29 August 2009

When Rats Fall Out - the Sad Tale of Atzmon, Rizzo & Edna

Atzmon’s Attack on Moshe Machover Backfires!

Sad as it might seem, Mary Rizzo seems to be getting over her infatuation with Gilad Atzmon. Admittedly it has taken a long time and for a middle-aged woman it might be thought somewhat naff to drool over the latest drivel by the phony philosopher, but better late than never!

Back in June Atzmon penned another of his nonsensical racist tirades, this time against the veteran anti-Zionist and founder of Matzpen, Moshe Machover. Machover has been a tireless and unceasing campaigner against Zionism, but his problem as far as Atzmon was concerned was that he was Jewish. In short there was Marxism and ‘Jewish’ Marxism. Quite which category Karl Marx would have fitted into beggars the imagination! [see my critique ATZMON AND “JEWISH MARXISM”].

But instead of the usual laudatory comments about how wonderful and insightful his article was, he faced a storm of criticism, with only the despicable racist Sarah Gillespie supporting him.

Atzmon took exception to Machover’s unexceptional remark that
“The subsequent emergence of Islamism holds a false promise. While it poses a challenge to Western domination, it is backward looking and inherently unable to deliver progress.”
In fact he omitted the following crucial sentence which provided the context:
‘Nor can it possibly be a uniting force: on the contrary, it is deeply divisive as between Sunnis and Shi‘is, and has no attraction whatsoever for non-Muslim and secular Arabs (including Palestinians), let alone Hebrews.’
Machover was criticising Political Islam/Islamism as a divisive force which in the end can’t even unite Muslims, as Iraq has graphically demonstrated. One might have thought that the events in Iran, where opponents of Ahmedinajad's corrupt and murderous regime, a regime which fed off the hostility of George Bush, might have given pause for thought, with reports that hundreds of demonstrators were killed and tortured before being buried secretly (a tip they no doubt learnt from Israel).

For Atzmon though, the problem was that
‘For very many years the Palestinian solidarity discourse was dominated by leftist ideology carried largely by Jewish Marxists…. No one needs the odd kosher ‘righteous Jew’ to approve that this is indeed the case.’
One contributor, Dave
‘found this piece to be nothing more than rant. The important issue raised in the opening quotes are correctly drawn Marxist conclusions regardless of the author's ancestral tree. You are conflating faith in Islam with the political program of Islamic movements. You may criticize the author's Marxist conclusions — i.e. if you are not a Marxist. But in your obsession with "Jewish" you appear to the reader as nothing but another racist.’
Elias Nasrallah a Palestinian wrote that
‘I found it disturbing to read such a personal attack on Moshe Machover, hidden behind the pseudo philosophical arguments of Gilad Atzmon. Atzmon tried to convince us he is attacking Machover from the left as someone who cares dearly for the Palestinians. To be quite honest and with a great deal of experience, I am yet to understand exactly where Atzmon stands politically. His article does not clearly manifest his opinion about Zionism. He makes clear that he is anti-Marxist, but fails to elucidate the more important and reality based question of whether or not he is anti-Zionist. We know, as a matter of fact, and as Atzmon himself attests, that Machover is Anti Zionist.’
And that is the nub of it. In his desire to attack ‘Jewish’ Marxists, Atzmon has no hesitation in joining hands with Zionists, as I’ve demonstrated on this blog before, with Atzmon's praise for Anthony Julius. And who better than the Arab-American Zionist, Hussein Ibish. Atzmon therefore cites without any criticism or disapproval whatsoever the view of Ibish that Israel is not a settler-colonial state. Unsurprisingly, Ibish’s criticism of those who hold that Israel is a settler colonial state, which Atzmon has always shared, is the basis of his opposition to a Boycott of Israel. And who else opposes a Boycott? Step forward Gilad Atzmon, who is on record, in the context of the academic boycott, as saying that
‘I am against any form of gatekeeping or book burning.’
‘Klein's argument that Zionism is a form of racism based on economic exploitation seems to me a very poor explanation of the conflict indeed. I have heard this many times before and it seems to me an effort to smash the square peg of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into the round hole of traditional colonialism and imperialism.’
But none of this should be any surprise. I have argued for a long time that the frame of reference of Atzmon’s politics is a Zionist one. His hatred of Jews derives from a similar Zionist contempt. Likewise his conflation of being Jewish and Zionist. And nor should one forget that for all his vapid rhetoric, Atzmon retains deep down a belief that the Israeli state is capable of change internally. When Amir Peretz was elected as leader of the Israeli Labour Party, a party that is ‘left’ in name only and has been responsible for all the major tragedies of the Palestinians, notably the Nakba and the 1967 Occupation, Atzmon was gushing in his words of praise:
'For the first time, the Israeli Labour party is led by a real fiery working class leader…. It becomes clear that the only way to confront global capitalism is to fight it locally and socially. This is what the Israeli Labour party has decided to do.'
Unfortunately shortly after Atzmon wrote this, Peretz as Defence Minister led the invasion of Lebanon! But our great philosopher has never been good at predicting events.

This failure to analyse the specifics of the Zionist state and its foundations is not at all surprising. If you reject, as Atzmon does, the idea that Israel was set up as a colonial venture, then the only other explanation is that Zionism is an inherent part of Judaism and Jewish people. Hence why his anti-Zionist Jewish critics, such as Machover, Mike Rosen and myself, are all ‘crypto-Zionists’. But a careful reading of his own writings e.g. Not in My Name make it clear that for Atzmon, being Jewish and Zionist is synonymous.
‘I really do not understand those who fight Zionism in the name of their secular Jewish identity. I have never understood them. I have never really understood what secularism means for the Jewish people.
To demand that Jews disapprove of Zionism in the name of their Jewish identity is to accept the Zionist philosophy. To resist Zionism as a secular Jew involves an acceptance of basic Zionist terminology, that is to say, a surrendering to Jewish racist and nationalist philosophy. To talk as a Jew is to surrender to Weizman’s Zionist philosophy.’
Atzmon’s argument is extremely simple. Where is the motherland of Israel? All settler-colonial states have motherlands therefore Israel cannot be a product of colonialism!! But logic is not something that Atzmon has much time for. What defines settler colonialism is not where the colonists come from, nor who sponsors or supports them, but what they do. If the original settlers of Virginia dispossessed the indigenous population and expelled or murdered them, what does it matter if they depended on support from a British Governor? It’s what they do and their relationship to the indigenous American Indians that matter not their life support system.

In fact the same could have been said of Apartheid South Africa. The Boers had no motherland when they trekked into the Transvaal and Orange Free State. It was a rebellion against the British for interfering with their right to do as they wish, including enslavement, of the Black peoples. The American colonists did not cease to be colonists simply because they also waged a War of Independence against Britain from 1775-1783. The expansion westwards took place after that but they didn’t behave different in California from how they had behaved in Maryland. If anything it was worse. In fact the Zionists did have a motherland. It was called Great Britain. The Balfour Declaration of 1917 established the British state as its protector, as and until they became strong enough to stand on their own two feet. When in 1945 they had achieved a critical mass they had no hesitation in jettisoning GB and turning to the USA. But in terms of land confiscation, mass murder, apartheid discrimination the Israeli state was if anything more colonial after 1948 than before. After all, the Jewish National Fund had actually had to buy the land it settled before 1948 but in 1950 they came into possession overnight of twice as much land as they had bought in 30 years prior to independence.

But Ibish is an ideal tame establishment Arab for Atzmon. He, like Atzmon himself, is an opponent of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions and in his article ‘Why boycotts are the wrong strategy for Palestinians’ he makes clear that he rejects BDS in an attack on Naomi Klein for her advocacy of the same. No doubt according to Atzmon, Klein is following her ‘Jewish’ interests. In all of this Mary Rizzo stays faithful to her mentor.

But whereas Atzmon attacks anyone who criticises Political Islam as an ‘Islamaphobe’ Mary discerns a difference between the religion, in all its variations, and the political movements that claim it as a source of legitimation. Indeed it would appear that, ever so slowly, she has begun to recognise that you can support for example Hamas or Hizbollah in their fight against imperialism and Zionism without supporting their ideology.

At the moment Rizzo has confined her criticisms to the personal and stylistic, e.g.:
‘sorry gilad, as much as i admire you, I can't believe you would go on a rampage about a plural pronoun when you yourself used this is a comment just some hours earlier:’

She gives short shrift to Sarah Gillespie, Atzmon’s faithful rottweiller and echo chamber:
‘I just spent a while talking with Gilad about this stuff, and it seems as if you are merely repeating by rote some lines of his without adding anything of your own or original to substantiate it, which also seem kind of strange coming from someone who in the past has indeed felt free enough to criticise this or any other religion.’
Clearly the scales are falling from her eyes. And she even shows signs of personal irritation, always a good indication!
‘well, gilad, taking folks out of context is not that cool. It is a shame that you haven't really bothered too much to engage in the quite well-argumented discussions of Luis…. This space would have been refreshing if someone could read it without looking at trouble and a lot of hostility. Oh well, it didn't work out. It is too bad you didn't give Luis that much due respect.'
and in what is almost a warning to her partner-in-crime (ex?). ‘You can interpret this as you want, but personal attacks will not be approved should ring clear to everyone. I (like it or not) have to manage the comments in a fair way, or is this not the case?’ as well as a thinly veiled attack on Atzmon’s view of himself as an intellectual! 'calling him lazy, unsophisticated or ideologically trapped, which is not the greatest thing for a real intellectual to do’. Ouch!

Perhaps even more surprising is the vicious attack by Edna Spennato, who has been taken aback it would seem, by an article Atzmon posted entitled ‘God Blessed America’. which is a long and boring paean to Obama. One wonders of course where these people have been. But one should welcome converts, however long their journey to Damascus takes!
‘When a writer continuously "salutes" the zionist politician and front-man carrying out a policy of genocide against the world's Muslim population, refuses to inform himself of these facts on the ground, and then engages other people in an endless nit-picking discussion about Islam vs Islamism, calling all those who don't agree with him ignoramuses and islamophobes, one can only wonder about his real agenda.
Perhaps it's time to introduce a new term to the lexicon - Reborn Zionist?’
And there is more! Edna picks up on Atzmon’s lovely little paragraph wherein he states that:
‘Being raised as a Jew, i was trained very much like you to believe that my culture was superior. In my attempt to fight the Jew in me, I have managed to get rid of most traces of superiority (i am still an arrogant tosser [agreement for once – TG] … in order to liberate the marxist we must liberate Marxism of it its Kosher (cultural) grip.’
Edna asks ‘Are you saying there was "superiority" to begin with? This to me would seem to be a very supremacist notion. Or when you say "I have managed to get rid of most traces of superiority", do you really mean, "I have managed to get rid of most traces of imagined superiority." ?? If so, I would beg to differ.

And then Edna asks the question that Atzmon is determined not to answer:
‘However, perhaps you could throw some light on how you manage to expose that dangerous ideology with a statement like this one from your recent piece, "God Blessed America":
"He (Obama) is now marching America towards humanism. He reclaims the American ideology of liberty. I salute the man, I salute the great intellect, I salute the humanist.’

Even more amusing are the questions Edna poses for Atzmon:
‘1. Why are you not able to respond to the question about your support for the imperialists, who you have relabeled as "humanists"?
2. Why is zionism more palatable to you when touted by an 'arab' such as Ibbish or a person you regard as
'black' such as Obama? (Much more palatable than anti-zionism touted by a 'jew')
3. What is your understanding of the concept of 'reverse racism'?
Easy Peasy.’
But of course these questions are not easy peasy for Atzmon. The answer of course as to why Arab or Black Zionism is more palatable than Jewish anti-Zionism is quite simple really. Atzmon is a died-in-the-wool anti-semite, who like his Zionist friends hates anti-Zionist Jews. Indeed Atzmon hates anti-Zionist Jews far more than Zionists.

Atzmon himself is the ‘super-Islamicist’. For him the main problem ‘is the acceptance of the notion of ‘Islamism’ as a distinct form or political version of Islam. Islam is a ‘way of life’. Its politics and even armed Jihad are integral part of Islam though they have different interpretations.’ And from there it is but one short step to the idea that
‘Hamas’ ideology is Islam and to say that Islam is reactionary is nothing short of Islamophobia. Probably the most problematic issue is the use of the word ‘Islamism’ which to my opinion reveals a sever lack of understanding of Islam as a unified ‘way of life’…. From an Islamic perspective there is no distinction between Isalm and Islamism.’
Just as for Atzmon there is no distinction worth drawing between Judaism and Zionism, both are interchangeable, so Islam and the political interpretations and movements derived from it are one and the same. The fact that an Islamic regime in Iran is as corrupt and bloodthirsty as any in the world passes him by completely. The idea that political movements have historically taken as their source of legitimacy is something that has escaped our esteemed philosopher. Because whereas ‘Islam and Christianity are universalist precepts (Judaism isn't). They are all about brotherhood. In practice things can appear differently …the same applies to Marxism.’

Nonsense and gibberish though this is, it is interesting to see that Judaism isn’t seen as a universal religion, which just goes to show that ignorance and bigotry are usually handmaidens. In fact Judaism, of which Islam and Christianity are in many ways offshoots, was a clearly universal religion. That is what monotheism, with a single causal explanation (a single divinity) is. Of course in practice there were many variations of Judaism, such as Hasidism, which in practice believed in the existence of more than one god and the Bible, stripped of its intepretative post-hoc justification, makes it clear that the history of the Hebrew tribes was a conflict between polytheism and monotheism.

But as Atzmon proudly proclaims: ‘Actually, i transform self hate into an argument. This is my way.’ Indeed it is.

But then Atzmon is nothing if not a simpleton. For him ‘Political Islam is our way to interpret Islam within world current affairs. I refuse to talk about Islamism or political islam unless we agree that it is western terminology that we refer to rather that the 'thing in itself' For me the big question is who promotes the notion of 'political islam'. Why Zionists, Neocons and Marxists are so keen to use it? And why you of all people use it?’ A sure sign of desperation. If Zionists or Neocons use the term ‘political Islam’ that means that it is automatically redundant. In fact it is obvious that the rise of the clerical ruling class in Iran, tied by their own class interests to the bazaari merchants was a classical development of a religious come political movement. And because of its class interests they have used the weapons of terror, torture and mass murder to perpetuate their hold on the levers of power.

It is somewhat ironic therefore that Edna, in view of her own previous comments, has to give Atzmon the clearest message: ‘The enemy is Zionism, Gilad, not Jews or Marxists or anti-zionists, or even all of those rolled into one big boogeyman.’

And likewise Mary states the obvious to Gilad that:
‘now you are getting silly. The oppression of muslims is located in an ideology called lots of names, Global Hegemony, Empire, Culture Clash, Zionism, Market Capitalism, and especially the USA foreign policy.’

The only other interesting thing about this debate is how Atzmon determinedly ignores the questions that Edna poses. After asking repeatedly, in one form or another, the simple question
‘why a writer who labels everyone else an "islamophobe" when he looks the other way while the "occupying powers" expand their genocide and ethnic cleansing of the "Muslim world", referring to it as "humanism" and an "ideology of liberty", and publicly "saluting" the chief war criminal. Care to answer that question regarding the use of faulty terminology in your "God Blessed America", Gilad?
Gilad, for once, is tongue tied!


  1. Hi, Tony, please find below the link to an article I wrote for the first issue of The Palestinian Telegraph. I don't usually write op-eds, for lack of time, but this time I made an effort, in order to contribute the PT's launch... It goes on the nature of Israel as an Outpost State.


    As for Atzmon, I enjoyed your article. I'm sorry for him, if he focused on his jazz career and his literary ventures as a satyrist, it would be all the better. His political and ideological outings are a disgrace, as you so laboriously have exposed.

    I welcome the fact that Mary Rizzo is getting aware of Atzmon's loopholes. In spite of my row with her some time ago because I criticized that infamous petition in which you were treated as -surprise, surprise!- as a Zionist, I always thought she is a decent activist in her opposition to Zionism, and for the Palestinian cause.

    As many others, she has been suffering for a long time sort of hypnosis. It is a phenomenon of kidnapped identity I can only explain by the strong character of the guy in question.

    Cheers, Enrique

  2. I agree Enrique. I think beneath the misguided associations she forms, Mary Rizzo has her heart in support of the Palestinians. But boy does she make some mistakes along the way, including going along with some of the worst anti-Semitic nonsense. But I do make a careful differentiation between her and Atzmon.

    I have no doubt that for Atzmon, supporting the Palestinians is a career opportunity. His whole framework of reference, his ideological formulations are Zionist. I ask anyone to read just the one essay of his 'Not in my name' to see that he approaches Zionism from a position whereby he accepts that to be Jewish is to be a member of a nation. This is the crux, the starting point of Zionism. All else is history as it were.

    That is why his attacks are primarily on Jewish anti-Zionists. In many ways they remind me of the attacks by Zionists. I wouldn't want to complain but to be a Jewish anti-Zionist is to put up with the utmost filth. Your family ties are examined, you are subject to anti-Semitic abuse (nothing Atzmon has said compares with what Zionists have said - things like pity Hitler didn't get you etc.).

    I don't complain, far from it. Because I know that means we are having an effect but for Atzmon to claim he is an anti-Zionist and to join this chorus demonstrates where his true 'tribal' allegiances lie. It was therefore no surprise to find him collaborating with a notorious British Zionist, one Mikey, in trying to dig up dirt against me.

    But it would seem that some of his friends, bar Gillespie, are tiring of his ceaseless attacks on people like Moshe Machover, who is a living legend (despite which I fundamentally disagree with him on the existence of the Israeli nation and will probably debate the subject soon!).

  3. A few observations: 1) if you had included Ben Heine, (the lovely part of that photo) it would have been better. At any rate, I think I am quite a bit younger than you are, Tony, and your sexism shows when you find it important to point out that a woman activist in her 40s is "middle aged". Do your readers (Joe and Enrique) care? It entertained me that you are so evidently unaware of the sexist attitude you use to depict your nemesis! Would you identify a male in this way? It is a further example of your inadvertent exhibition of your racist and sexist attitudes.

    2) Tony Greenstein himself has quoted Ibish extensively as some kind of authority and on numerous occasions! For him to now use as the basis of his argument that his "rival", the one HE is sueing but has been acting as if it's the other way around, is the height of Chutzpah and actually very very funny! I believe Ibish is as worthless now as he was then and I have no problem mentioning this in comments on PTT or anywhere, and neither should anyone else who condemns gatekeeping, but now that Tony sees Atzmon quoting him, all of a sudden Ibish is disgusting? Ibish was used for years especially by Tony, and still is in a defamation campaign, as if someone this inept to express Palestinian issues should really count at all as an authority on it? Just an example, by Tony: http://www.marxists.de/racism/antisemitism/counterpunch.htm
    But maybe Rizzo will find it easier to accept the advice of Palestinians directly? She might listen to Ali Abunimah and Hussein Ibish: (SERIOUS CONCERNS ABOUT ISRAEL SHAMIR), two prominent Arab-Americans:

    How funny is THAT?! First of all in an article by Tony Greenstein, (not a blog comment, but an article!) he tells ME to listen to Ibish, whom he erroneously even refers to as Palestinian! OUCH!!!

  4. But one would have to extensively read these people to be aware of who they are and what they are, and perhaps that is one of the faults of many people, they take bits of what they like and use it as the basis of an argument, but it inevitably lends them into falling into their own trap of "guilt by association".

    3) which is the major crime of Tony Greenstein. In addition to his belief that people can be judged according to their associations, colour, religious group, nationality, he then extends that to whom they work with on an activist basis or not, or who has quoted them or even who he has failed to engage in his defamation and smear campaigns. If one refuses to do it, he automatically assumes and then insists that they are collaborators and associates. He has attempted and failed to associate me with people in the past, and this is his major political activity, the clique-club-tribe thing. Yes, I am associated with Gilad Atzmon and yes, we are independent persons, so our views from time to time will differ, as is normal, and if anyone agrees with someone constantly, I will have to see that day come. However, the basic belief Gilad and I (and Sarah Gillespie)share is that anyone who campaigns "as a Jew" but is also "atheist" is engaging in ethnic labeling of Jews, which was precisely the same tool used by the racists who wanted to push Jews out of Europe, so using this as a different political tool and making it all of a sudden "kosher" because non-religious Jews speaking primarily as Jews say that Jews should not have a Jewish State in Palestine (although Deborah Maccoby thinks they should, and Tony does not raise an eyebrow) is just adopting Zionist thinking, allowing someone to be determined on a dubious ethnic basis and then promoting this "special interest group" as more authoritative because they are Jews. I have documented again and again on Peacepalestine the anti-Islamic comments Tony has made, insulting in their gross-grain generalisations, and it is still viewable to anyone who may be interested, the extreme Islamophobia of Tony and many of his own racist quotes. He simply does not have any ability to be aware of his own statements and what he is saying! It is not at all arcane or hidden, it is evident that he has a view of the world that is based on superiority of the White European. That he promotes this in Palestine is a reason to consider him as a proponent of Zionism. That he focuses all of his energies on other campaigners is evidence of where his priorities lie and that he believes he is able to "analyse me" is laughable. In my view, being "approved" by TG is indeed a pity. I view him as an extremely inept, incompetent and self-loving campaigner who does not have any kind of relationship with Palestinian campaigners and is thoroughly detached from the issues that interest the Palestinians themselves. His niche is Jewdom and this is a niche that I find can be relegated into the "curios" department, but has zero impact on changing things in the Middle East.

  5. 4) That Tony has attempted with all his might to gatekeep, ban, smear and silence Gilad Atzmon and me is no secret, and activist friends were getting sick of it and they decided to take action about it. The fact that over 550 people signed a petition to halt the extreme efforts at gatekeeping is evidence of this, and that Shraga Elam and others attempted to continue to smear us and others by insinuating that we were the orignators and that we duped others such as Hajo Mayer into signing has been thoroughly debunked. That Tony and Enrique still persist in seeing this denouncement against gatekeeping and censorship as something bad is totally up to them. The opinions of major activists are on record, and I have never seen anything but Tony and his ten friends take into account this declamation by people, reflect on it or decide to concentrate on actual work rather than obsession over two activists! It is as if he has no ability to listen to anyone or to take this kind of consideration into account. If the opinion of so many is meaningless to him, well, Take it or leave it. At any rate, not only did Tony fail to destroy the blog, try as he might by waving legal threats, we took it as a cue to open a larger site, which currently is hugely popular, and unlike this blog, has collaboration from Palestinians who are the main contributors, so voice is given to the protagonists and not to the self-loving activists such as Tony.

    That Tony would dedicate an entire post to me (one of many, which actually, are so boring, this is the first one I've read in full!) is testament to where his priorities lie, and they are clearly not with promoting Palestinian rights, but with elevating his own self-image.

  6. From "Edna", whom Greenstein refers to as a "Rat"...

    You always seem to find so much drama in everything, Tony. Gilad does not treat anyone with kid gloves as you well know, and I am sure he does not himself expect to be treated as though he is intellectually fragile. It's not "viciousness" to point out the glaring inconsistencies in a writer's work, which is all those questions were doing.

    As for whether or not it was worth it for Gilad to tear Machover into a thousand tiny pieces for calling Israel a colonial state, well, once again, I can only point out the inconsistency.

    For instance, on Gilad's own site, in his press page for his latest CD, In Loving Memory of America", which was published very recently:


    he himself quotes am article by
    John Lewis of The Guardian, Friday 6 March 2009:

    ".......During his National Service, he served as a paramedic in the Israeli army in the 1982 invasion of Lebanon, and started to question some of the fundamental tenets of his upbringing. "I realised that I was part of a colonial state, the result of plundering and ethnic cleansing," he says......"

    So you see, Tony, I only ask Gilad, as a political writer, to be consistent. Nothing vicious about it, and I am sure he values honest criticism of his political writing.

  7. Well just to prove I listen, even to my worst enemies I have substituted the original photo. Yes it's quite romantic and shows that underneath the racial rhetoric there's a human being struggling to get out.

    Me sexist? Perish the thought. if the average age we live to is about 80, then 40 is middle aged. It's called mathematics not sexism!

    But I have to say Mary, that despite the nice romantic image the politics is, well, god awful. Look someone speaking as a Jewish atheist is not indulging in ethnic labelling (why?) but if anything rejecting the idea that all those of a certain religion/ethnicity conform to the same political beliefs, i.e. Zionism.

    Atzmon's mistake is to take the Zionist creed as gospel and try to hold up a mirror to it.

    I quoted the joint article by Ibish and Abunimah dealing, as Mary says quite correctly, with the gross anti-semitism of Shamir and his obsession with Christ killing. (Why can't he just get over the fact that Christ is dead, like many billions of others and stop seeing it as some kind of genetic fault?).

    Because I quote Ibish in one context it doesn't mean that I agree with him on anything else. In fact before reading the comments of Edna I knew bugger all about him. But now I do!

    I quote R H Tawney, a social democrat in the 1930's. But I still reject his class collaborationist politics. I quote Jesus but reject god. I cite the Prophets but reject their beliefs. Why is Ibish so different? Maybe one day I'll quote you Mary without accepting yours!!

    Unfortunately Mary insists on going off on one. I focus very little time on Atzmon or indeed Mary. You might have noticed that there are now very few articles on Atzmon's politics today compared to when this blog was started. There is a limit to how much one can write on someone whose windbaggery is in inverse proportion to the substance.

    I only wrote this article because it demonstrated that there were now, despite Mary's attempts to paper over the cracks, clear divisions between those who see support for the Palestinians as their major point of departure (Mary) and those for whom it is a means of raising their profile and garnering a little publicity (Atzmon).

    Unfortunately Mary has only just started the process of recovery and is liable to relapse at any moment. Which is a pity really as if she cut herself off from the self-regarding Atzmon she might do some good.

    Her use of the term 'Jewdom' is one such example. There is no such place. Mary may indeed view me as an 'inept' campaigner but the Zionists don't think that Jewish anti-Zionists, of which I am but one, are so inept. As the Board of Deputies of British Jews has noted, it is British anti-Zionist Jews who have led the fight for Boycott in Britain, which is seen as the leading western country in this regard.

    And boycott of Israel is the number one priority of Palestinian campaigners as PACBI will confirm. Who Atzmon got photographed with last week is not that high up the agenda. And from what I know of his relationship with Palestinian artists and musicians it has been pretty exploitative and I include Mahmoud Darwish in this.

    However when in a hole Mary should stop digging. That 'petition' was an embarrassment. Most people signed thinking they were signing an anti-apartheid petition! Hajo Meyer is a very dear soul. I participated in a Press TV show recently in which he spoke and it is clear and understandable that Hajo is now very confused. Let's leave it at that and let Mary fill in the dots.

  8. To Mary, re my rampant
    'Islamaphobia'. This is of course nonsense. I see ALL religions as both reactionary politically AND as a source of comfort. 'The soul of a souless world' as Marx s said. Leaving aside that there is a considerable Palestinian minority who are Christians, the most determined fighters of all, and even a few Jewish, the fight against Israel is a secular, not a religious fight.

    To say that it is religious is to accept the Zionist idea that it is a battle between Jew and non-Jew. Again a consequence of the rejection that Israel behaves as settler-colonial states do, whether they are at the tip or bottom of Africa.

    But just as I support the people of Iran, regardless of religion against their 'Islamic' rulers so I support women in Gaza who reject the jiljab that Hamas are trying to impose. to me its no contradiction to support Hamas against the Zionists, noting the limitations of their politics, and to support women and workers against Hamas as rulers.

    That's what being a socialist means in fact.

  9. Me a dramatist? Anything but Edna. I merely depict trends. Despite your own support for holocaust revisionism you seem to have spotted that Atzmon's underlying politics are essentially pro-imperialist.

    Atzmon wants a benevolent pro-Palestinian support of imperialism. Hence he rejects any sort of anti-imperialist analysis or the idea that Israel is a settler-colonial state because that implies that what is at stake is not a particular historical process, the settlement of Palestine at the best of the world's capitalist powers, but the sinister influence of 'the Jews'.

    Remove this influence and the USA will be a benign power with the wonderful Obama in charge. Hence Atzmon's illusions in Obama, just as he once sang the praises of Labour Zionist leader Amir Peretz. That incidentally is why anti-semitism is so dangerous - for the Palestinians - because it substitutes a false enemy for the real one. He takes the imperialists at their word and sees them thwarted by the devilish Jew.

    I used the term 'viciousness' with poetic license. What I meant was that by repeating the same insistent and simple message you were being cruel to Atzmon who doesn't like to be reminded of his political weakness. Hence he can only ignore you. And because he is essentially impressionistic he criticises the idea that Israel is a colonial entity on the one hand and describes it as such himself on other occasions.

    Just as he berates in 'on anti-Semitism' the fact that Jews don't speak up as Jews against Israel and its works and then says if Jews do speak up then they are being Zionists because they fulfill the Zionist criteria of 'national identification'.

    The point is that Atzmon, far from tearing Moshe Machover into a thousand pieces, doesn't lay a glove on him. How could he? Machover is an intellectual who does think deeply about things that are taken for granted and I say that disagreeing with him strongly about the Israeli Jews being a nation, which if you follow the debates in Weekly Worker you will understand. Atzmon is superficial and impressionistic, tossing about terms he understands very little about.

    Atzmon repeatedly says that Zionism isn't an issue in Israel unlike the diaspora Jews. In this he betrays a fundamental misunderstanding about the unique nature of Zionism and its exclusionary principles as opposed to exploitative. That is why he ends up with the same basic framework as that of Zionism, viz. that Jews are a nation wherever they live. To speak as a Jew is to be tribal etc. When it is obvious that imperialism wants Israel to be seen as a Jewish state so that they can identify their new barbarism with a form of anti-racism. Even when more and more jews outside Israel are speaking up.

    Of these things Atzmon simply hasn't got anything to say because he starts off from a pro-imperialist perspective which you recognise in his comments about Obama.

    My only wonder is that Atzmon fooled so many people for so long but now the scales are beginning to fall from peoples' eyes as they wake up to the fact that for Atzmon, the Palestinians are a disposable entity for the sake of the ultimate goal, his career.

  10. I have documented again and again on Peacepalestine the anti-Islamic comments Tony has made, insulting in their gross-grain generalisations, and it is still viewable to anyone who may be interested, the extreme Islamophobia of Tony and many of his own racist quotes.
    - Mary Bizarro has gone all Islamist on us now.
    Previously, she claimed she was 100% Palestinian. Now she's claiming her filthy racist sewer 'Pissing on Palestine' was about Islam and not about Palestine or Palestinians at all.
    I wish she'd make up her mind - but she can't do that by herself of course. She needs Atzmon to do it for her.

    As Mary Bizarro is now a fully indoctrinated Islamist will she give up her driving licence, stop being seen in public except with male relative chaperones and actively prevent women getting an eductaion in Italy - maybe Mary is even thinking of emigrating to her own political paradise of (the American-run regime) of Saudi Arabia?

    (although Deborah Maccoby thinks they should, and Tony does not raise an eyebrow)
    - This is a lie.
    People have discussed this with Deborah - but why don't you take the matter up with her Mary, as you seem so obsessed with the ideas of someone whom nobody on TG's blog is defending?

    It is not at all arcane or hidden, it is evident that he has a view of the world that is based on superiority of the White European. That he promotes this in Palestine is a reason to consider him as a proponent of Zionism.
    - White Mary Bizarro now fully supports the de-liberation of women abroad just as long as it doesn't deprive her of her comfortable safe, secure, liberated white western lifestyle. It's ok for the niggers in Saudi Arabia and Egypt but not privilged, white, western Mary Bizarro whom no Arab or Palestinians has ever elected as their spokesperson as far as I'm aware of.

    I view him as an extremely inept, incompetent and self-loving campaigner who does not have any kind of relationship with Palestinian campaigners and is thoroughly detached from the issues that interest the Palestinians themselves.
    - Wasn't it Mary Bizarro who used to criticise Sue Blackwell whom she claimed was inept because Sue's attempts to have a pro BDS-Palestine motion passed before her own UCU didn't meet with total success at its initial attempts?

    Tony Greenstein's efforts have the full support and backing of the great and the good behind the Palestine-BDS. Unlike Atzmon and Rizzo, who went out of their way to attack efforts to organise the boycott here in the UK calling Palestinians and their friends 'book-burners', and engaging in collaborating with zionists in order to dig up dirt on British anti-zionists.

  11. However, the basic belief Gilad and I (and Sarah Gillespie)share is that anyone who campaigns "as a Jew" but is also "atheist" is engaging in ethnic labeling of Jews, which was precisely the same tool used by the racists who wanted to push Jews out of Europe, so using this as a different political tool and making it all of a sudden "kosher" because non-religious Jews speaking primarily as Jews say that Jews should not have a Jewish State in Palestine .... is just adopting Zionist thinking, allowing someone to be determined on a dubious ethnic basis and then promoting this "special interest group" as more authoritative because they are Jews.
    - Mary Bizarro adopts a dubious ethnic basis in order to promote her own special racist interest group. She uses the same reasoning as other antisemites, such as zionist and nazis, in determining who or what a 'Jew' is or should be, and how these victims of hers should be allowed to express their democratic right to free speech.

    As the vast majority of zionists aren't Jews, and certainly not all nazis were either, then it is no fault of Jewish people themselves they are forced to endure racial stereotyping and will continue to suffer the consequences from if they don't learn lessons.

    Many assimilated 'Jews' under the Nazis suffered because they were considered Jewish using the Nazi's own criteria, not by using the victims own criteria and identity of themselves and who they thought were. Victor Klemperer considered himself Protestant-German and Jewish not at all. Racism is in the eye of the beholder, not the victim.

    Mary even claims these non-religious atheist Jews are overwheening, uppity and form cliques. If this isn't racist stereotyping I don't know what is. This is the very stereotyping Mary claims she is also condenming.

    According to Mary's own antisemitic formulation, when atheist Jews object to racism it means they are being racist themselves. When they object to zionism they are zionist, and when they objected to those telling them to get out of Europe, what they were actually doing was agreeing with them.

    That's the sneaky Jews for you. They never tell the truth. It's a good job we have the likes of Hitler and Mary Bizarro around to tell the rest of us exactly what it is the sneaky Jews are up to, and what it is they really mean when they say something, especially in public.

    I mean, it's as if the Protocols of the Elders was actually true (as some dolt recently commented on the racist stink tank) - or Mein Kampf even. Although, I suppose Mary and Gilad never quote Hitler, prefering the 'Protocols' instead, because it would be bad PR and bad for publicity and popularity. Subjects close to both their empty egos.

    His niche is Jewdom and this is a niche that I find can be relegated into the "curios" department, but has zero impact on changing things in the Middle East.
    - This is the same Mary Bizarro who claims TG is part of some overwheening clique who, because they don't support racism, actually do support racism. TG and his kind suport such forms of racism as zionism and nazism which both wanted the Jews out of Europe.
    So when zionists and nazis label their victims 'Jews' then the likes of TG only have themselves to blame. He should have got out of Europe a long time ago.

    As for 'zero impact' -
    - I think it was the Palestine-BDS which had 'zero impact' on both Rizzo and Atzmon which they both strongly attacked in extreme terms until they discovered how successful it was, then they both jumped on the bandwagon of popularity and success. Such is the modus operandi of these two antisemitic pro-zionist parasites.

    Jewdom is a racist term which only racist's, keen to stereotype their victims, would use.

    It is quite an admission when antisemites, such as Mary Bizarro, call upon on atheist anti-zionist Jews to get out of Palestine solidarity - this must mean they are engaging in the same sort of ethnic labelling Hitler used to do, and as zionists still do today.

  12. Mary Bizarro's strategies of resistence comes unstuck as per usual.

    Independent-minded Mary is now preaching islamic fundamentalism (because Atzmon ordered her to) yet has the gall to accuse TG of sexism, racism and Islamophobia!

    Islamic fundamentalism is divisive and practices sectarianism against fellow Muslims and is also anti-women's liberation.

    Which strand of fundamentalist Islamophobia do you now practice Mary, anti-Shia or anti-Sunni?

    which is the major crime of Tony Greenstein. In addition to his belief that people can be judged according to their associations, colour, religious group, nationality...
    - Which is exactly what Mary asks others to do.
    She asks others to judge her according to own family history and pedigree, rather than her arguments.

    She also asks others to base their judgements of her on her own claims as to how popular she is. Indeed, Atzmon uses popularity as an argument to attack the victims of the Nazis. The Nazis weren't too popular themselves though, and neither was the Tsarist police state responsible for Atzmon's much beloved Protocols of the Elders which he parodied in an unfunny antisemtic attack on British anti-zionists.

    Mary also insists we judge athiest Jews according to their ethnic background, not their arguments.

    Mary also claims to be 100% Palestinians and asks others to judge Palestinians by the fact they are Palestinian and not by the facts and arguments of the case for justice and peace for Palestine.

    Mary isn't interested in facts and arguments. She is only interested in wether or not someone is Jewish or Palestinian, and latterly, fundamentalist Muslim.

    Mary can't seem to grasp the basic facts of politics that although I can disagree with someone in open democratic debate, it doesn't mean I wish them to be violated in any way. I can disagree with the politics of Hamas, for instance, but also wish them every success in their struggle against violent racist oppression.

    Rizzo has to stoop to smearing people as Islamophobic because they don't agree with the politics of certain political parties. Since when did Hamas, or any other fundamentalist group, become the spokespersons for all Muslims?

    This is exactly the kind of stereotyping of Muslims, Palestinians, Arabs etc Rizzo claims she condemns as well. How typical that Rizzo smears all Palestinians as some kind of islamic extremists.

    Those who don't agree with Mary Rizzo's version of Islam and Palestine are Islamophobic - although no Palestinian or Muslim I know has ever voted Mary Rizzo as their spokesperson. Mary has taken on this weighty responibility all by herself in her role as an antisemitic gatekeeper and patronising white western bigot.

  13. Joe

    Mary is caught in a cleft stick. I think she is beginning to realise that everything with Atzmon ends up attacking 'the Jews' especially if they are anti-Zionist, and on the other hand she knows that her reputation in respect of anti-semitism leaves a lot to be desire.

    Hence her reference to her absurd 'petition' in support of herself. How anyone can seriously ask Palestinians to act in solidarity with themselves I don't know but I can only assume that the motivation for it was from Atzmon, who seriously believes he is the centre of the universe.

    Let us hope, that like Paul, Mary is finally seeing the light because I'm told the good lord welcomes converts on the road to Damascus!

  14. Thanks Tony.

    Speaking of cleft sticks, I'm sure Mary Ego will be sending a letter and signing a petition in support of the Sudanese government and its male-only state rapist religious police squad -
    All Hail Lubna 'whip me if you dare' Hussein
    04 Sept 2009

    [ Clairwill is also a contributor to the excellent
    Pickled Politics blog website.]

    I can't think of a better way to discredit western-based Palestinian solidarity than have it sing the praises of religious fundamentalism of any kind. Mary Ego's self-styled 'strategies of resistence' always seem to involve attacking and undermining solidarity with Palestinians. If it's not divisive racism she is promoting, then its vacuous cults of personality. Her latest fad seems to be medieval religious revivalism.

    What's wrong with just doing what Palestinians ask us in the West to do - support and promote local Palestinian Solidarity groups and latterly also the Palestine-BDS campaign?

    Nothing could be simpler. It's our own western governments' support and participation which make Israel's racist war crimes possible. As voters and taxpayers it is our duty to hold our own governments accountable for their crimes against Palestinians and to get them to stop. This is what Italian-Palestinian or UK-Palestinian solidarity is about. This is what occupied Palestinians ask us to do. Palestinian solidarity begins at home, not abroad.

    However, Mary Ego knows what's best for Palestinians.

    She prefers to promote campaigns of witch-hunts and heretic-hunts, looking for invisible enemies and international conspiracies that aren't there. Attacking local Palestinian solidarity groups and Palestine-BDS. Ignoring Italian-Palestine solidarity. Promoting mis-named 'petitions in praise of her own 'outstanding personality' and inviting the unsuspecting to sign up for something they thought was about solidarity with Palestinians, rather than some narcissistic racist parasite and her vain pretentious ideas about her own self-worth - she's even threatening to start another 'petition' in support of herself if people don't stop criticising her instead of supporting her!!!

    all the best TG

    I don't want to keep you away from any important work - I'm just making some obvious observations about Mary Ego's crackpot illogical contradictory comments

  15. Tony's absolutely right here. The thread that is the subject of Tony's post has Mary and Edna (and two or three others) exposing Gilad Atzmon as what I called him some time ago, a " liar, racist and a buffoon.

    Mary clearly (for her) called Atzmon a liar and Edna exposed his sheer racism and his buffoonery. In fact Edna is worth quoting some more:

    Two very simple questions for Gilad…

    1. Why are you not able to respond to the question about your support for the imperialists, who you have relabeled as "humanists"?

    2. Why is zionism more palatable to you when touted by an 'arab' such as Ibbish or a person you regard as 'black' such as Obama? (Much more palatable than anti-zionism touted by a 'jew')

    3. What is your understanding of the concept of 'reverse racism'?

    Easy Peasy

    Hardly a plea for consistency. Rather a plea for him to stop being such a racist buffoon or at least to explain how his racism helps the Palestinian cause.

    Tony was wrong about one thing. Atzmon was not tongue tied for once. He was tongue tied several times. He had to dodge questions throughout the thread when he knew he couldn't rely on his usual trolls (except Sarah and she went silent under cross examination from Mary) to back him up and he couldn't use sock puppets on a blog where his co-contributors had turned on him.

    Tony didn't need to dramatise any of this. This has been a dramatic turn up. If not then point to another post anywhere on the web where Mary and Edna have exposed Atzmon's dishonesty and his racist worldview as explicitly as in the thread Tony posted on. I'd love to see that but I'm confident that this was a dramatic departure from their usual stance.

    All rather sad that they want to distance themselves from it now. Has anyone done screen grabs? Given Atzmon's involvement with PTT can we expect a bit of doctoring like he's done to his own site in the past? Obviously now the SWP's ditched him he doesn't have to hide the racism any more but his vanity must be crying out for a few surgical deletions.

  16. To be fair Mark Edna has not distanced herself from her former comments. Mary is trying to pass it off as an example of how democratic they all are, but clearly there are tensions underneath which revolve around Atzmon's uncritical and total support for Islamism or Political Islam.

    He opposes Israel's torture of Palestinian prisoners but not Abbas's doing the same (acting on behalf of the Zionists) and of course has nothing to say about Hamas's disregard for human rights, including reports of making women students don the jiljab.

    I agree that he has made himself look a fool in his support of open pro-Zionists but then again I drew attention to this habit of his some time ago, when he came out to support Antony Julius's attack on Jewish anti-Zionists. Julius has been the foremost proponent of using lawyers to attack the academic boycott (which Atzmon of course doesn't support!).

    Although Mary is embarrassed by any favourable comment from me I have no doubt that beneath the layers of anti-semitic grime that she has covered herself with she is a genuine supporter of the Palestinians. I don't accept that Atzmon is.

  17. I agree about Atzmon not being a supporter of the Palestinian cause. Sometimes he even forgets to pay it lip service. But there were some howlers in that thread. Not agreeing with Hamas became first a denunciation of Islam, then islamophobic then an insult to one and half billion people. But it was nice to see a few people being wise to him from the outset.

    Re Edna, she did not "only point out the inconsistency". She pointed out that he prefers what he sees as Arab and Black zionists and imperialists to Jewish anti-zionists.

    But the whole thread is worth a look at to catch him and Sarah ducking and diving for all they are worth and then failing to answer the most basic questions set out in the simplest terms.

  18. I see Mary and Gilad's pal Jeff Blankfort has now joined the media lens messege board.

    See threads -
    Uri Avnery's Rationalising israel's Dispossession of The Palestinians...
    06 Sept 2009

    Carter: a one state solution more likely
    06 Sept 2009


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