Skip to main content

I had initially written an article on this subject in order to show my enthusiasm with the denunciation of Gilad Atzmon by many pro-Palestinians activists in a letter they signed. I have always held the belief that people like Atzmon and Shamir cross the line from criticism of Israel to the demonization of the Jewish people.

I believe the flaw in my original diary was that I did not denounce some of the wrong reasoning and hostility to Zionism I saw in the letter in the diary itself but rather the comments section. So in good conscience I wish to start over and express my denunciation of both the letter and Atzmon.

I wish to see the Israel-Palestine conflict resolved as soon as possible. Too many lives have been lost and too many people have suffered in both Israel and Palestine.

However, I do not believe that this conflict can be resolved as long as both sides hate, demonize and reduce the opposing side from a human being to an “Other.”

That is why I am glad to see that many Muslims and Pro-Palestinian activists have rejected the utter bigotry of Gilad Atzmon in a letter signed by the likes of Columbia University Professor, Joseph Massad, and poet Rafeef Ziadah.

The letter reads in part:

With this letter, we call for the disavowal of Atzmon by fellow Palestinian organizers, as well as Palestine solidarity activists, and allies of the Palestinian people, and note the dangers of supporting Atzmon’s political work and writings and providing any platforms for their dissemination. We do so as Palestinian organizers and activists, working across continents, campaigns, and ideological positions.
Atzmon's politics rest on one main overriding assertion that serves as springboard for vicious attacks on anyone who disagrees with his obsession with “Jewishness”. He claims that all Jewish politics is “tribal,” and essentially, Zionist. Zionism, to Atzmon, is not a settler-colonial project, but a trans-historical “Jewish” one, part and parcel of defining one’s self as a Jew. Therefore, he claims, one cannot self-describe as a Jew and also do work in solidarity with Palestine, because to identify as a Jew is to be a Zionist. We could not disagree more. Indeed, we believe Atzmon’s argument is itself Zionist because it agrees with the ideology of Zionism and Israel that the only way to be a Jew is to be a Zionist.
Palestinians have faced two centuries of orientalist, colonialist and imperialist domination of our native lands. And so as Palestinians, we see such language as immoral and completely outside the core foundations of humanism, equality and justice, on which the struggle for Palestine and its national movement rests. As countless Palestinian activists and organizers, their parties, associations and campaigns, have attested throughout the last century, our struggle was never, and will never be, with Jews, or Judaism, no matter how much Zionism insists that our enemies are the Jews. Rather, our struggle is with Zionism, a modern European settler colonial movement, similar to movements in many other parts of the world that aim to displace indigenous people and build new European societies on their lands.
We reaffirm that there is no room in this historic and foundational analysis of our struggle for any attacks on our Jewish allies, Jews, or Judaism; nor denying the Holocaust; nor allying in any way shape or form with any conspiracy theories, far-right, orientalist, and racist arguments, associations and entities. Challenging Zionism, including the illegitimate power of institutions that support the oppression of Palestinians, and the illegitimate use of Jewish identities to protect and legitimize oppression, must never become an attack on Jewish identities, nor the demeaning and denial of Jewish histories in all their diversity.
http://hurryupharry.org/....

Now just to be clear I am not in total agreement with the content of letter. The letter claims that:

“Rather, our struggle is with Zionism, a modern European settler colonial movement, similar to movements in many other parts of the world that aim to displace indigenous people and build new European societies on their lands.”

which I think hurts the peace-process. We must begin to recognize that under international law, Israel is a nation and that the Jewish people have a right to self-determination. Simultaneously we must also recognize that under international law the Palestinian people also have a right to self-determination

If this is not our starting point then the peace-process will inevitably fail and I believe the letter fails to convey this message.

However  the letter, is a gradual step forward and by signing this letter these Palestinian activists have refused to mix Anti-Semitism and the degradation of the Jewish people as a whole, with their quest for Palestinian rights.

But what makes Atzmon an Anti-Semite? Hussein Ibish of the Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee explains:
 

Atzmon calls himself a leftist, but in a straightforwardly racist manner distinguishes between genuine Marxism and a pathological Jewish version: "Jewish Marxism is very different from Marxism or socialism in general. While Marxism is a universal paradigm, its Jewish version is very different. It is there to mould Marxist dialectic into a Jewish subservient precept. Jewish Marxism is basically a crude utilisation of ‘Marxist-like’ terminology for the sole purpose of the Jewish tribal cause. It is a Judeo-centric pseudo intellectual setting which aims at political power." According to Atzmon, "Jewish Marxism is there to suppress any form of engagement with the Jewish question by means of spin. It is there to stop scrutiny of Jewish power and Jewish lobbying." As Andy Newman correctly noted in The Guardian, "This is a wild conspiracy argument, dripping with contempt for Jews."
Atzmon has also disturbingly argued that, "American Jewry makes any debate on whether the "Protocols of the elder of Zion" [sic] are an authentic document or rather a forgery irrelevant. American Jews (in fact Zionists) do control the world." Atzmon argues that he is only referring to Zionists and not Jews, so these comments cannot be considered anti-Semitic. Yet the first sentence in the passage clearly refers to “American Jewry” in general and the second to “American Jews” which he describes in general as being “in fact Zionists.” His disclaimers are completely unconvincing and are absolutely belied by the language and structure of his text, which are not equivocal. It's also noteworthy that this article appears to have been permanently removed from his website, but it can still be accessed here. As Atzmon himself notes, the bracketed comment “in fact Zionists” does not appear in his original text, and he added it later to try to establish that his essay “contains no anti-Semitic or anti Jewish sentiment." I'd challenge any reader of the full original text linked above to agree with that assessment.
http://www.ibishblog.com/....
Until Arabs and Jews see each other as equals, as brothers and sisters and as one human family, sharing one world there will never be peace. Anti-Semitism is the antithesis of all of this.
Poll

Are you for the two-state solution or the one-state solution to resolve the Israel-Palestine conflict?

67%19 votes
32%9 votes

| 28 votes | Vote | Results

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Never heard of "Gilad Atzmon" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Karl Rover

    And I consider myself pretty well-informed on these issues.

    "The two pioneering forces of modern sensibility are Jewish moral seriousness and homosexual aestheticism and irony." Susan Sontag

    by Shane Hensinger on Fri Mar 16, 2012 at 05:38:57 PM PDT

    •  I'm surprised. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RedPencil

      He is a fairly well-known figure, and has been the subject of several diaries here.

      •  Oh, he's a saxaphonist (0+ / 0-)

        I wonder what Michael Bolton thinks about Afghanistan - perhaps we can ask him and then discuss Michael Bolton's opinions?

        Remind me again why I give a shit what Gilad Atzmon thinks about politics in the Middle East?

        "The two pioneering forces of modern sensibility are Jewish moral seriousness and homosexual aestheticism and irony." Susan Sontag

        by Shane Hensinger on Fri Mar 16, 2012 at 08:23:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You may not, but to a slew of anti-Zionists... (0+ / 0-)

          he is a hero, which also says something about them.

          •  It does (0+ / 0-)

            I just read up on him. He sounds pretty awful. But he also seems like a very marginal figure who is even more marginalized now.

            This whole issue reminds me of the internecine conflicts between various Marxist factions - splits between Maoists, Leninists, Stalinists and Trotskyites. To the infinitesimal number of people involved in this kind of thing - these conflicts are extremely riveting. To 99.9999999999999999999999999999% of the rest of the people on the planet - no one cares.

            "The two pioneering forces of modern sensibility are Jewish moral seriousness and homosexual aestheticism and irony." Susan Sontag

            by Shane Hensinger on Fri Mar 16, 2012 at 08:36:18 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  adbusters seems to like him a bit (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FG

      They give him a lot or coverage.

  •  that's pretty funny (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Flying Goat, debedb
    to the demonetization of the Jewish people
    Where in the World is Gilad Atzmon and Who Cares?

    This Rover crossed over.. Willie Nelson

    by Karl Rover on Fri Mar 16, 2012 at 05:43:58 PM PDT

  •  As I also tried to say yesterday... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shane Hensinger

    some say they only did this to distance themselves from the bad publicity of being associated with Atzmon.

    Their denials of Jewish self-determination and history makes them no less antisemitic.

  •  Your diary sounds like a show trial confession (0+ / 0-)
    I believe the flaw in my original diary was that I did not denounce some of the wrong reasoning and hostility to Zionism I saw in the letter in the diary itself but rather the comments section. So in good conscience I wish to start over and express my denunciation of both the letter the Atzmon.
    I'll just mention that the University of Chicago political scientist John Mearsheimer wrote a blurb for Atzmon's new book and defended it in the Foreign Policy Web site after he got attacked for writing that blurb. Unfortunately, that post at the Foreign Policy Web site got removed today, perhaps because a comment on Shawn Russell's previous diary on this subject linked to it. Who knows why these things happen?

    Fortunately, it is still on Atzmon's own Web site.

    •  I really don't understand what you're trying (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RedPencil

      to either say or imply. I have nothing to do with Mearsheimer's post and in my original diary on this subject also condemned him for his support of Atzmon, along with Richard Falk.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site