Freiburg Conference Speakers Can't Justify Speaking Alongside Holocaust denier Atzmon - Ken O'Keefe Merely Resorts to AbusePity Gilad Atzmon. The man who sees Jewish power everywhere and who wrote
that anti-Zionist Jews
‘do not understand that by fighting Zionism in the name of their Jewish identity they approve Zionism. They must fail to realise that their form of resistance contributes to the labelling of the entire Jewish people as war criminals. …. To demand that Jews disapprove of Zionism in the name of their Jewish identity is to accept the Zionist philosophy.’has nonetheless been forced into acknowledging that what he terms ‘crypto Zionists’ carried out an effective action in support of the cultural boycott. Albeit that ‘I certainly cannot imagine myself engaging in such an act in million years.’ Err quite. Dividing the movement is far more productive.
Of course we are ‘daily engaged’ in all of those very Jewish tasks of ‘gatekeeping, silencing and harassing’ anti-Semites such as himself and despite acknowledging the ‘legitimacy’ of our actions (Gilad is nothing if not gracious!) ‘I have to agree’ (with who he doesn’t say) ‘that the people who stopped the Israeli orchestra weren’t at all ordinary.’ Being ordinary is important to the very odd and anything but ordinary Atzmon. And being Jewish and anti-Zionist is very far from ordinary of course.
Meanwhile the Conference on Free Speech for holocaust deniers and Palestinians, in Freiburg Germany, is set to take place this Sunday. In a last minute attempt to instil sanity I wrote to the Conference Organiser Gabi Weber, urging to reconsider her decision to hold the conference with copies to the speakers urging them to withdraw.
Ramzy Baroud, who is apparently sending a video to the conference, has not replied. Nor has Ibrahim El-Zayat, Alan Hart, Evelyn Hecht-Galinski, the unknown business lecturer Makram Khoury-Machool to our requests to withdraw from the Conference.
Those who have responded are Ken O´Keefe, Samir Abed-Rabbo and Sameh Habeeb.
Suffice to say only Samir Abed-Rabbo’s reply makes any attempt to engage in argument. But Samir’s response was in itself an evasion because he asserted that ‘No one at the Freiburg Conference (including Gilad Atzmon) doubts or questions the occurrence of the Holocaust. The Holocaust is a historical event and is an integral part of the modern human narrative.’ Unfortunately pretending that Atzmon isn’t a holocaust denier is simply turning a blind eye to the facts. Hence why Hajo Meyer withdrew from speaking. So Samir’s suggestion that we ask for a BDS panel at a conference we want cancelled rather misses the point. However to be fair to him, Samir at least responded in a civil manner.
The rest (including Ken O’Keefe and his friend Laura Stewart) merely engaged in abuse. Still any response is better than none. Ken O’Keefe’s only response is ‘Tony Greenstein is acting like a complete wanker’. Mind Keefe was angry at having been disturbed: 'Just incredible, you sucked me in for this short response Tony..' His time is precious and he doesn't like getting sucked in.
This, I should explain, is because I confused his e-mail address with Ms Stewart, to whom previously he had copied his correspondence with me when trying to persuade me that monies collected for the advert attacking the BBC for its coverage of the attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla should be diverted to his Aloha Palestine. An understandable mistake but in the course of searching through past e-mails I remembered that the masturbation obsessed Stewart is a combination of a complete political idiot and ignoramus (or both).
On 27th April this year Stewart sent me out of the blue a link to a video . This lovely little production, entitled ‘What Famous Men Have To Say About Jews 1-3’ is the purest racist and anti-Semitic bile you can imagine. It is an openly neo-Nazi production, citing ‘famous people’ such as Martin Luther, Napoleon Bonaparte, a Pope and Ulysses Grant, Confederate General of the slave-owning South, as ‘proof’ of the general wickedness of the Jews. And it finishes up with one Houston Stewart-Chamberlain, author of The Foundations of the 19th Century and one of the key theoreticians who helped mould the ideas of Pan Germanism and the Nazi Party. Alfred Rosenburg, the Nazi Party theoretician who was hanged at Nuremburg, paid tribute to Chamberlain in the title of his own magnus opus, The Myth of the 20th Century.
Chamberlain joined the Nazi Party, having married into the Wagner family despite having been English although living and dying in Germany. Hitler and senior NSDAP leaders attended his funeral in 1927. But the idiot Stewart asks ‘Is this anti-Semitic?’ She is, as is known coloquially, a few sandwiches short of a loaf! And for some reason, she believes I was thinking of Atzmon during the performance of the IPO!!
Sameh Habeeb also responds, combining threats to reveal documents (!) with an acceptance that ‘As for the Holocaust, it is a solid fact that can't be denied either by me or others.’ It is somewhat unfortunate that he has allowed his own site to be marred by giving a platform to neo-Nazis such as Frederick Toben.
Whilst Atzmon hasn't openly condemned as 'book burners' as he once did re the Academic Boycott, he makes it clear that he disapproves of interrupting a violin concerto as in his phrase 'Regardless of the legitimacy of such a non-violent act' which is another way of saying he disapproves but he can't be seen to say it openly
Ode to Boycott
It is encouraging and cheering to find out that those who are daily engaged in gatekeeping, silencing and harassing people within the Palestinian Solidarity movement can also be poetically creative and musically productive. Well done!!!Letter to Conference Organiser Gabi Weber
A PROMS performance by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra was taken off air yesterday after it was interrupted by pro-Palestinian protesters.
.On a further note, I may as well admit that, regardless of the politics involved, it takes some boldness to stop a symphonic orchestra playing a violin concerto. I certainly cannot imagine myself engaging in such an act in million years. Regardless of the legitimacy of such a non-violent act, which I do not doubt, I have to agree that the people who stopped the Israeli orchestra, weren’t at all ordinary. I hope that their action will lead Israelis towards self-reflection, but I actually doubt it very much.
Date: Mon, 5 Sep 2011 02:27:29 +0100
Dear Gabi Weber,
My apologies for not having written sooner, but as I mentioned in my previous e-mail, I was involved in another more pressing project, which came to fruition last week. I refer to the disruption of the BBC Proms concert of the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra. Given the worldwide coverage of this event, I assume you heard about it.
Even Gilad Atzmon, your headline speaker, was forced, through gritted teeth, to pay us a backhanded compliment. (below). The groups involved in organising the disruption of the IPO were Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods, BRICUP, and the Boycott Israel Network. All of them contain large numbers of what Atzmon refers to as ‘crypto-Zionists’ i.e. Jewish anti-Zionists. because, as Atzmon explained in an e-mail to me of 3.8.11. ‘I say that everyone who identify politically as a Jew is a Zionist.’
Next Sunday 11th September you will be holding a conference on ‘Palestine, Israel, Germany’ featuring Atzmon as a speaker, despite his well documented denial that the holocaust took place and his attacks on Jews within the Palestine solidarity movement as a fifth column. The holocaust survivor you invited to the conference, Hajo Mayer, has walked out and you are now left with a decidedly second-rate, nearly all of whom are unable to justify their presence at such an event.
Your conference is entitled the ‘Boundaries of Open Discussion’ but what you are really doing is trying to combine and confuse two different phenomenon – the suppression of the memory of the Nakba with suppression of those who defend the Nazi exterminations. Silencing the oppressor, who wishes to repeat that which he denies, is not equivalent to silencing the oppressed.
The situation in Germany is no doubt difficult enough as it is, given the equation between the victims of the holocaust and the Israel state. It would be nice to think that you could start to begin building a BDS movement in Germany. Instead it would appear that you wish instead to confuse in peoples’ minds the cause of the Palestinians and defending holocaust denial. Quite what contribution you think this will make to Palestine solidarity beggars belief.
I would urge you to reconsider holding a conference that can only do damage to the cause it allegedly espouses.
Sent: Monday, 5 September 2011, 2:48
Thank you for the several messages on the Freiburg Conference. I am happy to read your views and to report back on the position of the conference on two specific areas of mutual concern. The organizers and participants adhere to the following:
1. Participants are entitled to express their views and to have their opinions debated in the open. All individuals are entitled to participate and have their views heard. No individual wishing to participate will be excluded.
2. No one at the Freiburg Conference (including Gilad Atzmon) doubts or questions the occurrence of the Holocaust. The Holocaust is a historical event and is an integral part of the modern human narrative. No one particular ethnic group has a monopoly over the legacy of the Holocaust.
As an activist in issues of social justice and peace, I am saddened by the accusatory tone of the some of the correspondence on the conference. It behooves all of us to engage in open discussions regarding all issues of mutual interest in the hope of arriving at a common ground and to build a movement where all of us feel a sense of belonging.
I do not think anyone of us have answers to all the outstanding questions. But together, we will keep the true meaning of the Holocaust alive and strive to build a common peaceful future for Palestinians (Israeli Jews, Christians, Muslims, and others) in historic Palestine.
I look forward to continued dialogue between us! Samir Abed-Rabbo PS: Have you asked the organizers of the Conf. to include a pnel on BDS or offered to organize one?
I don’t doubt that participants in the Freiburg Conference will be free to express and debate their views. However what happens inside the conference hall is beside the point. It is the public impact of the conference that is my concern. Conferences, any conference, are ephemeral. What matters is their wider impact and legacy.
I assume that the purpose of this conference is what it says it is, to extend the barriers to open discussion on issues related to Palestine. However the conference has another agenda, which is summed up in the title of Gilad Atzmon’s talk ‘History, Truth and Integrity’. In his essay of the same name (apart from a change in word order) Atzmon writes, in a section entitled ‘It Doesn’t Make Sense’ that
'‘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...’ ‘Why were the Jews hated? Why did European people stand up against their next-door neighbours? Why are the Jews hated in the Middle East.’
It would take an essay in itself to explain that the beliefs and hatred of the Nazis weren’t those of the European peoples as one mass. That fascism wasn’t a benevolent society for everyone who wasn’t Jewish. That the holocaust wasn’t a culmination of non-Jewish hatred for Jews throughout Europe (as the Zionists maintain). Or that thousands of non-Jews risked their own lives to save Jews such as the workers of Amsterdam who launched a general strike against the deportations? These are facts of which Atzmon is blissfully unaware, as he prefers the Zionist story-line to the example of Denmark, whose people spirited away to Sweden the whole of their Jewish population. Or the demonstrations in Bulgaria or even Rosenstrasse in Berlin itself.
You say that no-one at the Freiburg Conference, including Atzmon, doubts or questions the holocaust. The above quote clearly demonstrates otherwise. Atzmon asks us not to accept the ‘Zionist narrative’ [not true, it’s a historical fact] that the Nazis wanted Germany to be Judenrrein ‘or even dead’ and offers as proof the fact that they marched hundreds of thousands back into Germany at the end of the war. And if that wasn’t conclusive enough proof to doubt the holocaust then he also asks why, if Auschwitz were a death camp, did Jewish prisoners join their guards at the end of the war, based on a single example of someone who didn’t know whether his chances of survival were better if he stayed in Auschwitz or went on the death march. But the implication is quite clear – there was no Auschwitz death camp. And on this trivial, nitpicking little point, Atzmon queries the fact that between one and two million Jews, and many others, were murdered at the camp.
I completely agree that no one group has or should have a monopoly over the holocaust. The Poles and the Russians in particular suffered grievously and millions of their people were murdered. What happened to the Gypsies is a story that is still not told and which Zionism does its best to minimise. But that is the whole point. One can and should challenge the use to which the holocaust is put by Zionist historians, most of whom are careful to avoid the collaboration of their own movement with the Nazis. But there are and always have been people who have challenged the Zionist narrative without questioning the fact that the holocaust occurred. People such as Norman Finkelstein, Lenni Brenner and Rudolph Vrba.
Atzmon however is incapable of understanding this distinction. Hence his pathetic request ‘for some conclusive historical evidence’. In fact there is evidence in abundance e.g. the writings of the murderers themselves or the situation reports of the Einsatzgruppen. Or the testimony of Polish AK spy Jan Karski or the railwaymen who operated the trains.
Atzmon’s views have resulted in Hajo Meyer being forced to withdraw as a panel speaker since he has rightly drawn the conclusion that the views quoted above are indeed those of a holocaust denier.
It is of course the right of anyone to hold whatever conference they want. And equally it is my right to argue that anyone who sincerely supports the Palestinian struggle should have nothing to do with this conference. Support for Holocaust Denial does not weaken Zionism, quite the contrary. It is ‘proof’ that supporters of the Palestinians anti-Zionists are anti-Semitic. To hold a conference whose lead speaker pretends that he can change history at the stroke of the pen, just as Israeli ideologues decree that there was no Nakba, seems to me to be a strange way of supporting the Palestinian cause.
I am, of course, more than happy to continue the dialogue, though I note that yours is the first and only reasoned response to the criticism made of the conference. Some, like Gabi Weber, Sameh Habeeb, Atzmon and Laura have indulged in personal abuse. The others have remained silent, unable to defend their participation. That in itself is instructive.
To answer your final point. No I have not asked the Conference Organiser to include a panel on BDS or offered to organise one. I believe the conference as planned is entirely counter-productive, both in terms of the situation in Germany and more generally. No British BDS group would participate as it would damage, not enhance, the BDS campaign. To be linked with those who support holocaust denial and oppose nakba denial would make no sense politically and can only cause confusion.
That is why I suggest that you should reconsider your own participation.
From: Laura .....
To: Tony Greenstein
Sent: Wed, 27 April, 2011 9:08:53
Subject: RE: Atzmon's Fellow Panellists Abandon him (in fact they never agreed to speak with him anyway)!
Is this anti semitic?
Date: Wed, 27 Apr 2011 13:59:16 +0100
Subject: Re: Atzmon's Fellow Panellists Abandon him (in fact they never agreed to speak with him anyway)!
Yes it's anti-Semitic rubbish and Houston Stewart Chamberlain was a particularly obnoxious charlatan. I couldn't be bothered to watch most of the rubbish because the Aryan tag said it all. Do you have a problem accepting this?
Anti-semitism was extremely virulent at the time of the formation of the Spanish Empire, of which Columbus was a part. Or maybe you think that the Spanish settlers and colonists were fine people despite their murderous genocide of the native peoples' they found and their ghastly tortures. Maybe you approve of how Spanish imperialism behaved, I don't happen to do so and note that most Jews fled the Inquisition to the countries of the Maghreb and Egypt.
PS: do you have a problem putting your name to your question?
From: Laura .....
To: Tony Greenstein
Sent: Wednesday, 27 April 2011, 14:22
Subject: RE: Atzmon's Fellow Panellists Abandon him (in fact they never agreed to speak with him anyway)!
sorry I thought it was on the email. Laura Stuart
Subject: Re: What Contribution Does the Freiburg Conference on the Borders of Dissent Make to Palestine Solidarity?
Date: Mon, 5 Sep 2011 23:18:15 +0100
CC: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Just incredible, you sucked me in for this short response Tony. There is one thing you will never, ever catch me doing, and that is pretending to be someone else. What you see is what you get, Laura wrote what you speak of. So for future reference, if I want to say Tony Greenstein is acting like a complete wanker, like now for instance, I will sign off this way.
On 5 Sep 2011, at 11:30, "Laura wrote:
How unfortunate I am to open my hotmail and see your name there.... reading your e.mails is always such a negative and depressing experience.
Congratulations on the role you played in the disruption of the proms last week, as you mention in your email. All credit where credit is due and I do think you should try to emulate this magnanimous aspect to Gilad's character, that he posted the video on his website, it is such a positive trait don't you agree?
What I did wonder about, however, was why when you wrote on your blog about your night at the Proms that you apparently, even as you basked in the glow of your success you were actually thinking and writing about Gilad. Even taking into account the fact that by your own admission that you didn't enjoy the music (a true philistine indeed! it is hard to believe whilst you were sitting in your (no doubt expensive) seat at the Royal Albert Hall you were in reality fantasising about Gilad! One can only hope you didn't leave any stains on the upholstery.............
From: Tony G
Subject: Re: Sheriff's Conviction of Scottish Student for Defacing Israeli Flag Must Be Overturned
I previously wrote to you concerning the conference in question and you chose not to respond. Now you respond to an article about the Scottish students. I am not much concerned about the alleged associations between your blog and holocaust denial. In fact Jenny Tonge's decision to withdraw as a sponsor was taken because you posted a video of David Duke, ex-KKK leader, attacking Israel. The same David Duke that gushes in his support for Atzmon. The same David Duke that keeps company with Israel Shamir and a host of white supremacists in the USA.
You also filled in when Atzmon summoned you in the wake of the debacle at Westminster University when other speakers withdrew. Atzmon has made his position on the holocaust clear which is that he doubts it occured. Because if Jews willingly joined the death marches, as Atzmon argues, or the Nazis were marching them into the Reich not out of it (leaving aside that in 1944/5 they had no other labour available eg. for the digging of anti-tank trenches in Vienna when 20,000 were diverted from Hungary to Auschwitz) then maybe he is right. But of course he isn't.
You say that the holocaust is a solid fact. Good. Then what are you doing with those, Atzmon prime among them, who don't agree? Hajo Meyer pulled out of the conference because as a survivor of Auschwitz he couldn't stomach Atzmon's suggestion that he was faking it, when he knows what he endured. Hajo is not a Zionist and has done his best to support the Palestinians.
My concern about Atzmon, and therefore your support for his ventures, are two-fold.
i. When Zionists continually allege that Palestinian supporters and anti-Zionists are anti-Semitic, i.e. anti-Jewish, it isn't a good idea to be seen to associate with holocaust deniers or give them comfort. In other words it erodes support for the Palestinians.
Of course you and Atzmon have no experience of trade unions. But it is not coincidental that in the union where such allegations have been made, repeatedly, the Universities & Colleges Union, activists are very clear on opposing Atzmon and anti-Semitism. The UCU in many ways triggered off the boycott in the West.
ii. If your analysis of what has happened in Palestine is wrong then your solution will also be. Atzmon doesn't hold Zionism, a political movement responsible. That is why he concentrates on 'Jewishness' a characteristic that apparently Jews possess that leads them to do the things they do in Israel/Palestine. So much so that Atzmon dismisses not only role of colonialism but Zionism too. He is on record as saying Zionism is a diaspora Jewish phenomenon. That is has no relevance inside Israel. All this ignores many similar colonial situations which had nothing to do with the Jews.
I must confess that I used to link to the Palestine Telegraph from my blog until shortly after the Jenny Tonge affair. I now find it is, to say the least, careless about what it carries. Toben: Materialism of western democracies is exhausting itself Frederick Toben is a foremost holocaust revisionis and runs the Adelaid Institute site. Would it have taken that long to check this out and the above suggests the piece still up when it is supposed to have been removed.
You say that only Jenny Tonge is no longer a patron but you have removed the list of patrons from the site so it might be thought that there are no patrons. And like your patron and sponsor, Gilad Atzmon, you seem to believe that personal threats and innuendo can be a substitute for political argument. Let me set your mind at rest and assure you that there are no documents which will cause me to lose even one night's sleep. Oh yes I've had many troubles in my life, not least from the supporters of Zionism and their marionettes in the Palestinian movement, who 18 years ago insisted that Oslo was the best thing since sliced bread (an English saying).
It is an unfortunate fact that anyone who is an anti-Zionist has to come up against the stupidity of right-wing Palestinians who become mesmerised by the latest conspiracy theory. After all it's easier than understanding what has actually happened and why. I can understand your position well, since there is nothing the right-wing of Palestinian politics would like more than to replace the Israelis but keep the situation otherwise unchanged. …
From: Sameh A. Habeeb
To: Tony G
Subject: Re: Sheriff's Conviction of Scottish Student for Defacing Israeli Flag Must Be Overturned
Now, i relaized that what you tell is only lies and lies. Your way of intimdatting others with lies is wrong. You wrote against me:
They are replaced by Sameh Habeeb, the angry young man from Gaza who edits the Palestinian Telegraph. Nothing wrong with being angry, of course, at what Israel does and has done to Gaza, but giving comfort to holocaust deniers is probably not the best way of demonstrating that anger. His flirtations with holocaust denial have already ensured that all patrons bar one of his web blog have pulled out (the one remaining being Lauren Booth).
This is wrong, Not all patrons have left, it was only Tonge and for a different reasons, not the Holocaust. As for the Holocaust, it is a solid fact that can't be denied either by me or others.
I have obtained documents regarding you and im really worried about what i saw. these documents show that you have a long history of troubles and ...........etc.
So, Plz have a respect for me and don't libel or defame me.