Weird words and curious conspiracies
I was surprised to find two copies of Gilad Atzmon’s infamous The Wandering Who? A study of Jewish identity politics in my local library in Manchester, England.
A weird mixture of conspiracy theories and anti-Semitic allegations, the book has been condemned by Zionists and anti-Zionists alike. Following its publication in 2011, ten anti-Zionist authors wrote to the publisher to complain that "the thrust of Atzmon’s work is to normalise and legitimise anti-Semitism.”
The author, an Israel-born musician, refers to himself as a “proud self-hating Jew”. He's got nothing to be proud of. He is infamous for denying the Holocaust and endorsing the notorious Protocols of the Elders of Zion. He has claimed that Jews are in the business of trafficking body parts and that American Jews were responsible for Hitler’s anti-Semitism.
Jewish scholar Alan Dershowitz has written that “hard-core neo-Nazis, racists, anti-Semites and Holocaust deniers” endorse Atzmon.
Even Palestinian groups have distanced themselves from him because of his anti-Semitic views. A number of Palestinian intellectuals wrote to Atzmon, saying: "We reaffirm that there is no room in this historic and foundational analysis of our struggle for any attacks on our Jewish allies, Jews, or Judaism; nor denying the Holocaust; nor allying in any way shape or form with any conspiracy theories, far-right, orientalist, and racist arguments, associations and entities.”
The book contains a number of startling assertions:
· The Iraq war was carried out at the behest of the Zionists, with the US Army cast in the role of an “Israeli mission force.”
· American Jews in positions of power are the “enemy within.”
· Jewish bankers “have gathered the reputation of backers and financiers of war and even one communist revolution.”
· The credit crunch was the fault of one Jew in particular i.e. Alan Greenspan, who served as Chairman of the Federal Reserve of the United States from 1987 to 2006.
· Everyone who identifies himself as ‘a Jew’, including anti-Zionist Jews, are racist.
· Circumcision is a “Jewish blood ritual."
· Israeli youth who visit Auschwitz return home to “mimic SS barbarity.”
· Judaism is “tribal barbarism, a representations of the banal, non-universal, monotheistic merciless God, the killer of elder and infant alike.”
· The “Jews have no origin in Palestine whatsoever.”
· There is no such thing as anti-Semitism because the Jews “are not a race.”
· The Holocaust is a “new Jewish religion”, the “most sinister religion known to man.”
· The British government was funded by the Jews to attack Iraq in order to "erase one of the last pockets of Arab resistance to Zionism."
· One day people “may be bold enough to argue that "Hitler was right after all."
· The ancient blood libel – that Jews made Passover bread out of gentile children’s blood – may have some truth in it.
· Hamas rockets “are nothing but love letters.”
· Jewishness is driven by “racial supremacy.”
On the back of the book, there is a recommendation by political analyst James Petras, a well-known left-wing anti-Semite. Petras labels American Zionists "Israel's fifth column” and stereotypes the American Jewish community as “primarily defined by their entrepreneurial capacities" and "upholders of a doctrine of offensive wars.” He has also blamed the global economic crisis on Zionists and accused the American-Jewish community of being “bloodthirsty” for war and controlling the media.
It is extremely alarming that self-proclaimed progressives think it is acceptable to employ such terminology. The inability by many on the Left to confront this problem calls into question their judgement on any political issue.
Atzmon’s book is an example of what Irving Louis Horowitz has described as left-wing fascism: the tendency to find faults "everywhere and always in an imperial conspiracy of wealth, power or status.”
To paraphrase a well-known philosopher, one had better put on gloves before reading The Wandering Who?