Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Gilad Atzmon supports anti-Semitism

"History teaches us that the most universally inspiring Jews, I mean, those who contributed something to humanity rather than merely to their own people or even just themselves, were motivated by some form of self hate." -- Gilad Atzmon

It's not exactly news that jazz musician and blogger Gilad Atzmon advocates anti-Semitism by both Jews and non-Jews -- he's been playing that tune for several years. But his advocacy has become both more blatant and more pathetic recently, as evidenced by his promotion of the Israeli organ theft libel. The products of his fervid imagination on that subject have now been broadcast around the world, along with the twisted fantasies of Israel Shamir, T. West, al-Manar, and Alison Weir (read here and here and here), and thanks to those like Baroness Jenny Tonge who take those fantasies to be reliable information.

Bigots are said to use their targets as scapegoats for shortcomings they fear having themselves, projecting their sins onto those they hate. But the self-hater has a special problem which calls for extraordinary measures. When he looks in the mirror, his scapegoat stares back. The self-hater feels a need to continually prove that he is different from -- better than -- the others of his group. For Atzmon, this need to differentiate compels increasingly extreme demonizing of the Jewish community; and as his critique becomes stronger, it verges on overt opposition to Jewish existence.

Atzmon recently wrote a review of the film "Defamation" which is noteworthy for both for its anti-Semitic opposition to Jewish participation in public life and its attempt to blame Jews for European anti-Muslim sentiment. (Read here.) That review includes the following defense of anti-Semitism:

"Unlike Uri Avnery and Norman Finkelstein who appear in the film and argue that anti-Semitism is exaggerated, I actually believe that resentment towards Jewish politics is rising rapidly and constantly. However, I do differentiate between the Judeo-centric notion of anti-Semitism and political resentment towards Jewish ideology. I do not regard anti-Jewish activity as a form of anti-Semitism or racial hatred because Jews are neither Semites nor do they form a racial continuum whatsoever. The rise of hatred towards any form of Jewish politics and Jewish lobbies is a reaction towards a tribal, chauvinist and supremacist ideology."

Atzmon first admits that he sees that anti-Semitism is on the rise, then that he supports it, although he would prefer that it not be called anti-Semitism. Atzmon writes that he supports opposition to "Jewish ideology", a vague term which can mean virtually any manifestation of Jewish existence in public life. This is an extraordinary limitation to which no ethnic or religious group should be subjected. Opposition to "Jewish ideology" comes very close to opposing Jewish existence itself. Atzmon goes on to deride the term "anti-Semitism" as a "Judeo-centric notion", as if opposition to this particular brand of bigotry (his brand) is itself a form of bigotry.

Atzmon justifies this form of discrimination by saying that he merely wants to protect the rest of the world from the "tribal, chauvinist and supremacist" Jews. What could possibly be wrong with that?

The musician, jazz writer and blogger David Adler wrote about Atzmon in Jazz Times in October 2005. (Read it in pdf here.) David wrote in that article that, in spite of Atzmon promotion of Holocaust denial literature and other manifestations of extremism on his part, music writers tended to portray Atzmon's activism in polite terms, such as, amazingly, "a plea for understanding". David has emailed to tell me that the journalist John Pilger has written recently in support of Atzmon, citing him outrageously as "being at the heart of a battle for a better world"! Adler provided me with a link to Oliver Kamm's column on this. (Read here.) Kamm writes of Atzmon that
(h)e wrote (in a passage on his website that he later partially sanitised):

"American Jewry makes any debate on whether the 'Protocols of the elder of Zion' are an authentic document or rather a forgery irrelevant. American Jews (in fact Zionists) do control the world.. So far they are doing pretty well for themselves at least."

The least objectionable aspect of this remark is that Atzmon regards it as an open question whether the Protocols, a notorious Czarist antisemitic forgery, are an authentic document. And the whole sentiment is quite moderate when you compare it with the rest of Atzmon's output. Consider his belief that Hitler has been unfairly maligned:

"To regard Hitler as the ultimate evil is nothing but surrendering to the Zio-centric discourse. To regard Hitler as the wickedest man and the Third Reich as the embodiment of evilness is to let Israel off the hook."

That says it all, doesn't it? According to Atzmon, Jewish discussions of the worst forms of anti-Semitism are part of a "Zio-centric" plot to expunge their own, far worse, crimes. That is pathetic.

UPDATE: David Adler writes about this on his blog here.



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