“I abhor violence and I abhor racism and discrimination in all its forms.”
“I reserve my right to criticise the foreign policy of the state of Israel without being smeared as ‘anti-Semitic’.”
That is certainly his right. Criticism of Israel isn’t antisemitic. Neither should we allow antisemitism to pass for criticism of Israel.
Gilad Atzmon is a jazz saxophonist and racist campaigner who has repeated (http://bit.ly/4EuvyN) the old libel that “the Jews were responsible for the killing of Jesus”. He talks about a “Jewish lobby” and calls for Britain to “de-Zionise” itself. He calls for “de-judaisation”. He is frankly and comfortably antisemitic, and fights for anti-Jewish politics in the Palestine solidarity movement.
He is critical of those who compare the current Israel with Nazi Germany because he says Israel is a more radical evil: “Israel is nothing but evilness for the sake of evilness. It is wickedness with no comparison.”
Gilad Atzmon pushes classic anti-semitic Jewish conspiracy libel (http://bit.ly/4EuvyN):
“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.”
Rupert Read says:
“Like all Greens I am wholly aware of the particular suffering of the Jewish people through hundreds of years of European history and their being subject to a myriad of lies and prejudices culminating in the Holocaust. Anti-semitism is as a result an especially vile attitude, and one which I have absolutely no truck with whatsoever.”
On setting fire to synagogues, Gilad Atzmon:
“I’m not going to say whether it is right or not to burn down a synagogue, I can see that it is a rational act.”
Atzmon also calls for more Holocaust deniers.
Confidently and purposefully, Gilad Atzmon syllogises Jews, Israelis and Zionists. When he calls for “de-judaification” (http://bit.ly/2z5iDV), he wants precisely that – Israel without Jews, a Palestine solidarity movement without Jews – a world without Jews. And when, in this latest piece (http://bit.ly/48Mt9y) he calls for de-Zionisation, you can look in vain for a distinction between Zionists and Jews.
Instead of standing against Gilad Atzmon’s anti-Jewish campaign, Rupert Read twitters to his followers to read Atzmon’s latest piece, repeating Atzmon’s call for Britain to de-Zionise itself (November 17th 2009, http://www.gilad.co.uk/writings/britain-must-de-zionise-itself-immediately-by-gilad-atzmon.html).
Frankly, this is horrifying. How much more is the Green Party going to stand for?
Mira Vogel and Raphael Levy
Update: in the comments below, Rupert Read apologises, and has removed the tweet. He tells us he didn’t realise that Gilad Atzmon was a fellow-traveller with Holocaust deniers. This is welcome.
But Atzmon’s piece was characteristic of his project, in that he conflated Jews and Zionists and called for de-Zionisation. It refreshed many antisemitic tropes which have historically attached to Jews – the conspiracy, the manipulation of power, the social damage – and attached them to Zionists. So his flirtations with Holocaust denial are a relevant part of a bigger problem: the piece Rupert Read linked to was clearly part of an anti-Jewish campaign. Yet he still thought it an “interesting” and worthwhile read. Why?
Update 2. There are a number of lucid comments from Green Party members and campaigners against antisemitism over on Engage, from where I linked to this piece.
Update 3. Gilad Atzmon now an open Holocaust denier, says one of his anti-Zionist antagonists.