By Gilad Atzmon
The recent attack on Free Gaza’s Greta Berlin and Colonel Ann Wright suggest that we have crossed a red line — Jewish domination within the Palestinian solidarity movement belongs to the past. We are now, it seems, under Zionist occupation, and we are subject to all the symptoms of Israeli abuse and Zionist brutality.
The expulsions, the exclusions and the cleansings that are inherent within Zionism, Israeli and Jewish politics, are now alive and kicking within the Palestinian solidarity movement itself. On a daily basis we are notified about more and more people who ‘must be’ expelled from the ‘movement’: earlier this year we learned that the Palestinian poet and writer Nahida Izzat had first been harassed and later expelled from her local Palestinian solidarity group by a Liverpool Jewish activists’ gang. Next, Dr Francis Clark Lowes, former Chairman of the UK PSC was expelled from the organisation, for allegedly being an ‘Anti Semite’ and a ‘holocaust denier’. Norman Finkelstein, probably the leading pro Palestinian Jewish scholar, has also been subjected to repeated smears and attempts at character assassination for voicing some legitimate criticisms re BDS being a cult, and recently, the greatly admired Greta Berlin, co-founder of Free Gaza, has also been subjected to harassment and abuse in the last few weeks. Berlin was labeled ‘an anti Semite’ and ‘a Holocaust Denier’ — and yet, up until the present time, there has not been a shred of evidence provided by her detractors to support such accusations. And now, the respected peace activist Colonel Ann Wright has also been ‘purged’, and expelled from the current attempt to break the siege on Gaza — simply for being associated with Mrs Berlin. The pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim is also subject to a BDS boycott. And six months ago I too, faced a call for a disavowal — by people who were foolish enough to confess that they had not even read a single line of my work.
The message here is clear – Some elements within the Palestinian solidarity movement have obviously adopted the most repellent and brutal Zionist symptoms, and we are now engaged, caught up in, and beset by a sinister series of expulsions, purges, crude witch hunts, exclusions, smears, character defamations and cleansings.
Palestinian Authority– The Palestinian authority was formed by Israel in order to ‘maintain order’ within the occupied territories. We are fully aware of the PA’s difficult and problematic role in Palestine — but in recent years we have also become familiar with a new type of exilic Palestinian ‘authority’: I refer here to those few Palestinians who are in place to maintain the solidarity movement as ‘a Kosher haven’. In the last six months, some exiled Palestinians have been involved in numerous ‘targeted character assassinations’ of some of our most valued leading activists and scholars. In the last month we saw Solidarity activists openly joining forces and collaborating with the darkest Zionist forces against Greta Berlin, Ann Wright, Ken O’Keefe, Norman Finkelstein, and myself amongst others.
Segregation – Like in occupied Palestine (or ‘apartheid’ Israel, if you prefer), the solidarity movement is now clearly a segregated society: we can witness a clear division between the ‘Jews only’ groups (racially driven and tribally oriented), and the ‘Palestinians only’ groups (ethnically segregated). And then there is the general solidarity activist network, that still insists to promote those consistent humanist values and goals of inclusivity and universality that it it has always upheld.
Espionage –Recent Jewish ‘progressive’ campaigns against Berlin and Colonel Wright have proved that, like Hasbara agents and Mossad, some of the so-called ‘anti’ Zionist Jewish organisations within our movement have been spying and tracking our moves, our private life, and even our social network activity. They also use Hasbara disinformation and spin tactics in order to ruin the names of those who ‘got too close to the bone’ i.e. criticising Jewish power.
I have been monitoring these Hasbara tactics for more than a while and I have seen these tactics being used by some marginal Sayanim individuals within the movement. But I was slightly disappointed to find out that slander, smear and abuse are now increasingly openly used by leading solidarity outlets such as Mondoweiss and Electronic Intifada.
The Verdict Is Clear
We are not a ‘solidarity’ movement anymore, for we have become foreign to the notion of solidarity as well as empathy.
But this is not necessarily entirely bad news. Being subject to vile Zionist occupation, we had better urgently be in solidarity with ourselves — for we are all Palestinians now. We are abused by Israel, by its Sayanim, and by their collaborators.
I guess that we had better liberate ourselves first. And such an aspiration would certainly give the concept of Palestinian resistance a new meaning and dimension.
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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