Why Palestine Expo Should Have Boycotted Jewish Anti-Zionists
|Prominent Palestinians condemn Atzmon as anti-Semitic|
|Gilad Atzmon - the anti-Semitic Jazzman|
Even the Socialist Workers Party issued a Statement on Gilad Atzmon and Marxism 2005 (21st June 2005) supporting him. This was in response to a Jews Against Zionism picket of a meeting the SWP held with Atzmon at Bookmarks. It stated that
‘The SWP does not believe that Gilad Atzmon is a Holocaust denier or racist. However, while defending Gilad’s right to play and speak on public platforms that in no way means we endorse all of Gilad’s views.’
|The racist Campaign Against Anti-semitism did their best to have Palestine Expo banned|
Unfortunately Atzmon was both a racist and holocaust denier and the title of his talk to the assembled SWP members, John Rose included, was the legacy of Otto Weininger, a reactionary German Jew of whom Hitler allegedly said that there was only one decent Jew and he killed himself!
The SWP statement seems to have disappeared from the SWP’s site! Presumably it therefore never existed. There are though still reports of the SWP’s effusive coverage which have not yet been deleted!
|Atzmon's take on Palestine Expo 2017|
Following the issuing of a statement Granting No Quarter: A Call for the Disavowal of the Racism and Antisemitism of Gilad Atzmon by Ali Abunimah of Electronic Intifada, Professor Joseph Massad, Omar Barghouti and other leading Arabs and Palestinians in 2012, Atzmon has faded away becoming both more bitter and more overtly anti-Semitic. In 2011/12 an open holocaust denier, Francis Clarke Lowes was expelled, firstly from Brighton and Hove PSC and then from the national PSC. As a result of these events Atzmon and his baleful influence has become a thing of the past, much to the annoyance of the Zionists.
Despite this I still come across the occasional supporter of the Palestinians, although more rarely now than before, who still believe that Atzmon is a supporter of the Palestinian struggle rather than a washed up ex-Israeli whose anti-Semitism is a reflection of the racism of his Revisionist Zionist father.
|Atzmon - blowing his own trumpet|
It’s now six years ago since I issued A Guide to the Sayings of Gilad Atzmon, the anti-Semitic jazzman. I confess that I haven’t followed much of what he has written since then although by all accounts it has gotten worse. In 2012: Atzmon joined the far-Right conspiracy site, Veterans Today. In 2014: Atzmon praised David Duke of the KKK and also gave open support to Holocaust Revisionists. In 2015: Atzmon described the Paris shootings as a false flag, i.e. that it was perpetrated by Jews.
|The SWP's original statement exonerating Atzmon|
Atzmon’s primary theme is that the dispossession of the Palestinians is all the fault of the Jews and that to be Jewish and Zionist are one and the same thing. Indeed Jewish anti-Zionists are the worst of all because they are using their anti-Zionism in order to subvert the Palestine solidarity movement. Because they are 'ethnically' Jewish they are irredeemably Zionist. Ali Abunima dealt with this nonsense in their statement:
Atzmon’s politics rest on one main overriding assertion that serves as springboard for vicious attacks on anyone who disagrees with his obsession with “Jewishness”. He claims that all Jewish politics is “tribal,” and essentially, Zionist. Zionism, to Atzmon, is not a settler-colonial project, but a trans-historical “Jewish” one, part and parcel of defining one’s self as a Jew. Therefore, he claims, 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. We could not disagree more. Indeed, we believe Atzmon’s argument is itself Zionist because it agrees with the ideology of Zionism and Israel that the only way to be a Jew is to be a Zionist.
Atzmon has flirted with Holocaust denial for some years and openly works with fellow holocaust deniers such as Horst Mahler, a neo-Nazi and former member of the Red Army faction who was sentenced to 6 years in Germany for Holocaust revisionism. [see Gilad Atzmon – Now an Open Holocaust Denier]
Mahler, a member of the National Democratic Party wrote a book ‘'The End of Wanderings – Thoughts on Gilad Atzmon and the Jewish people'. Mahler escaped from prison in Germany and fled to Hungary to escape prison before being deported back to Germany. [see German Nazis fail to save terrorist Horst Mahler from prison ]
In June as Al Aqsa and others were involved in organising Palestine Expo 2017, the largest cultural and political Palestinian event in Europe, the Zionists stepped up their campaign against it calling it a ‘Jewish hate fest’ and alleging that its main purpose was anti-Semitic. Groups like the misnamed Campaign Against Anti-Semitism and the so-called Jewish Human Rights Group were to the fore in trying to get the event banned. 
In the face of these false allegations of anti-Semitism and support for ‘terrorism’, Jewish anti-Zionist groups and individuals mobilised to ensure that the Tory government did not cancel the event. At the same time Gilad Atzmon was doing his best to try and persuade people that Palestine Solidarity and anti-Semitism were inextricably linked.
In Palestinian Expo 2017: The UK Government and The Lobby Atzmon wrote complaining that
‘Over the last decade, Palestinian solidarity has been hijacked by many Jewish organisations - JVP, IJAN, J-BIG – and also by other insipid left-leaning groups that in practice, have reduced Palestinian solidarity into a paradigm that is lame, meaningless and leads absolutely nowhere. This loose collective of tribal and Identitarian merchants has managed to reduce the magisterial Palestinian call for Right of Return into a squalid and self-serving Jewish internal debate about the ‘Right to BDS.’ The discourse of the oppressed is now defined by the sensitivities of the oppressor.’
You may find Atzmon’s incoherent ramblings difficult to understand. Leave aside that the JVP – Jewish Voices for Peace is an American group that had little nor nothing to do with Palestine Expo. It is true that Jewish anti-Zionists in this country, unlike Atzmon, did their best to rally to defend Palestine Expo. And what’s more we were successful and it went ahead.
Atzmon though attempted to counterpose the Right of Return, which all Jewish anti-Zionist groups support to BDS. He describes BDS as a ‘squalid and self-serving Jewish internal debate’ In fact BDS is something that originated in 2005, not from a Jewish internal debate but from Palestinian civil society groups in Palestine. It was a call for solidarity and was immediately taken up in this country by university lecturers in the Association of University Teachers union (later the University College Union) in 2005 when the AUT voted to support an academic boycott of Israeli universities.
Given that Netanyahu and the Israeli government has deemed BDS enemy number one and are spending $50m in the Gilad Erdan's Ministry of Strategic Affairs, the fact that Atzmon openly attacks it says everything one needs to know about his politics.
Atzmon complained that Palestine Expo 2017 , ‘could have been an attempt to re-instate the meaning of Palestine: its culture, its politics and its call for liberation.’ Perhaps if Atzmon had gone to the event he would have found out that that is exactly what it did. What Atzmon meant by ‘the meaning of Palestine’ was, however, different from what most people mean. He complained that it ‘Featur(ed) Jewish anti-Zionist voices, and endorsed by various Jewish organisations, it instead attempts to give voice to the most politically-correct and Jewish-friendly vision of solidarity available. And guess what, it didn’t work. Instead of welcoming this Zio-friendly approach, British Jews, utilising all their lobbies and employing every trick in the Hasbara playbook, have act institutionally and aggressively to cancel the event.’
Atzmon finds it hard to understand that Jewish anti-Zionist groups are in a minority and therefore not likely to be heeded by the majority Zionist groups in the Jewish community, although it is interesting that the Zionist calls for the banning of Palestine Expo were only from the far-Right of the Zionist movement in this country - the CAA and the so-called Jewish Human Rights Watch (which in practice is solicitor Robert Fenstenstein and a couple of mates). The Board of Deputies, which is normally so voluble, realised that there were no conceivable grounds to ban Palestine Expo other than the explicitly racist one of deeming anything Palestinian as automatically anti-Jewish.
The fact that prominent Jewish speakers such as Miko Peled, the son of dissident Israeli General Matiyahu Peled, or Ilan Pappe as well as people like John Pilger spoke gave the lie to Zionist accusations that support for the Palestinians is anti-Semitic. Many hundreds of British Jews attended this so-called 'hate fest'. This however is what Atzmon dislikes most of all. To him the ‘meaning of Palestine’ is an anti-Semitic meaning in which Zionist racism towards Palestinians is replaced by hatred of Jews.
It is because hatred of Jews is his most important priority that Atzmon rejects BDS. He sees the prominent role of Jews in it as being evidence of it being a Zionist conspiracy. In Gilad Atzmon Interview: Tangling with the Oppressor - What really matters is what Palestinians Do he attacked the academic boycott, because it was led by socialists and those on the left, Jewish and non-Jewish:
‘interfering with academic freedom isn’t exactly something I can blindly advocate. … I am against any form of gatekeeping or book burning. But it goes further, I actually want to hear what Israelis and Zionists have to say. I want to read their books. I want to confront their academics.’ ‘to impose a boycott is to employ a boycotter. ... the boycott is led by some minor academics with very little to say about ethics and even less to say about the specific conflict…. It has a lot to do with maintenance of some particular decaying old-school socialists within the fading progressive Western discourse. … When it comes to the current boycott we are unfortunately operating within a political mode rather than an ethical one. … Shouldn’t we ban as well any form of racially orientated activity? … I believe that the best way around it is to support freedom of speech categorically…’
For Atzmon ‘freedom of speech’ for the colonist trumps the freedom of the oppressed and that is why those who have illusions in him should think again.