Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Gilad Atzmonism

This post adds some links and comments to my previous posts on Gilad Atzmon (main post, addenda, chronology). or those who've not been keeping up with it, here's a quick summary. Gilad Atzmon"a modestly-talented jazz saxophonist once lionized by the SWP", has a new book about the Jews published by a tiny British independent radical publisher called Zero Books (or Zer0, as they generally type it), owned, I think, by the young writer, organic herb farmer, former model and consummate 'well dressed man about town' Tariq Goddard. Zer0 have somehow managed to secure an endorsement from right-wing "Israel Lobby" obsessive Stephen Mearsheimer. Two leading British socialist bloggers, the SWP's Richard Seymour (Lenin's Tomb) and the ex-SWP now Labour left Andy Newman (Socialist Unity), have led the criticism of Atzmon.

It should go without saying that my links to the various commentators I link to here implies no kind of endorsement of their general politics. I've got another post coming up (this time tomorrow I expect) on Andy Newman and Gilad Atzmon, partly in reply to this.

Here Mark Gardner of the CST reviews Atzmon's book The Wondering Who. He very carefully analyses the antisemitic content of the book, and its relationship to anti-Zionist politics. More from CIFWatch's Adam Levick. And if you still want more evidence, here's Atzmon's views on Mein Kampf.

Additional comments on John Mearsheimer's endorsement of the book: Ralph Seliger, Hussein Ibish (via Rebecca.. Ibish, incidentally, was one of the first people to point the finger at the vile antisemitism of Israel Shamir, a close associate of Atzmon's), Gabriel Ash, Tony Greenstein.

The Mearsheimer kerfuffle has obscured the other high profile figures how have blurbed the book. Rebecca lists them here. Sad but unsurprising is Robert Wyatt, a musical genius. One of the few things I've ever won, in a phone-in competition on BBC London (hosted by the late, great Charlie Gillett), is Wyatt's extraordinary eccentric album Cuckooland, on which Atzmon features.Wyatt was a hardcore Stalinist in the 1980s.

Also unsurprising is James Petras, who (as Bartle Professor (Emeritus) of Sociology at Binghamton University and someone who has supported the Cuban regime's repression of dissidents by saying "Cuba is justified in giving its attackers a kick in the balls and sending them to cut sugar cane to earn an honest living") more than qualifies for the title commieprof. Rebecca:
[Petras] is the inventor of the phrase "Zionist Power Configuration" as the new term for the international Jewish conspiracy - we've got to move on from the Protocols, after all. He is a frequent contributor to Counterpunch.
I've written about him a few times here. For more see Mark GardnerAlan Johnson, Judeosphere, Louis Proyect, Allen Ruff.

And equally unsurprising is Alan Hart. Hart is a 9/11 Truth Cult demagogue, and someone who thinks Mossad is responsible for anything vaguely bad. He is also a Counterpunch contributor.

I have already reported Richard Seymour and others disassociating themselves from Atzmon's book and its publication by Zero Books. I applauded them for this, and noted that Seymour saw through Atzmon as far back as 2004.

Of course, Seymour's party, the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) promoted Atzmon energetically from 2004 to at least late last year. When Gabriel at JsF said "As the authors of Zero books have noted in their protest letter about Atzmon, it is easy to be fooled by Atzmon's convoluted and pretentious claptrap", I speculated that Seymour "can't be honest about how obvious it is because the SWP as a whole were in denial about it for years". (JsF's Levi responded that "Seymour cannot possibly have been trying to pass off over 5 years of SWP fraternisation with Atzmon as being down to Atzmon's ability to muddy the waters." Well, no, but maybe it helps justify it in his head.)

Tony Greenstein, a hardcore anti-Zionist who has taken a lead in exposing the SWP's fraternisation with Atzmon. is even more unforgiving:
In response to criticism [...] Richard Seymour of the Leninology blog and the SWP, made it clear that the ‘revolutionary party’ that the SWP claims to be is not answerable to anyone – and this much is true. The membership has no control, the leadership has no accountability and it can therefore lurch from one appalling mistake and piece of opportunism (John Rees accepting £10,000 cheque from a union busting capitalist in the Middle East for a trade union conference) to Martin Smith, its Secretary, promoting Gilad Atzmon despite his overt and acknowledged anti-Semitism and dabbling in holocaust denial.. At the time Jews Against Zionism and other anti-racists held a picket of the SWP’s meeting (June 17 2005) 
In fact the only admission obtained from Seymour was in passing and related to what Seymour termed ‘The SWP's long-since aborted relationship with Atzmon’ and anyway ‘nor do I owe you any explanation for it.’ It is true I’m not personally owed an explanation, but perhaps the Palestine solidarity and anti-racist movements might be owed one?

It’s also untrue to talk about the SWP’s ‘long aborted’ relationship with Atzmon. I defy Richard Seymour to point to one article, one word, one syllable even, in Socialist Worker or their site, which states unequivocally that they have terminated their relationship and why. Instead they hope that people forget and like good Stalinists are intent on pretending it never happened or was a very long time ago (in fact about a year).[...]

[...] It is interesting that one of the reasons why Seymour and fellow authors have distanced themselves from Atzmon was on account of his essay ‘On anti-Semitism’ which was published in March 2003. It contains all you need to know about someone who believes Jews control the White House and that it doesn’t matter if the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion are true or not. ‘American Jewry makes any debate on whether the 'Protocols of the elder of Zion' are an authentic document or rather a forgery irrelevant. American Jews (in fact Zionists) do control the world.’ The bracketed ‘in fact Zionists’ was added at a later stage after the essay came in for much criticism. However the meaning is unchanged. It was on June 17, 2005, over 2 years later that the SWP hosted Atzmon at Bookmarks to talk about Otto Weininger, about whom Hitler is alleged to have said that there was only one good Jew, and he killed himself. The idea of Atzmon giving a favourable lecture to the SWP faithful on Hitler’s favourite Jew, a misogynist to put it mildly, is beyond parody. [...]

It’s understandable that Richard ‘Lenin’ Seymour doesn’t want to answer for the SWP. Quite frankly, who can blame him? Nonetheless this rank piece of opportunism refuses to go away.
And having conducted a search of the Internet it would seem that Seymour has a habit of acting as the SWP's loyal subversive as when he closed down all discussion on his blog over the SWP's debacle in Respect and more serious charges that he acted as an apologist for the Serbian state and denied the appalling genocide in Srebenika (along with Spiked Magazine). It was a 'mere' massacre.


Transpontine said...

Anybody want to start a band called Zionist Power Configuration? Reminds me a bit of Prince and the New Power Generation. Also note that ZPG is just one letter away from ZOG.

jams o donnell said...

I have no idea about his musical talents but what little I have read of his writings I can only wonder that there must be a higher power... as only a higher power could create such a perfect arsehole!

Apologies for the flippant comment but I find it beyind belief that anyone would take such a jerk weriously.

But what do I know? I think I'll stick to photographing flowers, my nephew and Colombian and Persian beauties!

Benjamin H. said...

I decided to take a look at the comments section, and was very amused by those defending Mearsheimer. The people defending mostly consisted of liars who tried to twist his endorsement into something else, people who were attacking Israel, and (surprise surprise) Shoah deniers. And for good measure, a few people who claimed that the Shoah deniers were secretly supporters of Israel trying to defame him.

What a lovely group of people; with their endorsements, we're seeing Mearsheimer's supporters in their full and naked honesty!

PS Thanks for the link round-up