Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Time to Choose

Here is an excerpt from "The Politics of Anti-Semitism: Zionism, the Bund and Jewish Identity Politics" by Gilad Atzmon. It appears on his web site but none of the three browsers on my computer displayed it legibly (emphases added):
Those amongst us who support the Palestinian people, those amongst us who are devastated by the growing scale of Israeli atrocities, those who want to bring justice to Palestine and this includes bringing Palestinians back to their land, will have to make up their minds sooner or later. From now on, everything we do or say about the Jewish state is seen by one Jew or another as anti-Semitism. We have to make up our minds and decide once and for all, is it world Jewry which we are trying to appease, or is it the Palestinians we are fighting for?

I myself made up my mind. For me it is Palestine and the Palestinian people. If this makes me into an anti-Semite in the eyes of some confused Diaspora Jews (left, right and centre), I will have to learn to live with it. At the end of the day, I cannot make everyone happy.

Already in 1973, Abba Eban, then Israeli foreign minister, identified anti-Zionism as 'the new anti-Semitism':

"Throughout the 19th century, the revolutionary left literature is full of invidious remarks about the Jewish insistence on self-affirmation and survival. The assumption was that in a free national society there would be no room for the maintenance of Jewish particularism. It was assumed that the destiny and duty of Jews was to disappear in the universal utopia. When Zionism came on the scene as the product not only of specific currents in Judaism but also of European nationalism, the phrase nationalism no longer had about it the fine glow that it possessed in the days of Garibaldi… recently we have witnessed the rise of the new left which identifies Israel with the establishment, with acquisition, with smug satisfaction, with, in fact, all the basic enemies… Let there be no mistake: the new left is the author and the progenitor of the new anti-Semitism. One of the chief tasks of any dialogue with the Gentile world is to prove that the distinction between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism is not a distinction at all. Anti-Zionism is merely the new anti-Semitism. The old classic anti-Semitism declared that equal rights belong to all individuals within the society, except the Jews. The new anti-Semitism says that the right to establish and maintain an independent national sovereign state is the prerogative of all nations, so long as they happen not to be Jewish. And when this right is exercised not by the Maldive Islands, not by the state of Gabon, not by Barbados… but by the oldest and most authentic of all nationhoods, then this is said to be exclusivism, particularism, and a flight of the Jewish people from its universal mission."

(Abba Eban, Congress Bi-Weekly, American Jewish Congress publication 1973)
See also: "Freedom of Speech: the right to equate Gaza with Auschwitz"

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Anti-Zionists against Anti-Semitism

As it says, we oppose that small current around Israel Shamir and Gilad Atzmon who wish to introduce the ideas of racism and anti-Semitism into the Palestine solidarity movement.

all the best!
Thanks, Joe, I have responded in "Atzmon on 'the righteous Jewish Left police.' "
Peacemonger doesn't recognise anti-Semitism in Atzmon or elsewhere. Maybe that is because he has never looked. Try 'London Protocols of the Elders of Zion' or even the 'Not in my name' essay he quotes. Not only anti-Semitic but Zionist!

Not in my name asserts that Jews who oppose Zionism are Zionists, indeed the worst Zionists. So when those of us who are Jewish take it upon ourselves to rebut the attacks on the Boycott Israel movement as anti-Semitic we are being Zionist! Or when over 100 of us wrote to the Guardian dissociating ourselves from the shameful 'celebration' of Israel's 60th anniversary we are being Zionist! Actually all Atzmon is doing is repeating the old National Front canard that all Jews are Zionists.

Or maybe articles like 'on anti-Semitism' which assert a world jewish conspiracy aren't anti-Semitic? Maybe peacemonger can give us a definition of his version of anti-Semitism? Since anti-Semitism is the best ally of Zionism I think we can assume that he too joins the Atzmon zionist camp.

Tony Greenstein
Mr. Greenstein, I've read the pieces by Atzmon that you suggest and, IMO, he does not say what you say or think he says. It appears that you are either distorting Atzmon's work for your own nefarious purposes or you are simply intellectually incapable of discerning the significant differences between what Atzmon says and what you think he says.
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