What motivates the critics of Atzmon? Pt I

The question that the Indymedia UK editorial policy hinges on is this: are the attacks on Gilad Atzmon a coordinated “campaign” by Zionists to silence a critic of Israel, as Atzmon and some UK collective members maintain, or is it actually an attempt by the left to purge itself of a counterproductive, anti-Semitic element?

That question can be answered most directly by looking at the record on Israel of those calling for Atzmon to be banned from UK Indymedia. Are they actually apologists for Israel, as Atzmon et al. claim (usually indirectly)? I’ll address this question in a series of posts, taking Atzmon’s critics one by one.

I’ll take as the first example the noted, long-standing anti-Zionist Lenni Brenner. A quick Google shows that Brenner’s book Zionism in the Age of the Dictators has been featured and referred to many, many times on the Indymedia network by critics of Israel. It is by no imaginable description a work of Israeli apologia. Brenner had this to say on the imc-uk-features list about Atzmon:

Tony Greenstein has alerted me to the fact that Indymedia has run material by Gilad Atzmon. I second Tony’s demand that Indymedia stop printing Atzmon’s material.

[… Atzmon insists that] “Though they may be critical of different aspects of the exploitation of the Holocaust, they all accept the validity of the Nazi Judeocide and its mainstream interpretations and implications. Most of the scholars, if not all of them, do not challenge the Zionist narrative, namely Nazi Judeocide…. not a single Holocaust religion scholar dares engage in a dialogue with the so-called ‘deniers’ to discuss their vision of the events or any other revisionist scholarship.”

Does Indymedia believe that we should “dialogue with the so-called ‘deniers’ to discuss their vision of the events or any other revisionist scholarship”? Should Indymedia “dialogue” with David Irving?

Is Brenner writing as a defender of Israel? Clearly not, as his email goes on to demonstrate:

I am best known for my book, Zionism in the Age of the Dictators, which exposed Zionist collaboration with Hitler and Mussolini. It received favorable reviews from publications as different as the London Times and Moscow’s Izvestia. I work in a field with other serious scholars, Zionist, anti-Zionist, Jew and gentile. Whatever our differences, we are of 1 mind when it comes to holocaust deniers/revisionists: We have nothing to discuss with Nazis, holocaust deniers or ex-Jewish crackpots who want us to discuss anything with such vermin.

Note that Brenner hasn’t objected to any other anti-Zionist poster on Indymedia UK, only Gilad Atzmon, whom he objects to for the same reason as the rest of Gilad Atzmon’s critics, left, right, and center: on grounds of anti-Semitism. If Brenner’s motivation were truly to stifle criticism of Israel, why does he only do so when it comes to Atzmon, and no other posts on Indymedia UK?

Brenner concludes as follows:

No mincing words, no evasions, no hypocrisy. You have read Atzmon calling for such a mad dialogue. Do you agree with us? Yes or no? Are you ready to totally disentangle yourselves from him? Yes or no?

For 1 democratic, secular bi-national Palestine/Israel in a socialist world.

I’ll put the entire email from Brenner as a comment to this post.

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One Response to What motivates the critics of Atzmon? Pt I

  1. geniza says:

    Link to original.

    Hi Comrades,

    Tony Greenstein has alerted me to the fact that Indymedia has run material by Gilad Atzmon. I second Tony’s demand that Indymedia stop printing Atzmon’s material.

    Atzmon, an Israeli who broke with Zionism, now calls himself an ex-Jew. Indeed he devotes much of his writing to denouncing leftist anti-Zionist Jews. Worse yet, he denounces us because we fight both Zionists and anti-Semites.

    In a 3/3/07 CounterPunch article, “From Esther to AIPAC,” http://www.counterpunch.org/atzmon03032007.html

    He cites “Marc Ellis… Adi Ofir… Lenni Brenner… Shraga Elam… Finkelstein,” who write on the holocaust. He insists that

    “Though they may be critical of different aspects of the exploitation of the Holocaust, they all accept the validity of the Nazi Judeocide and its mainstream interpretations and implications. Most of the scholars, if not all of them, do not challenge the Zionist narrative, namely Nazi Judeocide…. not a single Holocaust religion scholar dares engage in a dialogue with the so-called ‘deniers’ to discuss their vision of the events or any other revisionist scholarship.”

    Does Indymedia believe that we should “dialogue with the so-called ‘deniers’ to discuss their vision of the events or any other revisionist scholarship”? Should Indymedia “dialogue” with David Irving?

    As with everyone else on the Brit left, I’m sure you are concerned about the fact that the British National Party has won some local municipality seats. You know them. Monday they are Nazis, Tuesday they are anti-Muslim, Wednesday its back to hating Jews, Thursday is for kicking Paki ass, etc. Therefore no one, repeat, no one in Britain, atheist leftist, Christian, Jew, Muslim, who genuinely wants to build a united front in the streets against the BNP wants any part of “dialogue” with holocaust deniers, who are nothing more than intellectual fronts for neo-Nazism.

    Jews are like anyone else. Atzmon isn’t the 1st to freak out and he won’t be the last. Back in the 50s, I was hospitalized with an infected liver. Across from me was an elderly Jew. He was quite until his family visited him. He would greet them with a Nazi salute and a hearty “Heil Hitler!” They didn’t know what set him off, but something offended him and this was his way of punishing them. Similarly, when Israelis break with Zionism, some go over to leftism, others convert to Islam or Christianity and some, as with Atzmon, develop their own mad form of fanaticism.

    I am best known for my book, Zionism in the Age of the Dictators, which exposed Zionist collaboration with Hitler and Mussolini. It received favorable reviews from publications as different as the London Times and Moscow’s Izvestia. I work in a field with other serious scholars, Zionist, anti-Zionist, Jew and gentile. Whatever our differences, we are of 1 mind when it comes to holocaust deniers/revisionists: We have nothing to discuss with Nazis, holocaust deniers or ex-Jewish crackpots who want us to discuss anything with such vermin.

    No mincing words, no evasions, no hypocrisy. You have read Atzmon calling for such a mad dialogue. Do you agree with us? Yes or no? Are you ready to totally disentangle yourselves from him? Yes or no?

    For 1 democratic, secular bi-national Palestine/Israel in a socialist world,

    Lenni

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