By Gilad Atzmon
At the bottom of that page you will find the current and most updated list of individuals who believe that the Palestinian solidarity movement should operate as a Stalinist synagogue. The Atzmon Defamation League is a list of a few Tribal Marxists and one angry Arab collaborator who added their name to an open declaration. They all agree that Atzmon should be silenced.
Amidst the success of my latest book The Wandering Who and my current USA coast to coast tour, the Atzmon Defamation league is in a state of a panic. They have a good reason: my very simple message spreads very fast, and it questions — If Israel defines itself as the Jewish State and its tanks are decorated with Jewish symbols, then aren’t we entitled to ask who are the Jews? What is Judaism? What is Jewishness? And what are the relationships between those three?
So far, my American tour seems to progress very well. My very experienced tour manager insists that it is actually a breakthrough. In spite of the Zionist and the Anti Zionist Zionists’ (AZZ) relentless campaign against me, I give a talk every night, I give three to five interviews a day (radio and TV), I meet the most wonderful people on this planet, I speak about Jazz, Jewishness and apartheid, and I explore the true meaning of the Jewish State and its lobbies around the world.
And yet, my detractors seem to be devastated. My personal Defamation League is clearly outraged by some of my statements — they insist that I am a ‘racist’ and ‘anti Semitic’. They contend that people like me do not have room in the ‘Palestinian solidarity movement’. Is it that they know better who is ‘kosher’ and who is not?
Yet, in spite of their efforts they have still failed to find even a single racist or anti semitic statement in my entire body of work. As embarrassing as it may be, in the list of quotes they cherry picked, I actually refer to Jewish ideology, Jewish culture and Jewish heritage — but I never criticise Jews as a race, a people or an ethnicity. The reason is obvious: I am a humanist and an anti racist. I oppose Jewish racism and exceptionalism, whether it is Zionist or ‘anti’ Zionist.
If anything, the list of quotes that was initially put together to defame me, actually achieves the complete opposite: it stands as a glimpse into Jewish Marxist morbid philosophy. And it certainly suggests what the topics are that the Anti Zionist Zionists want us to avoid.
They for instance, do not want us to explore the colonial hoax — They quote my attack on one of their ideological mentors, the archaic Two-Stater Marxist, Moshe Machover:
“Machover’s reading of Zionism is pretty trivial. ‘Israel,’ he says, is a ‘settler state.’ For Machover this is a necessary point of departure because it sets Zionism as a colonialist expansionist project. The reasoning behind such a lame intellectual spin is obvious. As long as Zionism is conveyed as a colonial project, Jews, as a people, should be seen as ordinary people. They are no different from the French and the English, they just happen to run their deadly colonial project in a different time.” (www.gilad.co.uk)
Where is the problem exactly? Is it really anti-Semitic or racist to suggest that the Marxist colonial paradigm is a lame spin? Clearly not: it may be right or wrong but it isn’t anti-Semitic. The truth of the matter is that Israel and Zionism are not colonial projects and have never been. Colonialism presents a clear materialist and spiritual exchange between a Mother State and a Settler State. But the Jewish State has never had a Mother State. In other words, Israel is a Jewish nationalist settlement project and its Jewishness is inherent to its racist, tribal, exceptionalist nature.
My Private Defamation League also wants to prevent us from looking into Jewish heritage and the role of the Old Testament in shaping the unethical Israeli attitudes, politics and practices. They quote me saying,
“The never-ending robbery of Palestine by Israel in the name of the Jewish people establishes a devastating spiritual, ideological, cultural and, obviously, practical continuum between the Judaic Bible and the Zionist project. The crux of the matter is simple yet disturbing: Israel and Zionism are both successful political systems that put into devastating practice the plunder promised by the Judaic God in the Judaic holy scriptures”. (“Swindler’s List: Zionist Plunder and the Judaic Bible,” Redress Information & Analysis, April 5, 2008)
I am trying to figure it out: why, exactly, are a bunch of alleged ‘progressive’ Jews and one Angry Arab opposing a search into the topic?
The answer is immediate: they obviously realise that in my writing I do not differentiate between Zionism and Anti Zionist Zionists. As far as I am concerned, they are both equally racist and supremacist.
“Sadly, we have to admit that hate-ridden plunder of other people’s possessions made it into the Jewish political discourse both on the left and right. The Jewish nationalist would rob Palestine in the name of the right of self-determination; the Jewish progressive is there to rob the ruling class and even international capital in the name of world working class revolution”. (Ibid)
Is it really racist to criticise Israel or Jewish Marxism ala Bund? Are Jewish political ideologies beyond criticism? Is this the true meaning of chosen-ness?
The Atzmon Defamation League wouldn’t allow us to discuss Jewish ideological supremacy. For some reason they are convinced that there is something wrong in my suggesting that,
“I do not consider the Jews to be a race, and yet it is obvious that “Jewishness” clearly involves an ethno-centric and racially supremacist, exclusivist point of view that is based on a sense of Jewish “chosen-ness.” (“An Interesting Exchange With A Jewish Anti Zionist”)
The message is clear: The Atzmon Defamation League contends that Jews are somehow special and beyond criticism — but they won’t allow us explore this specialness
The Atzmon Defamation League is pretty amusing, in spite of the fact that the league is engaged in a rabbinical excommunication exercise against me. They are criticising me for pointing out what the Jewish Herem exercise is all about.
“Neither the Zionists nor the ‘anti Zionists’ managed to drift away from the disastrous herem culture. it seems that the entire world of Jewish identity politics is a matrix of herems and exclusion strategies. In order to be ‘a proper Jew,’ all you have to do is to point out whom you oppose, hate, exclude or boycott.” (“The Herem Law in the context of Jewish Past and Present,”)
My Defamation League doesn’t want the Jews to learn or understand their past. Like Zionists, they want to control the vision of Jewish history. Hence I am quoted saying ,
“Within the discourse of Jewish politics and history there is no room for causality. There is no such a thing as a former and a latter. Within the Jewish tribal discourse every narrative starts to evolve when Jewish pain establishes itself. This obviously explains why Israelis and some Jews around the world can only think as far as ‘two state solution’ within the framework of 1967 borders. It also explains why for most Jews the history of the holocaust starts in the gas chambers or with the rise of the Nazis. I have hardly seen any Israelis or Jews attempt to understand the circumstances that led to the clear resentment of Europeans towards their Jewish neighbours in the 1920′s-40′s.” (Jewish Ideology and World Peace,”)
Needless to say that I am very proud by each of the quotes picked by my private detractor league. Like any hard core Zionist my Marxist Defamation League succumbs to the vision that Jews are somehow special. They must believe that Jewish history, culture, ideology and identity are beyond criticism.
But they don’t stand a chance. We will open this discourse. We will celebrate our freedom to think, to exchange and to explore.
Tragically enough, the Atzmon Defamation League, refrains from engaging in an intellectual or ideological exchange. The meaning of it is devastating. Like the Zionists, the so called Jewish ‘anti’ Zionists have managed to exclude themselves from the most crucial discourse regarding Jewish identity politics. Voluntarily and consciously they set themselves apart from the public discourse. They react exactly like the Israelis; they build around themselves a wall of deafness and blindness. This wall is consistent with their Jewish ideological philosophy but it is also symptomatic of their growing irrelevance.
Let’s meet the Atzmon Defamation League*
- As’ad AbuKhalil, The Angry Collaborator News Service, Turlock CA
- Max Ajl, essayist, rabble-rouser, proprietor of Jewbonics blog site, Ithaca NY
- Electa Arenal, professor emerita, CUNY Graduate Center/Hispanic & Luso-Brazilian Literatures and Women’s Studies, New York NY
- Gabriel Ash, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, Geneva, SWITZERLAND
- Dan Berger, Wild Poppies Collective, Philadelphia PA
- Lenni Brenner, author, Zionism in the Age of the Dictator, New York NY
- Susie Day, Monthly Review, New York NY
- Todd Eaton, Park Slope Food Co-op Members for Boycott/Divestment/Sanctions, Brooklyn NY
- S. EtShalom, Registered Nurse, Philadelphia PA
- Sherna Berger Gluck, Prof. Emerita, California State University/Israel Divestment Campaign, CA
- Andrew Griggs, Café Intifada, Los Angeles CA
- Ken Hiebert, activist, Ladysmith, Canada
- Elizabeth Horowitz, solidarity activist, New York NY
- Karl Kersplebedeb, Left Wing Books, Montreal, CANADA
- Mark Klein, activist, Toronto, CANADA
- Mark Lance, Georgetown University/Institute for Anarchist Studies, Washington DC
- David Landy, author, Jewish Identity and Palestinian Rights: Diaspora Jewish Opposition to Israel, Dublin, IRELAND
- Bob Lederer, Pacifica/WBAI producer, Queers Against Israeli Apartheid, New York NY
- Matthew Lyons, Three Way Fight, Philadelphia PA
- Karen MacRae, solidarity activist, Toronto, CANADA
- Marvin Mandell and Betty Reid Mandell, co-editors, New Politics, West Roxbury MA
- Matt Meyer, Resistance in Brooklyn, New York NY
- Michael Novick, People Against Racist Terror/Anti-Racist Action, Los Angeles CA
- Sylvia Posadas (Jinjirrie), Kadaitcha.com, Don’t Play Apartheid Israel, Noosa, AUSTRALIA
- Roland Rance, Jews Against Zionism, London, UK
- Liz Roberts, War Resisters League, New York NY
- Emma Rosenthal, contributor, Shifting Sands: Jewish Women Confront the Israeli Occupation, Los Angeles CA
- Ian Saville, performer and lecturer, London, UK
- Joel Schwartz, CSEA Local 446, AFSCME, New York NY
- Simona Sharoni, SUNY, author, Gender & the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Plattsburgh NY
- Abraham Weizfeld, author, The End of Zionism and the liberation of the Jewish People, Montreal, CANADA
- Laura Whitehorn, former political prisoner, NYS Task Force on Political Prisoners, New York NY
- Ben White, author, Palestinians in Israel: Segregation, Discrimination, and Democracy, Cambridge, UK
*Surprisingly enough, the ADL list above refrained from adding my arch-detractor Tony Greenstein. Is it because even they do not like to be associated with a person with such a vile past and sad reputation? I plead my private defamation league to show some mercy and comradeship and let Mr. Greenstein settle within their club.
Gilad Atzmon is an Israeli-born British jazz saxophonist, novelist, political activist and writer.
Atzmon’s album Exile was BBC jazz album of the year in 2003. Playing over 100 dates a year, he has been called “surely the hardest-gigging man in British jazz.” His albums, of which he has recorded nine to date, often explore the music of the Middle East and political themes. He has described himself as a “devoted political artist.” He supports the Palestinian right of return and the one-state solution in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
His criticisms of Zionism, Jewish identity, and Judaism, as well as his controversial views on The Holocaust and Jewish history have led to allegations of antisemitism from both Zionists and anti-Zionists. A profile in The Guardian in 2009 which described Atzmon as “one of London’s finest saxophonists” stated: “It is Atzmon’s blunt anti-Zionism rather than his music that has given him an international profile, particularly in the Arab world, where his essays are widely read.”
His new book The Wandering Who? is now availble at Amazon.com
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