My comments are in red - Bernard Marx
Why Palestinian Solidarity Activists Must Reject
Anti-Semitism: A Reply to Mary Rizzo’s ‘Who’s Afraid of Gilad
This piece was written in reply to an article by Mary Rizzo, ‘Who’s Afraid of Gilad Atzmon?’,
in Counterpunch, 17 June 2005. It was submitted to that journal but has not yet
been published there. The text is taken from Einde
O’Callaghan’s site Die Roten. It has been subbed
READERS of Counterpunch must have been surprised by the heavily personalised
attack by Mary Rizzo (17 June) on someone 99.99% of them have never heard of.
Why this venom over a picket of a small meeting in the SWP’s
bookshop in London?
Unfortunately those reading the article would have been none the wiser.
If Ms Rizzo is correct the issue is an attempt to deny freedom of speech to Mr Atzmon and the determination of myself in particular to
insist on what is "good for the Palestinian people". I want to be
"master of discourse", indeed the "most pure, and official voice
of the Palestinian Solidarity Movement".
By her own admission, the article originates from Mary’s isolation on the JustPeaceUK list which "was getting on my
At least that explains the tone of the article.
Greenstein, it is not for you tell Palestinians who their allies are or should
be. You do
want to set the "left pro Palestinian agenda" that's clear. Hence you
demand Atzmon be barred from left venues.
Let me make a confession. I was brought up as a Zionist in an orthodox Jewish
household. I also grew up in the shadow of the Holocaust. I concluded from an
early age that if anti-Semitism was wrong, then all forms of racism were
This is a very ordinary biography, one
that I share with you (in part - my parents were orthodox holocaust believers
and they strangely identified as both "orthodox" and
"atheist" - the Judaism they related to even in rejection - was othodox - the Judaism they respected as opposed to the
"reform" and "conservative" Judaism they held in contempt
as "assimilationist.") The question is
whether "anti Semistism" is or is not
racism in the same sense of white supremacism or
black inferiorism - and to what extent Jews are
responsible for its existence. If Jews have a large responisbility
for the existence of anti Semitism are they (we) not wrong not to study these
treatable causes and to treat them? I say yes, we do, and that the things Jews
do to engender anti Semitism is the disease - and for the most part anti
Semitism is but a symptom.
Unfortunately the Zionist movement drew the opposite conclusion. Indeed it
accepted the arguments of anti-Semitism that Jews did not belong in the lands
where they were born and grew up. They were strangers living in exile (Galut). They should "return" to Palestine. Unfortunately they took with them
the ideological framework of European racism. In essence, the anti-Semites said
"you do not belong" and the Zionists said "we agree".
exists in other guises than "Zionism" - one argument is made that
explicitly Jewish pro Palestinian and anti Zionist organizations are
manifestations of the same separatism and particularism
as is Zionism. I agree with this point of view. Jews have no special claim
regarding Palestine or the issue of Palestine. Better to be
an opponent of Israel
who happens to be or to have been born Jewish that a "Jew for Palestinain rights." To put the "Jew" first
in the self designation is to put the "Jew" first in importance.
Today the Zionist movement regularly accuses its opponents of
"anti-Semitism". In what is a new phenomenon, there has grown up a
small group of people, based around a certain Israel Shamir, who have said
"yes", "if you call us anti-Semites, then there must be nothing
wrong with anti-Semitism". The phenomenon of a section of the oppressed
adopting the ideological framework of the oppressor is nothing new. It is a
characteristic of separatist movements, e.g. Louis Farrakhan. What is strange
is when "supporters" of the oppressed adopt the ideas of the
Studying Judaism as one important
source of what ails the world is not racism, Tony. In fact it's Jews or people
born of Jews who are among the leaders in the movement to look at Judaism and
organized Jewry ("The Jews") critically. - Jews from Israel Shahak to Bertell Olman to Israel Shamir (my apologies here to IS- he's an ex
Jew. that's a legitimate self identification.) Surely things that Jews say and
do get a vastly disproportionate amount of attention in the world. Is this the
result of some hateful and racist conspiracy? I think not. For a whole myriad
of reasons "The Jews" are very strategic in almost every major issue,
as well as in the media, finance and academia. We may argue all we want about
the "why's" of this but I don't think we can
argue much about the fact of it. How do you look at the "Chmielnicki question ? " The
Jewish viewpoint predominates. I think that predominant view is wrong and
is a symptom of what the trouble is with us Jews today.
Louis Farrakhan leads a movement trying
to strengthen the morale of an oppressed and often demoralized people.
Unfortunately you join with other Jews and with assorted non Jewish racists as
well, in attacking his efforts. Farrakhan is widely respected by African
Americans. To support him and build him up just say:
"I'm a Jew and I'm against Farrakhan." To engender "anti
Semitism" just do the same thing.
The accusation that to support the Palestinians, to be opposed to Zionism, is a
form of anti-Semitism, is a charge that has gradually lost its potency,
especially in Europe. If it were to be perceived that in fact there were some
truth to this allegation that part of the Palestine
Solidarity movement were indeed genuinely anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi,
this could have a devastating effect on support for the Palestinians amongst
e.g. the trade unions. In Britain
there has been a battle to boycott Israeli academia. This was won then lost in
the Association of University Teachers. There are high hopes of winning this
position again. There is nothing the academic supporters of Israel desire
more than "evidence" of anti-Semitism.
Again Tony, opposition to the organized
Jewish community, to its ideological underpinnngs and
to its actions is not racism. Again Tony, it's people
born Jewish or who still identify as Jews who have come forth with the most
evidence. Isn't that strange for racists who despise
Nor is this academic. Sue Blackwell from Birmingham University, who proposed the boycott
motion, inadvertently put a link on her own website to a Shamir supporters site, Wendy Campbell’s Marwen
Media. The Zionists used this extensively to attack the academic boycott. Shamir’s
response? "Sue richly deserves the trouble – for the trouble she
gave me. Once, she was cc’ed in a letter where Martin
Webster, a known British far right figure, was mentioned..." Martin
Webster was one of the founders of the British National Front, a fascist
organisation. A man Shamir is friendly with and to whom he forwarded Sue’s
The argument over Gilad Atzmon
is a side issue. Atzmon is the mere mouthpiece for a
Swedish/Russian fascist called Israel Shamir. This is someone whose followers
have taken over an organisation called Deir Yassin Remembered, whose co-director is a Paul Eisen. In an e-mail of 12th June, Atzmon
wrote to me that "Indeed I correspond with Shamir occasionally. I find him
an extremely charming man and rather entertaining. But more to the point, my
ties with Shamir are merely intellectual. I regard Shamir as a unique and
Shamir has not supported the National
Front electorally. I'd guess though that he'd find
the present governing group in England
to be more odious than the National Front is. For one thing the National Front
isn't in power. They're not slaughtering Iraqis, like Laborites
who et so called marxist
votes are. And here's soemthing from the NF FAQs. Can't be all bad:
WOULD THE NF KEEP BRITAIN
IN NATO?A. No. NATO is an organisation that is under the control of the USA. It seeks
to replace the independent defence capabilities of independent Western nations
such as Britain.
NATO demonstrated its deadly capabilities in the war against Serbia in 1999.
On the orders of the USA, a
sovereign nation was viciously bombed by a variety of European nations, led by
masters under the NATO banner in direct contravention of international law that
bans the meddling by foreign powers in the internal affairs of a sovereign
state. Now that the Soviet Union no longer exists there is no real need for an
alliance such as NATO - except, maybe, against the United States!
Visitors to his website can perhaps judge for themselves just how
"unique" and "advanced" Shamir’s
views are. Certainly his defence of the blood libel myth is unique. In an
article ‘On Anti-Semitism’ Shamir writes that:
"For as long as Richard Perle sits in the
Pentagon, Elie Wiesel
brandishes his Nobel Prize, Mort Zuckerman owns the USA Today, Gusinsky bosses over Russian TV, Soros
commands multi-billions of funds and Dershowitz
teaches at Harvard, we need the voices of Duke, Sobran, Raimondo, Buchanan, Mahler, Griffin and
of other anti-bourgeois nationalists."
Opponents of the Iraq war and US
interventionism, Tony. And without power like Zuckerman, etc.
Alliances are not marriages made in heaven. Alliances can be formal or informal
and they exist when social or political forces happen to find themselves on the
same side of a given barricade. Given their power and the harm they've done
wouldn't Zuckerman, Weisel, Perle
and Wolfowitz be more appropriate targets to attack?
Shamir quotes Horst Mahler of the German neo-Nazi NPD, "a great adversary
of Jewish supremacy, (who) stressed the spiritual element of the struggle:
‘Hitler failed for he attended to biological (racist, tribal) aspect of Jews,
while it is the spiritual aspect that had to be fought’." The war in Iraq is a
"Zionist war" according to Kristoffer
Larson in another article on Shamir’s website. For
those who desire such things, Shamir’s site is packed
with anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, waxing lyrical about Jewish "Christ
killers". As he explains: "In the forthcoming struggle, it makes
sense to know who your enemy is and what sort of victory you hope to achieve.
In my opinion, the enemy is Jewish supremacy carried out by organised Jewry."
Such a hodge podge of half truth and out of context attack is hard to
take on in one sitting, Tony. Whatever is wrong with Mahler he is saying that
Hitler was in error for attacking Jews as individuals, and that the enemy was
the spirit of Judaism. There is so much available now that exposes the Jewish
religion as supremacist and anti human and backward - much by Jewish or
"Jewish born" authors starting with Marx through Shahak.
You owe it to yourself to look it over. Shamir clearly labels everyone who is
standing aside as Palestine
is murdered as the "Christ killers" of today.
By the way I personally thank Shamir for shaking my thinking about
being a Jew, though I cannot follow him into any church, and I do not share
much of his world view. I think a reading of his essays could lead you to think
about what being Jewish means. Shamir supports Cuba and says he is pro Soviet,
but you don't have to believe Shamir's a Marxist (I
do not) to appreciate his sharp laser like look at Judaism, and surely Judaism
and not just Zionism is one of the pillars of capitalism and imperialism today.
Mary Rizzo’s article is an exercise in dishonesty and dissembling. Not once did
she even mention the name Israel Shamir. She hasn’t always been so reticent. On
5 May 2005 she stated that "I’m neither anti semitic, nor, in my opinion is Shamir. Sorry, but I
read his critiques on Zionist supremicism not as anti
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/JustPeaceUK/message/15492 On 18 April she had
written "Why should I be obligated to join in on the smear campaign?... I am convinced that there are indeed attempts made at
ritual defamation ... against Shamir...."
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/JustPeaceUK/message/15212 As far as Rizzo is concerned, criticism of Shamir’s
virulent anti-Semitism is a "smear" campaign. She finds nothing
anti-Semitic about the above views, which have been repeatedly pointed out to
her. Her attack on Jewish anti-Zionists has to be seen in this light.
Rizzo’s suggestion that "Greenstein seems to know what is best for the
Palestinian people... Is he a self-appointed spokesman for them or does he just
set the agenda because his ideas are the most important, significant and true
ones?" is an exercise in self-deception and conspiracy. All of us who are
active in support of the Palestinians and who oppose Zionism and what it has
done have a duty to point out that it was anti-Semitism that gave birth to
Zionism. The last thing the
Palestinians need is the support of anti-Semites. All political
activists have ideas. Many of us make no attempt to hide our support for a
democratic secular state in Palestine
and opposition to a 2 State solution. Rizzo herself is opposed to the 2 States
idea. Is this an imposition on the Palestinians? No. We have the right to give
our opinion and most Palestinians if given the choice would opt for a unitary
Zionism and its supporters gave birth
Judaism gave birth to Zionism. Palestinians will decide what the last thing
they need is and what the first thing they need is.
But maybe Rizzo will find it easier to accept the advice of Palestinians
directly? She might listen to Ali Abunimah and
Hussein Ibish (‘Serious Concerns About
Israel Shamir’), two prominent Arab-Americans:
"1) Yesterday we received an ‘Easter Message’ from Shamir in which he
repeats the most odious characterizations of Jews as ‘Christ killers’, the
staple of classic European Christian anti-Semitism.... We cannot agree that
Jews ‘deserve’ to be called ‘Christ killers’, or that this kind of rhetoric has
anything whatever to offer of value to the movement for Palestinian liberation
and human rights.... What could be more counterproductive to building the
community of conscience, the powerful moral stance, which is and must be the
goal of those of us in the United
States who support
Palestinian rights, than the introduction of this kind of rhetoric into our
conversation? How could we do more to discredit ourselves than by allowing such
ideas to proliferate in behalf of a movement that has no need whatever to stoop
to vilifying others to justify itself?
"2) Shamir recently gave a speech at Tufts University.
He is quoted as saying at that speech: ‘Palestinians are perfect mammals; their
life is deeply rooted in the ground.... Israeli people represent a virus form
of a human being because they can live anywhere’."
Read Shamir's rebuttal:
"Now I shall refer to other concerns raised by Ali Abunimah and Hussein Ibish. As
for my alleged comparison of the Jews with 'virus', I quote the lines of Ellen Cantarow, who was present at the talk.
do want to stress that the comment about "viruses" cited by Ali in
his letter was taken out of context. I was there; I heard the talk. This is NOT
what Shamir said. Which makes me feel that THE JERUSALEM POST reference
should be looked up in context. I do not feel it
wise, when one has not read the entirety of a text, especially in a controversy
like this one, to fan the flames by circulating partial statements. For those
on the limited list to whom I send this note, in the Tufts talk Shamir referred
to the movie "Matrix," with its references to "organic"
"mammals" and to predatory viruses. He then said that the original
Palestinian population had an "organic" relation to the land in Palestine, whereas the
European-Jewish immigrants and colonists did not, and in their consequent
actions, expelling the original inhabitants, destroying villages with beautiful
architecture, etc., could be compared to the "viruses" in
"Matrix." I find this in perfect keeping with his "Dulcinea" essay and other pieces".
add to it, that in my opinion every man, Jew or Gentile, can choose whether to
behave like a virus or like a mammal, or even as a vulture. It is actually an
idea deeply rooted in the Zionist discourse of Hertzl
and Borochov, who wished to reconnect Jews and soil
as the means of rejuvenation of the Jewish people. In my opinion, it failed
because the settlers did not connect to the native inhabitants of the land.
move on to the blood-libel accusation in the Jerusalem Post, repeated by Ali Abunima and Hussein Ibish. This
Conrad Black newspaper wrote: "One of NIF's
beneficiaries is the Israel-
in Tel Aviv. The center promotes the Palestinians'
'right of return' to their pre-1948 homes. Two weeks ago, Russian-language
Shamir told a largely Jewish audience: 'Jews only exist to drip the blood of
Palestinian children into their matzas.' No one
obviously rubbish. I certainly did not say the words they attribute to me. Have
no doubt, the nice middle-class Jewish audience in Tel Aviv, where the
misquoted talk was given, would protest such silly stuff instead of pouring
their love on the speaker. The purpose of the JP allegation was to smear these
wonderful people, who work very hard on charity lines to feed the hungry and
clothe the needy in the besieged villages. It is to be regretted that Ali Abunimah and Hussein Ibish were
deceived by the right-wingers' blood libel against Israeli supporters of
Palestinian rights. "
Is it necessary to point out that those who talk of Jews, or any human beings,
as "viruses" are the direct political descendants of Streicher, Rosenberg
and the other Nazi ideologues?
Tony you're sadly mistaken, caught up in emotion or
you're just a liar.
Rizzo plays the "free speech" card. There is no such thing as
"free speech" when it comes to fascism and racism – it always carries
a price. As Britain’s
R.H. Tawney wrote: "freedom for the pike means
death to the minnow". And Oliver Wendell Holmes noted that free speech
does not include the right to cry "fire" in a crowded theatre.
Fascist "free speech" means death for their targets. Paul Eisen’s ‘Holocaust Wars’ is not an exercise in "free
speech" nor is it a dispassionate presentation of Ernst Zundel’s holocaust denial views. It is an account which
betrays Eisen’s own views extremely clearly. The use
of the third person is an attempt at deniability by Eisen.
However he found the temptations too much. Eisen
wrote of this Hitler lover:
"Unlike most Holocaust revisionists (rather an austere, academic lot), Zundel is a hands-on activist – a gentle, good-humored man, kind and honest and with those qualities often
found in the strangest places: a fine mind and a good heart."
"Despite an impressive defense from heavyweights
such as Robert Faurisson, Marc Weber and David Irving
who, having just read the Leuchter report, took the
opportunity of the trial to proclaim his conversion to Holocaust revisionism, Zundel was again found guilty and sentenced...."
"How do those Germans now nearing the end of their lives, feel when told
that what seemed so right then and perhaps even still seems so right was in
fact so wrong? And how do those Germans today, born and educated in postwar Germany,
feel when told of the shame and disgrace of their parents and grandparents? How
might it feel, to be forbidden, alone amongst the peoples of Europe,
to recall your recent history with anything but shame?"
"The Hitler we loved and why.... Ernst Zundel
was once involved in the publication of a book called The Hitler We Loved and Why, but Ernst Zundel was not the
only German who loved Hitler and is probably not the only German who still
loves Hitler. Millions of Germans loved Hitler who for twelve years impacted on
them as no German has or probably ever will, and, though they never say so,
must, deep down still cherish his memory."
Under the heading "The War for the Truth: The Revisionists" the
"It bears repetition that the denial of the Holocaust revisionists does
not extend to the entire Holocaust narrative. Revisionists do not deny that the
National Socialist regime brutally persecuted Jews.... But they do deny the
Holocaust narrative as we know it in three specific areas.
• They deny that there ever was an official plan on the part of Hitler or any
other part of the Nazi regime systematically and physically to eliminate every
Jew in Europe.
• They deny that there ever existed homicidal gas-chambers.
• They deny the figure of six million Jewish victims of the Nazi assault and claim
that the actual figure was significantly less.
"In making their claims, Revisionists have offered a considerable body of
work. To what degree they are right, everyone must judge for themselves. Many
will take the view that Holocaust revisionism is but pernicious nonsense
motivated only by a hatred of Jews and a desire to rehabilitate Hitler and
National Socialism specifically, and fascism in general and therefore not even
worthy of scrutiny. I don’t agree, and those with sufficient curiosity to wish to
research the subject can visit the website of the premier Revisionist think
tank the Institute for Historical Review...."
To suggest that Eisen was merely presenting Zundel’s views is an exercise in mendacity. Anyone reading
the article can have no doubts as to where Eisen’s
Eisen presents Zundel's
views as being legitimate, by which I mean shared by millions for some material
reason, (and therefore meriting debate) but not exonerating any crimes that Germany did
perpetrate. Somehow Hitler gathered a lot of votes and was followed to the
gates of hell by the German people. It's not pro Hitler to acknowledge that
Hitler was good (in a sense) or seemed to be good for some Germans. His
politics led to an immense crime - primarily the murderous attack on the Soviet
experiment in egaliatrian non racialist proletarian
internationalist revolution. His success by the way was built on the failure of left
forces to unite against his politics and it can be said that the whole world is
still suffering because of this failure.
Gilad Atzmon is a two-bit
player in this affair, but if anyone should doubt what his views are, then they
should ask themselves if the following are anti-Semitic:
"we must begin to take the accusation that the Jewish people are trying to
control the world very seriously.... American Jewry makes any debate on whether
the ‘Protocols of the elder of Zion’
are an authentic document or rather a forgery irrelevant. American Jews do try
to control the world, by proxy...." (‘On Anti-Semitism’)
You had Likudniks in power in the Pentagon, the World Bank, influential
think tanks advocating a "new Pearl Harbor."
I assume most people are aware of the pivotal role that the Protocols played in
the history of anti-Semitism and the Nazi era. Indeed it was Atzmon’s attack on members of Jews Against
Zionism, quaintly titled ‘The Protocols of the Elders of London’ which
triggered the picket of Atzmon’s SWP meeting in London. When I asked him
whether he distributed Eisen’s ‘Holocaust Wars’, Atzmon was quite candid: "my take on the subject is
slightly different than Paul’s one and yet, i found
Paul very attentive to my criticism. Furthermore, Let
me assure you that if I ever see a great text written by yourself I’ll be the
first to circulate it."
Fascist groups have always pretended to support the Palestinians, but it has
always run up against their racism against Black people and today Muslims in
particular. The phenomenon of Palestinian supporters adopting a version of
holocaust revisionism and anti-Semitic imagery and ideology is something new.
No one denies their right to freedom of speech, but what we do deny is their
right to destroy the rest of the movement in support of the Palestinians with
Proponent of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion - I am occasionally accused by
right and left Jews for counting on the old Tsarist forgery.
My comment: In fact it is the other way around. I argue that the Protocols are
completely irrelevant. Zionist lobbies all over the world are manifestly
engaged in global politics and international murderous tactics. It isn’t solely
the Palestinians who are victims of Zionist logic. All throughout its history,
Zionism was supporting the most malicious
Colonial Forces. This is the essence of political Zionism, i.e. whatever is
good for the Jews is good.
A few months ago I exposed some extracts of an inner Zionist elder cell in
North West Yahoo If
you want to learn how they operate just follow the above link.
and Black Americans are capable of deciding who their primary enemies are,