This blog was set up in 2007 to combat the pernicious influence of Gilad Atzmon, who operated on the fringes of the Palestine solidarity campaign. To me and others anti-Zionist Jews it was clear that Atzmon was, without doubt, anti-Semitic. Unfortunately this wasn’t at all clear to many others in the movement.
The Socialist Workers Party in particular couldn’t see the light and for a long time defended Atzmon. See for example Time to say goodbye Why does the SWP not break its links withholocaust-denier Gilad Atzmon?
What was decisive in breaking the influence of Atzmon over many in the Palestine solidarity movement was the joint call by Ali Abunimah, Omar Barghouti, Joseph Massad and other Palestinians for the movement to dissociate itself from Atzmon. Granting NoQuarter: A Call for the Disavowal of the Racism and Antisemitism of GiladAtzmon
I had many long arguments with many people who just didn’t seem to get it. Not just common and garden fools like Roy Ratcliffe of Exeter PSC, who composed lengthy treaties proving that the Eart was flat and Atzmon was an anti-racist but people who had a much higher intellectual calibre.
For example Richard Falk, the distinguished professor and UN representative in Gaza, provided a blurb for Atzmon’s book The Wandering Who. In an email to me of 18 December 2011 Richard wrote ‘I appreciate some of the points and arguments that are made. Nevertheless, having re-read Atzmon's book and his responses to comparable lines of criticism I am not prepared to alter, much less renounce, my endorsement…. Atzmon may have pushed his basic argument too far, but it seems to me a valid inquiry that can lead to debate and discussion, but is not appropriate to denounce, and to go further, and denounce those who endorsed the reading of the book.’
I found it frustrating that people like Richard Falk could not see what was in front of their eyes, but he was not alone. The primary reason for the difficulty in persuading people that Atzmon was an anti-Semite was because of the determined efforts of the Zionist movement to equate all support for the Palestinians and opposition to Zionism as anti-Semitic. It had indeed blurred the distinction between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism, such that people could no longer tell the difference between the two.
As I wrote at the height of the controversy in Seamy Side of Solidarity 'Like the boy who cried wolf, the charge of "anti-semitism" has been made so often against critics of Zionism and the Israeli state that people now have difficulty recognising the genuine article.'
Falk had written that Atzmon’s book was "A transformative story told with unflinching integrity that all (especially Jews) who care about real peace, as well as their own identity, should not only read, but reflect upon and discuss widely."
Ramzy Baroud, Editor of the Palestine Chronicle wrote in the blurb of Atzmon's book, The Wandering Who that “Gilad Atzmon decided to open Pandora’s Box, and ignite a debate that has been frustratingly dormant for too long. His experiences are most authentic, views are hard-hitting, and, at times, provocative. It must be read and discussed.” Ramzy Baroud is not stupid yet he too did not get it.
Professor John J. Mearsheimer of The Israel Lobby saw The Wandering Who as ‘Essential to an understanding of Jewish identity politics and the role they play on the world stage.’
The idiotic Dr. Samir Abed-Rabbo splutterd that Atzmon’s book was "A pioneering work that deserves to be read and Gilad Atzmon is brave to write this book!"
Lauren Booth, Cherie Blair’s brain dead sister-in-law, wrote that “It is more than an academic exercise. It is a revelation!” Booth is clearly easily satisfied!
Eric Walberg of Al Aharam Weekly believed that ‘'In his inimitable deadpan style, Atzmon identifies the abscess in the Jewish wisdom tooth – exilic tribalism – and pulls it out. Ouch!”
Jeff Blankfort an anti-Semite from the USA who used to be on the left, described Atzmon’s book as "A brilliant analysis that makes what appear to be contradictions in Jewish identity based political behavior not only comprehensible but predictable."
One suspects Blankfort would have difficulty predicting a restaurant menu.
And Professor James Petras, who believes that the Israeli tail wages the American dog, wittered on about how "Atzmon has the courage - so profoundly lacking among Western intellectuals"
Karl Sabbagh wrote that ‘Atzmon’s insight into the organism created by the Zionist movement is explosive.’ Quite how a vacuum can be explosive is best left to better minds than Sabbagh.
The unknown and best forgotten academic Dr. Makram Khoury-Machool wrote that “Having known Gilad for 25 years, I read the book in English, I heard it in Hebrew and reflected on it in Arabic. Gilad Atzmon is astonishingly courageous” Makram Khoury-Machool has the ability to speak and read in 3 languages yet he is incapable of thinking in even one of them.
To the Israeli lecturer Oren Ben Dor, for whom the Holocaust is god's just revenge on the Jews, preordained in the thicket of his academic prose, Atzmon’s book was ‘A fascinating achievement”.
To Kim Petersen of the anti-Semitic Dissident Voice “Gilad Atzmon is someone who encompasses what it means to be an intellectual.” Thus demonstrating above all that she is no intellectual.
For Dr. Kevin Barrett “Gilad Atzmon is the Moses of our time” in other words another false Messiah.
What these and other eulogies to the Atzmon's ego demonstrate is not merely the stupidity of so many academics, whose use of long words and complicated phrases is designed to mask their own superficiality, but how Atzmon managed to pull the wool over peoples’ eyes.
It was that which I found most frustrating.
|David Taube of Harry's Place and Mike Ezra excuse Atzmon's anti-SemitismMany Zionists too were fascinated by Atzmon because he was repeating many of their tropes, not least that Zionism and Judaism were inextricably linked. People like Mikey Ezra and David Taube of Harry’s Place were fascinated. Taube described a jaunt that he and Mikey Ezra had gone on with Atzmon:|
'Last week, Mikey invited me for a drink with Gilad Atzmon. Mikey’s thoughts on Gilad and his worldview follow, below.
‘Gilad was, I have to say, utterly charming and a delightful drinking companion....
Is Gilad Atzmon a racist? Not in the narrow sense of being preoccupied by genetic differences between people certainly. He is rather, I think, a ‘cultural essentialist’: if such a term exists.'
You get that? A cultural essentialist, not a racist!
But with his latest tweet, there can be no doubt about Atzmon’s anti-Semitism.
‘1. I am not a Jew anymore. 2. I indeed despise the Jew in me (whatever is left). 3. I absolutely detest the Jew in you.’
|Arthur Topham - holocaust denier for whom Atzmon gave 'expert' evidence - KKK leader David Duke who wanted to give evidence was refused entry into Canada|
I have previously posted a compendium of Atzmon’s anti-Semitic sayings. It can be found at: A Guide to the Sayings of Gilad Atzmon, the anti-Semitic jazzman. According to Atzmon, I am a Zionist because he too, like the Zionists, argues that any Jew who is politically active as a Jew must be a Zionist.
It is somewhat ironic that Atzmon is a fierce opponent of BDS. For him it is a Jewish enterprise. Atzmon makes a nasty, vicious attack on Omar Barghouti, who is facing the possibility of Israeli reprisals and deportation, despite being a long-standing Israeli resident. In Omar Accomplished His Job, Omar Is Free To Go Atzmon says that
'BDS was an Israeli controlled opposition maneuver. For Israel, BDS presented the ideal front on which to fight. Instead of battling for a Palestinian Right Of Return, that is ethically solid and backed by UN resolutions, the solidarity movement was reduced to an internal Jewish debate over the “Right to BDS.”
I just hope that Ramzy Baroud, Karl Sabbagh and co. have the honesty to admit that they made a mistake.