Tony Greenstein | 03 October 2011 | Post Views:

Why Does Samir Abed-Rabbo and a Few Gullible Palestinians Get Into Bed With Atzmon?

There seem to be quite a number of fools who have fallen for Atzmon’s ‘Wandering Who’ including Professors John Mearsheimer, Richard Falk Petras, as well as a few Palestinian fools like Samir Abed-Rabbo.

But do the latter know that Atzmon is also an opponent of the only campaign ever to have got the Israeli government rattled, so much so that they introduced a special anti-Boycott law rendering support for boycott unlawful?

Below are a few quotes taken from interviews and articles by Atzmon and below is an e-mail exchange with Atzmon which I’ve posted elsewhere on the blog.

It is such a good example of Atzmon’s arrogance, ‘my book is endorsed by the most important people in our discourse’ that is almost pathetic in its worship of the powerful and mighty.

E-mail Exchange Between Myself and Atzmon
bambi, do you realise that my book is endorsed by the most important people in our discourse?
it really takes long for the penny to drop.. may because you have never made a penny..

On 22 Sep 2011, at 23:46, tony greenstein wrote:
Ah yes, Atzmon the author. Any fool can write a book, the question is what it contains. In your case not much from what I’ve seen.
But don’t dodge the question. Do you stand by your previous remarks about the academic boycott being akin to book burning? Simple, isn’t it?
tony greenstein

From: Gilad Atzmon
To: tony greenstein >
Sent: Thursday, 22 September 2011, 23:34
Subject: Re: Behind the rhetoric – a common and garden racist

You are certainly a book burner… In case you didn’t gather it by now, I am an author.. Very big difference between the two as far as I can tell..

On 22 Sep 2011, at 23:16, tony greenstein wrote:

Ah, you’re a BDS enthusiast now are we? It’s not the opinion of BDS activists. I assume you still believe the academic boycott to be book burning? And I’m sure you recall your interview with Silvia Cattori,

‘The “Left”… leads us to believe that the colonial/post-colonial political model provides some answers and even operative solutions; following the colonial template, we first equate Israel with South Africa, and then we implement a counter-colonial strategy, such as the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions). Yet, whilst I fully support all of those actions, they seem to be in some regards, not entirely effective at all. ‘

I can’t imagine why you would supported something that’s so ineffective.

And what is the point of raising the question of the vulnerability of Palestinian artists? Is that a reason not to disrupt the performances of the IPO? Such a strategy leads to doing nothing for fear of retaliation. Indeed it is reminiscent of Margaret Thatcher’s opposition to sanctions on Apartheid in South Africa. It would hurt the Black Africans most of all.

So what, apart from waging a war against Jews, especially those in the Pls Solidarity movement, do you advocate?

Yes I am an anti-Zionist. But there is no contradiction between that and being pro-Palestinian (although they are not the same). Your problem is that you aren’t anti-Zionist which therefore means that you see the reason for the Palestinian plight as being Jews per se, not Zionism.
There also no contradiction between being anti-Semitic and being a Zionist, as you well know.

Why don’t you try being honest for once instead of hiding behind vacant prose? Just admit that you find it difficult to support BDS for all the reasons you have given.

Tony Greenstein

From: Gilad Atzmon
To: tony greenstein
Sent: Thursday, 22 September 2011, 22:17
Subject: Re: Behind the rhetoric – a common and garden racist

Do you really think that BDS enthusiasts are blind to your Judeo centric actions and motivations?

How are you going to protect Pls artists from similar Zionist actions… tragically, you are not Pls solidarity campaigners, you are merely anti Zionists ..
and you don’t even understand the difference between the two..

On 22 Sep 2011, at 19:47, tony greenstein wrote:
I’m glad that you have finally been honest about the disruption of the BBC Proms and the IPO. It was a ‘Jewish campaign’. How interesting. I’m sure activists involved in BDS will be more than interested to hear of your views.
What was that about not being an anti-Semite?
tony greenstein

From: Gilad Atzmon
To: tony greenstein
Sent: Thursday, 22 September 2011, 17:00
Subject: Re: women’s rights

We loved your opposition and we also loved your Jewish campaign against the Jewish philharmony is never boring you 🙂 we are here on air in a minute.. Be brave tony’le …

But below is the meat. Atzmon doesn’t support BDS (he pays it lip-service for cheap applause but he has never given support in any meaningful way).
The Boycott of Israel
Gilad Atzmon Interview: Tangling with the Oppressor – What really matters is what Palestinians Do July 5, 2007.

‘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. When it comes to an academic boycott I would expect the inquisitor in charge to be a scholar of great esteem…. Seemingly, it isn’t the leading minds in British academic life and ethical thinking who are leading the Boycott. In fact it is the other way around, 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…’ [my emphasis – TG]

And here we have it in one. Because a ‘minor academic’ Dr Sue Blackwell was one of the leading supporters of an academic boycott and also a fierce opponent of Atzmon’s anti-Semitism, Atzmon retaliated by opposing the academic boycott. He termed it ‘book burning’ a phrase that David Hirsch of Engage could have come up with. We also see the reactionary elitism of Atzmon in the justification he uses – the academics were only ‘minor’!

In fact as someone who spoke at the UNISON Conference which was the first trade union to support boycott I know, like Sue, that anti-Semitism doesn’t go down particularly well in the trade union movement. You have real people living in the real world, not the fake media hype bubble that Atzmon exists in.

Yet in David vs Goliath – the remix An interview with Gilad Atzmon by Simon Jones Atzmon reverses gear. Or does he? He supports a boycott of individual Israeli thus transforming it into opposition to Israelis per se, rather than racists. This of course plays into the hands of those Zionists who maintain that the boycott is itself racist and unlawful under the indirect discrimination clauses of the Race Relations Act 1975 (now Equalities Act 2010).

‘A while ago I decided not to communicate with the Hebraic people. I support any form of boycott on the Israeli society and people. I argue that Israeli academics and artist should be banned from any overseas activity unless they publicly denounce Zionism.’ [My emphasis – even the most brilliant Talmudic scholar would have difficulty reconciling this with ‘I actually want to hear what Israelis and Zionists have to say. I want to read their books. I want to confront their academics. – TG]

In An Interview with Gilad Atzmon he again changes tune:

“It appears to me that “the Left” mislead us and itself by depicting Zionism solely as a colonial project. It locates Zionism nicely within their ideology… we first equate Israel with South Africa, and then we implement a counter-colonial strategy, such as the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions).’

BDS has not worked….‘it has led to further intensified radicalisation within the right in Israel. Why has the BDS not worked yet? The answer is simple: It is because Israel is not at all entirely a colonial entity… it needs to be understood that its power and ties with the West are maintained by the strongest lobbies around the world.’

‘Israel is also markedly different, for example, from earlier colonial states such as South Africa, because Israel implements genocidal tactics. South Africa was indeed brutal — but it stopped short of throwing white phosphorous on its indigenous population. South Africa was a settler state, and was exploiting its indigenous population: but it wanted to keep them alive and oppressed. The Jewish state, on the other hand — would much prefer to wake up one morning to find out that all the Palestinians had disappeared, because Israel is driven by a Talmudic racist ideology…. the colonial paradigm is simply incapable of fully addressing that.’

‘My approach is totally different, because I would argue that Israel and Zionism is a unique project in history, and the relationship between Israel and the operation of the Jewish Lobbies in the West is also totally unique in history…. the fact is that we are all subject to Zionist global politics. According to my model, the credit crunch is in fact a Zionist “punch”. The war in Iraq is a Zionist war…. it is Jewish power which we have to confront. And this is exactly what the “Jewish Left” and Jewish intelligentsia are there to prevent us from doing.’

And here we get to it. The credit crunch is the Zionist punch i.e. the economic crisis is the fault of the Jews, because for Atzmon being Jewish is to be a Zionist. It is Jewish power we have to confront and that therefore means the real battle is against Jews outside not inside Israel.

In his ‘Palestinian Solidarity Discourse and Zionist Hegemony’’
Atzmon in a talk given to Scottish PSC, he agrees with Alan Dershowitz no less about Israel!

‘To a certain degree Dershowitz manages to tackle the question. He asks, “if it is indeed a colonial state, what flag does it serve?” Fair enough, I say, he may be right. I myself do not regard Zionism as a colonial adventure. However, hang on for a second, Mr. Dershowitz. It seems you might be getting off the hook easily here. Our problem with Israel has nothing to do with its colonial characteristics. Our problems with the ‘Jews Only State’ have something to do with its racist, expansionist and nationalist qualities. Our problems with Israel have something to do with it being a Fascist State supported by the vast majority of Jewish people around the world. ‘

Yes Dershowitz was getting mixed up by referring to colonialism. In fact pick up any early Zionist tract e.g. Ben-Gurion’s Rebirth & Destiny and what do you find? Repeated referernces to colonists. There was a Jewish Colonial Association and Bank. When colonialism was seen as a good thing the Zionists were happy to call themselves colonists and of course they had an open alliance with British imperialism.

And that is the reality. Behind all the hype and the endorsement by 3 idiot professors of his book, the fact is that Atzmon is an opponent of the only tactic Israel has ever understood – Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions.

The question is two fold:

i. Why does Atzmon oppose BDS? Is it his Israeli connections?
ii. Why do a few gullible Palestinians go along with this nonsense?

Answers on a postcard to the ‘The Wandering Fool’.

Tony Greenstein

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