A loathesome man…..
GILAD ATZMON: THE PARADIGM OF A JEWISH ANTI-SEMITE
Manfred Gerstenfeld and Leah Hagelberg
In a worldwide anti-Semitism competition for Jews, Gilad Atzmon would probably represent Great Britain. The slurs published by this musician, an Israeli who says he has torn up his passport,1 are so major that even the Palestinian Electronic Intifada site has dissociated itself from his anti-Semitism.2 The analysis of his statements can thus serve as a paradigm for similar assessments of smears by Jewish anti-Semites.
The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism3 is an appropriate tool to analyze the publications of this serial defamer of Israel and the Jews. The definition needed the agreement of its 31 member countries — among them Great Britain.
The IHRA definition says that it is anti-Semitic to accuse “the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.” The definition includes that it is anti-Semitic to “draw comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.” Atzmon derides the Holocaust and its survivors in an article titled “After all, I am a proper Zionist Jew…I am a Holocaust Survivor,” where he writes, “Yes, I am a survivor, for I have managed to survive all of the scary accounts of the Holocaust.”4 He adds: “I am also totally against Holocaust denial. I clearly resent those who deny the genocides taking place in the name of the Holocaust. Palestine is one example…”5
Atzmon often also sets his sights on so-called Jewish “progressives.” These include the Jewish anti-Zionist left.6 7 He attacks, for instance, the American Max Blumenthal,8 who has repeatedly made comparisons between Israel and Nazis.9 In an article titled “Goyim Must Obey,” Atzmon accuses the Jewish anti-Zionists of telling “Goyim and even Palestinians what they may or may not do and who they may or may not listen to”10 just like the world-controlling chosen people in the first place. He adds “maybe telling Goyim of all ages and ranks what they “must” do is just part of being chosen – (I’m not chosen anymore so I can’t say)” he adds.11 This ensures that no one can mistake Atzmon’s anti-Semitism for “legitimate criticism of Israel under the assertion that “anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism.” Atzmon’s views are classic anti-Semitism in line with the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, whose veracity he defends.12
Atzmon even attacks Jews who completely disavow Judaism and Zionism.13 One is Shlomo Sand – an Israeli historian and self-described ex-Jew who wrote The Invention of the Jewish People. Another is Avigail Abarbanel – a former Israeli who is now a pro-Palestinian activist and writer for the anti-Israel site Mondoweiss, and a psychotherapist in Australia. According to Atzmon they are still infected with “kosher binary thinking” and continued attachment to Jewish tribalism, as well as an obsession with the Holocaust. He also claims that Abarbanel refuses to be introspective enough to “look in the mirror and identify what is it about them (Jews) that evokes so much animosity in so many different times and in so many different places…something Bernard Lazare, an early Zionist did…”14 Lazare, who died more than hundred years ago, made many self-hating comments in his analysis of anti-Semitism.15
The IHRA definition says that “making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions, is an example of anti-Semitism.” Some of Atzmon’s remarks fall in this category of the IHRA definition when he asks: “Why are the Jews, a people who are obsessed with their own past, so afraid of other people, say ‘White’ people, being nostalgic for their own past?”16 He answers his own question with “The progressive Jew grasps that the working class are nostalgic for a pre-Jerusalem Dominated society; a time when American politics weren’t controlled by the likes of Saban, Soros, Goldman Sachs and other global capitalists who are isolated from production, manufacturing and farming.”17
Jewish conspiracy and Jewish power are a staple of Atzmon’s smears. He writes:
“Jewish power is the power to silence criticism of Jewish power… and explicates further, “For people who live in the USA, Britain and France, Jewish Power is the medium through which our politics is taking place.”18
In an article about George Soros, a severe American critic of Israel, to whom he keeps referring to as “the Jewish billionaire” and “the Jewish oligarch” Atzmon writes, “Soros’ email sheds light on who really sets the tone for the West.19 Clearly it isn’t our so-called ‘democratically elected’ politicians. Instead, it is “a small cadre of oligarchs, people like Soros and Goldman Sachs.”20 The ethnic heritage of these “oligarchs” is implicit.
Atzmon’s article “For Goy Hatred on Speed Subscribe to the Forward,” is also rife with these conspiracy theories, including that “Wilhelm Reich, Marcuse and the cultural Marxists who used their sexualised interpretation of ‘socialism’ to weaken the West and destroy the unity of the labour movement beyond repair.” Also Atzmon in this same article blames Bolshevism, Cultural Marxism, Ziocons, and Zionism on, “Jewish ideologies and political practices” which have led to a “century of global disasters.”21
The IHRA definition says: “accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, or even for acts committed by non-Jews. Atzmon writes, “Talking of apologies, the Board of Deputies has yet to apologize for Lord Janner allegedly raping British orphans when he was their president and therefore pretty much the representative of British Jews.”22
Another example of anti-Semitism according to the IHRA definition is accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations. Atzmon writes, “The so-called ‘anti-Semites – those who hate Jews for being Jews, used to refer to Jews as chameleons. They simply could not understand the lack of integrity at the heart of Jewish politics. They could not grasp how Jews switch allies so rapidly.”23 This article is titled “Is Bibi a Lizard?” which clearly refers back to the common conspiracy theory trope of reptile hybrids that control the world, propounded by David Icke.24 This British footballer and sports broadcaster turned writer, public speaker, and conspiracy theorist is referenced in Atzmon’s article.25
Why should one give attention to Atzmon, who mainly publishes on his website? There are several reasons. One is that in a partly anti-Semitic climate even a marginal figure assists in further inciting against Jews and Israel. In the U.K, according to a study by the University of Bielefeld in 2011 42% of the adult population agree with the lunatic statement that Israel conducts a war of extermination against the Palestinians.26
Atzmon has gained some influence on the British left, including the Socialist Workers Party and Indymedia.27 An article of his has been circulated by the extreme anti-Israeli Baroness Tonge.28 29 Atzmon has been the subject of articles in The Guardian30 and The Atlantic.31 His book The Wandering Who has been endorsed by John Mearsheimer, the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago and author along with Harvard’s Stephen Walt of The Israel Lobby.32
The nonsensical statement that Jews cannot be anti-Semites is often heard. Moreover, Atzmon, for some, has an air of legitimacy because he is a Jew and ex-Israeli who once served in the IDF, now criticizing these categories. The Atzmon case, of a major Jewish anti-Semitic inciter does not stand by itself. One, among many others, is the earlier mentioned Max Blumenthal. He is the son of Sidney Blumenthal, a close advisor to Hillary Clinton, of whom it is known that he passed on articles of his Holocaust-inverter son to the defeated presidential candidate.33
In the Netherlands, the leading Jewish anti-Semitic inciter, Hajo Meyer passed away in 2014. He even went to Germany to speak to a school in Gutersloh – which had received a grant from a Holocaust memorial foundation – to tell the pupils there that Israel is a Nazi State.34 Him Atzmon seems not yet to have discovered.
15 Robert S. Wistrich, A Lethal Obsession: Anti-Semitism from Antiquity to the Global Jihad (New York: Random House, 2010.) p.p. 16-17.