Why did the Nazis hate the Jews — was it because of the Nazis, or because of the Jews?
According to Gilad Atzmon’s essay, and again in the interview in which he defends the essay, it’s the latter.
“Seemingly, it is the personification of WW2 and the Holocaust that blinded the Israelis and their supporters from internalising the real meaning of the conditions and the events that led towards their destruction in the first place. Would the Zionists understand the real meaning of their Holocaust, the contemporary Israelite may be able to prevent the destruction that may be awaiting them in the future.”
Atzmon is building an analogy here, clearly equating what’s happening now with the Jews to what happened with the Jews before the Holocaust. In particuar, Atzmon suggests that Jews are risking bringing some future form of Holocaust upon themselves by acting like Jews did before WWII — by making themselves “unpopular” the way the Jews of Europe made themselves “unpopular.”
It is this charge — in Atzmonean “history,” it’s the Jews who made the Nazis hate them — which caused such an explosive wave of opposition to Atzmon’s essay. And deservedly so; it’s simply a morally appalling thing to say. Tony Greenstein attacks Atzmon’s stance directly, as I’ve quoted here:
“The article justifies the holocaust by suggesting that it was the victims of the Nazis who brought the catastrophe on themselves because of their unpopularity.
To be clear: by “justifies the Holocaust,” Greenstein doesn’t mean that he believes Atzmon thinks the Holocaust was a good and justifiable thing, but rather that Atzmon believes that the Nazis were, to some degree, justified in hating the Jews, that the Jews were the source of their own “unpopularity.” Atzmon, perhaps characteristically, has chosen a far different interpretation, interpreting Greenstein as claiming “Atzmon thinks the Holocaust was justified.” Anyone who has ever watched a politican dissemble has seen this technique, parrying an opposition attack by recasting it into something ridiculous and then defending one’s self from the parody while ignoring the original charge.
As I’ll detail in another post, Greenstein’s statement is not a misinterpretation of what Atzmon means; in the interview he gave to Indymedia, Atzmon returns again to this point in more than enough detail and clarity to prove that Greenstein’s interpretation is actually what Atzmon says: that the Holocaust happened not to Jews but because of Jews.
Atzmon shifts blame away from Nazis and onto Jews. Like the “Khazaria” fairy tale but much more appalling, Atzmon’s blame-shifting is another example of how right wing, anti-Semitic thought gets sugared over with leftist vocabulary for leftist consumption. And the essay’s continuing presence on Indymedia UK is another example of how Indymedia UK is allowing itself, out of fear of “Zionist censorship,” to become a conduit for anti-Semitism despite the many, loud protests by those who have taken the time to scrape the sugar coating away and show what lies beneath.