By Gilad Atzmon
Jewish power is the unique capacity to stop us from discussing or even contemplating Jewish power. It is the capacity to determine the boundaries of the political discourse and criticism in particular.
In his new book, “The Invention Of The Land of Israel”, Israeli academic Shlomo Sand, manages to present conclusive evidence of the far fetched nature of the Zionist historical narrative – that the Jewish Exile is a myth as is the Jewish people and even the Land of Israel.
Yet, Sand and many others fail to address the most important question: If Zionism is based on myth, how do the Zionists manage to get a way with their lies, and for so long?
If the Jewish ‘homecoming’ and the demand for a Jewish national homeland cannot be historically substantiated, why has it been supported by both Jews and the West for so long? How does the Jewish state manage for so long to celebrate its racist expansionist ideology and at the expense of the Palestinian and Arab peoples?
Jewish power is obviously one answer, but, what is Jewish power? Can we ask this question without being accused of being Anti Semitic? Can we ever discuss its meaning and scrutinize its politics? Is Jewish Power a dark force, managed and maneuvered by some conspiratorial power? Is it something of which Jews themselves are shy? Quite the opposite – Jewish power, in most cases, is celebrated right in front of our eyes. As we know, AIPAC is far from being quiet about its agenda, its practices or its achievements. AIPAC, CFI in the UK and CRIF in France are operating in the most open manner and often openly brag about their success.
Furthermore, we are by now accustomed to watch our democratically elected leaders shamelessly queuing to kneel before their pay-masters. Neocons certainly didn’t seem to feel the need to hide their close Zionist affiliations. Abe Foxman’s Anti Defamation League (ADL) works openly towards the Judification of the Western discourse, chasing and harassing anyone who dares voice any kind of criticism of Israel or even of Jewish choseness. And of course, the same applies to the media, banking and Hollywood. We know about the many powerful Jews who are not in the slightest bit shy about their bond with Israel and their commitment to Israeli security, the Zionist ideology, the primacy of Jewish suffering, Israeli expansionism and even outright Jewish exceptionalism.
But, as ubiquitous as they are, AIPAC, CFI, ADL, Bernie Madoff, ‘liberator’ Bernard Henri Levy, war-advocate David Aaronovitch, free market prophet Milton Friedman, Steven Spielberg, Haim Saban, Lord Levy and many other Zionist enthusiasts and Hasbara advocates are not necessarily the core or the driving force behind Jewish Power, but are merely symptoms. Jewish power is actually far more sophisticated than simply a list of Jewish lobbies or individuals performing highly developed manipulative skills. Jewish power is the unique capacity to stop us from discussing or even contemplating Jewish power. It is the capacity to determine the boundaries of the political discourse and criticism in particular.
Contrary to popular belief, it is not ‘right wing’ Zionists who facilitate Jewish power, It is actually the ‘good’, the ‘enlightened’ and the ‘progressive’ who make Jewish power the most effective and forceful power in the land. It is the ‘progressives’ who confound our ability to identify the Judeocentric tribal politics at the heart of Neoconservatism, American contemporary imperialism and foreign policy. It is the so-called ‘anti’ Zionist who goes out of his or her way to divert our attention from the fact that Israel defines itself as the Jewish State and blinds us to the fact that its tanks are decorated with Jewish symbols. It was the Jewish Left intellectuals who rushed to denounce Professors Mearsheimer and Walt, Jeff Blankfort and James Petras’ work on the Jewish Lobby. And it is no secret that Occupy AIPAC, the campaign against the most dangerous political Lobby in America, is dominated by a few righteous members of the chosen tribe. We need to face up to the fact that our dissident voice is far from being free. Quite the opposite, we are dealing here with an institutional case of controlled opposition.
In George Orwell’s 1984, it is perhaps Emmanuel Goldstein who is the pivotal character. Orwell’s Goldstein is a Jewish revolutionary, a fictional Leon Trotsky. He is depicted as the head of a mysterious anti-party organization called “The Brotherhood” and is also the author of the most subversive revolutionary text (The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism). Goldstein is the ‘dissenting voice’, the one who actually tells the truth. Yet, as we delve into Orwell’s text, we find out from Party’s ‘Inner Circle’ O’Brien that Goldstein was actually invented by Big Brother in a clear attempt to control the opposition and the possible boundaries of dissidence.
Orwell’s personal account of the Spanish Civil War “Homage To Catalonia” clearly presaged the creation of Emmanuel Goldstein. It was what Orwell witnessed in Spain that, a decade later, matured into a profound understanding of dissent as a form of controlled opposition. My guess is that, by the late 1940’s, Orwell had understood the depth of intolerance, and tyrannical and conspiratorial tendencies that lay at the heart of ‘Big Brother-ish’ Left politics and praxis.
Surprisingly enough, an attempt to examine our contemporaneous controlled opposition within the Left and the Progressive reveal that it is far from being a conspiratorial. Like in the case of the Jewish Lobby, the so-called ‘opposition’ hardly attempts to disguise its ethno-centric tribal interests, spiritual and ideological orientation and affiliation.
A brief examination of the list of organisations founded by George Soros’ Open Society Institute (OSI) presents a grim picture – pretty much the entire American progressive network is funded, partially or largely by a liberal Zionist, philanthropic billionaire who supports very many good and important causes that are also very good for the Jews. And yet, like staunch Zionist Haim Saban, Soros does not operate clandestinely. His Open Society Institute proudly provides all the necessary information regarding the vast amount of shekels it spreads on its good and important causes.
So one can’t accuse Soros or the Open Society Institute of any sinister vetting the political discourse, stifling of free speech or even to ‘controlling the opposition’. All Soros does is to support a wide variety of ‘humanitarian causes’: Human Rights, Women’s Rights. Gay Rights, equality, democracy, Arab ‘Spring’, Arab Winter, the oppressed, the oppressor, tolerance, intolerance, Palestine, Israel, anti war, pro-war (only when really needed), and so on.
As with Orwell’s Big Brother that frames the boundaries of dissent by means of control opposition, Soros’ Open Society also determines, either consciously or unconsciously, the limits of critical thought. Yet, unlike in 1984, where it is the Party that invents its own opposition and write its texts, within our ‘progressive’ discourse, it is our own voices of dissent, willingly and consciously, that are compromising their principles.
Soros may have read Orwell – he clearly believes his message – because from time to time he even supports opposing forces. For instance, he funds the Zionist-lite J Street as well as Palestinian NGO organisations. And guess what? It never takes long for the Palestinian beneficiaries to, compromise their own, most precious principles so they fit nicely into their paymaster’s worldview.
The Visible Hand
The invisible hand of the market is a metaphor coined by Adam Smith to describe the self-regulating behaviour of the marketplace. In contemporary politics. The visible hand is a similar metaphor which describes the self-regulating tendency of the political-fund beneficiary, to fully integrate the world view of its benefactor into its political agenda.
Democracy Now, the most important American dissident outlet has never discussed the Jewish Lobby with Mearsheimer, Walt, Petras or Blankfort – the four leading experts who could have informed the American people about the USA’s foreign policy domination by the Jewish Lobby. For the same reasons, Democracy Now wouldn’t explore the Neocon’s Judeo-centric agenda nor would it ever discuss Jewish Identity politics with yours truly. Democracy Now will host Noam Chomsky or Norman Finkelstein, it may even let Finkelstein chew up Zionist caricature Alan Dershowitz – all very good, but not good enough.
Is the fact that Democracy Now is heavily funded by Soros relevant? I’ll let you judge.
If I’m correct (and I think I am) we have a serious problem here. As things stand, it is actually the progressive discourse, or at least large part of it. that sustains Jewish Power. If this is indeed the case, and I am convinced it is, then the occupied progressive discourse, rather than Zionism, is the primary obstacle that must be confronted.
It is no coincidence that the ‘progressive’ take on ‘antisemitism’ is suspiciously similar to the Zionist one. Like Zionists, many progressive institutes and activists adhere to the bizarre suggestion that opposition to Jewish power is ‘racially motivated’ and embedded in some ‘reactionary’ Goyish tendency. Consequently, Zionists are often supported by some ‘progressives’ in their crusade against critics of Israel and Jewish power. Is this peculiar alliance between these allegedly opposing schools of thoughts, the outcome of a possible ideological continuum between these two seemingly opposed political ideologies? Maybe, after all, progressiveness like Zionism is driven by a peculiar inclination towards ‘choseness’. After all, being progressive somehow implies that someone else must be ‘reactionary’. It is those self-centric elements of exceptionalism and choseness that have made progressiveness so attractive to secular and emancipated Jews. But the main reason the ‘progressive’ adopted the Zionist take on antisemitism, may well be because of the work of that visible hand that miraculously shapes the progressive take on race, racism and the primacy of Jewish suffering.
We may have to face up to the fact that the progressive discourse effectively operates as Israel’s longest arm – it certainly acts as a gatekeeper and as protection for Zionism and Jewish tribal interests. If Israel and its supporters would ever be confronted with real opposition it might lead to some long-overdue self-reflection. But at the moment, Israel and Zionist lobbies meet only insipid, watered-down, progressively-vetted resistance that, in practice, sustains Israeli occupation, oppression and an endless list of human rights abuses.
Instead of mass opposition to the Jewish State and its aggressive lobby, our ‘resistance’ is reduced into a chain of badge-wearing, keffiyeh-clad, placard-waving mini-gatherings with the occasional tantrum from some neurotic Jewess while being videoed by another good Jew. If anyone believes that a few badges, a load of amateur Youtube clips celebrating Jewish righteousness are going to evolve into a mass anti-Israel global movement, they are either naïve or stupid.
In fact, a recent Gallup poll revealed that current Americans’ sympathy for Israel has reached an All-Time High. 64% of Americans sympathise with the Jewish State, while only 12% feel for the Palestinians. This is no surprise and our conclusion should be clear. As far as Palestine is concerned, ‘progressive’ ideology and praxis have led us precisely nowhere. Rather than advance the Palestinian cause, it only locates the ‘good’ Jew at the centre of the solidarity discourse.
When was the last time a Palestinian freedom fighter appeared on your TV screen? Twenty years ago the Palestinian were set to become the new Che Guevaras. Okay, so the Palestinian freedom fighter didn’t necessarily speak perfect English and wasn’t a graduate of an English public school, but he was free, authentic and determined. He or she spoke about their land being taken and of their willingness to give what it takes to get it back. But now, the Palestinian has been ‘saved’, he or she doesn’t have to fight for his or her their land, the ‘progressive’ is taking care of it all.
This ‘progressive’ voice speaks on behalf of the Palestinian and, at the same time, takes the opportunity to also push marginal politics, fight ‘Islamism’ and ‘religious radicalisation’ and occasionally even supports the odd interventionst war and, of course, always, always, always fights antisemitism. The controlled opposition has turned the Palestinian plight into just one more ‘progressive’ commodity, lying on the back shelf of its ever-growing ‘good-cause’ campaign store.
For the Jewish progressive discourse, the purpose behind pro-Palestinian support is clear. It is to present an impression of pluralism within the Jewish community. It is there to suggest that not all Jews are bad Zionists. Philip Weiss, the founder of the most popular progressive pro-Palestinian blog was even brave enough to admit to me that it is Jewish self -interests that stood at the core of his pro Palestinian activity.
Jewish self-love is a fascinating topic. But even more fascinating is Jewish progressives loving themselves at the expense of the Palestinians. With billionaires such as Soros maintaining the discourse, solidarity is now an industry, concerned with profit and power rather than ethics or values and it is a spectacle both amusing and tragic as the Palestinians become a side issue within their own solidarity discourse.
So, perhaps before we discuss the ‘liberation of Palestine’, we first may have to liberate ourselves.
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.”