Atzmon Wants to Question Everything (especially the Holocaust) But Seeks Protection Through Censorship
Unity FM is a Muslim radio station in Birmingham and Sami Ibrahim is a presenter who has interviewed me on a number of occasions in the past, so it was no surprise when I got the following text message at just gone 1 pm:
‘Today on Unity FM GILAD ATZMON @ 5.00 PLEASE CALL AND ASK YOUR QUESTION
Tel – 01217728892/07926843388 Or visit
I therefore rang Sami up and let him know that I considered Atzmon an anti-Semite not an anti-Zionist. Sami was understanding and said he’d welcome my putting Atzmon on the spot. Indeed he even offered to give me first shot and to call me at approximately 5.05 p.m. And Sami was as good as his word ringing me a couple of minutes later resulting in me having to ring him back.
Sure enough I was connected and listened to Atzmon begin his garbage. Sami then invited me to intervene, which I did. I asked what was quite a simple question, which was how Atzmon’s holocaust denial helped in any way support for the Palestinians. When Atzmon tried to duck and dive I quoted from his article ‘Truth, History, and Integrity’ accessed 13.3.10. where he wrote that
‘If, for instance, the Nazis wanted the Jews out of their Reich…, or even dead, as the Zionist narrative insists, how come they marched hundreds of thousands of them back into the Reich at the end of the war?’Atzmon goes on to explain that ‘I have been concerned with this simple question for more than a while’. This absurd interpretation of the death marches leads him to ask the following:
‘If the Nazis ran a death factory in Auschwitz-Birkenau, why would the Jewish prisoners join them at the end of the war?’
It couldn’t be much clearer. There was no death factory in Auschwitz-Birkenau, on the contrary when the concentration camps were abandoned by the Nazis, their Jewish inmates were eager to join them. Clearly there could have been no exterminations there.
Atzmon then tried to respond to what he termed his ‘internet now radio stalker’ (apparently criticising the great man counts as stalking!) and when I began laying into him for his lies and duplicity, and I repeatedly asked him how holocaust denial had anything to do with support of the Palestinians, he tried to interrupt. Eventually Sami told me that it was time for the adverts and I would be brought back in after the interval. And the radio connection to my phone continued as I listened to Atzmon trying to defend the indefensible. But I wasn’t called. In fact no one was called. A phone-in programme had turned into a monologue. Atzmon doesn’t like criticism and is particularly bad at responding to it. When I phone in on another line I was told firstly there was a technical fault and then that Sami Ibrahim had decided just to interview him.
It became clear from this conversation with the staff member that Atzmon had insisted, if he was to continue allowing himself to be interviewed, that I not be allowed to call him to account and Sami Ibrahim had bowed to his dictat in order to allow the programme to continue. The result? No phone in programme!
Atzmon struck me though as a man who has ready very little about Zionism and what he has read he takes as gospel. One of the few books he has read is Shlomo Sand’s book ‘The Founding of the Jewish People’ an excellent book, though not unproblematic, which I have reviewed in a number of publilcations. The problem is that Atzmon doesn’t understand it and he thinks that because Palestinians are more genetically akin to the ancient Jewish farmers, that gives them the right to their land. But this is nonsense . The rights of the Palestinians derive from their position as an indigenous population being displaced by largely European settlers, regardless of their genes.
Likewise Atzmon believes that until 1927 Ben-Gurion believed in assimilating the Palestinians rather than expelling them and attributes the latter to a post-1927 Ben-Gurion. In fact expulsion was on the agenda from the moment the Zionist movement was born. Ahad Ha’am castigated his fellow Zionists as early as the 1890’s in This is not the Way and other essays. Jewish Labour and Land policies took shape from the early 1900’s as a reading of something like Ben-Gurion’s Rebirth & Destiny would confirm. Brit Shalom, the Zionist peace group was founded in 1925, by people like Arthur Ruppin. But despite being wholly ignorant Atzmon gives the air of someone who knows what he is talking about.
Which is why he fought shy of having to confront my criticism of his anti-Semitism and ignorance. Despite believing the holocaust is a ‘narrative’ rather than a fact, Atzmon was strangely reluctant to discuss this, preferring a monologue.
The Stupidity of York Against the War
But in stupidity stakes ‘Bob’ of York Against the War takes first prize. In recent weeks I have been contacted by a number of activists in and around York Palestine Solidarity Campaign. York Against the War held a meeting on Monday June 6th featuring no less than the racist jazzman himself. Quite what support for racism has to do with opposition to war is one of those conundrums that I will leave to others.
Suffice to say I preferred to deal with the matter privately and thus did not blog on it at the time. Instead I wrote a letter to Bob, the organiser of York Against the War, protesting at the invitation of this racist: Entitled ‘Why is a Holocaust Denier, Gilad Atzmon Giving a Talk to York Against the War on 6th June?’ I copied the letter to the National Stop the War Committee, who have not replied.
I have just been sent a flyer for a meeting that you are holding in York on 6th June with Gilad Atzmon.
I am a Jewish member of Palestine solidarity as well as being active in the BDS Campaign. I find your decision, despite being fully informed as to who Atzmon is, outrageous.
In your flyer, which I'm copying for the benefit of those who I'm copying in, you state that Atzmon 'has written extensively about Middle East issues from an anti-Zionist viewpoint'.
Wrong. Atzmon is not an anti-Zionist. Atzmon is an anti-Semite, i.e. an anti-Jewish racist. Anti-Zionism is a form of anti-racism. Atzmon subsribes to the world Jewish conspiracy theorist so beloved of fascists.
‘Since America currently enjoys the status of the world's only super power and since all the Jews listed above declare themselves as devoted Zionists, [there is a list of Jews in the Bush White House - TG] we must begin to take the accusation that the Jewish people are trying to control the world very seriously.’ [essay 'on anti-Semitism']….
'If, for instance, the Nazis wanted the Jews out of their Reich (Judenrein - free of Jews), or even dead, as the Zionist narrative insists, how come they marched hundreds of thousands of them back into the Reich at the end of the war?’ ... ‘If the Nazis ran a death factory in Auschwitz-Birkenau, why would the Jewish prisoners join them at the end of the war? ‘We should ask for some conclusive historical evidence and arguments rather than follow a religious narrative.' [Truth History & Integrity] http://azvsas.blogspot.com/2011/03/guide-to-sayings-of-gilad-atzmon-anti.html
I trust that you can understand the word ‘If’ as in ‘If the Nazis ran a death factory in Auschwitz-Birkenau’. Atzmon seems to find this a matter of debate rather than fact. Try something like ‘If the USA rang Guantanamo’ to see how stupid and offensive it is.
Anti-Zionism and holocaust denial are not compatible, quite the contrary. Zionism historically has been supported by anti-semites just as today the EDL and most far-right groups support the Israeli state.
…. Your invitation to Atzmon is a disgrace, since I know you have been kept fully informed as to who you are inviting. Nick Griffin of the BNP was also opposed to the war but I assume that even you wouldn't have got down in the gutter to greet him.
I am copying this to Stop the War Coalition nationally in order that they are kept in the picture.
I received no reply from Bob, so you can imagine my surprise when the letter appeared on Atzmon’s site
York PSC were approached to promote the Atzmon meeting. The branch decided (unanimously) not to do so. No Notice about the meeting was ever sent out by the branch. However someone who has not attendecd PSC meetings for years, was sent a copy of the publicity for the Atzmon. She circulated it to her list and posted it on a PSC list which consists of both members and supporters. The branch chair, Terry Gallogly, immediately disassociated the branch from the posting.'
I have subsequently been contacted by Andrew Collingwood who is a member of York PSC. He has made it clear that, "I have subsequently decided to have nothing to do with York Against The War" and there is an article posted to this effect on this blog.