Jewdas vs. Atzmon
BY Eve Mykytyn
Jewdas has put forth a call to “shut down Atzmon.” Their facebook headline proclaims that they intend to “stop Nazi apologist Jazz.” I had not realized that music could be ‘Nazi apologist.’ Perhaps Atzmon improvised Wagner’s ‘tunes?’ Why do a group of self proclaimed left wing activists attempt to control the music at a jazz venue? Apparently Jewdas has decreed that Atzmon’s crimes are so heinous that they are entitled to dictate to other Londoners what music they may listen to.
Created in London more than a decade ago, Jewdas describes itself as “radical Jewish voices” who see themselves as at odds with most of Britain’s mainstream Jewish organizations. The group claims to oppose capitalism and racism and is critical of Israel and its treatment of Palestinians. Last year, Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn was denounced for celebrating passover with Jewdas because, according to the New York Times, Jewdas’s name, [a play on Judas] and antics, “risk stoking age-old myths and hatreds that have led to anti-Semitic violence.”
A visit to Jewdas’ web site is instructive. Jewdas is obsessed with antisemitism. “Antisemitism, like all racism, is poison and must be defeated.” Jewdas claims that the secret to ending antisemitism is for Jewish institutions not to “ally themselves with the rich and their political parties.” It seems that Jewdas differs from the ultra Zionist Committee Against Antisemitism only in tactics.
Watch Jewdas fabricate ‘antisemitic’ quotes:
The version of history put forth by Jewdas is remarkably judeo centric claiming that Jews were what maintained the nobility and are now what protects the wealthy. Mendi Medem writes “[in the past] antisemitism was encouraged in order to direct the public’s attention away from its exploitation, today antisemitism is vilified in order to divert public support away from the best chance for better living than we’ve had in decades.” To Jewdas, antisemitism is the penultimate discrimination, used first by the nobility to protect themselves from the masses apparently by arranging it so that the peasants would attack the Jews rather than the nobility; and is now used now to “control the conversation: as long as we (the public, that is) are reading and thinking about antisemitism, we’re not thinking about class oppression.” I guess they pity the poor who somehow don’t know they are poor because they are thinking instead about antisemitism.
Jewdas even addresses its exclusively Jewish membership, without, of course, acknowledging that a biological test for inclusion is, by definition, racist. Apparently a nonJew can be admitted as an ‘honorary Jew’ if they take the tongue in cheek test to discover if they have a ‘Jewish’ soul. In other words, only Jews are allowed but maybe with the joking inclusion of nonJewish wannabes. This does not seem like left wing, the people vs the capitalists ideology to me, but then I did not pass their test.
So what has Atzmon done to earn Jewdas’ wrath? Atzmon writes that identity politics are anathema to the true left. According to Atzmon, by dividing us into biologically determined identity groups, the new left has diverted the causes that should be those of the left: decent education, housing, jobs and healthcare for all. It is clear that Atzmon opposes groups like Jewdas who form their membership by race.
Jewdas can’t take on this argument. Are they, self-proclaimed radicals. going to oppose a decent living for all? Certainly not, although you would be hard pressed to find political arguments for such equality on their site. Instead, Jewdas reverts to the shibboleth of “Nazi apologist.” An earlier version of their facebook page accuse Atzmon of Holocaust skepticism (my wording, not theirs).
Atzmon is neither a Nazi apologist nor a holocaust denier. I’m not familiar with the unidentified work of Atzmon’s in which he apologizes for the Nazis. Perhaps in making such a claim Jewdas itself should identify their source. As for ‘holocaust denier’ Atzmon has simply made the point that the holocaust, like all historical crises (slavery, Armenian genocide, Rwanda, etc. etc.) should be open to intellectual examination. In fact, the more we can actually study the holocaust for real the more likely we will be able to avoid repeating its horrors.
Jewdas has somehow tried Atzmon, found him guilty of disproven, unspecified or imaginary crimes, and sentenced Londoners to have to put up with Jewdas protests in order to listen to jazz. Community activist Boaz Ben Hanoch, justifies harassing the music venue, claiming, “The Vortex hails itself as a community venue but by hosting, promoting and giving a platform to Atzmon who mixes his politics with his music, the club is supporting his beliefs.” Hanoch’s statement is first and foremost a statement in opposition to free speech rights, providing a platform does not constitute agreement, but in any case his claim that Atzmon mixes politics with music is simply wrong. I assume Hanoch has not heard Atzmon in concert, the only thing remotely to do with Jewish in his music act is a penchant for bad jokes.
When asked why he doesn’t simply report Atzmon to the police for ‘hate’ speech, Hanoch claims Atzmon disguises his ‘hate’ speech in a mysterious code. Hanoch noted: “ Gilad is a master of the art of shrouding a lot of what he says in psychobabble. It’s not easy to pin him down in those kinds of contexts.” Perhaps Hanoch’s problem stems not from an inability to pin Atzmon down, but rather from Hanoch’s failure to read or understand Atzmon’s work.
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