posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Thursday, 24 November 2011, 10:30
Our decision to ask Raise Your Banners to withdraw its invitation to Gilad Atzmon has caused a lot of controversy from his small, but very vocal, band of supporters. In all the years of writing this blog I don’t think I have received as many abusive and angry emails as I have over this issue, though it must be stressed that many of the emails are from the same two or three people.
I’m sticking to my position – namely that Gilad Atzmon flirts with Holocaust Denial, has supported Holocaust Deniers and is a racist antisemite. I will not be bullied or threatened into silence. HOPE not hate stands for decency, tolerance and equality. I will speak up against racism and antisemtism just as I will campaign against fascism and anti-Muslim prejudice.
Gilad Atzmon supports Holocaust deniers and claims that the established history of the Holocaust is misleading. He attacks Jewish identity in a way that would clearly be recognised as racist if it were about any other minority identity, and claims that because of how Jews behave, in the future people might think Hitler was right about Jews. He tells crude antisemitic jokes and mocks any concerns about antisemitism.
Much of the criticism against our position stems from those who believe that we are part of some Zionist plot which seeks to silence criticism of Israel. Nothing can be further from the truth. To me, this has nothing to do with the Israel/Palestine conflict but merely opposition to a man who makes racist and antisemtic comments.
If David Irving or Nick Griffin voiced Atzmon’s opinions then the Left would be up in arms – and rightly so. Virtually no-one on the left supports Atzmon though most prefer to stay silent than speak out publicly. Even the most strident anti-Zionist Jews in Britain believe Atzmon is antisemitic. The Socialist Workers Party, who used to have an association with Atzmon, have long since distanced themselves from him and even the leadership of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign have let it be known in the last few days that they want no public connection with him. I, however, am not going to stay silent. Wrong is wrong, from whatever quarter it comes from.
Let’s put aside the Israel/Palestine question (after all I have never once vocalised my opinion on this subject though my detractors are quick to accuse me of being part of a co-ordinated Zionist conspiracy) and let’s look at what Gilad Atzmon actually says:
Atzmon’s racism and antisemtisim
Atzmon targets “Jewishness” in his writings and not just Zionism or Israel. He writes about Jewish traits – as though every Jewish person is the same - in a way that is clearly racist. If someone wrote such generalised abuse of African-Caribbean’s then we would be rightly outraged. He claims not to be attacking all Jews, but then writes about Jewish identity and behaviour in a way that effectively treats Jewish people throughout the world as though they are one homogeneous group. We rightly attack the English Defence League for blaming all Muslims for the actions of a few so why should we turn a blind eye to Atzmon’s racism.
Here are a few of Atzmon’s thoughts:
“ Jewishness means supremacy and chauvinism and chosenness, and when it comes to Jewishness I am not a Jew because I am not a follower of Judaism…I deal mainly with Jewishness. What is Jewishness? Jewishness is different forms of tribally or racially oriented supremacy.”
“every single Jewish political discourse... is either already supremacist or on the verge of becoming supremacist.”
The idea of “Jewish supremacism” is most commonly associated with American neo-Nazi and former Klan leader David Duke, who wrote a book of that name. Duke has expressed his admiration for Atzmon’s writings.
Flirting with Holocaust Denial
Atzmon’s views border on Holocaust Denial. He certainly disputes the accepted Holocaust narrative and in doing so heaps praise on holocaust revisionists. Here are a few of his writings on the Holocaust (and these are separate quotes).
“It took me many years to accept that the Holocaust narrative, in its current form, doesn’t make any historical sense. Here is just one little anecdote to elaborate on:
If, for instance, the Nazis wanted the Jews out of their Reich (Judenrein – free of Jews), or even dead, as the Zionist narrative insists, how come they marched hundreds of thousands of them back into the Reich at the end of the war?”
“When I was young and naïve I was also convinced that what they told us about our ‘collective’ Jewish past really happened. I believed it all, the Kingdom of David, Massada, and then the Holocaust: the soap, the lampshade, the death march, the six million.
As it happened, it took me many years to understand that the Holocaust, the core belief of the contemporary Jewish faith, was not at all an historical narrative for historical narratives do not need the protection of the law and politicians”
“I am left puzzled here; if the Nazis ran a death factory in Auschwitz-Birkenau, why would the Jewish prisoners join them at the end of the war? Why didn’t the Jews wait for their Red liberators?”
Again, if Nick Griffin wrote such things we would be outraged. Why are people not outraged with Atzmon saying them?
Support for Holocaust Deniers
Atzmon has been linked to several leading Holocaust Deniers. This should tell us something about his politics.
“The Holocaust religion is also maintained by a massive global financial network...this new religion is coherent enough to define its ‘antichrists’ (Holocaust deniers), and powerful enough to persecute them (through Holocaust-denial and hate-speech laws)...The Holocaust religion is, obviously, Judeo-centric to the bone...This new Jewish religion preaches revenge. It could well be the most sinister religion known to man”.
“If you look for instance at the Jewish academics looking into the notion of the Holocaust, the history of the Holocaust, the research is really lacking. I think that the Holocaust must be looked again and again and again and again and as it happens, actually the only people who are doing it are actually Revisionists.”
“the [Nazi] death marches were actually humane.”
Atzmon also distributed a Holocaust Denial article, “The Holocaust Wars”, written by Holocaust Denier Paul Eisen, which Atzmon has described as a ‘great text’. This great text is notorious for its defence and espousal of amongst others Ernst Zundel, the convicted Holocaust denier.
Another of Atzmon’s associates is the infamous Nazi Israel Shamir, another Holocaust denier with links to many white supremacist and Nazi groups. Atzmon has described Shamir as a ‘unique and advanced thinker’.
Here are a few more interesting Aztmon quotes.
* Antisemitic caricatures
“Some Jews are rather unhappy with Charles Dickens’ Fagin and Shakespeare’s Shylock, who they regard as ‘anti Semitic’...On the other hand, the British Holocaust Educational Trust (HET) has managed to plant Anne Frank within the British curriculum...Fagin is the ultimate plunderer, a child exploiter and usurer. Shylock is the bloodthirsty merchant. With Fagin and Shylock in mind, the Israeli treatment of the Palestinians seems to be just a further event in and endless hellish continuum.”
* In the future, people may think Hitler was right
Atzmon argues that the Middle East conflict may lead some people to conclude that Hitler may have been right about the Jews. For example, in the apocalyptic scenario of nuclear war between Iran and Israel:
“I guess that amongst the survivors of such a nightmare scenario, some may be bold enough to argue that ‘Hitler might have been right after all.’”
* Crude racist jokes
At a recent talk in Norway, Atzmon told this joke:
“Nobody speaks about throwing the Jews to the sea.
“No no. No. And it’s not fair on the sea as well. I never thought of that one”
Atzmon called a chapter in his latest book “Swindler’s List”.
And finally, somebody noticed that Atzmon says on his website that he has played with Paul McCartney, and decided to wind him up: This is the email he sent with the reply from Atzmon:
----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Gilad Atzmon <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: xxxx xxxxxxxxx <email@example.com>
Sent: Sunday, 13 November 2011, 10:33
Send me his foreskin, once you chopped it .we ll look after it and re install it once he realizes what he is involved with :)
Sent from my iPhone
On 13 Nov 2011, at 11:06, xxxx xxxxxxxx <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> Paul McCartney is to be made honoury jew at this meeting for is marriage to two jews and his support for Israel. Apparently he has given millions.
Posted: 24 Nov 2011 | There are 6 comments
Comment 1 | From: Thabo Miller | Date: 24 November 2011, 12:07
This is a really complex issue; and possibly it is being over simplified here (not to say I necessarily disagree with your conclusion, just I disagree with your method). There IS a difference between Atzom saying those things, and Griffin or Irving saying those things. Atzom is (by many definitions) Jewish, and therefore to dismiss him as an ignorant Antisemite is difficult. In the same way Chris Rock makes jokes that a white stand up couldn't (as Chris Rock is likely to know what racism is from personal experience), it probably is legitimate that Atzmon makes comments that a non - Jew couldn't (as Azmon could legitimately be argued to have, in some ways, a better understanding of antisemitism than a non - Jew). The other issue is that, in the same way, the conduct of Muslims against Crusades (to some) partially legitimises the behaviour of the EDL (and vice versa); the behaviour of the Ultra - Zionists does legitimise being anti - Israel and, as Israel is defined as "Jewishness", then it is a slippery slope and a thin dividing line between Anti - Zionism and Anti - Semitism. However, after all that, I still don't know what the right conclusion is.
Comment 2 | From: Simon Williams | Date: 24 November 2011, 15:48
So far, have got the reply I expected....... thank you which confirms that I have hit a raw nerve.
Comment 3 | From: Hasan Prishtina | Date: 24 November 2011, 16:16
A superb and courageous article. The left owes Hope not Hate and Searchlight a considerable debt for refusing to turn a blind eye to the racists on 'its' side.
Comment 4 | From: Dave Rich | Date: 25 November 2011, 10:13
Thabo, the difference is that Atzmon describes himself as a "self-hating Jew", or says he is an "ex-Jew". Chris Rock might make jokes about black people that a white comedian can't, but he doesn't do it from a position of self-declared hatred of his own blackness, which Atzmon does about his Jewishness.
Comment 5 | From: meg | Date: 28 November 2011, 16:36
Kudos for taking a moral stance on this issue. Gilad Atzmon contributes nothing to the betterment of society. As a Jew he has clearly forgotten the basic jewish directive of Tikkun Olam - 'repair the world'
Comment 6 | From: John Cook | Date: 19 November 2012, 17:13
I find it funny how you treat "holocaust Denial" as if it's some sort of sin, not something open to rational debate, yet you seem curiously unconscious about doing this. Simply put, do you think that "truth is no excuse" like those that jail people for such "thought crime"? And further doesn't it bother you that simply having an opinion or doing some research SHOULD be a criminal offence?
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