Gilad Atzmon

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

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The Real Quenelle: Why French Gefillte Fish Isn't Kosher

By Roger Tucker
The quenelle is first inserted into the cavity...
 
The current flap over the gesture called a “quenelle” is revealing in a number of ways. It’s instructive to look first at a couple of Wikipedia entries. “The word quenelle is derived from the German Knödel (noodle or dumpling)” (which we know from Yiddish cuisine as a knadel). “French political activist and comedian Dieudonné M'bala M'bala is credited with creating and popularizing the gesture, which he first used in 2005 in his sketch entitled 1905 about French secularism and has been used since in a wide variety of contexts.. The first time Dieudonné used the gesture in a political context was for his 2009 European election campaign poster for the "anti-Zionist party", he stated that his intention was "to put a quenelle into Zionism's butt"..  “The name quenelle comes from an elongated fish meatballs dish, which is said to look like a suppository. Hence, the phrase 'mettre une quenelle' ('to give someone the quenelle'), with a gesture simulating fisting practice, is similar to the English 'up yours'. The arm outstretched refers to the length of the arm going up one's bottom." Such a rich word, with so many Jewish-related meanings.
 
“When French footballer Nicolas Anelka of West Bromwich Albion F.C. performed the quenelle to celebrate scoring a goal on 28 December 2013, the gesture, which was already considered ‘something of a viral trend’ in France, became an international news story and one of the most searched terms on Google. Anelka described the gesture as anti-establishment rather than religious in nature, and said he did a quenelle as a "special dedication" to his friend Dieudonné. However, French minister for sport Valérie Fourneyron called his actions "shocking" and "disgusting", adding: "There’s no place for anti-Semitism on the football field.." In response to the incident, club sponsor Zoopla announced that it would not continue its sponsorship deal with West Bromwich after the 2013–14 season..” (The Wikipedia entry fails to mention that Zoopla is co-owned by Jewish businessman Alex Chesterman.) “Each year, the ‘Golden Quenelle’, (Quenelle d'Or) is given, in a parody of the Oscar ceremony, to the people who expressed the most anti-establishment views.”  Quelle phénomène!
 
Enough from Wikipedia; let’s move on. Is the quenelle anti-semitic, anti-Zionist or anti-establishment? That is the question that seems to crop up all the time  and encapsulates the theme of this essay. As in the case of the quenelle, a gesture, like a word, can have different meanings depending on who is displaying it and in what context. The more is at stake, the more fraught the arguments over interpretation. In the case in question, we have a very hot potato. I think that mashed potatoes make a lovely complement to a well made quenelle.
 
Let’s ask another question. Why is this brouhaha important, if indeed it is? From the tribal Jewish perspective, they obviously feel very threatened. We could ignore that, because Jewish voices have been crying wolf forever. But somehow this is different - who is being attacked? The Jews? The Zionists? The Establishment? Aha! It’s all three! It’s the conflation, the melding of meanings, that bothers them the most, because it cements the linkage. This is the genius of Dieudonné. The professional victims are being exposed by the real victims, their victims. The expert, talmudic manipulators are being out-manipulated. Tribal Jewry is being hoist on its own petard. Gotta love it.
 
When I refer to 'them', i.e., tribal Jewry, the reference is not ethnic nor is it religious; it is memetic, a cultural identity. I am Jewish, by birth and upbringing, but the tribal identification didn't take. I didn’t ingest the memes; instead, I spat them out. The taste didn't agree with me. I chose to regard myself simply as human. Moreover, I am more than happy to act and to advocate on behalf of that identity group. This view is generally referred to as humanist, or universalist. A universalist chooses the human race as his or her tribe. Conflicts generally arise because people choose to identify with some secondary, lesser category.
 
To neatly characterize what the terms ‘Jewish’, ‘Zionist’ and ‘the Establishment’ add up to in combination, we do have a potentially useful word - fascism. The accepted dictionary definition is, sadly, inadequate and misleading, which is why many people regard the word as essentially meaningless. It needs to be redefined, because, properly defined, it would be extremely useful. Fortunately, there has been an honest attempt at doing so. I know it's a good one because I wrote it. No false modesty here. See 'Us vs. Them: On the meaning of Fascism'. Then you'll be up to speed and we can proceed.
 
Pause, followed by further elucidation...
 
Abuse of power, combined with some sense of supremacy or entitlement is at the heart of fascism, which distinguishes it from tribal pride and self-respect. That's why, when confronted by the police, demonstrators invariably shout "fascist pig!" Throughout history there has been an ongoing battle between numerous outbreaks of fascism and what could best be described by the quaint old word, civilization, just ordinary human society in some stable, non-aggressive form. Oh, as for the canard that the quenelle is an inverted Nazi salute, see Zionism and Nazism: Is there a difference that makes a difference?
 
The three main forms of fascism are ethnic, religious and nationalist. In the current conflict between tribal Jewry and the rest of the world, all three are in play - secular Jewish ethno-centrism, Judaism in its various forms (it is hard to imagine a non-fascist Judaism – they would have to throw out the Old Testament) and bellicose Israeli nationalism.  It's the perfect storm.
 
Jewish culture has been around for a long time. Some Jews, as well as gentiles, have recognized it as the source of 'the Jewish problem.' For example, “If this hostility, even aversion, had only been shown towards the Jews at one period and in one country, it would be easy to unravel the limited causes of this anger, but this race has been on the contrary an object of hatred to all the peoples among whom it has established itself. It must be therefore, since the enemies of the Jews belonged to the most diverse races, since they lived in countries very distant from each other, since they were ruled by very different laws, governed by opposite principles, since they had neither the same morals, nor the same customs, since they were animated by unlike dispositions which did not permit them to judge of anything in the same way, it must be therefore that the general cause of anti-Semitism has always resided in Israel itself and not in those who have fought against Israel.”
~ Statement regarding the expulsions of Jews, by noted Jewish author Bernard Lazare in “L’antisémitisme, son histoire et ses causes,”published in 1894
 
Over the millennia, the nature of the problem has hardly changed at all, except for the innovation of there being a Jewish State, which, ironically, was created for the specific purpose of solving the problem. Instead, 'The Problem' has metastasized from a persistent source of pain and suffering into a world threatening disease. This will only get worse until the unholy trinity of Jewish tribal identity, Zionism and the Establishment disintegrates and the leaders of “the Free World” stop prostrating before the altar of the Golden Calf.

In the meantime, we the people have the le grand geste de Dieudonné to keep our spirits up.
 
Vive Dieudonné et la Quenelle!

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