The Gilad Atzmon controversy
(The Unrepentant Marxist) -- by Louiks Proyect --
Gilad Atzmon is a jazz musician who has generated controversy over his articles on Zionism similar to those generated by Israel Shamir who I wrote about in July. While both men are of Jewish origin, they have been accused of anti-Semitism and holocaust denial. Many of the same charges have been made against Norman Finkelstein but in the case of Shamir and Atzmon there is much more substance.
Atzmon has prompted some heated reactions once again coinciding with the release of his new book “The Wandering Who?: A study of Jewish identity politics”, both in mainstream and radical circles.
I first got wind of the controversy from a blog post by Jeffrey Goldberg in the Atlantic Monthly titled “John Mearsheimer Endorses a Hitler Apologist and Holocaust Revisionist“. Along with Martin Peretz and Alan Dershowitz, Goldberg is one of America’s top apologists for the state of Israel. He was also a supporter of the war in Iraq, using his outpost at the New Yorker magazine to circulate pro-war propaganda very similar to Judith Miller’s...
Turning from the mainstream to the radical movement, an open letter appeared on Lenin’s Tomb from authors who had been published by Zero Books, the imprint associated with Atzmon’s new book. They complained:
Atzmon’s assertions are underpinned by a further claim, which is that antisemitism doesn’t exist, and hasn’t existed since 1948. There is only “political reaction” to “Jewish power”, sometimes legitimate, sometimes not. For example, the smashing up of Jewish graves may be “in no way legitimate”, but nor are they “’irrational’ hate crimes”. They are solely “political responses”. Given this, it would be impossible for anything that Atzmon writes, or for anyone he associates with, to be anti-Semitic. This shows, not only in his writing, but in his political alliances. He sees nothing problematic, for example, in his championing of the white supremacist ‘Israel Shamir’ (“the sharpest critical voice of ‘Jewish power’ and Zionist ideology”), whose writings reproduce the most vicious anti-Semitic myths including the ‘blood libel’, and for whom even the BNP are insufficiently racist.Along the same lines, Andy Newman, who runs the Socialist Unity blog used the Guardian’s Comments are Free to attack Atzmon:
The thrust of Atzmon’s work is to normalise and legitimise anti-Semitism. We do not believe that Zero’s decision to publish this book is malicious. Atzmon’s ability to solicit endorsements from respectable figures such as Richard Falk and John Mearsheimer shows that he is adept at muddying the waters both on his own views and on the question of anti-Semitism. But at a time when dangerous forces are attempting to racialise political antagonisms, we think the decision is grossly mistaken. We call on Zero to distance itself from Atzmon’s views which, we know, are not representative of the publisher or its critical engagement with contemporary culture.
Gilad Atzmon is a world renowned jazz musician, and a former soldier in the Israeli army, so his advocacy of the Palestinian cause is guaranteed to draw attention. Indeed, a small leftwing publisher, Zero Books, has commissioned Atzmon to write a book on the Jews as part of an otherwise entirely credible series by respected left figures such as Richard Seymour, Nina Power and Laurie Penny.Newman’s piece provoked a rebuttal from Jonathan Cook on Counterpunch titled “The Dangerous Cult of the Guardian“ that defended Atzmon as well as Edward Herman and David Peterson. Like Atzmon, these two have come under attack there as “holocaust deniers” on Bosnia and Rwanda from George Monbiot. Cook also took up David Leigh’s attack on Julian Assange, a recycling of the usual canards. Cook had this to say about Newman’s piece on Atzmon:
The trouble is that Atzmon has often argued that the Zionist oppression of the Palestinians is attributable not to the bellicose politics of the Israeli state, but to Jewish lobbies and Jewish power. Atzmon’s antisemitic writings include, for example, a 2009 article – Tribal Marxism for Dummies – in which he explains that while “Marxism is a universal paradigm, its Jewish version is very different. It is there to mould Marxist dialectic into a Jewish subservient precept”. Atzmon argues that it is merely a “Judeo-centric pseudo intellectual setting which aims at political power” and that “Jewish Marxism is there to … stop scrutiny of Jewish power and Jewish lobbying”.
A typical example of the Guardian’s new strategy was on show this week in an article in the print edition’s comment pages – also available online and a far more prestigious platform than CiF – in which the paper commissioned a socialist writer, Andy Newman, to argue that the Israeli Jewish musician Gilad Atzmon was part of an anti-semitic trend discernible on the left.Cook says that he has no idea whether Atzmon has expressed anti-Semitic views. This might be a function of a failure to click the link in Newman’s article that would have brought him to the singularly stupid article titled “Tribal Marxism for Dummies“. In it you can find howlingly uninformed opinions such as:
Jonathan Freedland, the paper’s star columnist and resident obsessive on anti-semitism, tweeted to his followers that the article was “important” because it was “urging the left to confront antisemitism in its ranks”.
I have no idea whether Atzmon has expressed anti-semitic views – and I am none the wiser after reading Newman’s piece.
Jewish Marxism is very different from Marxism or socialism in general. While Marxism is a universal paradigm, its Jewish version is very different. It is there to mould Marxist dialectic into a Jewish subservient precept. Jewish Marxism is basically a crude utilisation of ‘Marxist-like’ terminology for the sole purpose of the Jewish tribal cause. It is a Judeo-centric pseudo intellectual setting which aims at political power.When I read junk like this, I really have to wonder how Atzmon ever got an invitation to speak at an SWP conference in Britain. Fortunately the comrades figured out that they were dealing with a first-class imbecile. Apparently Counterpunch’s standards are a bit lower as they continue to publish both Shamir and Atzmon as the spirit moves them...MORE...LINK
Palestinian thinkers were probably the first to realise that the situation in Gaza, Nablus and the refugee camps had little in common with 19th century Europe. This was enough to defy Marxism as a sole analytical political tool. However, the Jewish Marxists had a far more adventurous plan for Palestinians, Arab people and the region in general. They wanted Arabs to become cosmopolitan atheists. They suggested that Arabs should drop ‘reactionary Islam’ and liberate themselves as ‘the Jews did’ a century ago.
Chris Moore comments:
This article concludes with a standard Marxist analysis of the Jewish question that boils down to this: Jews are victims. They have no agency. They were assigned their role in the class system as middle men and had no choice whatsoever. Their predations aren't their own fault, but rather the fault of the Gentiles around them. If only Jewry was liberated from the superstitious persecution, harassment and terror to which it has been subjected, Jews would be perfectly compatible and complimentary with the non-Jews around them...
Sound familiar, say, like arguments regularly wheeled out by Zionists against Arabs and Muslims to justify Israeli aggression and fascism?
Indeed, all of this Marxist and Zionist apologia ignores the racist, Judeofascist doctrine at the core of organized Jewry, and the fact that it is that very doctrine and its behavioral manifestations in Jewry that drives "anti-Semitism" and "persecution" of the Jews, that has always driven "anti-Semitism" and "persecution" of the Jews, and that always will no matter how many clever and manipulative intellectual arguments Jewry and its defenders and collaborators can come up with to the contrary.
The fact that Marxism analyzes the Jewish question from the self-serving Zionist perspective is yet more proof that Marxism is just another Trojan horse for the Judeofascist agenda invented, not coincidentally, by a couple of Jews by the name of Marx and Hess.
Taking all of this into account, is it any wonder Judeofascist Prime Minister Netanyahu is building a monument to the Communist Red Army in Israel?