Tag Archives | Gilad Atzmon

Gilad Atzmon Update

Readers will recall the controversy over the University of Chicago’s John Mearsheimer’s endorsement of a recent anti-Semitic book, The Wandering Who, by notorious anti-Semitic provocateur Gilad Atzmon.  When Atzmon’s background and anti-Jewish passages from the book were called to Mearsheimer’s attention, to even his harshest critics’ surprise instead of backing down he reaffirmed his endorsement.  Almost no one defended Mearsheimer, save his University of Chicago colleague Brian Leiter, and, less prominently, libertarian activist Sheldon Richman (who I’ve known and otherwise liked for years, but who has a serious blind spot when Israel-related issues come to his attention.)

The latest news is that the “Electronic Intifada” website, which is exactly what its name suggests, has published an open letter signed by various self-described “Palestine Solidarity Activists,” calling for “the disavowal of Atzmon by fellow Palestinian organizers, as well as Palestine solidarity activists, and allies of the Palestinian people, and note the dangers of supporting Atzmon’s political work and writings and providing any platforms for their dissemination.” Perhaps to preempt Atzmon’s inevitable claim that this is further evidence of a Jewish conspiracy against him, all of the signers have noticeably Arab names.

Signators include such dubious characters as Columbia’s Joseph Massad.  As the Elder of Ziyon blog puts it, these activists found “Atzmon’s nutty anti-semitic rantings too crazy – even for them.” But not, apparently, too crazy for Mearsheimer and friends.

H/T Reader Louis Offen

UPDATE: I missed an earlier letter along the same lines, signed by dozens of far left “Palestine Solidarity” activists.  Apparently, though, not everyone has gotten the message–I see that Atzmon spoke today at the Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church in D.C., and is speaking tomorrow at “Peace House.”

A postscript to this earlier letter states, “We wish to reiterate that we [...]

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Anti-Zionism and Anti-Semitism

Prompted by the controversy over Mearsheimer and Atzmon, Bob from Brockley has a good post on anti-Semitism, including this discussion of non-anti-Semitic anti-Zionism, with my added emphases:

Anti-Zionism that also takes a consistent opposition to all nationalisms (including Palestinian nationalism) is not antisemitic; Jewish religious anti-Zionism such as that of the Satmer Hasidim is not antisemitic; Jewish anti-Zionism which rejects the Zionist solution to the questions of Jewish survival and continuity (such as the position of the Jewish Socialist Group or others in the tradition of the Bund, folkism and other diasporist traditions) is not antisemitic [Editor: though one wonders about the relevance of these traditions in 2011, when there is an existing Jewish state with almost eight million citizens]; anti-Zionism from the perspective of Israeli citizens (Jewish or Arab) who want to see Israel as a democratic state for all its citizens (rather than a Jewish state) is not antisemitic; finally anti-Zionism which sees Zionism as a form of imperialism and takes a consistent opposition to all imperialisms without singling out Zionism as unique is wrong-headed, but not in itself antisemitic. All of these forms of anti-Zionism can be used as fig-leaves for antisemitism or be used to feed antisemitism, but they are not themselves antisemitic. [Editor: And I would add one more. Islamist anti-Zionism that is based on the idea that “Palestine” is Islamic territory that for theological reasons may not be governed by non-Muslims is not, by itself, anti-Semitic.]

Unfortunately, it’s increasingly the case that even those who approach anti-Zionism from one or more of these perspectives are at best tolerant of the anti-Semitism indulged in by some of their allies, and at worst engage in rhetoric that smacks of classical anti-Jewish themes, even if the individuals in question are not themselves anti-Semitic.

As I’ve noted [...]

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John Mearsheimer and Gilad Atzmon Update

A few days ago, I sent John Mearsheimer an email with my post inviting him to use the Volokh Conspiracy to defend some specific (and obviously anti-Semitic) quotations from Gilad Atzmon, given Mearsheimer’s insistence that Atzmon is not anti-Semitic. I have not heard back from Mearsheimer.

Meanwhile, Harry’s Place and Pejman Yousefzadeh have further documented Atzmon’s anti-Semitism, apparent both in his general writings and specifically in the book Mearsheimer blurbed.

Andrew Sullivan, who has turned harshly critical of Israel in recent years, seemed initially skeptical of the criticism of Atzmon. Eventually, however, did some additional research and concluded: “I still haven’t read the book but the excerpts are so vile and the mind behind them so patently warped and hateful, I really don’t care to. Why would anyone blurb a book like this?”

A group of far left British writers called on the publisher to withdraw Atzmon’s book given its overt anti-Semitism. The last few British leftists who were willing to have anything to with Atzmon at “Solidarity with Palestine” have renounced their ties with him (as discussed by leftist anti-Zionist Tony Greenstein in this post).

Mearsheimer and Atzmon have received support or defense from the far-leftist conspiracy-mongering Counterpunch website, from various Neo-Nazi and 9/11 conspiracy sites, and, bizarrely, from Mearsheimer’s Chicago colleague Brian Leiter.

But then again, maybe it’s not so bizarre–perhaps what Leiter wrote is exactly what one would expect. As a Jewish [and I assume] anti-Zionist , Leiter’s prescribed role by the Elders is to help “deliver an image of pluralism” while secretly pursuing the Jewish supremacist agenda (as Atzmon put it in a recent charming interview explaining how Jewish anti-Zionists are secretly in league with the Jewish Zionists to promote Jewish interests, an interview that I came across via a link from Leiter). [...]

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