The Saker interviews Gilad Atzmon
It has been already 6 years since I interviewed Gilad for the first time and when a friend recently suggested that it was time for a new conversation, I immediately agreed, as did Gilad who, in spite of his over-booked and hectic lifestyle took the time to reply to my questions. Gilad is, in my opinion, not only the most original and talented jazz musician currently composing and playing (make sure to get his latest CD “The Whistle Blower“), he is also an extremely profound philosopher who has the amazing courage not only to ask the key questions, but to also answer them. His book “The Wandering Who” is, I strongly believe, a must read for anybody wanting to see through the “fog” of modern “Jewish anti-Zionism”. As somebody who has gotten his share of hate mail, I can only begin to imagine the kind of hate-filled poison which Gilad has had to put up with for his courage and even though he will not speak about it, I will say that it takes exceptional courage and moral strength to do what Gilad did and is still doing. So, with no hyperbole at all, but quite literally, I will say that Gilad Atzmon is a modern hero whose courage and phenomenal intellect will, I am sure, eventually be recognized as one of the most brilliant ones of our time. I am deeply honored that he considers me to be a friend.
Q&A with Gilad Atzmon
The Saker: Since our last interview in 2009 the world has changed a lot and in many ways. In your opinion, has the global resistance to the Empire grown stronger or weaker over these years and why? What about the current regime in Israel, do you see it weakening or not?
Gilad Atzmon: It all depends on how you define the ‘Empire.’ Is the empire the market forces that drive global capitalism? Is it the Neocons who push us into Zionist wars, one after the other? Or maybe it is the tyranny of correctness that suppresses our ability to think authentically? Is it possible that these three are mere symptoms of an obscure impetus we are yet to be able to define or even grasp?
In my recent writing I argue that Jewish power is the ability to silence criticism of Jewish power. This observation helps us to adopt a transcendental take on issues of the ‘empire’ and the negative powers that dominate our lives. Instead of talking about the empire, we must first identify the forces that prevent us from talking about the empire. We are getting very close to that bone now.
A growing number of commentators are now willing openly to challenge Jewish power. I assume that the rapidly growing Jewish fear of ‘anti Semitism’ relates to the fact that many Jews are also fearful of the extent of the power that is held by other Jews and is closely related to the ‘empire’.
This leads us to Israel and its Jewish Lobby. I think that in the last two years we have witnessed a clear transformation. Western leadership says no to Zionist warmongering. I guess they have had enough of these disastrous futile wars.
The Saker: You have recently written an amazing book entitled “The Wondering Who” in which you made a seminal analysis of Jewish identity politics. You clearly explained that you differentiated between Jews (the people), Judaism (the religion) and Jewish-ness (the ideology) and that you were only interested in the latter, in Jewish identity politics. I can understand why you would not want to deal with Jews as a people, especially since you say that they do not form “any kind of racial continuum”, but your setting aside Judaism is more problematic for me. Yes, Neturei Karta is anti-Zionist, but even they are still part of a religious movement we could refer to as “rabbinical Judaism” or “Talmudic Judaism” and, as you well know, Jewish racism has its roots directly in the rabbinical/talmudic interpretation of the Tanakh (The Masoretic version of the Old Testament). Have such famous Judaics as Maimonides, Karo, Luria not greatly contributed to the development of Jewish exceptionalism and racism? Do today’s rabbis in Israel not justify the mass murder of Palestinians precisely by appealing to the numerous and well-known examples of goy-hatred in the Talmud? Finally, since religion is a choice, not a condition, is it not a legitimate target of scrutiny and criticism? Then why have you made the choice not to look into the Judaic roots of modern Jewish-ness and ideology?
Gilad Atzmon: I have come across this question many times and I understand the point made in your question. There is no doubt that Judaism, the Talmud and the Torah contain some devastatingly crude and even inhumane verses and teachings. And yet, traditionally Rabbinical Judaism was very effective in suppressing any manifestation of Jewish collective goy hatred. If Rabbinical Jews were supremacist, as some may forcefully argue, they were also timid. They segregated themselves and, largely kept their anti Goy attitude to themselves.
This changed radically with Jewish secularization. The Godless Jew transformed choseness into a form of a racially driven, tribal privilege. Yuri Slezkine in his invaluable book, ‘The Jewish Century,’ confirms that Jews were ‘Stalin’s willing executioners,’ in the Holodomor, the systematic deadly starvation of millions of Ukrainians in the early 1930s. The demography of the Spanish International Brigade is also revealing. 25% of the Brigade’s combatants were Jewish. Yiddish was the Brigade’s Lingua Franca. We have to ask what is it that motivated these young revolutionaries to fight Catholic Spain? Was it really a battle against Fascism, was Franco a Fascist? Why did they burn so many churches, after all, one would expect these Jewish revolutionaries to first combat rabbinical tyranny and the synagogues. Just a few years later, in 1948, the Nakba – once again, a collective of secular socialist Zionist Jews engaged in a systematic racially motivated ethnic cleansing of Palestine.
The Jews who perpetrated these colossal crimes against humanity were not rabbinical or religious; they were Godless and succumbed to left ideology.
The Saker: You have recently traveled to France and participated in several events with Alain Soral (see here and here). This was not your first trip to France as you had also been there in 2013 were you met Jacob Cohen and had a very interesting discussion with him (see here). I have always felt that the power of the CRIF and UEJF in France was even bigger than the one of AIPAC and ADL in the USA. Would you agree with this?
Gilad Atzmon: Totally. For some time, France has been dominated by a forceful Jewish lobby (CRIF) that has been able to determine the boundaries of discussion as well as freedom in general. It is interesting to examine the treacherous role of the current socialist government in that respect. In some of my recent writing I argue that both Jewish and Left politics contain an element of animosity towards working class people. Jews are generally fearful of the Working Class because it is always that class that turns against them. The Left is also dotted with antagonism towards working people (those who are now reduced into a Workless Class), because of the embarrassing fact that the working people have never joined the promised revolution. In France we see a strong bond between the uniquely unpopular socialist government and a tribal lobby group that is concerned solely with Jewish interests. How embarrassing.
The Saker: Jacob Cohen says that in his opinion the most powerful Zionist organization on the planet is the B’nai B’rith that, in his opinion, is the primary recruiting pool for the Mossad’s sayanim. Do you agree with that? Which organizations, in your opinion, occupy the top positions in the Zionist totem pole?
Gilad Atzmon: Unlike Jacob Cohen I have never been part of the Jewish community and do not necessarily understand the mechanics involved in recruiting Israeli agents and sayanim. I analyze the Jewish tribal operation from philosophical and psychoanalytical perspectives. For instance, I delve into the notion of Jewish fear. I examine how it is fueled by Jewish ID politics (both Zionist and ‘anti’) and how it evolves into action – Aliya, war mongering and so on.
I contend that, to a certain extent, every person who operates within a Jews only political movement, whether it is Max Blumenthal, Philip Weiss, Paul Jay or Abe Foxman is a Sayan. I will elaborate. To operate politically ‘as a Jew’ is to be primarily concerned with Jewish interests rather than universal humanist objectives. Foxman and Blumenthal each advocate what he believes to be ‘good for the Jews.’ However, they clearly do not agree between themselves what is good for the Jews.
The consequence and the deeper meaning of what I say above is that there is no Jewish (collective) answer to the Jewish question.
The Saker: Coming back to the events in France, what is your assessment of the struggle taking place between, on one hand, Alain Soral, Dieudonne and the movement Égalité et Réconciliation and, on the other hand, the French Zionist organizations and the French state? Would you say that the Zionist control over France is weakening or getting stronger?
Gilad Atzmon: It is a crucial question. Many French Jews apparently do not feel safe in France anymore and many have moved to Israel. Is this because they realize that CRIF will eventually cause a disaster for the Jews? Probably.
The Saker: My next question is about words and definitions. For many years already, I have been using the word “Anglo-Zionist Empire” on my blog because I believe that the power structure we are currently dealing with is the successor to the British Empire (the modern “Anglosphere”, the ECHELON countries basically) which has now been ‘injected’ with a Zionist ideology both by Jews and by Zionist Christians, as shown by the power of the Neocons in the USA (for a full explanation see here) The strange thing is that even though the category “Anglo” is an ethnic one and “Zionist” is not (it is an ideological one), I got submerged by hate mail and criticisms for the latter, and only 2 emails objecting to the former. I therefore emailed a few well-known personalities such as Michael Neumann, Shlomo Sand, Norman Finkelstein and you. Neuman and Sand never replied, and here are the relevant parts of my exchange with Norman Finkelstein:
The Saker: For many years I have been using the term “AngloZionist Empire” and this term has frequently been condemned by other bloggers and readers. I have therefore written up a short explanation for my use of that term (see attached document). Could I please ask you to take the time to read through this short text and share with me your reaction. Do you find my usage of this term appropriate or not and, in the latter case, how would you suggest that I describe the “Empire”?
Norman Finkelstein: Israel is a country of 7.5 million people. For such a small country it commits a lot of evil. But it hardly constitutes an empire or one half of an empire. At most it is a junior partner of the US.
The Saker: I never spoke of an AngloIsraeli or a US-Israeli Empire, I spoke of an AngloZionist empire which, for example, includes the millions of Evangelical non-Jewish Zionists in the USA. Do you believe that Zionism is a core component of the US Empire or is that a mistaken notion?
Norman Finkelstein: I haven’t a clue what you mean when you say that “Zionism” is a core component of the US Empire? Professor Chomsky calls himself a Zionist. Is he a core component of the US Empire?
The Saker: as a professor of philosophy you are surely able to see for yourself the logical fallacies in your question; besides that, the first time you conflated Zionism and Israel, the second time you conflated Zionism with Chomsky. If you refuse to answer my question substantively, I would prefer if you said so.
He never replied. So what is going on here? What is your take on my use of the expression “Anglo-Zionist Empire” and why are, in your opinion, Neumann, Sand and Finkelstein so unwilling to engage on this topic?
Gilad Atzmon: As I said earlier on, Jewish power is the ability to restrict or silence criticism of Jewish power. Your dialogue with Finkelstein is an exemplary case of such an operation.
Jewish power is not a Zionist phenomenon. In fact, it is mostly sustained by the Left, by Chomsky type activists, Democracy Now and to a far lesser extent Norman Finkelstein whom I appreciate as an intellectual (though I hardly agree with him on anything). The tactic is obvious. We are pushed to operate within a given discourse that contains some clear boundaries. We are restricted by terminology that is designed to block real scrutiny of the most troubling issues and conceal the truth. And what is this truth? A list of questions to do with Jewishness: the Jewishness of the Jewish State, the extent of the power of the Jewish lobby in the west, the ideological continuum between the Zionist and the ‘anti’ and so on.
The Saker: In our first interview you said that “ethics and morality are far more crucial than some UN decisions” and I also remember you writing elsewhere that future politics will have to be centered on ethics and values rather than on ideology. Could you please elaborate on what you mean exactly and whether you see our world getting closer to that goal or not?
Gilad Atzmon: I believe that it has become much easier to grasp the meaning of my past observation. As time goes by, we are becoming more and more cynical about the dark forces that run our universe. We understand that, rather than being free beings, we have been reduced into mere consumers. While in the past a politician claimed his commitment to the provision of health, education and production, the role of the contemporary politician is to facilitate consumption on behalf of the conglomerates. And yet it is our authentic ethical and empathic awareness that are at the core of our humanist indignation. It is our own ethical judgments that provide us with a compass and leads us toward truth. As the situation seems to be worsening, the more we have to trust our personal ethics that are also universally shared.
The Saker: I have personally come to the conclusion that both racism and nationalism are primarily the ugly offshoots of the 19th century nationalism which itself substituted the traditional religious worship of a God by a secular religion of self-worship which expressed itself in all the subsequent 20th century forms of racism and nationalism. Would you agree with that, or do you think that racism and nationalism are inherent to our (fallen) human nature?
Gilad Atzmon: I think that belonging is inherent to human nature and it takes different shapes at different times. I believe that racism and nationalism have been replaced by ID politics. We are trained to talk ‘as a’- as a Jew, as a black, as a gay, as a disabled person, and the forms of these sectarian political structures are very interesting.
We always have to ask ourselves, who benefits? Don’t we want to be Americans or French again? Or do we prefer to operate within marginal sectarian cosmopolitan ID settings? I am not sure. Again, if health, education and labour are at the core of a healthy society, ID politics operates as a clear obstacle. It prevents us from dealing with ‘real issues.’ We discuss gay marriage and anti-Semitism instead of building factories, hospitals and schools.
The Saker: What is your view of religion in the modern world? Do you agree with the quote attributed to Dostoevsky that “if there is no God, everything is permitted” or do you believe that a non-religious value system is possible? Can we objectively define that this or that is “good” or “bad” without appealing to a religious revelation? Can you imagine a secular system of ethnics?
Gilad Atzmon: I would love to believe that universal ethics is a valid concept and independent of any religious thought. But the evidence of secular genocides around us is unfortunately compelling. I guess that if people are set to kill each other, all they need is an excuse.
The Saker: Lastly, what are your hopes for the future? Do you think that Russia, China and the BRICS will be able to bring down the AngloZionst Empire and that a multi-polar world order based on international law and respect for people’s and nation’s rights is possible, or are you pessimistic about our future?
Gilad Atzmon: I am always optimistic but this doesn’t necessarily mean that things are getting better. It may be possible that Jewish power will be restricted in the near future. It may even be possible that some future Jewish suffering is inevitable and this is, of course, unfortunate. I am confident that the Jewish elite is not going to be affected by such circumstances. If anything, they will be the first to benefit from any such a development. Ask yourself how many Rothschild died in the holocaust? Would Israel have been established without the Shoah? Would the Jews be as powerful without the Holocaust? These are open questions and in order to understand Jewish power we must engage in these topics and grasp once and for all the sophistication of the Jewish tribal matrix, the way in which it evolves and so on…