Atzmon denies that he is a Holocaust denier – or that there is any such thing as holocaust denial!
As readers of this blog will know, I carried a few articles on the Freiburg conference last Sunday 11th September which was purportedly about the silencing of the Palestinian voice in history, but also involved Gilad Atzmon, someone who has questioned the very fact of the holocaust.
I suggested, from the title of Atzmon’s contribution ‘History, Truth & Integrity’ that Atzmon was more concerned about equating the silencing of the oppressed and the distortion and denial of the history of the Palestinian Nakba, with making neo-Nazi attempts to deny the holocaust illegal.
Atzmon had previously written an essay entitled ‘Truth, History & Integrity’ which asked why
‘if the Nazis ran a death factory in Auschwitz-Birkenau, why would the Jewish prisoners join them at the end of the war? Why didn’t the Jews wait for their Red liberators?... We should ask for some conclusive historical evidence and arguments rather than follow a religious narrative that is sustained by political pressure and laws. ...
65 years after the liberation of Auschwitz we should reclaim our history and ask why? Why were the Jews hated? Why did European people stand up against their next door neighbours? Why are the Jews hated in the Middle East... Why did America tighten its immigration laws amid the growing danger to European Jews? We should also ask for what purpose do the holocaust denial laws serve? What is the holocaust religion there to conceal?’
When Atzmon referred to the need for ‘conclusive historical evidence’ it is quite clear what he is referring to. Maybe this is why, when it came to the Conference, Atzmon changed the title of his talk to ‘Being in Time’!
Not only does Atzmon doubt that Auschwitz was a death factory, but he also asks ‘Why did the European people stand up against their next door neighbours.’ It was nothing to do with fascism or the legacy of feudalism, or Christian anti-Semitism or an attempt by the rulers to find a handy scapegoat. Banish such thoughts from your mind. The holocaust occurred because all Jews, everywhere, were hated, just as Israelis are hated.
Of course the Israelis are settler-colonialists who dispossed another people by force of arms and expelled them. I'm not aware that this was true of European Jews. Fortunately Atzmon has an answer to this question too. Israel is not colonialist. Zionism barely exists there. It's all because Israelis are Jewish. And if Israeli Jews are hated then the reasons for European Jews being hated must be the same. Clearly Atzmon knows nothing of the perils of the circular argument.
The Jews forced the European people, all of them, to ‘stand up’ against their Jewish oppressors. Perhaps Atzmon is referring to France where 75% of Jews survived, or Italy where 85% survived (with the Italian army even rescuing Jews in the South of France and Greece). Or maybe even Warsaw where over 20,000 Jews survived until the Warsaw revolt. To say nothing of Denmark and Bulgaria. With the exception of the Ukraine and the Baltic states, and even then one should not generalise, the Nazi treatment of Jews did not meet with the approval of non-Jews. That the Nazis were intent on exterminating not only the Jews but the Slav people, Gypsies and 30 million Russians is simply ignored.
The conference also set the seal on the marriage of convenience between Atzmon and Alan Hart, the ex-BBC/ITN reporter. To be fair, Alan Hart’s contribution, ‘The mainstream media’s complicity in Zionism’s suppression of the truth of history’ http://www.alanhart.net/essence-of-the-suppressed-truth/ was perfectly reasonable, although I disagree with a number of points (such as whether, without the holocaust, there would have been an Israeli state). It also stands in complete opposition to all Atzmon believes in.
Hart argued that:
ZIONISM is a sectarian, colonial-like nationalism which created a state for some Jews in the Arab heartland mainly by terrorism and ethnic cleansing, and by doing so demonstrated contempt for, and made a mockery of, Judaism’s moral values and ethical principles. In reality mainstream Judaism and Zionism are total opposites... I wonder how many of you know that the return of Jews to the land of biblical Israel by the efforts of man - one possible but wholly inadequate definition of Zionism - was PROSCRIBED by Judaism...?
‘For years, politically correct liberals who present themselves as leftists have been insisting upon telling us that Israeli aggression should be understood in expansionist colonial terms…The reason is simple; as long as Israel is a colonialist state, then the archaic 19th century Marxist orthodox paradigm can be applied to the conflict. Moreover, if Israel is indeed an expansionist colonial regional force, then nothing is categorically wrong with the Israelis, they are just like the British were, but 150 years too late….’
And if that weren’t clear enough then in the 3rd Category and the Palestinian Solidarity Movement Atzmon writes that
‘… Zionism shouldn’t be seen merely as a nationalist movement with a clear geographical aspiration. It isn’t exactly a colonial movement with an interest in Palestine. Zionism appears to be an international movement that is fuelled by the solidarity of 3rd category subjects. To be a Zionist means just to accept that more than anything else you are primarily a Jew.’ (my emphasis)
And interestingly in the group photo, there is no Evelyn Hecht-Galinski, a German Jewess. Possibly she also found the presence of Atzmon also too much. Not so Ken O’Keefe’s friend, the virulently anti-Semitic Laura Stuart who wrote to me on 27th April this year asking whether a video posted by 'Aryan' entitled 'What famous men say about Jews'.
Pictured in a Burka, Stewart is the epitome of the liberated woman. And in her review of the conference we see why. She speaks of receiving
‘dark sinister and mildly threatening e.mails from unknown person or persons warning me about the people whom I was accompanying. Despite these nasty e.mails which included reference to my middle name, where I lived and the fact that I have children,... venom produced anonymously from what must by now be a very sticky keyboard probably from somewhere in Brighton. There is, evidently, a small cell of haters who sit monitoring Gilad Atmon's movements 24/7 ... Who the murky people behind the main ring leaders are we don't know for sure since they operate anonymously ... The most prolific and visable writer of this cell Tony Greenstein recently wrote "Laura Stewart is a combination of a complete political idiot and ignoramus (or both)",
Clearly I got under her skin. Her e-mail to me of 5th September was equally subtle:
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....
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! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philistinism)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.............
It would seem that Laura, despite being entombed in her burka (there is no religious reason for this item – it is a feudal custom imposed by men) thinks of little else but ‘sticky keyboards’ and ‘stains’. One can but imagine what thoughts her burka is concealing.
One of the useful features of this conference has though been to smoke out those willing to work with Atzmon, despite his anti-Semitic and racist politics. And prime amongst these is Ken O’Keefe, as well as the elusive Makram Khoury-Machool, who is described as Head of the Mass Media Communications Group at Hertfordshire University despite them denying knowing him.
However Atzmon leaves nothing to the imagination. Addressing the issue that led to the controversy and which concerns him most, the injustice done to the Germany’s holocaust deniers in particular, Atzmon makes an impassioned plea to a younger Germany:
‘And what about you, my dearest Germans. What about your past? Are you free to look into your past and to re-shape your understanding of it as you move along? I don’t think so. Your history, or at least some chapters of it, are sealed by some draconian laws. Consequently, you younger generation do not attempt to grasp the true ethical meaning of the holocaust.’
And what are these ethics? Well we get a clue. ‘Let me also advise you, if any of you feel guilty about anything to do with your past, it should be the Palestinians whom you should care for. The fact that Germany is detached from its past clearly explains German political complicity in the Zionist crime.’ But there is no reason why Germans should feel guilty. Guilt is unproductive and in any case the holocaust was not a collective German crime but a fascist enterprise, It was perpetrated over the bodies of German socialists, communists and trade unionists. Hitler was welcomed to power in 1933 by the leaders of the West, people like Lloyd George and Winston Churchill amongst them.
But of course this is not what Atzmon meant. German history is, apparently, ‘sealed by some draconian laws.’ Atzmon, like Stewart, is an ignoramus. German files on the holocaust are, for the most part, open and accessible. A great deal of research has been and is being done. There is nothing whatsover ‘sealed’ about German history. What is a crime, is to argue that there was no holocaust, that it didn’t happen. And this is Atzmon’s only concern. Those who propagate this flat earth version of history, which led to Hajo Meyer, a survivor of Auschwitz pulling out of the conference and suggesting that a lunatic asylum would be the most fitting place for Atzmon, are guilty (in my view wrongly) of a criminal offence.
Atzmon was though riled by
‘some destructive elements who insist that we shouldn’t dare to touch our past: in the last month, Café Palestine Freiburg and the organiser of this conference were subjected to relentless attack by some established elements within the Jewish ‘anti’ Zionist movement. They were demanding that the conference should drop me because I am a ‘holocaust denier’. Needless to say, I have never denied the Holocaust or any other historical chapter.’
I can hear some people saying, ‘ah we told you so, Atzmon isn’t after all a holocaust denier’.
Unfortunately Atzmon then goes on to say that ‘I also find the notion of ‘holocaust denial’ to be meaningless, and on the verge of idiotic.’ And here we have the usual Atzmon contortions. He denies being a holocaust denier because the very notion of holocaust denial is meaningless! So Ernst Zundel, Mark Weber, Robert Faurisson, Richard Verall-Harwood, Arthur Butz, Israel Shamir, Paul Eisen etc., although they all deny that the Nazis systematically exterminated millions of Jews, aren’t holocaust deniers either, because the very notion of holocaust denial is ‘meaningles’. Indeed it verges on the idiotic to suggest there is such a phenomenon. Instead the above named are merely seekers after the truth.
And for those of you who have a sense of déjà vu, you are of course right. Because Atzmon is also not anti-Semitic. Why? ‘Because antisemite is an empty signifier, no one actually can be an antisemite and this includes me of course.’ and speaking of his debate with David Aaronovitch, Atzmon wrote that ‘I was there to argue that antisemitism is a spin, it is a myth, I was there to deliver a very simple message: there is no such a thing as antisemitism.' Gilad Atzmon - Aaronovitch's Tantrum and the Demolition of Jewish Power
And so you see, Atzmon is also adept at magic, in conjuring away unpleasant truths. Just as there like holocaust denial, there is no such thing as anti-Semitism. And because there is no such thing as anti-Semitism there can’t be anti-Semites either. And therefore Atzmon cannot be an anti-Semite! As the Marquess of Salisbury once wrote about fellow Tory Ian McLeod, he was ‘too clever by half.’