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A Reply to Tony Greenstein's Reply....

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 Atzmon?’
Tony Greenstein

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 slightly.

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 nerves". At least that explains the tone of the article.

Mr. 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 equally wrong.

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".

Jewish seperatism 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 oppressor.

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 standard 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 "Jewish blood?"

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 personal details.

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 advanced thinker."

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:
45.Q. 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 their US 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 semitic". 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...." 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 state solution.

Zionism and its supporters gave birth to Israel. 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.
"I 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".

I would 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.
Let us 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- Palestine Friendship Center in Tel Aviv. The center promotes the Palestinians' 'right of return' to their pre-1948 homes. Two weeks ago, Russian-language journalist Israel Shamir told a largely Jewish audience: 'Jews only exist to drip the blood of Palestinian children into their matzas.' No one protested."
It is 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?

Okay, 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 article continues:

"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 sympathies lie.

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 their views.

Atzmon says:
"Atzmon, 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.

Palestinians and Black Americans are capable of deciding who their primary enemies are, Tony.