|Writer, Musician Gilad Atzmon|
Why Would Supposed Palestinian Activists Attack Gilad Atzmon?
Last week, Ali Abunimah, editor of a blog called “Electronic Intafada” published a letter cosigned by a group of moderately to well known “activists” quite violently attacking Gilad Atzmon of Veterans Today.
The letter began attacking Atzmon for his recent work, The Wandering Who, a discourse on Jewish identity, which has drawn violent criticism.
Who are these critics? They are advocates for war on Iran, lobbyists for military aid for Israel and, of course, the avowed enemies of the Palestinian people.
Now this group is joined by what is meant to appear to be the real spokesmen for the Palestinian cause. This, however, on closer examination is everything but the truth.
What is the truth? The truth isn’t simple but I hope it is at least interesting. The conflict between Israel and the Palestinian people is one of the most misrepresented and costly in world history.
Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have fled their homes with most living in barbaric conditions justified by a mythology sold to a gullible world by media owned and controlled by extremist groups tied to Israel’s Likudist party.
I invited Gilad Atzmon, a veteran of the IDF, to join Veterans Today as a columnist several years ago. He was carefully vetted by an informal organization that includes among its staff and sources many, if not most, of the world’s intelligence communities “heavy hitters.”We had learned that much that had been represented as “conspiracy” was what we dealt with as everyday reality and that the mainstream media and, worst of all, the cowardly academics whose bumbling helped certify mythology as temporary truth was a betrayal of honor and values.
When reading Ali Abunimah, I can see some of his points on Atzmon’s book, at least from his sociological side.
However, a geopolitical realist should know the power and influence the Jewish people have attained and how the changes in that sector, their gullibility, their move to the right, their abandonment of humanistic values, has negatively impacted the world.
Atzmon’s explanation of this is “spot on” the value of which Abunimah seems to miss. This is excusable, of course, disagreement is a part of dialog. However, Abunimah may well not be the “honest player” he seems.
I had mentioned the vetting Atzmon went thorough. We find him courageous, tireless and extremely open and honest. We do not find the same of his critics.
We find them effete, inherently a pack of petty plotters and utterly lacking in what Americans call “the right stuff.” These are a pack of characters out of a Kafka novel, petty bureaucrats, minor intellects, “arm chair dissidents” or worse, controlled opposition.Some time ago, as information involving the war on terror, the invasion of Iraq and the attacks of 9/11 debunked, without question, the cover story sold at very high price by the west, a benchmark was created by which we could separate goats, sheep and the occasional wolf in our midst.
Dr. Alan Sabrosky presented the initial evidence tying Israel to 9/11. I received direct confirmations through high ranking sources in Israel and Russia. Then evidence began piling up, volumes of it, which is available in Veterans Today, evidence unassailed by our critics of Atzmon.
This evidence constitutes a “third rail” for certain groups in Israel and elsewhere who have helped lead the world to a decade of warfare and economic collapse.
During that time, however, while most Palestinians suffered, some have done very well for themselves, have thrived on the status quo.
Atzmon is criticized for his position on 9/11, one we see as, not just supportable but the only reality based possibility. It is also a position, not just accepted throughout the Islamic world but through scholars and military experts by the thousands who have been quite outspoken.
The “cover story” on 9/11 is dead, killed by hard science and Israel’s involvement is proven by evidence, not conjecture.
The opposition depends on the type of bullying and invective used by Ali Abunimah of “Electronic Intafada,” what seems to be a well coordinated “ganging on” done in cooperation it seems, with Alan Dershowitz and Abe Foxman of the ADL.
Normally, this should seem impossible, perhaps a coincidence or is something more sinister at hand, is Lenin’s old addage, “If you want to control the opposition, be the opposition,” rearing its ugly head?
We have Atzmon on one side, with his powerful criticism of Israeli apartheid, of Israeli involvement in 9/11 and, most dangerous of all, his willingness to listen to historical revisionists who question the word from heaven itself, the version of the holocaust that has been used to justify persecution of the Palestinian people.
For those of us who are students of history out of necessity rather than profit, the use of the holocaust to justify apartheid, even slaughter, has made the official version suspect. Under closer examination, substantial portions of the holocaust, as insisted on, are pure Marxism, creations of the Stalinist state that built the “demonstration” gas chambers and smoke stacks at the camps now used as tourist attractions.
At some point, more than just the Soviets or their Zionist and/or Marxist friends went that extra step, insisting on blind obedience to a version of history defended, not often with the gun or sword but more often with the use of sociological controls, perhaps more political, the press used as a weapon, “defense” organizations used to intimidate and, in particular, economic power that is very Jewish, the most powerful economic group on earth, that can get anyone who strays from the Marxist path removed from gainful employment.
So many of Atzmon’s Palestinian or purported Palestinian foes live at the behest of the sworn enemy of their blood, who they criticize with carefully controlled and carefully orchestrated regularity.
If Jews have built a society of the mythology of victimization as Atzmon contends, then a similar society exists among Palestinians. If such groups stifle dialog and truth, if such groups tend toward reaching a plateau as it were of controlled criticism, much is explained.
We can now easily see how, despite the efforts of world leaders for decades, the plight of the Palestinian people has steadily deteriorated. An axiom, ill applied, one from a Godfather film; “Keep your friends close but keep your enemies closer.”
Watching and undermining Atzmon, perhaps the only effective voice for the Palestinian people other than Ken O’Keefe, also of Veterans Today, would have been wise. Openly attacking Atzmon accomplished only one thing, it exposed to the world that the plight of the Palestinian people continues because many who would be “among them” but who are far from it profit from the suffering of others.
Victimization is not a Jewish industry, but rather an industry for those who exploit and control the Jews. It creates, as I see it, a permanent feeling of rejection, of being hated, of being inferior. It also pre-stages a people for accepting lies as truth and for brutality under the guise of “race defense” or, perhaps most shameful of all, religious will as expressed by a people I know from vast personal experience to reject religion as superstition.
Thus, the order went out to silence Atzmon. When Abe Foxman, whose continual accusations against any who threaten the geopolitical will of the ultra-nationalist Likudist dictatorship in Israel, the call of “antismite” rings continually, a joke to those who note Foxman’s demeanor and duplicity for what it so obviously is, it is strange but not unexpected to hear the answering call from the “controlled opposition.”
Foxman had tried to cash in on the decades old media popularity of Ron Silver, the charismatic actor who played Dershowitz in film. The real Dershowitz has taken on more of the demeanor and “like-ability” of Dick Cheney of late, hardly a defender of human rights, the man he may well have been at one time.
Dershowitz’s cynicism is deep as a well, you can see it on his face, in his every gesture.
This leaves us with Gilad Atzmon to travel the world, as he calls himself, “the Wandering Who,” a stateless being, British by citizenship, musician by trade, “stand-up” comic when need requires, to defend, not so much the Palestinian people but humanity and the travels his own life has set before him.
Our Palestinian blogger, perhaps the “controlled opposition,” 40 years in intelligence work leads me to assuming that rather easily, isn’t a shadow of Atzmon. Bloggers are generally anticharismatic figures, and we certainly have one who has collected more of his ilk at his side.
Are they betrayers?
I think so. I think you can’t defend the Palestinian people unless you are willing to challenge the cynicism that sells the holocaust as though it were a brand of soap. In a world wrought with technicalities and absurdity, even I may be considered a holocaust survivor, definitions have gone that far.
The real problem is that there is an actual shared victimization, one that should bring about understanding, concensus and humanity, rather than the gamesmanship and lies we are now subjected to. Collective suffering when used to excuse criminality or when exploited for political and economic reasons denies the humanity of all.
I represent a group, soldiers, those who serve their nations as the eyes and ears of truth, or so I would tell myself. Among our number are traitors and war criminals. We also have millions who have suffered and given all for what they truely believe to have been truth and honor.
Maybe they were wrong, certainly the case can be made that all war is offensive and economic. A dead 19 year old on a battlefield somewhere, a grieving parent will find no solace in that.
Atzmon is a dangerous man. He is human when those who oppose him are not. They will never appear on stage with him, they become invisible, smaller with every word until they finally disappear. An audience would ask, “Who was that other person, I didn’t like them.”
To me it is even more simple. If, for over six decades, great intellectuals, the best “thinkings”, as they will gladly tell you, of their time, lay out plans for the future, for the salvation of the people of Israel or Judea or Palestine, whatever they call it, one can only look and judge, judge by the results.
What we have has to be what they wanted.
As with anyone of honesty, there will always be one admission. We are but the children of the playground, albeit Kipling’s ”playing fields” or the sandlots of Detroit I was raised on. I learned of children there and the lessons I learned taught me what I needed to survive wars, too many wars, to retain what humanity possible. to learn loyalty and to understand what “heart” and “honor” really mean.
I simply like Gilad Atzmon. He is a “good kid.” Of our others, I don’t know all but have learned to understand and deal with bullying when I see it.
I see it. It is the flag of weakness, physical weakness, hatred of self and intellectual inferiority.
All I can say is this: “Good luck with that.”
A Response to Ali Abunimah & Co.
by Gilad AtzmonAli Abunimah & Co tend to present themselves as advocates of “One Democratic State in Palestine.” This leaves me puzzled: what kind of democracy do they have in mind, exactly? For by calling for my “disavowal,” they prove beyond a doubt that they cannot tolerate even some elementary cultural criticism—criticism that is endorsed and praised by some of the most respected thinkers within our movement and beyond.
In fact, I am pretty delighted with the outraged reactions to my thoughts. I guess it enables us to map the discourse and its boundaries—and means that those boundaries are now official. Not only has my latest book, The Wandering Who?, rocked the boat, but it also has managed to unite Alan Dershowitz and Abe Foxman with Ali Abunimah and Max Blumenthal. That is pretty encouraging: it means that peace may prevail after all.
However, I also have some bad news for my would-be silencers, Palestinian and Jewish alike. I do not have any plans to slow down or drift away. I am a jazz musician and an independent thinker. I am basically a free agent—I say what I think and think what I say. The popularity of my writing among Palestinians, solidarity activists and truth seekers is the direct outcome of my sincere approach to the subject matter.
Whether my detractors accept it or not, the strength of my arguments is grounded on the transparent truthful nature of my premises. Until now, not one of my opponents has been able to point out a single discrepancy within my argument or the facts I cite. For instance, I contend that since Israel defines itself as the Jewish State—its tanks and planes decorated with Jewish symbols—it is our duty to ask: Who are the Jews? What is Judaism? And what is Jewishness all about?
The fact that some activists shy away from asking those questions doesn’t mean that the rest of us also should behave cowardly.
In case my detractors—be they Zionists, Anti-Zionist Zionists or Palestinians—fail to realize it, Palestine is not alone anymore, and is no longer an isolated, remote discourse. Even as I write, AIPAC is publicly and relentlessly pushing America into a new global conflict. In Britain, 80 percent of Tory MPs are members of the Conservative Friends of Israel. What we are witnessing here is a clear Zionist shift from the discourse of a “promised land” to one of a “promised planet.” I’m convinced that calling a spade a spade could actually save the world, including Americans, Brits, Iranians and Palestinians. But it also can save the Jews from the grave potential consequences inflicted on them by the Jewish lobbies.
Sadly, Ali Abunimah has misrepresented my thoughts. Clearly there is no racism, anti-Semitism or Holocaust denial in my writing. As determined as my detractors are to find it, they have failed to identify a single bit of evidence of such tendencies in my work. Ali Abunimah says on my behalf that “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.” What a ludicrous interpretation of my writing, in which I go out of my way to define the issue in categorical terms. What I am obviously opposing is Jewish racial exclusivity. If Israel is in the wrong for being a Jews-only State, I argue, then its Jewish critics better fight it using an inclusive, universalist ideology and practice.
I am indeed critical of Jewish identity politics, Jewish culture and Jewish ideology. I am also critical of the Jewish cultural attitude toward history. I am critical of Jewishness and any form of Jewish exclusive political activism. And yet, I wonder, why should any person who seeks justice and peace object to my approach? Is Jewish culture or identity politics beyond criticism? Are Jews chosen after all.
I am sorry to disappoint my Palestinian and Jewish opposition league, but it seems as if their terminology is faulty and misleading: Zionism is not colonialism, for colonialism is defined as a material exchange between a Mother State and a Settler State. The fact that there is no Jewish Mother State suggests that Zionism doesn’t fit the colonial model.
Nor is Israel an Apartheid State, for Apartheid is defined by the exploitation of the indigenous residents. Yet the Jewish State prefers that the Palestinians simply and completely disappear. In other words, we are dealing here with a unique racially driven expansionist philosophy not very different from the Nazis’ Lebensraum.
Israel is not Zionism, and vice versa. Israel is the outcome of the Zionist project. If Zionism is a promise to establish a “Jewish National Home in Palestine,” Israel is its post-revolutionary product. Indeed, Israelis are barely familiar with Zionist thought and ideology. From their perspective, anti-Zionist ranting is a remote Diaspora discourse.
Shalom does not mean peace, reconciliation or harmony. Its accurate English translation is “security for the Jews.” Israeli culture lacks a clear notion of “peace” as we know it—i.e., harmony and reconciliation.
I suggest that my detractors spend some time and think this through, so they can understand that the issues involving this conflict and its resolution go far beyond mere political discourse.
I would like to take this opportunity to advise my opponents that their campaign is counterproductive. Those who are interested in my ideas realize that we are living in a post-political and post-ideological era. Like myself, they are interested in an ethical argument. They are not “party members,” and they are not taking “orders” from any sectarian group or ideology. Instead they listen to their hearts. Those pro-Palestinian organizations sponsoring my current U.S. book tour realize very well that my work galvanizes a demarcation line between truth and its enemies.
In spite of the relentless slander campaign against my writing, it has not achieved a thing except to expose a rigorous intellectual intolerance in our midst. If my opposition is concerned with my thoughts, it will have to learn to debate. Before we can proceed, I guess, my detractors may have to actually read my book and decide exactly what they are against.
Last night Ali Abunimah and other respected Palestinian writers and activists signed a statement calling for “The Disavowal of the Racism and Antisemitism of Gilad Atzmon,” who is winding up his U.S. tour with events in Washington, DC today and tomorrow. The Washington Report is convinced that Atzmon’s interview tonight by Prof. Norton Mezvinsky couldn’t come at a better time.
Please read Abunimah’s statement and Atzmon’s response below. Then come to tonight’s discussion and decide for yourself whether to shun Atzmon or engage him in debate. For those who want to further explore the renowned jazz musician’s ideas and music, copies of Atzmon’s latest book, The Wandering Who?, as well as his three CDs, will be available for purchase.
Wednesday, March 14, 6:30-8:30 PM Gilad Atzmon is interviewed by Prof. Norton Mezvinsky, (Connecticut State University Professor of History Emeritus) at Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church, 900 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20001 (free, open to public, light dinner)
Thursday, March 15, 5-6:30 PM DC Peace House, 1233 12th St. NW, Washington DC 20005