Biographical notes: antisemitism and its erasure
I haven't had time for this blog lately, and when I checked my comment moderation queue it was quite full, mostly with spam, but this, a response to my Chris Williamson post, leapt out at me:
Chris Williamson is a decent man, unfortunately he isn’t judeophobic. He has called it a scourge. How can it be a scourge when it is merely the human responding to a (((virus))) filthy and vicious than Covid-19 which has been feeding off its host for thousands of years? Still, we can’t unbrainwash everyone totally just yet but we’ll get there. You, on the other hand, Bob are a wretched little quisling, a good little goy who turns the lights of on a Friday (assuming you aren’t a filthy little (((tribalist))) yourself).Charming. (For those of you who don't know, triple brackets are a way of indicating someone is Jewish, popular in the alt-right and Nazi online world. And the reference to turning the lights off on a Friday is to the "Sabbath goy", a non-Jew who helps out Jews by doing things they can't do on the Sabbath - Elvis Presley and Thurgood Marshall are among those who have had this role.) Although I don't usually publish racist comments, I decided to in this case, so people can see what sort of people defend Williamson.
And its erasure...
Meanwhile, I've noticed that the group of pro-Putin conspiracy-mongers around Neil Clark and Craig Murray have re-started a long-standing conspiracy theory about ((neocons)) editing Wikipedia, which has led to me getting some flak on Twitter, as I occasionally edit it. So I thought it'd be interesting to look at some recent edits to Wikipedia which I've noticed that might make the website more to Clark and co's liking. The following are some passages recently removed from Wikipedia articles which I felt were worth archiving for reference. (I've converted footnotes to hyperlinks, and added the list of sources at the bottom.)
Atzmon has stated that he does not deny the Holocaust or the "Nazi Judeocide” but insists "that both the Holocaust and World War II should be treated as historical events rather than as religious myth. ... But then, even if we accept the Holocaust as the new Anglo-American liberal-democratic religion, we must allow people to be atheists.”
In a 2005 piece, David Aaronovitch criticized Atzmon for writing in his essay "On Anti-Semitism" that "We must begin to take the accusation that the Jewish people are trying to control the world very seriously" and "American Jewry makes any debate on whether the Protocols of the Elders of Zion are an authentic document or rather a forgery irrelevant. American Jews do control the world, by proxy. So far they are doing pretty well for themselves at least". Aaronovitch criticized Atzmon for defending Israel Shamir, whom Atzmon defends as "a very civil and peaceful man and probably...the sharpest critical voice of 'Jewish power' and Zionist ideology", circulating an essay by Paul Eisen defending Holocaust denier Ernst Zündel's "right to think, speak, and write as he pleases," and for supporting many aspects of Zündel's Holocaust denial theories.
In a 2006 piece in The Guardian, David Hirsh cited Atzmon's "On Anti-Semitism" essay, and particularly its Jewish deicide claim that "the Jews were responsible for the killing of Jesus," as an example of Atzmon's "openly anti-Jewish rhetoric."
While music journalist John Lewis has praised much of Atzmon's work, he notes that "trenchant politics often sit uneasily alongside music, particularly when that music is instrumental". In a 2009 profile in The Guardian, Lewis criticized his 2006 comedy klezmer project, Artie Fishel and the Promised Band, as "a clumsy satire on what he regards as the artificial nature of Jewish identity politics."
Tzofia Hirschfeld in August 2011 cited Atzmon as an example of Jewish antisemitism: "Gilad Atzmon, an Israeli jazz musician, defines himself as anti-Jewish and sees the torching of synagogues as a rational move."
In Rewriting History: Holocaust Revisionism Today, a book-length assessment of the Holocaust denial movement published in December 2012 by Hope not Hate, Atzmon was listed among the "Who's who of Holocaust Revisionism": "For some time left-wing anti-Zionists defended Atzmon’s views, but since he embraced Holocaust Revisionism, publicised the work of outright Holocaust deniers and came out with other irrefutably antisemitic comments, his support base on the anti-Zionist left has waned. Nevertheless, there are still some left activists and academics who are prepared to defend him in spite of the evidence and have praised The Wandering Who?"
Journalist Donna Minkowitz pondered in March 2017 why "progressives", such as former congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, who contributed the foreword to [Atzmon's] book [Being in Time], should support the work of someone who puts forward such "blatant anti-Semitism".
Keith Kahn-Harris argued, in a 2017 opinion piece, that Atzmon's view of the world in Being In Time (2017) is inherently antisemitic. Kahn-Harris describes Atzmon as "deliberately apathetic about the Holocaust and other atrocities against Jews, nodding towards without completely embracing both justification and denial"David Miller:
In November 2018, David Miller, speaking at a student seminar on resisting intimidation during campus campaigning, said that “it’s absurd if Jews genuinely feel unsafe as a result of Palestinian rights, well then you’ve got to ask questions about who they are and what they’re talking about." He continued that "It’s not Jewish students who feel unsafe, it’s specific Jewish students who are part of a particular political tendency who are saying that they feel unsafe." They were "not students who are spontaneously threatened”, but rather that “it’s propaganda which they have been schooled with… there are organisations, Israel lobby organisations, Zionist movement organisations, some allied to the Israeli government, who have devoted huge amounts of time to do messaging to working out how to combat, in particular, BDS." In response, Daniel Kosky, campaigns officer for the Union of Jewish Students, said: "We are deeply concerned by the comments made by Professor Miller surrounding the safety of Jewish students on campus". David Miller responded by citing what he called the "hasbara phrase book" (the “Luntz report”) produced by the Israel Project as evidence for his allegation that some Jewish students claiming to feel unsafe are part of a propaganda exercise.
In 2019, antisemitism complaints were lodged against David Miller, after he claimed in a slideshow presentation that the “Zionist movement (parts of)” is one of the “five pillars of Islamophobia,” in addition to the “neoconservative right,” whose founders and leaders were Jewish. Another slide showed a network of UK Jewish organizations and individuals describing the top "contributor", "Israel Government." One of the Jewish organizations listed by Miller in the slide, responded that Miller "echoes conspiracy & dual loyalty tropes. It is extremely disturbing that this was taught to students". Nina Freedman, president of the Jewish Society at Bristol university, said she was “severely disappointed” with the university’s response to antisemitism complaints lodged against Miller, and “their refusal to use the IHRA definition of antisemitism to judge this case.. to safeguard their students against anti-Jewish racism.”Sources:
David Hirsh."Openly embracing prejudice", The Guardian, 30 November 2006. Hirsh also refers to the statement in "What charge?", The Guardian, 3 April 2006.
Hope Not Hate, Rewriting History: Holocaust Revisionism Today (PDF), Hope not Hate. December 2012. p. 83. Retrieved 14 December 2012.
Alan Maas, "An article retracted", Socialist Worker, 14 July 2010.
Donna Minkowitz, "Why A 'Proud Self-Hating Jew' Asked Me To Tout His Book", Forward, 30 March 2017. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
Daniel Sugarman, "Academic tells university event Jewish students' campus fears are 'propaganda'", Jewish Chronicle, 20 November 2018.