A recent talk in Brighton by Gilad Atzmon was moved from its original venue after threat of pickets by the anti-Zionist organization Jews Against Zionism (JAZ).
“A man accused of anti-semitism has been forced to cancel a speech at a church over fears it could whip up religious hatred. Event organiser Dr Francis Clark-Lowes cancelled his booking at the Brighthelm Centre, in North Road, Brighton, for the talk by Gilad Atzmon.”
… The move has been welcomed by campaign groups. Tony Greenstein, of the Brighton and Hove Unemployed Workers Centre, said Atzmon would have faced a major protest outside the building had he tried to enter. Mr Greenstein said: “Despite his abhorrent views, we did not call for the meeting to be cancelled. We wanted him to face as large a picket as possible in order that he should understand the depth of opposition. Nonetheless we welcome the fact that Brighthelm has cancelled this meeting as church premises are probably the least appropriate venue for a meeting of this kind.”
Atzmon was predictably displeased:
Mr Atzmon said: “I think it is outrageous the way I’ve been treated in all this. There’s not a single racist remark in any of my writings. All I argue is that if Israel is a Jewish state we’re entitled to ask what Judaism stands for.”
Nothing racist? Ask the Brighton Argus, whose Jean Calder wrote a very sensible column before the scheduled speech.
“Those who campaign for the rights of Palestinians are rightly incensed by the frequency with which they are falsely accused of “anti-semitism”. They point out that criticism of the actions of the Israeli government and the Zionists who sustain and support it is not anti-semitic.
However, the fact that false allegations of anti-Semitism are often made against those who criticise the Israeli state does not mean that anti-Zionists are not also sometimes anti-semitic. Or that those who oppose Zionism can cease to be vigilant about the allies they choose to stand alongside.”
Calder then identifies an example of an anti-Semitic anti-Zionist: Gilad Atzmon. Why does she call Atzmon an anti-Semite? Because he is one, as the rest of her article details with example after example from Atzmon’s writings.
I choose to highlight only one bit, although there are many others, some of which I have touched on in other posts.
‘The idea that Jews are “Christ killers” is one that is particularly close to the heart of anti-Semites and was the foundation stone of the Reich Church, the pro-Nazi section of the Baptist Church in Germany in the 1930s.
Atzmon wrote: “I would suggest that perhaps we should face it once and for all: the Jews were responsible for the killing of Jesus.” He says: “Why is it that the Jews who repeatedly demand that the Christian world should apologise for its involvement in previous persecutions have never thought that it is about time that they apologised for killing Jesus?“
… I [Calder] find it profoundly shocking that anyone who professes concern for human rights should suggest that centuries of anti-Semitic pogroms and persecution by Christians were to any extent provoked by the behaviour of the people who suffered them.”
Yet that is exactly what Atzmon repeatedly suggests; it was exactly that suggestion — the suggestion that the Jews had made themselves “unpopular” and thereby brought the Holocaust upon themselves — that brought about the perfectly justified call to ban Atzmon from Indymedia UK.
And it is a charge Atzmon repeats in the Indymedia interview:
“The lesson of the Holocaust … they have an opportunity to learn the lesson, there was a lesson: there were some things that made the Jews very, very unpopular. There was a chance to learn a lesson — and the lesson was to love your neighbor, as well as being loved by your neighbor.”
But the Jews of 1930s Europe apparently had failed to know this, Atzmon implies, because they were slaughtered by the millions. If only they Jews had been more enlightened, then the tragedy could have been avoided. What made the Jews of Europe “unpopular”? Why, according to Atzmon, it was the Jews of Europe themselves. Later in the interview, Atzmon continues to say the Jews had made themselves “unpopular” by their “arrogance,” although he adds that “I think that the Israeli arrogance is by far worse that the pre-war condition [of European Jews].”
He again draws an analogy between his anti-Zionist opponents and the slaughtered Jews of Europe: “I think that the condition that led towards the horrible Nazi Judeocide is not very different from the condition that Greenstein or Machover or Rance or Elf and Lenni Brenner bring or inflict upon themselves.”
Again, the interviewer is unable to grasp what Atzmon is implying. (One suspects that he would percieve nothing short of an outburst of “Kill the yids” as being actually anti-Semitic; anything more subtle than that flies right past him.) The “condition” Atzmon’s attackers are “inflicting on themselves” is being hated, according to Atzmon. And that condition “is not very different” from the condition of 1930’s Jews, a condition which Atzmon has already claimed the Jews of Europe brought upon themselves.