Ali Abunimah and Gilad Atzmon at the OK Corral
(One Democratic State) -- by Roger Tucker --
Race, as we mentioned above, is a clumsy, inaccurate and misleading way of looking at the distinguishing characteristics of people that we attempt to lump together in identifiable groups. There’s a much better way of separating out what Atzmon calls “collectives.” This is by looking at characteristic ways of thinking, speaking and behaving, which together pretty much determine who we are. These distinctions are cultural. And this is where the already shaky limb that Ali is clinging to breaks and he tumbles into complete nonsense. Ali doesn’t mention culture in his letter, but take a look at this, Ali Abunimah attacking Gilad Atzmon at the Stuttgart One State conference (Dec 2010. “Jewish Culture.. doesn’t explain anything at all.” This remark is not only absurd - it would be like saying that slavery had nothing to do with the Civil War, or that the playing of the pipes has nothing to do with their Celtic origin, or that the French drink wine merely as a matter of personal choice, etc. , etc. (one could make a parlor game out of this) – he is so intent on demonizing Atzmon that he abandons any shred of intellectual integrity. Perhaps he secretly believes in “Intelligent Design?”
The notion of race is based on genetic differences, which determine our physical being. Genetic evolution in the human race more or less ceased some 5,000 years ago. Culture, on the other hand, is memetic. Memes are patterns that we inherit from our environment, starting when we are children with our families and continuing as we get older to to the notions, norms and attitudes prevalent in our societies. Culture is far and away the most significant causal factor in how we manifest in the world. What makes memetic (cultural) evolution possible and far more rapid than through genetic mutations is that we have the ability to change our minds based on new information, or seeing things in a new way. To do so requires curiosity, an open mind and considerable humbleness. This is what the word "freedom" means in its fullest sense. Many people become rigid and inflexible in their views, including far too many academics. As Eric Hoffer, the great longshoreman philosopher put it in his book 'The True Believer,' "In times of change learners inherit the earth; while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists. "
This term, frequently used by Atzmon, is the crux of the matter. If you will indulge me, click on Us vs. Them: On the Meaning of Fascism. It is about identity politics and how this phenomenon tends to evolve into fascism. Atzmon is absolutely correct in making it central to his investigation. He stresses that it is intellectually dishonest to attempt to discuss Zionism and Israel without reference to “Jewishness.” Zionism was a specifically Jewish endeavor to create a Jewish state. What could be more obvious? If you leave out the “Jewish” part there isn’t much left, is there? The point is too obvious to belabor, but Abunimah attempts to do just that. Atzmon, in the grand tradition of intellectual inquiry, has committed himself to trying to understand the whole complex picture, which centers around the question of what “Jewish” and “Jewishness” mean. Abunimah cries foul and invokes the taboo that has been the mainstay of Zionist propaganda from day one. You can’t talk about “Jews.” You can’t talk about “Jewishness.” Otherwise you are “racist,” “antisemitic.” A circular, absurd argument. I guess it might upset somebody, most likely “The Wandering Guess Who.” (There is a very intriguing piece from an unlikely source, a recent issue of the New York Times. The author has some very intiguing things to say about tribal identities. Click on Forget the Money, Follow the Sacredness.)
I am Jewish, Atzmon is Jewish (whether he likes it or not – sorry, Gilad, but it’s a friendly dig), and so are many of his supporters. I don’t want anyone telling me that I can’t look at what that means. It is one of my fondest hopes that a great many Jews honestly consider the question “who am I?”. As long as the answer is “I’m a Jew, first and foremost” we are in for a lot more trouble. If the answer is “I’m first of all a human being and the rest is secondary” then there will be grounds for optimism. If enough Jews have the courage to look in the mirror and ask this fundamental question, we could easily solve the most pressing problem facing the world today, because, like it or not, tribal Jewry currently holds all the cards. Without at least the tacit support of most Jews they wouldn’t be able to play their game any longer.
We are now going to address what I believe to be the primary motivations behind Abunimah’s extraordinary attack on Atzmon. A number of political fashions arose out of postmodernism, such as multi-culturalism, radical feminism and gay and lesbian activism, for example. In all cases, these fashions endorse various flavors of identity politics, These particular ideas were actually pioneered within the 60’s counter-culture, but the postmodernist academics turned them upside down. Instead of being inspired by a sense of our common humanity, we were inundated by all sorts of identity politics, all with narratives that, under the new dispensation, couldn’t be challenged without confronting the enforcement arm of the new orthodoxy – political correctness. All of this grew out of the Marxist culture that had previously been the fashion on the Left, but needed a new intellectual basis after the reaction to the horrors of Stalinism and Maoism, and eventually the fall of the Soviet Union. Ergo, postmodernism and its progeny provided continuity and a new lease on life.
In keeping with the tradition of Marxism-Leninism, the neo-Marxists needed to instill monolithic party discipline. After all, there can be only one vanguard of the proletariat. The new ideology of identity politics developed the strategy of political correctness to enforce its monopoly over discourse. This is not confined to the groves of Academe – the ADL and similar Zionist institutions actively enforce the orthodoxy. And, just as an aside, Jews continued to make up a large proportion of both the party leadership and the party faithful, just as Bolshevism was largely a Jewish project. Although the thought police concern themselves with decrying any perceived denigration of a number of tribal groups, by other academics particularly, there is no question that the one and only Sacred Cow is the Jewish Tribe. Casting aspersions on black people, gays or women, for example, will get you a serious dressing down, but any reference to Jews or Jewishness that isn’t flattering might well cost you your livelihood, or worse.
To sum up, the attacks on Gilad Atzmon and Ken O’Keefe reveal an organized attempt to silence independent voices within the Palestinian support community. Many moons ago I was in the US Army. As it was peacetime, the only enemy in sight was the Army itself. We fought to a draw. There are many of us who don't like to take orders, least of all from from the PC thought police. This an attempted political coup, actually, much like the successful efforts of the Bolsheviks (which means “majority,” although they were a small minority – quite Orwellian, actually) against the Mensheviks. But it isn’t going to work, because Atzmon and O’Keefe aren’t interested in power or being part of an organized movement. They are truly independent people taking a personal stand against a great evil, and they take their stand on behalf of all of suffering mankind, not just the Palestinians. Their efforts are prompted by the plight of the Palestinians, but like Gandhi, ML King and Mandela, they serve an even higher purpose, that of justice, wisdom, compassion and peace...MORE...LINK
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