Dr Anthony Löwstedt on The Wandering Who
In this book Atzmon moves effortlessly between disciplines and perspectives. It is an exhilarating read, from the atemporality of immoral action to the temporality of morals, from Jewish suffering to supremacy and expansionism to the categorical imperative, and from guilt feelings to responsibility. It is most interesting to follow Atzmon's diagnosis of the Israeli-Jewish mental state. He looks for signs of schizophrenia and neurosis and finds them abundantly, as well as a new mental disorder, a form of psychosis, which he names 'pre-traumatic stress syndrome', a consequence of intense elite politics of fear. He also finds it among Zionist and crypto-Zionist Jews in the Diaspora. Atzmon is keenly aware that not only Jews but many other groups of people have developed similar symptoms, e.g. white South Africans and Americans at home, or Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan, or Blair and Bush, or the National Socialists in Germany and elsewhere. They are not essentially unique to Jews, but perhaps to conquerors, people who have conquered other people militarily, and whose mental states are disturbed by their relationship with those people, a relationship of violence, dominance, control, expropriation, exploitation, hatred, and disgust, and, naturally, of indigenous resistance to all of that. Sometimes provocative and emotional, often brash, but funny and always entertaining, Atzmon has a simple, humanistic, and very hopeful message: If you want to feel better, then make peace with justice with those people, with the Palestinians. This whole thing can be started, and perhaps as much as half of it finished, in the course of a single afternoon.
The Wandering Who? A Study Of Jewish Identity Politics