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Gilad Atzmon & The Wandering Who?

Review by Shabana Syed 2012

Gilad Atzmon the famous ex Israeli musician, philosopher  and writer whose new book, “The Wandering Who?” has   caused a fury amongst pro Israel groups,  is no stranger to controversy.  Last year he caused a stir when the Palestinian leader Sheikh Raed Salah was   arrested during a visit to the UK following huge pressure from the Israel lobby.   Atzmon wrote: “Welcome to the United   Jewish Kingdom”.   The Wandering Who? is the latest   exposé by a Jewish author to uncover   the pernicious workings of the pro-Israel   lobby.  IPAC’s enormous influence across the   pond is well-known. The USA is currently suffering one of its worst ever economic crises, yet Congress voted again   this year to continue its annual $3 billion aid package to Israel.  When Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu stood in Congress in May to say that Israel will never go back to the 1967 bor  ders, he received 29 standing ovations   and according to ABC’s Jonathan Karl,   “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s   speech before a joint meeting of Congress had all the trappings of a State of   the Union address by a president with  sky-high approval ratings.” Instead of dealing with constituents   who are facing economic disaster 81   Congress members took a free all-expenses paid holiday to Israel this year.   Alison Weir, founder of “If Americans   Knew” wrote: “This is an extraordinary   situation. No other lobby on behalf of   a foreign country comes anywhere near   to controlling such wealth or taking so   many of America’s elected representatives on a propaganda trip to their favourite country.”   A report by Rajeev Syal in The Observer   stated that Britain’s most active pro-  Israeli propaganda organisation Bicom   “which flies journalists to Israel on fact-  finding trips and organises access to   senior government figures — has received   nearly £1.4m in two years from a billionaire donor whose father made a fortune   manufacturing arms in Israel.” It was   also revealed that the billionaire was the   prominent pro-Israeli Poju Zabludowicz.   

In Britain any criticism of Israel is muzzled and suppressed through howls of   “anti Semitism”. The BBC has already   been caught many times propagating   the hasbara propaganda; when Israeli   commandos attacked the Mavi Mara in   international waters killing nine Turkish peace activists the BBC’s Panorama   programme on the subject was slated by   many for its pro-Israel approach.   Atzmon’s book aptly named The Wandering Who? looks at these powerful   lobbies and examines Jewish identity   politics and the Jewish Diaspora’s relationship with Israel.

The book has provoked a storm and Atzmon himself has   become the subject of a vicious smear   campaign.  Atzmon is one of a few Jewish writers   such as Noam Chomsky and Norman   Finkelstein who breaks the norms and   political taboos and ‘says it like it is`. He  neither tiptoes or sugar coats the facts  even though as he puts it “you will have to face an orchestrated smear campaign,  you will be then called ‘anti Semite,’ a ‘new historian’ and even a ‘Holocaust   denier.”   It has been easy for pro Israel supporters   to stifle and suppress critical discourse   about Israel, however in the case of Gilad  Atzmon their attempts to silence him is causing them a massive problem, as the terms used to silence most critics won’t  stick on Atzmon. How can one call Atzmon who was born a Jew and brought up in Israel, served in the Israeli army, had a relative who died in the Holocaust, “anti   Semitic or racist?”  According to ‘The Community Security  Trust` which monitors anti-Semitism in   the UK and was also one of the pressure  groups calling for the arrest of Sheikh  Salah, the book is “utterly contemporary   cultural racism.”  Writing in New York Jewish Week, another critic Ben Cohen, argues that Atzmon   is an anti Semite who “traffics in anti  Semitic tropes – for example describing   the “credit crunch as a ‘Ziopunch’, or declaring that The Protocols of the Elders   of Zion is an accurate reflection of the   global power of American Jews.”   Atzmon who lives in Britain is not only   famous for his music but also one   of the most prominent advocates of   Palestinian rights; his life philosophy   stems not from any form of ‘tribalism’   but from a deep belief in humanity. His   book has received critical acclaim and   been endorsed by prominent academics like Professor John Falk, Professor   John J Mearsheimer and Professor   William A Cook.  Mearsheimer has also been the subject   of a smear campaign after he endorsed   Atzmon’s book as ‘Essential to an understanding of Jewish identity politics and   the role they play on the world stage.’   Defending his book Atzmon writes   “it’s also obvious to every person who   reads me that there is not a drop of   racism, bigotry or anti Semitism in any   of my writings. In my entire writing career I have never criticized Jews as people, ethnicity or race. Nor do I criticise   Judaism. What I do is to scrutinize Jewish   ideology and culture and I argue that if   Israel defines itself as the ‘Jewish State’   and drops bombs on civilians from airplanes decorated with Jewish symbols,   then it is our moral duty to question   what this ‘Jewishness’ is all about.”   He also examines the baffling question  of “what it is that leads Diaspora Jews to identify themselves with Israel and affiliate with its politics.”  For anyone with an interest in Palestinian rights, Atzmon’s book is an illuminating probe that sheds light on the murky workings of Zionist groups and  the Machiavellian methods they use to acquire and exercise power•

The Wandering Who? A Study of Jewish Identity Politics by Gilad Atzmon is published by Zero Books.

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1 Comment on Gilad Atzmon & The Wandering Who?

  1. Gilad Atzmon is entirely right NOT to buy this inltianfe garbage. Recuperation and damage control are some of the oldest tricks of the political trade. Here it is revamped by some apprentice perception management dilettantes. It is childish, almost embarrassingly transparent.Quote 1: The new generation wants change…most of the young people are all well educated….they see themselves as Westerners . Implying: old generation are uneducated, unfit for Freedom and Democracy, and to be Westerner instead of Arab is a sign of progress, modernity and liberation.Quote 2: they gave us a book…how you have to proceed when you want to overthrow a regime…that book which is used by opposition movements worldwide was actually written in Boston USA (cheap Hollywood-style music change at this moment to influence the perception)…here is one of the intellectual centers of Democracy Activists…. non-violence is a method of warfare Undertone: The indigenous naefve and ignorant slaves are taught and given the tools…and the world is granted generously this incredible knowledge from…Boston USA…while Boston is in fact one of the most reactionary spot in the USA, and not the contrary. And then the cherry on the pie, non-violence . If this were the method employed to confront armed power-structures in the past, mankind would have never reached the social advantages of the 20th century, which are currently being stolen back by the same power structures, precisely because we the people have been hoodwinked to be disarmed and adopt non-violence . So let me get this right: non-violence is the method ordered to the oppressed who find themselves in the shooting line of a gun, while the oppressor’s method is to pull the trigger. Fine revolutionaries these are.Quote 3: …his new gadget for resistance training is a computer game that simulates the fight against the power of state ….. you gonna be kidding me, this is infantilism. Notwithstanding thousands of years of human progress through struggle and fight, only degenerated Western morons can spew such “video-game” nonsense. I guess this computer game has mobilised 4 million Egyptians to Tahrir Square who practiced it for 2 weeks before the Revolution. May be Mohamed Bouazizi was inspired by the game before igniting the Arab Revolution.

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