Gilad Atzmon

jazz artist-world music-live dates-author-thoughts-Jewish Identity-Politics-Athens & Jerusalem-The Wandering Who?

Welcome to Gilad Atzmon's webpage. This site provides information about Gilad's musical and intellectual activity.  

Jerusalem and Athens

On Gilad Atzmon's Book "The Wandering Who"
and the Reactions
Anis Hamadeh, October 4, 2014

Gilad Atzmon's book "The Wandering Who" about Jewish identity politics has, since its publication three years ago, sparked most different reactions as well as particularly lively debates, as a glance on the controversial author's Wikipedia page shows. Some view him as an inspired fighter for justice, as an undaunted source of ideas and impulses, even a prophet, while others despise him as an "anti-Semite" and demonize him as a soul catcher in the quagmire of extreme right-wing ideas. What's in this prophetic devil's book? What do people say about it? What is to make of it?

Read More

Collin Bell: Sometimes the truth causes discomfort -a book review

A truly wonderful book.

Concise, clear, and easy to read.

Gilad utilises a very readable style when articulating his ideas.

The book joins the dots and exposes, among other things, the many and various strands of zionist thought for what they are. A con and a fraud.

He also seeks to illustrate that many of the more pernicious among them actually pretend, on the surface, to oppose zionism.

A rather hollow pretense ?

Of course the Alan Dershowitz's (and fellow travellers) of this world will howl with indignation accusing Gilad of being anti-semitic, a self-hating Jew etc., etc., but hey, what's new ?

These people have been attempting to close down the Palestine debate for decades with just this sort of ploy, and it's wearing a bit thin.

The nonsense that one can somehow completely separate 'Jewish' and 'zionist' is pure fantasy land.

Have these people not noticed that Israel is (and always has been) defined as 'the Jewish state' ?

It was set up in the name of the Jewish people, and has been nurtured and maintained ever since by the various Jewish communities and their allies, around the world.

'Jewish' and 'zionist' ARE inextricably intertwined.

I agree that they are not quite the same thing, but there is enormous overlap and since the whole project of Israel was created in the name of 'Jewish', the idea that Gilad (or anyone else for that matter) should wish to explore just what is meant by 'Jewish' seems like a both logical, and necessary project to me.

'Project Israel' was set up as a secular state after all, decrying religion, yet the justification for it's existence is purely biblical.

Without the religious connection there would be absolutely no justification for the 'Jewish State's existence.

How's that for a paradox ?

So the question of just what is meant by 'Jewish' and 'the Jewish people' is at the heart of the whole subject.

Gilad is not the first, and I'm sure he won't be the last to attempt to get to the bottom of this conundrum.

Famous predecessors include Karl Marx who wrote extensively on this subject in 1843.

Marx didn't have many positive things to say, and in attempting to get to the bottom of this thorny question of identity, Marx never once used the word 'zionist' because of course the political movement called zionism hadn't yet been invented.

His musings were aimed fairly and squarely at 'The Jewish Question'.

One of his famous conclusions was that 'Jewish Internationalism' was 'the Internationalism of the financier' and that as such, lay at the heart of oppression everywhere.

But I'm wandering.

Gilad is very clearly on a journey toward understanding.

Understanding the central themes that shaped his life growing up in the newly formed Israeli state, and just like the story of 'the King's new clothes', on enquiring he finds that there is curiously little substance to the whole thing.

Jewish identity is, it seems, remarkably elusive.

All rather curious when one considers the impact that the creation of 'the Jewish state' (with it's accompanying creed of 'chosen-ness') has had (and continues to have) on the world stage.

If you like 'thinking outside the box' you will surely find this book interesting.

An absorbing journey, intelligently articulated.

Not a book for the rigid thinker.

Gilad Atzmon's New Book: The Wandering Who? A Study Of Jewish  Identity Politics Amazon.com  or Amazon.co.uk.

Silvia Cattori Interviews Gilad Atzmon

Gilad Atzmon talks about his latest book “The Wandering Who?

http://www.silviacattori.net/

Gilad Atzmon somehow manages to express his thoughts, ignoring any recognised taboos or restrictions. His style is innovative, fresh, and consistently well informed. We have read with great interest his latest book “The Wandering Who? A Study of Jewish Identity” (*). It is a very moving account that should be read by many.

 

 

Silvia Cattori: “The Wandering who?” — What stands behind this provocative title?

Gilad Atzmon: “The Wandering Who?” attempts to search for a deeper understanding of Jewish culture and Jewish identity politics. It is there to tackle some issues most of us prefer to avoid. Three years ago Israeli historian Shlomo Sand published his ground breaking work on Jewish history, thus dismantling the phantasmal Jewish historical narrative.

In my book, I attempt to take Sand’s quest one step further and elaborate on the problematic Jewish attitude towards history, the past , and temporality in general. Five years ago American academics Mearsheimer and Walt published an invaluable study on the Israeli Lobby in the United States [1]. I again try to pick up their research where they left off. I try to explain why lobbying is inherent to Jewish politics and culture.

Two decades ago, Israel Shahak published his crucially important study of the Talmud, and in my work, I want to extend his study, and grasp the deeply racist and anti-gentile attitude that is intrinsic to any form of Jewish secular identity politics, be it Zionism, Jewish socialism and even Jewish anti Zionism. In “The Wandering Who?” I try to shake every common perception of Jewish identity politics.

Silvia Cattori: “The Wandering Who?” is a very impressive testimony. It can not be ignored, including by your opponents. I think it can safely be said that no one before you has explained so frankly some of the thorniest aspects of the Israeli-Palestinian issue. Your analysis is important for anyone seeking to understand what certain groups want to hide, and why. It should lead people that are deliberately kept in the dark and in a state of confusion, to see things more clearly. This includes, of course, the so-called ‘progressive’ circles.

Gilad Atzmon: Thanks so much for your support and compliments.

Silvia Cattori: However, you are stepping into a minefield. One may also wonder whether you are exposing your thoughts and perspectives because, as an ex-Israeli, you feel shame.

Gilad Atzmon: That is a good point. I suppose that at a certain point in the past, it is true to say that I started to feel shame and guilt. However I realised many years ago that guilt only becomes a meaningful sensation once it is transformed into responsibility. Unlike some of the Jewish anti Zionists who cheerfully and righteously declare ‘not in my name’, I know very well that every Israeli crime is indeed committed in my name, in spite of the fact that I have not lived there for many years. I am very troubled by it.

Silvia Cattori: Does this mean that the writing of “The Wandering Who?” was a way for you to settle your personal score with the "tribe"?

Gilad Atzmon: To be more precise, it isn’t actually “the tribe” which I criticise but the racially oriented sense of ‘tribalism’ which stands at the core of every form of Jewish identity politics.

Silvia Cattori: Would you say that this great overhaul was spurred by your desire to alert mankind to what you consider to be the real danger, i.e. the Jewish ideology?

Gilad Atzmon: I am indeed primarily concerned with the ideology. I also argue that it isn’t just the Palestinians that are implicated. I am very alarmed by Jewish relentless lobbying and its destabilising power globally. The fact that the AJC (American Jewish Committee) advocates war against Iran is very worrying. But I am also monitoring the Jewish Left activism and I am very troubled by my findings.

Silvia Cattori: Is the book an attempt to explain to your readers why it is so difficult to fight the Israeli policy?

Gilad Atzmon: Fighting Israel for what it is — i.e. the Jewish State — simply means an open conflict with the strongest lobbying power on the land. On the one hand we are encountered by heavily funded Zionist institutions; but, on the other hand, we are chased by the so-called Jewish ‘progressive’ network that is primarily engaged in gate keeping the discourse. And, unlike the Zionists, who operate in the open, the Jewish anti Zionists work towards the same goals, but operate in clandestine settings.

Silvia Cattori: You state that “Jewish power” should be put at the centre of the problem – and that, at the same time, the discourse of certain “anti Zionists”, that you regard as misleading, should be challenged. When you write : “Zionism is not a colonial movement with an interest in Palestine, as some scholars suggest. Zionism is actually a global movement that is fuelled by unique tribal solidarity of third category members…”, you call into question those who characterize Israel as mere ‘settler colonialism’. This is indeed a crucial point. What are your arguments for claiming that it is not simply a colonialist model?

Gilad Atzmon: Indeed, I am disturbed by the lack of intellectual integrity and coherence within our discourse and beyond. It took me some time to grasp that years of Jewish (intellectual) hegemony within the Palestinian solidarity discourse has led to an absurd situation in which criticism of the Jewish state — is shaped primarily by Jewish sensitivities.

Try, for instance, to imagine a situation in which our criticism of capitalism would be shaped in a deliberately over cautious manner — just to make sure that the rich are not offended. Likewise, try to imagine another equally absurd situation, in which our criticism of Nazi ideology would have take into consideration the delicate sensitivities of biological determinists and anti-Semites. It seems equally absurd that we are in such a situation where we have to tread carefully in what we say about Palestinian rights – so as not to offend Jewish people.

And, yes, I say it openly: Zionism is not a colonial movement, and has never been one. Colonialism establishes a clear relationship between a mother-state and a settler-state — yet Zionism has never had a mother state. It is true that Israel exhibits some colonial symptoms, but this is where it starts and ends. Zionism is driven by spirit of Jewish supremacy and a phantasmal notion of ‘homecoming’.

The misleading colonial paradigm was introduced by a few ‘progressive’ thinkers just to make sure that Marx is not left out of the discourse. At least intellectually, what we see here is no more than amusing.

However, it is important to mention here, that the only noticeable colonial aspect within the Zionist reality is the relationships between the Israeli State and the settlements: the exchange there makes it clear who is the ‘mother’ and who is the ‘settler’.

Read More

William T. Hathaway: The Last Jewish Prophet

 

The Wandering Who, Gilad AtzmonA review of Gilad Atzmon's new book, The Wandering Who?

Gilad Atzmon, OpEdNews contributing writer, has just published a study of Jewish identity politics. The Wandering Who? chronicles his journey away from his Jewish identity, and by extension away from all exclusive identities, into an inclusive humanness. It's a painful journey, a brutally honest self exploration of these internalized tribal impulses. He emerges from the struggle deracinated but emancipated, freed of a destructive load of cultural baggage.

As the poet Allen Ginsberg said, "If you want to be a prophet, you have to tell your secrets." By being brave enough to expose himself in writing, Atzmon has become a prophet, and his prophecy, as I see it, is a completion of the Mosaic journey, but this time as a mass exodus from Jewishness and all other ethnic bondings that split humanity. After 40 centuries of wandering in the desert of chosenness and separation, Jews and Gentiles alike can finally enter the full humanness of one world family, a secular promised land free of divisive group identities.

Jews have been at the forefront of every progressive movement for the past 160 years, and now it's Atzmon's turn. The atrocities of nationalism, both Jewish and non-Jewish, have forced him to the forefront of a movement to abolish all these tribal groupings, starting with his own.

The Wandering Who? is a threat not only to Zionism, but to all religious, ethnic, national, and even gender identities to which people cling. It's a book of radical liberation and as such dangerous to every orthodoxy and structure of power that separates us into antagonistic camps. Atzmon is a true subversive. Much needed.

 

Now the survival of our species demands that also Christians, Muslims, Americans, Britons, etc. break out of their group mentalities. We can't suddenly erase these categories, but we can relegate them to the background where they no longer determine our identity. Our sense of self can then be based on qualities that unite humanity rather than divide it.

 

Thanks for showing the way, Gilad.

 


You can now pre-order Gilad Atzmon's New Book on Amazon.com  or Amazon.co.uk

Soraya Boyd: courageous, fearless and creative


''Embarked upon an earnest journey of self enquiry.  Gilad's need to strike into the very heart of ethics lead him to venture forth in the manner of an artist: courageously,  fearlessly, and creatively. With all the lucid acuity of a forensic but compassionate mind, Gilad scrutinises the landscape of the sum total of his life's experience dissecting his knowledge and understanding with great precision. He does not mistake the map for the land. Gilad's achingly rigorous examination of Jewish identity and the perennial conflictual narrative of its religio-body-politic is searingly honest. There is no attempt to get away from anything however uncomfortable, rather to embrace it openly. A remarkable and thought-provoking work replete with profound insights, which will no doubt cause a great deal of discomfort among particular quarters and rightly so. Ought to be mandatory reading." Soraya Boyd, CEO, Facilitate Global

You can now order Gilad Atzmon's New Book on Amazon.com  or Amazon.co.uk

 

Garrison Fewell on The Wandering Who

Gilad Atzmon's book, "The Wandering Who?" is a must-read for anyone who has wondered if peace in the Middle East will ever be more than a remote possibility. If, like most people, you have felt frustrated that there appears to be no solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, or if you have perhaps considered that what we call the "Middle East Peace Process" is effectively little more than a political publicity campaign to sustain support for Israel at the expense of the Palestinians, then you need to read this book.

There are many who find Atzmon's writings to be extremely controversial. Well, his ideas are supposed to be controversial.  While a serious war is being waged against indigenous Palestinians in the name of Zionism, supported by the United Sates and nations all across Europe, it would be counter productive to avoid controversy. In his attempt to come to terms with and illuminate the deeper underlying causes of this conflict, Atzmon has written a very articulate and insightful book on the nature of Jewish Nationalism, Jewish Identity Politics and what it means to be Jewish. However, it's not necessary to be Jewish to find this book most interesting. Atzmon's writing is self-reflective, intellectual, humorous and brash, while being filled with historical and multi-cultural references - just like the music that Gilad, the talented and successful jazz saxophonist, composes and performs.

I lived in Israel and worked on a Kibbutz at the foothills of the Golan Heights in1972. Since that time, I have been intrigued by the strongly opposing viewpoints surrounding the Isreali - Palestinian war. In his book, "The Wandering Who?", Atzmon encourages the reader to be courageous enough to ask difficult questions while simultaneously reflecting on our own narrow viewpoints. He writes, " If we want to fight Jerusalem, we may have to first confront Jerusalem within. We may have to stand in front of the mirror, look around us, and look for empathy within oursleves.. in case there is any left."  

Gilad Atzmon succeeds in asking difficult and challenging questions, and when you finish reading this book, you may likely as well see a different face in the mirror.

Garrison Fewell
Professor, Berklee College of Music, Boston, Mass.







Endorsements for Gilad Atzmon's The Wandering Who

Endorsements:

‘Gilad Atzmon has written an absorbing and moving account of his journey from hard core Israeli nationalist to a de-Zionized patriot of humanity and passionate advocate of justice for the Palestinian people. It is 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.’

Professor Richard Falk, Albert G. Milbank Professor of International Law Emeritus, Princeton University, author of over 20 books, and UN Special Rapporteur for Occupied Palestinian Territories.

‘Gilad Atzmon has written a fascinating and provocative book on Jewish identity in the modern world. He shows how assimilation and liberalism are making it increasingly difficult for Jews in the Diaspora to maintain a powerful sense of their 'Jewishness.' Panicked Jewish leaders, he argues, have turned to Zionism (blind loyalty to Israel) and scaremongering (the threat of another Holocaust) to keep the tribe united and distinct from the surrounding goyim. As Atzmon’s own case demonstrates, this strategy is not working and is causing many Jews great anguish. The Wandering Who? should be widely read by Jews and non-Jews alike.’

John J. Mearsheimer is the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago

‘Gilad Atzmon’s book, The Wandering Who? is as witty and thought provoking as its title.  But it is also an important book, presenting conclusions about Jews, Jewishness and Judaism which some will find shocking but which are essential to an understanding of Jewish identity politics and the role they play on the world stage.’

Karl Sabbagh is a journalist, television producer and the author of several books including A Rum Affair, Power Into Art, Dr Riemann’s Zeros and Palestine: A Personal History. He is currently the publisher of Hesperus Press

 

‘Gilad Atzmon‘s The Wandering Who? is a series of brilliant illuminations and critical reflections on Jewish ethnocentrism and the hypocrisy of those who speak in the name of universal values and act tribal. Relying on autobiographical and existential experiences, as well as intimate observations of everyday life, both informed by profound psychological insights, Atzmon does what many critics of Israel fail to do; he uncovers the links between Jewish identity politics in the Diaspora with their ardent support for the oppressive policies of the Israeli state.

Atzmon provides deep insights into “neo-ghetto” politics. He has the courage - so profoundly lacking among western intellectuals - to speak truth to the power of highly placed and affluent Zionists who shape the agendas of war and peace in the English-speaking world. With wit and imagination, Atzmon’s passionate confrontation with neo-conservative power grabbers and liberal yea sayers sets this book apart for its original understanding of the dangers of closed minds with hands on the levers of power.

This book is more than a “study of Jewish identity politics” insofar as we are dealing with a matrix of power that affects all who cherish self-determination and personal freedom in the face of imperial and colonial dictates.’

Professor James Petras, Bartle Professor of Sociology at Binghamton University, New York, author of more than 62 books including The Power of Israel in the United States.

 

‘Atzmon’s insight into the organism created by the Zionist movement is explosive. The Wandering Who? tears the veil off of Israel’s apparent civility, its apparent friendship with the United States, and its expressed solicitude for Western powers, exposing beneath the assassin ready to slay any and all that interfere with its tribal focused ends.’

Professor William A. Cook, Professor of English at the University of La Verne in southern California, and author of The Rape Of Palestine.

The Wandering Who? features Gilad Atzmon at his delightful and insightful best: engaging, provocative and persuasive.’

Jeff Gates, author of Guilt By Association: How Deception and Self-Deceit Took America to War

 

The Wandering Who? is a pioneering work that deserves to be read and Gilad Atzmon is brave to write this book!’

Dr. Samir Abed-Rabbo, author and Professor Emeritus in the field of international law. He is director of the Center for Arabic and Islamic Studies in Brattleboro, Vermont and the former Dean of The Jerusalem School for Law and Diplomacy. 

 

Kevin Barrett: A joyous affirmation of the end of identity politics

http://truthjihad.blogspot.com/2011/09/gilad-atzmons-wandering-who-joyous.html

Gilad Atzmon's The Wandering Who - a joyous affirmation of the end of identity politics

As a recovering angry Muslim, I cannot help loving fully-recovered ex-Zionist Jew Gilad Atzmon's The Wandering Who: A Study of Jewish Identity of Politics...and the firestorm it has sparked.

It isn't just the joy of watching Atzmon say all the things about Jewishness that need to be said, but that hardly anybody has the guts to say.

It isn't just the fun of watching Atzmon and his defenders like John Mearsheimer and Jonathan Cook rip apart Zionist thugs like Jeffrey Goldberg and clueless gatekeepers like Andy Newman.

It isn't just the irrepressible voice of Gilad Atzmon, the inspired thinker and jazz artist whose words and ideas are almost as beautiful to listen to as his music.

Most of all, I love this book for its larger message: Identity politics is a dead-end.

For Jews, the end of that dead-end road is the cul-de-sac they're stuck in over in Occupied Palestine.

Read More

Gilad Atzmon: Are They Really ‘The People Of The Book’?

Within minutes after Mearsheimer revealed the typical deceitful operation, the wandering sockpuppets were called in to fight Mearsheimer and Walt at the “Foreign Affair Journal” site. By the time they finished posting their filth, the respected magazine comment section looked indeed like a cyber shtetle.

In a final  desperate attempt to jeopardize the publication of the book and to silence its author. Richard Seymour AKA ‘Lenin Thumb’,  authored a new anti Atzmon manifesto  

I read Richard ‘Lenin’ Seymour’s  text with interest and found out that for some reason, both ‘avant-garde revolutionary’  Seymour’s text, and Guardian’s ‘socialist’  Andy Newman’s drivel are suspiciously far too similar to the unforgettable ‘Aaronovitch Reading Atzmon’ performance at the Oxford Literature Festival. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vc371iqJ5Jk


 

Read More

Letters to the Guardian: Moral obligation and Jewish identity

 

I am on the Guardian's letters section  today

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/sep/28/moral-obligation-and-jewish-identity?newsfeed=true

Blogger Andy Newman (Comment, 26 September) misrepresented my views.

My latest book, The Wandering Who?, is a study of Jewish identity politics. How to define a Jew is a loaded topic since Jews define themselves in many different ways, some contradictory, and use those definitions to try to achieve political aims. And yet not many people dare to touch upon these subjects for fear of being accused of antisemitism. To paraphrase what I say in my book, "An antisemite used to be someone who hates Jews; nowadays an antisemite is someone Jews hate."

My argument is that since Israel defines itself as the "Jewish state" and it also drops bombs on innocent civilians from aeroplanes decorated with Jewish symbols, it is my moral obligation to grasp what Jewishness and Jewish identity stand for.

Just a few days ago Britain amended its universal jurisdiction laws in response to pressure mounted by the Israeli lobby. In my book I attempt to examine the complex relationships between Israel and the diaspora. I try to grasp the philosophy and ideology at the heart of Israeli lobbying. But I also insist that each of us has the right to express his or her opinion on the subject without being censored, bullied or intimidated by charges of antisemitism.It is very disappointing to see a newspaper renowned for its egalitarian stance publishing, without checking, the unsubstantiated rantings of self-interested campaigners.
Gilad Atzmon
London

You can now order Gilad Atzmon's New Book on Amazon.com  or Amazon.co.uk

 

The Dangerous Cult of the Guardian by JONATHAN COOK

A Thought Police for the Internet Age

http://www.counterpunch.org
SEPTEMBER 28, 2011

There could be no better proof of the revolution – care of the internet – occurring in the accessibility of information and informed commentary than the reaction of our mainstream, corporate media.

For the first time, Western publics – or at least those who can afford a computer – have a way to bypass the gatekeepers of our democracies. Data our leaders once kept tightly under wraps can now be easily searched for, as can the analyses of those not paid to turn a blind eye to the constant and compelling evidence of Western hypocrisy. Wikileaks, in particular, has rapidly eroded the traditional hierarchical systems of information dissemination.

The media – at least the supposedly leftwing component of it – should be cheering on this revolution, if not directly enabling it. And yet, mostly they are trying to co-opt, tame or subvert it. Indeed, progressive broadcasters and writers increasingly use their platforms in the mainstream to discredit and ridicule the harbingers of the new age.

A good case study is the Guardian, considered the most leftwing newspaper in Britain and rapidly acquiring cult status in the United States, where many readers tend to assume they are getting access through its pages to unvarnished truth and the full range of critical thinking on the left.

Certainly, the Guardian includes some fine reporting and occasionally insightful commentary. Possibly because it is farther from the heart of empire, it is able to provide a partial antidote to the craven coverage of the corporate-owned media in the US.

Nonetheless, it would be unwise to believe that the Guardian is therefore a free market in progressive or dissident ideas on the left. In fact, quite the contrary: the paper strictly polices what can be said and who can say it in its pages, for cynical reasons we shall come to.

Until recently, it was quite possible for readers to be blissfully unaware that there were interesting or provocative writers and thinkers who were never mentioned in the Guardian. And, before papers had online versions, the Guardian could always blame space constraints as grounds for not including a wider range of voices. That, of course, changed with the rise of the internet.

Early on, the Guardian saw the potential, as well as the threat, posed by this revolution. It responded by creating a seemingly free-for-all blog called Comment is Free to harness much of the raw energy unleashed by the internet. It recruited an army of mostly unpaid writers, activists and propagandists on both sides of the Atlantic to help brand itself as the epitome of democratic and pluralistic media.

From the start, however, Comment is Free was never quite as free – except in terms of the financial cost to the Guardian – as it appeared. Significant writers on the left, particularly those who were considered “beyond the pale” in the old media landscape, were denied access to this new “democratic” platform. Others, myself included, quickly found there were severe and seemingly inexplicable limits on what could be said on CiF (unrelated to issues of taste or libel).

None of this should matter. After all, there are many more places than CiF to publish and gain an audience. All over the web dissident writers are offering alternative analyses of current events, and drawing attention to the significance of information often ignored or sidelined by the corporate media.

Rather than relish this competition, or resign itself to the emergence of real media pluralism, however, the Guardian reverted to type. It again became the left’s thought police.

This time, however, it could not ensure that the “challenging left” would simply go unheard. The internet rules out the option of silencing by exclusion. So instead, it appears, it is using its pages to smear those writers who, through their own provocative ideas and analyses, suggest the Guardian’s tameness.

The Guardian’s discrediting of the “left” – the left being a concept never defined by the paper’s writers – is far from taking place in a fair battle of ideas. Not least the Guardian is backed by the huge resources of its corporate owners. When it attacks dissident writers, they can rarely, if ever, find a platform of equal prominence to defend themselves. And the Guardian has proved itself more than reluctant to allow a proper right of reply in its pages to those it maligns.

But also, and most noticeably, it almost never engages with these dissident writers’ ideas. In popular terminology, it prefers to play the man, not the ball. Instead it creates labels, from the merely disparaging to the clearly defamatory, that push these writers and thinkers into the territory of the unconscionable.

A typical example of the Guardian’s new strategy was on show this week in an article in the print edition’s comment pages – also available online and a far more prestigious platform than CiF – in which the paper commissioned a socialist writer, Andy Newman, to argue that the Israeli Jewish musician Gilad Atzmon was part of an anti-semitic trend discernible on the left.

Jonathan Freedland, the paper’s star columnist and resident obsessive on anti-semitism, tweeted to his followers that the article was “important” because it was “urging the left to confront antisemitism in its ranks”.

I have no idea whether Atzmon has expressed anti-semitic views – and I am none the wiser after reading Newman’s piece.

As is now typical in this new kind of Guardian character assassination, the article makes no effort to prove that Atzmon is anti-semitic or to show that there is any topical or pressing reason to bring up his presumed character flaw. (In passing, the article made a similar accusation of anti-semitism against Alison Weir of If Americans Knew, and against the Counterpunch website for publishing an article on Israel’s role in organ-trafficking by her.)

Atzmon has just published a book on Jewish identity, The Wandering Who?, that has garnered praise from respected figures such as Richard Falk, an emeritus law professor at Princeton, and John Mearsheimer, a distinguished politics professor at Chicago University.

But Newman did not critique the book, nor did he quote from it. In fact, he showed no indication that he had read the book or knew anything about its contents.

Instead Newman began his piece, after praising Atzmon’s musicianship, with an assumptive reference to his “antisemitic writings”. There followed a few old quotes from Atzmon, long enough to be intriguing but too short and out of context to prove his anti-semitism – except presumably to the Guardian’s thought police and its most deferential readers.

The question left in any reasonable person’s mind is why dedicate limited commentary space in the paper to Atzmon? There was no suggestion of a newsworthy angle. And there was no case made to prove that Atzmon is actually anti-semitic. It was simply assumed as a fact.

Atzmon, even by his own reckoning, is a maverick figure who has a tendency to infuriate just about everyone with his provocative, and often ambiguous, pronouncements. But why single him out and then suggest that he represents a discernible and depraved trend among the left?

Nonetheless, the Guardian was happy to offer its imprimatur to Newman’s defamation of Atzmon, who was described as a conspiracy theorist “dripping with contempt for Jews”, despite an absence of substantiating evidence. Truly worthy of Pravda in its heyday.

The Atzmon article appeared on the same day the Guardian carried out a similar hatchet job, this time on Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks. The paper published a book review of Assange’s “unauthorised autobiography” by the Guardian’s investigations editor, David Leigh.

That Leigh could be considered a reasonable choice for a review of the book – which he shamelessly pilloried – demonstrates quite how little the Guardian is prepared to abide by elementary principles of ethical journalism.

Leigh has his own book on the Guardian’s involvement with Wikileaks and Assange currently battling it out for sales in the bookshops. He is hardly a disinterested party.

But also, and more importantly, Leigh is clearly not dispassionate about Assange, any more than the Guardian is. The paper has been waging an all-but-declared war against Wikileaks since the two organizations fell out over their collaboration on publishing Wikileak’s trove of 250,000 classified US embassy cables. The feud, if the paper’s talkbacks are to be believed, has finally begun to test the patience of even some of the paper’s most loyal readers.

The low point in Leigh’s role in this saga is divulging in his own book a complex password Assange had created to protect a digital file containing the original and unedited embassy cables. Each was being carefully redacted before publication by several newspapers, including the Guardian.

This act of – in the most generous interpretation of Leigh’s behavior – gross stupidity provided the key for every security agency in the world to open the file. Leigh has accused Wikileaks of negligence in allowing a digital copy of the file to be available. Whether true, his own role in the affair is far more inexcusable.

Even given his apparent ignorance of the digital world, Leigh is a veteran investigative reporter who must have known that revealing the password was foolhardy in the extreme. Not least, it clearly demonstrated how Assange formulates his passwords, and would provide important clues for hackers trying to open other protected Wikileaks documents.

His and the Guardian’s recklessness in disclosing the password was compounded by their negligent decision to contact neither Assange nor Wikileaks before publication of Leigh’s book to check whether the password was still in use.

After this shabby episode, one of many from the Guardian in relation to Assange, it might have been assumed that Leigh was considered an inappropriate person to comment in the Guardian on matters related to Wikileaks. Not so.

Instead the paper has been promulgating Leigh’s sel-interested version of the story and regularly impugning Assange’s character. In a recent editorial, the paper lambasted the Wikileaks founder as an “information absolutist” who was “flawed, volatile and erratic”, arguing that he had chosen to endanger informants named in the US cables by releasing the unredacted cache.

However, the paper made no mention either of Leigh’s role in revealing the password or of Wikileaks’ point that, following Leigh’s incompetence, every security agency and hacker in the world had access to the file’s contents. Better, Wikileaks believed, to create a level playing field and allow everyone access to the cables, thereby letting informants know whether they had been named and were in danger.

Leigh’s abuse of his position is just one element in a dirty campaign by the Guardian to discredit Assange and, by extension, the Wikileaks project.

Some of this clearly reflects a clash of personalities and egos, but it also looks suspiciously like the feud derives from a more profound ideological struggle between the Guardian and Wikilieaks about how information should be controlled a generation hence. The implicit philosophy of Wikileaks is to promote an ever-greater opening up and equalisation of access to information, while the Guardian, following its commercial imperatives, wants to ensure the gatekeepers maintain their control.

At least Assange has the prominent Wikileaks website to make sure his own positions and reasons are hard to overlook. Other targets of the Guardian are less fortunate.

George Monbiot, widely considered to be the Guardian’s most progressive columnist, has used his slot to attack a disparate group on the “left” who also happen to be harsh critics of the Guardian.

In a column in June he accused Ed Herman, a leading US professor of finance and a collaborator on media criticism with Noam Chomsky, and writer David Peterson of being “genocide deniers” over their research into events in Rwanda and Bosnia. The evidence was supposedly to be found in their joint book The Politics of Genocide, published last year, and in an online volume, The Srebrenica Massacre, edited by Herman.

Implying that genocide denial was now a serious problem on the left, Monbiot also laid into journalist John Pilger for endorsing the book and a website called Media Lens that dedicates itself to exposing the failings of the corporate media, including the work of the Guardian and Monbiot. Media Lens’ crime was to have argued that Herman and Peterson should be allowed to make their case about Rwanda and Bosnia, rather than be silenced as Monbiot appeared to prefer.

Monbiot also ensnared Chomsky in his criticism, castigating him for writing a foreword to one of the books.

Chomsky, it should be remembered, is co-author (with Herman) of Manufacturing Consent, a seminal book arguing that it is the role of the corporate media, including liberal media like the Guardian, to distort their readers’ understanding of world events to advance the interests of Western elites. In Chomsky’s view, even journalists like Monbiot are selected by the media for their ability to manufacture public consent for the maintenance of a system of Western political and economic dominance.

Possibly as a result of these ideas, Chomsky is a bete noire of the Guardian and its Sunday sister publication, the Observer.

He was famously vilified in 2005 by an up and coming Guardian feature writer, Emma Brockes – again on the issue of Srebrenica. Brockes’ report so wilfully mischaracterised Chomsky’s views (with quotes she could not substantiate after she apparently taped over her recording of the interview) that the Guardian was forced into a very reluctant “partial apology” under pressure from its readers’ editor. Over Chomsky’s opposition, the article was also erased from its archives.

Such scurrilous journalism should have ended a young journalist’s career at the Guardian. But ridiculing Chomsky is standard fare at the paper, and Brockes’ career as celebrity interviewer flourished, both at the Guardian and the New York Times.

Nick Cohen, another star columnist, this time at the Observer, found time to mention Chomsky recently, dismissing him and other prominent critical thinkers such as Tariq Ali, the late Harold Pinter, Arundhati Roy and Diana Johnstone as “west-hating”. He blamed liberals and the left for their “Chomskyan self-delusion”, and suggested many were “apologists for atrocities”.

Monbiot’s article followed in the same vein. He appeared to have a minimal grasp of the details of Herman and Peterson’s books. Much of his argument that Herman is a “genocide belittler” depends on doubts raised by a variety of experts in the Srebrenica book over the figure of 8,000 reported executions of Bosnian Muslims by Serb forces at Srebrenica. The authors suggest the number is not supported by evidence and might in fact be as low as 800.

Whether or not the case made by Herman and his collaborators is convincing was beside the point in Monbiot’s article. He was not interested in exploring their arguments but in creating an intellectual no-go zone from which critical thinkers and researchers were barred – a sacred genocide.

And to achieve this end, it was necessary to smear the two writers as genocide deniers and suggest that anyone else on the left who ventured on to the same territory would be similarly stigmatised.

Monbiot treatment of Herman and Peterson’s work was so slipshod and cavalier it is hard to believe that he was the one analysing their books.

To take just one example, Monbiot somehow appears to be unable to appreciate the careful distinction Herman’s book makes between an “execution” and a “death”, a vital differentiation in evaluating the Srebrenica massacre.

In the book, experts question whether all or most of the 8,000 Bosnian Muslims disinterred from graves at Srebrenica were victims of a genocidal plan by the Serbs, or casualties of bitter fighting between the two sides, or even some of them victims of a false-flag operation. As the book points out, a post-mortem can do many things but it cannot discern the  identities or intentions of those who did the killing in Srebrenica.

The authors do not doubt that a massacre, or massacres, took place at Srebrenica. However, they believe we should not accept on trust that this was a genocide (a term defined very specifically in international law), or refuse to consider that the numbers may have been inflated to fit a political agenda.

This is not an idle or contrarian argument. As they make clear in their books, piecing together what really happened in Rwanda and Bosnia is vital if we are not to be duped by Western leaders into yet more humanitarian interventions whose goals are far from those claimed.

The fact that Monbiot discredited Herman and Peterson at a time when the Guardian’s reporting was largely cheering on the latest humanitarian intervention, in Libya, was all the more richly ironic.

So why do the Guardian and its writers publish these propaganda articles parading as moral concern about the supposedly degenerate values of the “left”? And why, if the left is in such a debased state, can the Guardian’s stable of talented writers not take on their opponents’ ideas without resorting to strawman arguments, misdirection and smears.

The writers, thinkers and activists targeted by the Guardian, though all of the left, represent starkly different trends and approaches – and some of them would doubtless vehemently oppose the opinions of others on the list.

But they all share a talent for testing the bounds of permissible thought in creative ways that challenge and undermine established truths and what I have termed elsewhere the “climate of assumptions” the Guardian has helped to create and sustain.

It hardly matters whether all or some of these critical thinkers are right. The danger they pose to the Guardian is in arguing convincingly that the way the world is presented to us is not the way it really is. Their very defiance, faced with the weight of a manufactured consensus, threatens to empower us, the reader, to look outside the restrictive confines of media orthodoxy.

The Guardian, like other mainstream media, is heavily invested – both financially and ideologically – in supporting the current global order. It was once able to exclude and now, in the internet age, must vilify those elements of the left whose ideas risk questioning a system of corporate power and control of which the Guardian is a key institution.

The paper’s role, like that of its rightwing cousins, is to limit the imaginative horizons of readers. While there is just enough leftwing debate to make readers believe their paper is pluralistic, the kind of radical perspectives needed to question the very foundations on which the system of Western dominance rests is either unavailable or is ridiculed.

Reading the Guardian, it is possible to believe that one of the biggest problems facing our societies – comparable to our compromised political elites, corrupt police authorities, and depraved financial system – is an array of mainly isolated dissidents and intellectuals on the left.

Is Atzmon and his presumed anti-semitism more significant than AIPAC? Is Herman more of a danger than the military-industrial corporations killing millions of people around the globe? And is Assange more of a menace to the planet’s future than US President Barack Obama?
 
Reading the Guardian, you might well think so.

Silvia Cattori Interviews Gilad Atzmon

Gilad Atzmon talks about his latest book “The Wandering Who?

http://www.silviacattori.net/

Gilad Atzmon somehow manages to express his thoughts, ignoring any recognised taboos or restrictions. His style is innovative, fresh, and consistently well informed. We have read with great interest his latest book “The Wandering Who? A Study of Jewish Identity” (*). It is a very moving account that should be read by many.

 

 

Silvia Cattori: “The Wandering who?” — What stands behind this provocative title?

Gilad Atzmon: “The Wandering Who?” attempts to search for a deeper understanding of Jewish culture and Jewish identity politics. It is there to tackle some issues most of us prefer to avoid. Three years ago Israeli historian Shlomo Sand published his ground breaking work on Jewish history, thus dismantling the phantasmal Jewish historical narrative.

In my book, I attempt to take Sand’s quest one step further and elaborate on the problematic Jewish attitude towards history, the past , and temporality in general. Five years ago American academics Mearsheimer and Walt published an invaluable study on the Israeli Lobby in the United States [1]. I again try to pick up their research where they left off. I try to explain why lobbying is inherent to Jewish politics and culture.

Two decades ago, Israel Shahak published his crucially important study of the Talmud, and in my work, I want to extend his study, and grasp the deeply racist and anti-gentile attitude that is intrinsic to any form of Jewish secular identity politics, be it Zionism, Jewish socialism and even Jewish anti Zionism. In “The Wandering Who?” I try to shake every common perception of Jewish identity politics.

Silvia Cattori: “The Wandering Who?” is a very impressive testimony. It can not be ignored, including by your opponents. I think it can safely be said that no one before you has explained so frankly some of the thorniest aspects of the Israeli-Palestinian issue. Your analysis is important for anyone seeking to understand what certain groups want to hide, and why. It should lead people that are deliberately kept in the dark and in a state of confusion, to see things more clearly. This includes, of course, the so-called ‘progressive’ circles.

Gilad Atzmon: Thanks so much for your support and compliments.

Silvia Cattori: However, you are stepping into a minefield. One may also wonder whether you are exposing your thoughts and perspectives because, as an ex-Israeli, you feel shame.

Gilad Atzmon: That is a good point. I suppose that at a certain point in the past, it is true to say that I started to feel shame and guilt. However I realised many years ago that guilt only becomes a meaningful sensation once it is transformed into responsibility. Unlike some of the Jewish anti Zionists who cheerfully and righteously declare ‘not in my name’, I know very well that every Israeli crime is indeed committed in my name, in spite of the fact that I have not lived there for many years. I am very troubled by it.

Silvia Cattori: Does this mean that the writing of “The Wandering Who?” was a way for you to settle your personal score with the "tribe"?

Gilad Atzmon: To be more precise, it isn’t actually “the tribe” which I criticise but the racially oriented sense of ‘tribalism’ which stands at the core of every form of Jewish identity politics.

Silvia Cattori: Would you say that this great overhaul was spurred by your desire to alert mankind to what you consider to be the real danger, i.e. the Jewish ideology?

Gilad Atzmon: I am indeed primarily concerned with the ideology. I also argue that it isn’t just the Palestinians that are implicated. I am very alarmed by Jewish relentless lobbying and its destabilising power globally. The fact that the AJC (American Jewish Committee) advocates war against Iran is very worrying. But I am also monitoring the Jewish Left activism and I am very troubled by my findings.

Silvia Cattori: Is the book an attempt to explain to your readers why it is so difficult to fight the Israeli policy?

Gilad Atzmon: Fighting Israel for what it is — i.e. the Jewish State — simply means an open conflict with the strongest lobbying power on the land. On the one hand we are encountered by heavily funded Zionist institutions; but, on the other hand, we are chased by the so-called Jewish ‘progressive’ network that is primarily engaged in gate keeping the discourse. And, unlike the Zionists, who operate in the open, the Jewish anti Zionists work towards the same goals, but operate in clandestine settings.

Silvia Cattori: You state that “Jewish power” should be put at the centre of the problem – and that, at the same time, the discourse of certain “anti Zionists”, that you regard as misleading, should be challenged. When you write : “Zionism is not a colonial movement with an interest in Palestine, as some scholars suggest. Zionism is actually a global movement that is fuelled by unique tribal solidarity of third category members…”, you call into question those who characterize Israel as mere ‘settler colonialism’. This is indeed a crucial point. What are your arguments for claiming that it is not simply a colonialist model?

Gilad Atzmon: Indeed, I am disturbed by the lack of intellectual integrity and coherence within our discourse and beyond. It took me some time to grasp that years of Jewish (intellectual) hegemony within the Palestinian solidarity discourse has led to an absurd situation in which criticism of the Jewish state — is shaped primarily by Jewish sensitivities.

Try, for instance, to imagine a situation in which our criticism of capitalism would be shaped in a deliberately over cautious manner — just to make sure that the rich are not offended. Likewise, try to imagine another equally absurd situation, in which our criticism of Nazi ideology would have take into consideration the delicate sensitivities of biological determinists and anti-Semites. It seems equally absurd that we are in such a situation where we have to tread carefully in what we say about Palestinian rights – so as not to offend Jewish people.

And, yes, I say it openly: Zionism is not a colonial movement, and has never been one. Colonialism establishes a clear relationship between a mother-state and a settler-state — yet Zionism has never had a mother state. It is true that Israel exhibits some colonial symptoms, but this is where it starts and ends. Zionism is driven by spirit of Jewish supremacy and a phantasmal notion of ‘homecoming’.

The misleading colonial paradigm was introduced by a few ‘progressive’ thinkers just to make sure that Marx is not left out of the discourse. At least intellectually, what we see here is no more than amusing.

However, it is important to mention here, that the only noticeable colonial aspect within the Zionist reality is the relationships between the Israeli State and the settlements: the exchange there makes it clear who is the ‘mother’ and who is the ‘settler’.

Silvia Cattori: I would like to understand why advocates of Palestinian rights still refrain from labelling Israel for what it really is? Why do you think they are so reluctant to address the issue of Jewish power and its disastrous political impact?

Gilad Atzmon: I think that when it comes to Israel and ‘Jewish power’ every humanist, including myself, has a conflict to handle. I would formulate it as such: ‘how can I tell the truth about Israel, the Lobby, and Zionism and still maintain my position as a humanist’. It took me very many years to learn to differentiate between the wheat and chaff. I learned to distinguish between Jews (the people), Judaism (the religion) and Jewishness (the ideology). This differentiation is not free of problems, because, as we know, most Jews themselves do not know where they stand on those three. Most Jews do not know where Judaism ends and Jewishness starts.

Likewise, most Jewish anti Zionists fail to admit that they actually operate in Jewish exclusive political cells. We are dealing with a very peculiar political identity indeed. It is racially oriented and deeply racist. It is supremacist, yet it is saturated with victimhood. This identity conveys a universal image – yet in truth, it is driven by tribal interests.

In my writing however, I restrict myself to issues to do with Jewish ideology (Jewishness). I try to grasp that unique sense of chosen-ness and observe how it comes into play within politics, culture and practice. It is obvious that, for the time being, there are no intellectual tools to restrict criticism of ideology. And this really means that my detractors are pretty much left in a hopeless situation— they do not posses the intellectual means to silence me or my criticism, so instead, they revert to smear campaigns: they label me an ‘anti Semite’, a ‘Neo Nazi’, a ‘racist’, and so on. Tragically enough for them, no one out side of the Jewish political circuit takes any of these empty accusations at all seriously anymore.

Also, I would like to mention that the notion of ‘Jewish Power’ could be confusing and misleading: it needs elaboration. When I discuss Jewish Power, I am strictly referring to the ability of Jewish interest groups to mount political pressure. And it is very important to realise here, and I must emphasise that Jewish power is not at all a conspiracy. It is explored — in the open —through organisations that are set to mount pressure and serve Jewish interests. Such groups are AIPAC, AJC, CFI, LFI, and so on. Zionists are open about, and proud of their lobbying powers. They brag about it — they enjoy seeing the American joint house sitting and standing submissively for PM Netanyahu.

Silvia Cattori: It is easy to grasp and I agree with you when you assert that Israel and Zionism represent a unique project in history [2] and that the relation between Israel and the Jewish lobby is also unique. But when you and others suggest that it is ‘Jewish power’ which needs to be confronted, the ‘Jewish left’, Jewish intelligentsia, Jewish organizations for peace, etc., go out of their way to stop you. Does it mean that these groups also form part of what you call ‘Jewish power’?

Gilad Atzmon: Absolutely, or at least they are part of the problem. In my book I make it very clear that there is a complete ideological continuum between Zionism and the so called Jewish ‘anti’ Zionism or Jewish left in general.

I differentiate between ‘Jewish anti Zionism’ which is in most cases driven by Jewish tribalism and would care primarily for the Jews, and ‘anti Zionists who happen to be Jewish’. The latter is a totally innocent category. Needless to say that many of my supporters happen to belong to the latter group.

Jewish anti Zionism is there to deliver an image of pluralism within the Jewish Diaspora discourse. For some reason you will see twenty Jewish anti Zionists destroying a Jewish philharmonic concert — but you won’t see those same activists coming to support a Palestinian concert a week later. In short, their anti Zionism is not much more than a Jewish internal affair.

Silvia Cattori: The issue of lobbying also appears absent from the book “Gaza in Crisis” by Chomsky and Pappe [3]. Is it a surprise for you?

Gilad Atzmon: Not really — as we know Chomsky was very critical of Mearsheimer’s and Walt’s study of the Israeli Lobby. I am not familiar with Pappe’s views on the matter. As far as I am aware, he refrains from commenting on the Lobby. I guess that we cannot expect everyone to comment on everything all the time.

Silvia Cattori: Given its influence and its ability to steer the positions of the Palestinian solidarity movement, this ‘Jewish left’ must represent a big headache for someone like you.

Gilad Atzmon: I wouldn’t say that it is a big headache — it is mildly noisy in the background. It is like having a fly in the room. It is a nuisance but it is not going to kill you. However, there are two ways to deal with it — to squash it with an old Guardian paper, or, to open the window and lead it out. I prefer the second option. It is certainly far more humanist.

It is becoming clear that those elements within the Left that are dominated by Jewish ideology have clearly made themselves into irrelevant factors in this conflict or the discourse.

The Left that failed to grasp the anti imperialist impact of Islam is obviously completely detached from current world affairs. It is not a secret that the Jewish left opposed Hamas, and still does. It is not a secret that the Western Left is confused about Islam. However, there is a big difference between Anglo American Left that is struggling with an identity crisis and others forms of struggles for social justice. I, for instance, am very interested in the Spanish and Latin American attitude towards Palestine and Islam.

Silvia Cattori: When you mention ‘Jewish power’ you touch a sensitive nerve. Aren’t you concerned with the fact that it may bring to mind the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” issue? Are you not playing with fire here?

Gilad Atzmon: To start with, it is obviously clear that I am surfing near to the wind. However, considering the volatile state of our world, someone needs to do it, and it happens to be me. Actually, over the years I have written extensively about the “Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion”, and I have repeatedly argued that questions to do with the authenticity of the Protocols are, in fact, completely irrelevant: the grim reality depicted by AIPAC, or Haim Saban, who speaks openly about transforming American politics via ‘lobbying, donations and media control’ is entirely self evidential. And what about Lord Levy being the number one British Labour Party’s fundraiser, at the time this country launched an illegal war against an Arab State?

It is totally clear then, that there is no conspiracy here and there has never been one: Jewish lobbies are operating — in the open — promoting what they believe to be Jewish interests. The explanation to it all is very simple - Zionists and Israelis realised many years ago that it is much cheaper to buy a Western politician than buying a tank.

Silvia Cattori: A chapter of your book is dedicated to the overwhelming power of the Holocaust, can you discuss it further?

Gilad Atzmon: There is no doubt in my mind that the maintenance of the Holocaust is there to sustain the primacy of Jewish suffering at the centre of every possible political discussion. With this heavy cloud over our head, we are not going to be able to respond properly (ethically) to the crimes committed by Israel in the name of the Jewish people. Hence, I do believe that the Holocaust must be stripped of its religious status or primacy in general. It must be discussed openly and treated as a historical chapter. I believe that this will happen soon and I am very proud to be amongst those who lead the discourse in that direction.

And once again, my principle detractors on that front are not the Zionists, but actually the so called Jewish ‘anti’ Zionists. This week we are holding a conference in Freiburg Germany in which we plan to elaborate on Freedom of Speech in the context of Germany, Israel and Palestine. As one would expect, Jewish ‘anti’ Zionists have been leading the futile battle to dismantle the conference — they mounted pressure on the panellists and the organisers.

Silvia Cattori: Can you give us their names?

Gilad Atzmon: Among our detractors are the American ‘anti’ Zionist Jeff Halper ( who dwells in occupied Palestine but also opposes house demolition ), Sarah Kershnar and Mich Levy of the Jewish Anti Zionist Network, (who are just desperate to stop me), Naomi Idrissi Wimborne (who openly exploits the BDS campaign mounting pressure on Palestinian scholars, attempting to dismantle freedom of speech), the (hardly active) Israeli journalist Shraga Elam [4], the overwhelmingly active and infamous Tony Greenstein, and others.

And they all operated exactly as one would expect Zionists to behave: they smeared, defamed, labelled, they mounted pressure, but they were totally ignored. Interestingly enough, Zionist operators actually performed with much more dignity, and launched a counter conference in Freiburg on the same day. Interestingly enough, one of the founders of the ISM told me a while back that he much prefers to combat an Israeli soldier in a roadblock rather than fight our so called Jewish ‘anti’ Zionists detractors. I couldn’t agree more.

It is a big shame: these people could have been such a great contribution to the discourse instead of becoming just a cliché of tribal activism. Needless to say; we actually openly invited all our detractors to come to our conference, and to present their opposition to freedom of speech; but as you may imagine, they failed to react positively.

Silvia Cattori: Zionism is often presented, even within the left, as a good thing — besides some Zionists, like Uri Avnery, are regarded by progressives as a positive reference. But you argue that Zionism, portrayed initially as a secular project, was not all that nice.

Gilad Atzmon: Early Zionism was not at all a monolithic movement: it had more than one face and voice. We are all aware of the dispute between Left Zionism and the Revisionists, but there are a few other variants to Zionism that have disappeared over the years. However, it is hard to interpret Israeli action within a Zionist template because Israel is not driven by Zionism any more – if Zionism was created to solve the Jewish Question, Israel has introduced new sets of questions to do with Jewish identity, tribalism, supremacy, and so on.

Increasingly, in my writing I differentiate between Israel and Zionism. Zionism hardly means a thing anymore to Israelis. Zionism is largely reduced to a Jewish Diaspora discourse. Zionism is there to differentiate between the vast majority of world Jews and half a dozen secular Jews who identify themselves as ‘anti’ Zionists.

You mentioned Uri Avnery, I realise that some people in this movement are critical of Avnery whom they regard as a Zionist. Actually, I have a lot of respect for the man — I think that he is an incredible and prolific writer. We must appreciate where he lives and what he tries to achieve. I obviously do not agree with Avnery on certain issues but I do not have any doubt that Avnery would engage in an open debate with me and others, and that is a quality I really miss within our discourse.

Silvia Cattori: The Israeli left and most of the dissenting Jewish voices clearly support the “right of Israel to exist”. What about you?

Gilad Atzmon: I am not in any such position to determine who has, and who does not have the right to exist. But I am qualified to argue that one’s existence shouldn’t be celebrated at the expense of the other. I find it hard to deal with Israeli Left, but make no mistake; there are some elements within Israeli dissidence that are courageous beyond words. These people are taking a real personal risk supporting justice. I have a lot of respect for their actions.

Silvia Cattori: When reading “The Wandering Who?” one wonders if it is not just a bit Judeo-centric of you to be paying so much attention to Jewish identity?

Gilad Atzmon: I agree; I have spent a lot of my time dealing with these issues — in my early 30’s, I started to realise that I was deeply involved in a crime of huge scale. I left Israel because I wanted to believe that this would be enough to liberate me, and to emancipate Palestinians of my presence.

But then I soon learned about the Zionist Lobby and global Zionist operations. And then it didn’t take long before I started to grasp the deceitful nature of some elements within the Jewish left network. I have never been involved in any political activity. I have never been a party member; but this issue to do with Jewish politics intrigued me both intellectually and ethically. I started to read about it. I started to monitor their activity; and at a certain stage, I started to write about it. Within a very short time I bought myself a few enemies who actually provided me with a deeper understanding of the Jewish political discourse. And here we are: I produced “The Wandering Who?” These are my thoughts about Jewish Identity Politics.

Silvia Cattori: By carefully reading your thoughts, one may wonder whether you avoid discussing Jewish religion just to "protect" religion in general.

Gilad Atzmon: Indeed, that is a very subtle observation. I am not a leftist and I am far from being an atheist. I am a musician, and I guess that this fact alone makes me into a religious, or at least a spiritual person. When I play, I really do not know where the notes come from. For me beauty is divine, and thus, I have a lot of respect for believers and spiritual people.

I have a lot of admiration for Muslims. But I also think that the only coherent and genuine Jewish anti-Zionists are actually the Torah Jews. I understand their argument. And as everyone can see, they do not try to steer this movement; they instead do what ever they can to support the Palestinians. And they are remarkably humble and modest. I like them a lot.

Silvia Cattori: But, in your opinion, is not Judaism just as tribal as Jewish political identity?

Gilad Atzmon: Judaism is indeed a tribal, national, and racially oriented religion. And yet, Judaism has it means to contain it all. Tragically enough, something went horribly wrong in the process of Jewish secularisation and the rise of Jewish political discourse.

Jews may have managed to drop their God, but they have maintained goy-hating and racist ideologies at the heart of their newly emerging secular political identity. This explains why some Talmudic goy-hating elements have been transformed within the Zionist discourse into genocidal practices.

Silvia Cattori: How, do you think, does nationalism come into play in other religions, such as Islam or Christianity — is it different from Jewish nationalism?

Gilad Atzmon: As opposed to Judaism that is tribally oriented, Islam and Christianity are universal precepts. The latter attempted to provide an answer to humanity as a whole, rather than maintain a single tribe at the expense of others.

Silvia Cattori: It was very enjoyable to read you saying: "Already then I somehow yearned to become a Goy or at least to be surrounded by Goyim." What do you mean by that?

Gilad Atzmon: It is rather simple; to become an ex-Jew is to stop being chosen. It is not an easy task I still have to practice on a daily basis.

Silvia Cattori: When visiting Israel, one wonders, how these bunches of foreign settlers manage to feel at home there, on stolen land. Is it simply because they are Jewish ? How do you feel about that?

Gilad Atzmon: I was born there. I loved it there. I had a very happy childhood and a successful career as a young adult. It indeed took me many years to understand that something was wrong. I felt something in the first Lebanon War (1981). In Lebanon I started to wonder where all these refuges came from. Then in the first Intifada (1987) I gathered that some people out there were extremely unhappy. In the early 1990’s I was working with a lot of Palestinians from Gaza. I then realised that my existence in the region was entangled with an unbearable crime. In 1994 I left Israel for good. And since 1996 I have not visited the place. But you have to understand that Israelis do not see the Palestinians or their plight. Chosen-ness is a form of blindness. Israel can only see themselves. And this may well mean that we do not have the remedy for the conflict.

Silvia Cattori: What is fascinating about you is that you seem almost pleased to have been ostracized and accused of being an anti-Semite. Do not you fear the next campaign to discredit "The Wandering Who?"

Gilad Atzmon: I believe that as things stand, those who bring up the anti Semite label do very little except expose their deep affiliation with Zionism and Judeo centrism.

The campaign against my book has begun already. But I also receive a lot of support. I accept that this is my karma. By now I know that as long as I am opposed, it only means that I am doing the right thing. I guess that the more opposition I receive, the more people can read into my argument.

As you probably noticed, in the old days, anti Semites were those who didn’t like Jews, Nowadays, anti Semites are those whom the Jews hate. Some Jews out there really do not appreciate my efforts. But the good news is that no one takes notice of the anti Semite accusation any more. It has been over used.

Silvia Cattori: You wrote that Israel’s days are numbered. How exactly can you evaluate that?

Gilad Atzmon: Regardless of the Palestinian struggle, Israel cannot hold it together anymore. It is a morbid society driven by relentless greed. It is on the verge of imploding. If anything, the Jewish state has amplified the Jewish Question rather than eliminate it. And I believe that time is ripe to admit that there may not be a collective answer to the question. I guess that by the time Israelis learn to love their neighbours, peace may prevail — however, when this happens they may as well stop regarding themselves as Chosen. They will be ordinary people.

Silvia Cattori: Thank you Gilad Atzmon. Talking with you is really a treat.

Gilad Atzmon: Thanks so much for your attention and dedication. It is always a great pleasure to talk to you too.

Silvia Cattori

(*) Gilad Atzmon’s New Book: “The Wandering Who? A Study of Jewish Identity Politics”. Zero Books 2011.
Jewish identity is tied up with some of the most difficult and contentious issues of today. The purpose in this book is to open many of these issues up for discussion. Since Israel defines itself openly as the ‘Jewish State’, we should ask what the notions of ’Judaism’, ‘Jewishness’, ‘Jewish culture’ and ‘Jewish ideology’ stand for. Gilad examines the tribal aspects embedded in Jewish secular discourse, both Zionist and anti Zionist; the ‘holocaust religion’; the meaning of ‘history’ and ‘time’ within the Jewish political discourse; the anti-Gentile ideologies entangled within different forms of secular Jewish political discourse and even within the Jewish left. He questions what it is that leads Diaspora Jews to identify themselves with Israel and affiliate with its politics. The devastating state of our world affairs raises an immediate demand for a conceptual shift in our intellectual and philosophical attitude towards politics, identity politics and history.

You can now order Gilad Atzmon's New Book on Amazon.com  or Amazon.co.uk

 

 

 

First reactions to the book, see:
- “Tearing the Veil From Israel’s Civility”, by William A. Cook, Counterpunch, September 17-18, 2011.
- “London JC launched an attack on Prof’ John Mearsheimer”, by Gilad Atzmon, gilad.co.uk, 22 September, 2011.

Mearsheimer responds to Goldberg's latest smear

Gilad Atzmon: Dear friends, this may well be one of the greatest days of my life.

Just a few minutes ago, I saw this piece expressing unequivocal support from Professor John J.  Mearsheimer clearly one of the most distinguished scholars in our discourse and beyond.

 

For years I have been subjected to smear campaigns. I obviously survived them all because those who read me grasped the humanist intent in my work. In the following article, professor  Mearsheimer exposes the banality and crudeness of the Zionist tactics. He shows how Goldberg & Co forge sentences, take words out of context and attribute misleading meanings.

I am afraid to advise my detractors that I am not alone at all. The Tide Has Changed.

http://walt.foreignpolicy.com/

Ever since John Mearsheimer and I began writing about the Israel lobby, some of our critics have leveled various personal charges against us. These attacks rarely addressed the substance of what we wrote -- a tacit concession that both facts and logic were on our side -- but instead accused us of being anti-Semites and conspiracy theorists. They used these false charges to try to discredit and/or marginalize us, and to distract people from the important issues of U.S. Middle East policy that we had raised.

The latest example of this tactic is a recent blog post from Jeffrey Goldberg, where he accused my co-author of endorsing a book by an alleged Holocaust denier and Nazi sympathizer. Goldberg has well-established record of making things up about us, and this latest episode is consistent with his usual approach. I asked Professor Mearsheimer if he wanted to respond to Goldberg's sally, and he sent the following reply.

Read More

Goldberg vs. Mearsheimer by Gilad Atzmon

Professor John Mearsheimer is subject to a Zionist-trans-Atlantic-attack for supporting my latest book The Wandering Who

Earlier this year John Mearsheimer, the highly respected international relations theorist and Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago, wrote the following preliminary front matter for my book:

 ‘Gilad Atzmon has written a fascinating and provocative book on Jewish identity in the modern world. He shows how assimilation and liberalism are making it increasingly difficult for Jews in the Diaspora to maintain a powerful sense of their 'Jewishness.' Panicked Jewish leaders, he argues, have turned to Zionism (blind loyalty to Israel) and scaremongering (the threat of another Holocaust) to keep the tribe united and distinct from the surrounding goyim. As Atzmon’s own case demonstrates, this strategy is not working and is causing many Jews great anguish. The Wandering Who? should be widely read by Jews and non-Jews alike.’

It seems as if the Zio-cons on both sides of the pond are now in a state of panic -- In an obviously orchestrated attack, the  Zionist mouthpiece  The Jewish Chronicle of London,  the Islamophobic Award winning  ‘Harry’s Place’ and the ex-Israeli concentration camp guard Jeffrey Goldberg* , all launched a typical Hasbara smear & intimidation  campaign, in which they labeled both Professor Mearsheimer and myself anti Semites. I was also called a ‘neo Nazi’, a ‘Hitler apologist,’ a ‘Holocaust denier’ and a ‘hatemonger’.

To be honest, it is somewhat amusing that an ex concentration camp guard like Goldberg should label me a ‘Hitler apologist’ or a  ‘Holocaust denier’: after all, since Goldberg is an ardent pro-war Zionist who openly and enthusiastically supports a Jews-only, racist, expansionist state, it is clear that he is actually the one who is an advocate of a distinctly Nazi-like ideology and practice. 

In addition, I learned from Goldberg that Adam Holland (yet another notorious Zionist zealot), also cannot quite believe that Professor’ Mearsheimer would endorse my book.

Adam Holland wrote:  “I had trouble believing that a distinguished professor at one of the world's greatest universities would link himself to a hatemonger like Atzmon. So I sent Professor Mearsheimer an email quoting the blurb and asking him to verify its accuracy.  I also gave him an opportunity to amend it or add to it.  Here's what he ( Mearsheimer) wrote back:

"The blurb below is the one I wrote for ‘The Wandering who’ and I have no reason to amend it or embellish it, as it accurately reflects my view of the book." John J. Mearsheimer

Read More

Eric Walberg: Atzmon on Jewishness- Jezebel’s legacy

 

Gilad Atzmon: I was recently interviewed by Eric Walberg for the prestigious Al Ahram Weekly. Walberg is an inspiring thinker. I learned a lot from him along this interview.

www.weekly.ahram.org.eg

The Wandering Who? A study of Jewish identity politics, gives a unique insider’s view of the Israeli mind. Its author explains to Eric Walberg that you can take the girl out of Jezebel, but you can’t take the Jezebel out of the girl

Gilad Atzmon is a world citizen who calls London his home. He was born a sabra, and served as a paramedic in the Israeli Defense Forces during the 1982 Lebanon War, when he realised that “I was part of a colonial state, the result of plundering and ethnic cleansing.” He has wandered far since then, become a novelist, philosopher, one of the world’s best jazz saxophonists, and at the same time, one of the staunchest supporters of the Palestinian cause, supporting their right of return and the one-state solution. He now defines himself as a “proud self-hating Jew” and “a Hebrew-speaking Palestinian”. In 2009 Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan quoted Atzmon during a debate with Israeli president Shimon Peres, telling him at the World Economic Forum that “Israeli barbarity is far beyond even ordinary cruelty.”

Atzmon denies that there is even such a concept as “anti-Semitism”, stating that “‘anti-Semite” is an empty signifier. “You are either a racist which I am not, or have an ideological disagreement with Zionism, which I have.” When railed against as an anti-Semite, Gilad quotes the witticism: “While in the past an ‘anti-Semite’ was someone who hates Jews, nowadays it is the other way around, an anti-Semite is someone the Jews hate.”

One of his Orient House Ensemble’s nine albums, appropriately called “Exile”, with its arresting blend of Middle Eastern and Western themes, was BBC jazz album of the year in 2003. His fascination with Arab music was a natural development out of his embrace of the Palestinian cause. Arab music “must be internalised, reverting to the primacy of the ear”.

Read More

London JC launched an attack on Prof' John Mearsheimer

 

 

Gilad Atzmon: I occasionally read the London JC: it provides  a glimpse into Zionist paranoia, and it also depicts a true image of the ‘Nuevo Ghetto’ mentality.

Today, a week ahead of the publication of my new book The Wandering Who, the JC seems to be desperate to mount pressure on Professor John Mearsheimer, the highly respected academic who warmly endorsed my book.

It is apparent that the JC is yet to realise the length of the list of prominent scholars, writers and activists who support and endorse my new book.

In the article below, the JC prints a collection of quotes from the book that are supposed to be both embarrassing and contentious (I made them bold).  Needless to mention, I am standing firmly behind all of my quotes, and each of my words

However, being the amateurish outlet that it is, the JC has made at least two mistakes:

1. I am not an ‘anti-Semite’. I am actually a firm opponent of any form of racism whatsoever -- and this includes questioning and challenging every possible appearance of Jewish political and ideological exclusivity and collectivism in the same manner that I would criticise any other manifestation or form of ethnic prejudice.

2. The book is not published by “The Susjin Agency” as the JC suggests but by Zero Books.

The JC article:

Mearsheimer backs book by antisemite By Jessica Elgot

 http://www.thejc.com/

A US academic who co-wrote a controversial book about the Israel lobby has praised a new work by the Jewish antisemitic writer Gilad Atzmon.

 

Read More

Gilad Atzmon: Progressive Choseness

Kol Hadash Humanistic Congregation Podcasts
Some Palestinian solidarity campaigners are excited this morning about Rabbi Eric Yoffie's pearls of wisdom. The outgoing President of the Union for Reform Judaism, wrote in a recent blog post for the Jerusalem Post

“I care about humankind, but I love my own group a bit more. I am more comfortable with them. I care more about them, just as I care more about my family than other families.”

People who understand the full extent of Jewish tribalism shouldn’t be taken by surprise. Rabbi Yoffie is genuine and coherent. Consequently, his support of The Two State solution is consistent with his Jewish belief system.

“Without a two-state solution.” Says Rabbi Yoffie, “Israel will not longer be a state for my group; it will be a bi-national state without a clear Jewish identity. That is not the kind of place where I, or most Israeli Jews, will want to live.”

As a supporter of the One State Solution I myself explored this exact issue at the Stuttgart One Democratic State Conference last year.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MlvaN2c-Oto


 

Read More

Jonathon Blakeley: The Wandering Who? -A Book Review

Gilad Atzmon

http://www.zimoz.co.uk/news/culture/the-wandering-who-a-study-of-jewish-identity-politics/

I first came across Gilad Atzmon on a website called the Jeff rense program; it had become known as a beacon for independent journalism on the Internet and covered stories that the mainstream media would not cover for many reasons; subjects which were viewed as taboo. And so it was, I kept on coming across this name Gilad Atzmon; a writer who was not afraid to tackle some very thorny issues. I read more and more from Gilad and visited his website where I discovered he was also a jazz musician. Coincidentally, around the same time, a friend contacted me to tell me a great Jazz band was playing locally and we should go see them. The band in question was called:- the Orient House Ensemble featuring Gilad Atzmon. This is where my initiation into the world of Gilad Atzmon began some 6 years ago…

His book ‘The Wandering Who?’ begins in Israel where Gilad was born, and tells how he was brought up and indoctrinated into the Zionist ideology. At first he embraced it and all went well until one day he heard some Jazz playing on the radio. It was Charlie Parker the legendary Bebop saxophone player. It seems that Gilad had an epiphany whilst listening to Charlie Parker, his curiosity was ignited and he had to find out more. Shortly after he rushed into Jerusalem to buy all the Charlie Parker records he could find (two), he quickly became obsessed with Jazz and began to lose all interest in the IDF which he was about to join. When eventually the time came to join the IDF Gilad decided to join the Israeli Air Force Orchestra, preferring music to armed conflict. Whilst playing for the IAFO he and his fellow musicians noticed if they played badly they had less bookings, which they all wanted, and so they practiced playing badly.

How to sabotage the system in order to strive for a personal ideal.

Gilad on playing badly for the Israeli Air Force Orchestra.

Read More

A Panel Discussion on 'Jewish Identity Politics'

Monday, 10th October, 2011

7:30 pm

Resource for London

356 Holloway Road

London N7 6PA

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=116757888430540

  

Zero Books invites you to a panel discussion on "Jewish Identity Politics" to launch Gilad Atzmon's important new book The Wandering Who. 

Jewish identity and Jewish Politics are loaded topics and Jewish identity is tied up with some of the most difficult and contentious issues of today. Yet, not many people, if any at all, would dare touch upon these subjects. surrounding the role of 'Jewish identity' within Jewish marginal discourses including Zionism, Jewish anti Zionism, Jewish assimilation, Israel vs. Diaspora, Israeli lobbying and more. The Wandering Who? A Study Of Jewish Identity Politics (Zero Books 2011) is praised by some of the most respected scholars within the relevant discourse.

Panelists:

Glenn Bowman is a Social Anthropologist who has worked in Jerusalem and the West Bank throughout the past 25 years. He is concerned with religion and identity politics, an interest which also involved him in (now Former) Yugoslavia between 1990 and the present.

Oren Ben Dor is a Reader in the Philosophy of Law at The University of Southampton.  He is the author of Constitutional Limits and the Public Sphere (Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2000); Thinking about Law: in Silence with Heidegger (Oxford: Hart Publishing 2007) as well as the editor of Law and Art: Ethics, Aesthetics Justice, (London: Routledge 2011).  Oren writes on the uncanny origin of political emergence as well as on originary violence in Palestine.  He explores the existential relationship between the Jewish and the Zionist Questions.

Karl Sabbagh is a journalist, television producer and the author of several books including A Rum Affair, Power Into Art, Dr Riemann’s Zeros and Palestine: A Personal History. He is currently the publisher of Hesperus Press

Facilitator:  Irving Rappaport is a commercial and community mediator and trainer with a special interest in the use of proven peaceful techniques for the prevention and resolution of violent conflicts both internationally and in the UK.

 

You can now order Gilad Atzmon's New Book on Amazon.com  ($9.85) or Amazon.co.uk (£7.13)

 

Powered by Squarespace. Background image by Tali Atzmon .