some ' defender ' of Arab nationalism is beyond me. Allowing yourself to be pimped by the international forces of capitalism or communism is the anti-thesis of nationalism. He also embraced the same policies of attacking and invading other sovereign nation states, such as Kuwait, and pillaging their resources such as that currently followed by Bush and Blair in Iraq and around the world. He was nothing more than an evil opportunist with the political acumen of a capone era gangster. He died bravely and that alone should be his epitaph.
I hope that you publish this e mail on your website as this one I have agreed to allow to go online as expressing my own personal opinion.
your reference to "private emails" bewilders me. I could not find anything "private" in the email exchamge you had with Mr Edwards. It was as public as they made it. In no way the emails referred to your private life, to your - or mine - wives, children, mistresses, vices or virtues. A public person - and undoubtedly you are a public person - should be aware of Mark 4:22 and should not indulge in small-time insinuations he does not want to stand behind.
As for your second point, you say "I am not Jewish, and calling me Jewish is just another exmple of etc". In my view, Jewish is as Jewish does. I am not interested and I was not referring to your DNA or bloodline. You use such expressions as "antisemitism", "self-hating jew" and promote Jewish war against Muslims. It is more than enough to consider you as a Jew - if you insist, an aspiring Jew, or a shabbesgoy if you prefer to stress your gentile origins.
As for your first point saying "The BNP is NOT the heir to Oswald Mosleys fascists"; there are many things for good and for bad to be said about the movements of 1930s, and it is not the place to do it. However, the far right of 1930s stood against what they considered 'Jewish onslaught', while you, Sir, join in it. Your joining forces with Zionism is a full betrayal of the English ideals whose best features were exemplified by Chesterton and Eliot. By your parroting of Jewish nonsense of "Islamic threat" you are supporting their drive on the Middle East though this step brings in the immigration you object to.
I do not feel at ease accusing you and your comrades of betraying the Britons and joining with the Jews, but if I'd keep mum, stones won't. I'd publish your response, and I hope you'll spread mine among your readers and members.
Israel Adam Shamir
SERIOUS CONCERNS ABOUT ISRAEL SHAMIR
Date: Mon, 16 Apr 2001 13:53:12 -0500
Title: SERIOUS CONCERNS ABOUT ISRAEL SHAMIR
TEXT: SERIOUS CONCERNS ABOUT ISRAEL SHAMIR
From Ali Abunimah & Hussein Ibish (acting solely in his private capacity)
In recent months, many people have been reading the writings of Israel Shamir, who describes himself as a Russian-Israeli journalist. Many have been impressed by these writings, and Shamir has been embraced in many places in the US on his current speaking tour. From early on, some of Shamir's writings struck us as straying beyond criticism of Israel and Zionism, and crossing into the territory of implicit anti-Semitism. We have discussed this with many people privately, but now feel compelled to raise some of these objections publicly. While there are many passages in Shamir's rhetoric that cause serious concern, it is sufficient to cite these three:
1) Yesterday we received an "Easter Message" from Shamir in which he repeats the most odious characterizations of Jews as "Christ killers," the staple of classic European Christian anti-Semitism. In the message, which originates from Shamir's own email address, he writes:
"Jesus taught, love your neighbour as yourself, even if he is a traditional enemy of Jews, a Samaritan. That is why he was hated by the Jewish supremacists of his time. He said: you can not worship God and Mammon, the god of greed, you have to choose. That is why he was hated by supply-side economists and bankers of his day. They sentenced him to death and the Empire obliged and carried out the execution, in order to keep peace with these all-important forces. Our fathers did not dare to speak against their leaders. The spirit of domination scored a victory, but the spirit of brotherhood did not vanish."
Shamir continues: "The Jewish supremacy forces and the greed worshippers united again to crucify Christ. The US, this New Rome, again gives hand and agrees to become the executioner. Now it is our turn to decide."
Palestinians, Shamir argues, are today's Christ, and history has given the Jews a "second chance" i.e. a chance to redeem their earlier crucifixion of Jesus by not crucifying the Palestinians. "If we keep our mouth shut," Shamir writes, "we deserve to be called 'Christ killers.' If we stop it, we shall change history. The scarlet as blood sins of past will become white as snow. [sic]"
We cannot agree that Jews "deserve" to be called "Christ killers," or that this kind of rhetoric has anything whatever to offer of value to the movement for Palestinian liberation and human rights. All this sort of rhetoric does, no matter who it comes from, is paint the Palestinian movement as one which includes, requires, or embraces a discourse which vilifies, or threatens to vilify, Jews as "Christ killers." What could be more counterproductive to building the community of conscience, the powerful moral stance, which is and must be the goal of those of us in the United States who support Palestinian rights, than the introduction of this kind of rhetoric into our conversation? How could we do more to discredit ourselves than by allowing such ideas to proliferate in behalf of a movement that has no need whatever to stoop to vilifying others to justify itself?
2) Shamir recently gave a speech at Tufts University. He is quoted as saying at that speech: "Palestinians are perfect mammals; their life is deeply rooted in the ground...Israeli people represent a virus form of a human being because they can live anywhere." ("Israel at fault for Middle East violence, Jewish journalist says," The Tufts Daily, April 10, 2001) The quote appears to be verified and accurate.
This is, if anything, even worse than the "Christ killers" language drawn from traditional European Christian anti-Semitism. The "Jew-as-parasite" analysis recalls the even more vicious political and racial, rather than folkloric and religious, anti-Semitism which emerged during the 19th century in Europe and culminated in the Nazi genocide of World War II. This description of Jews as 'parasites' or "viruses" cast them as immutably alien to all societies in which they lived, and contrasted the 'international Jew' with the supposedly 'authentic' volkish people, who have deep connections to the land of the nation and who are the creators of social and economic value. The 'inauthentic' Jews were always 'foreigners' and "viruses" because, as Shamir puts it, "they can live anywhere," and are not rooted to the land as the non-Jewish population supposedly is. They are cast as parasites and diseases that feed off of the productivity and creativity of the authentic people, without ever contributing anything themselves.
It is disturbing to see the Palestinian people cast as the 'honest volkish people' of what is, in effect, racist rhetoric about why Jews are a fundamentally different and dangerous type of human being. Palestinians are not "perfect mammals," they are human beings like everyone else. No better, and no worse. Israeli Jews are not "a virus form of a human being," they are a human form of a human being, whose government and state is engaged in a brutal oppression and dispossession of another group of human beings. Our battle is for human rights and human dignity, and against racism, colonialism and oppression. It should be obvious to everyone that this statement by Shamir crosses all lines of decency, and could not be better designed to damage, denigrate and bring into disrepute the movement for Palestinian human rights.
3) On March 30, the Jerusalem Post published an op/ed that reported: "Two weeks ago, Russian-language journalist Israel Shamir told a largely Jewish audience: 'Jews only exist to drip the blood of Palestinian children into their matzas.'" ("The Jewish student - a minnow among sharks," March 30, 2001)
If this is an accurate quote, it is another example of the repetition of the worst kind of anti-Semitism. Shamir has privately denied saying this, but does not appear to have taken any action to correct the record publicly or to be in any way upset about the attribution. Obviously, we have no trouble believing that the Jerusalem Post might have mischaracterized someone's words. However, if the report is not accurate, one has to ask why Shamir has allowed such a gross misquotation to stand unchallenged. If he is indeed working in the interests of Palestinian liberation, surely he has an obligation not to let such a mischaracterization go uncorrected. Moreover, given the "Christ-killers" and "Jews-as-viruses" statements, the Jerusalem Post quote seems increasingly less out of character.
Many people have welcomed the contributions of Israel Shamir in good faith, but we feel they may not be paying close enough attention to what he is saying. Perhaps this is because many of us welcome criticism of Israel from someone who appears to be an "insider," that our hunger for validation from Jewish Israelis sometimes allows us to proceed without the requisite skepticism or overlook excesses we otherwise would not tolerate. Perhaps some are ready to overlook statements that appeal to anti-Semitic sentiments because the person making them identifies himself as a Jew. But the identity of the speaker makes such statements no less odious and harmful. We do not have any need for some of what Israel Shamir is introducing into the discourse on behalf of Palestinian rights, which increasingly includes elements of traditional European anti-Semitic rhetoric. Such sentiments will harm, not help, the cause. We urge all our friends in the movement for Palestinian rights to seriously consider the long-term effects this rhetoric will have on the cause, and act accordingly.
Hussein Ibish (acting solely in his private capacity)
April 16, 2001