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2010

The Banality of Jewish Symbolism by Gilad Atzmon
Wednesday, 10 March 2010 23:02
by Gilad Atzmon

Gilad Atzmon (Hebrew: גלעד עצמון‎, born June 9, 1963) is a jazz musician, author and anti-Zionist activist who was born in Israel and currently lives in London.
"Anti-Semite is an empty signifier, no one actually can be an Anti-Semite and this includes me of course. In short, you are either a racist - which I am not - or have an ideological disagreement with Zionism... which I have."
He was born a secular Israeli Jew in Tel Aviv, and trained at the Rubin Academy of Music in Jerusalem. His service in the Israeli military convinced him Israel had become a militarized state controlled by religious extremists. In 1994, Atzmon emigrated from Israel to London, where he studied philosophy. Atzmon is an anti-Zionist who critiques Jewish identity issues and supports the Palestinian Right of Return as well as the establishment of a single state in Israel/Palestine. He is a signatory to the "Palestinians are the Priority Petition" which states “full and unconditional support of the Palestinian people is a condition sine qua non for activists to adopt.

In a remarkable exposé of the Mossad operation in Dubai, The Times happens to refer to Meir Dagan’s (the Mossad chief) ‘philosophy’. “The tone of Dagan’s directorship is set by a photograph on the wall of his modest office in the Tel Aviv headquarters. It shows an old Jew standing on the edge of a trench. An SS officer is aiming his rifle at the old man’s head. ‘This old Jew was my grandfather’ Dagan tells visitors”. According to The Times, the picture reflects Dagan’s belief: “We should be strong, use our brain, and defend ourselves so that the Holocaust will never be repeated,”

Dagan’s interpretation of the photographic symbolism as a license to kill is rather banal yet common amongst Jews and Zionists in particular. However, this interpretation is far from being the only interpretation available. I haven’t seen the Photograph on Dagan’s wall but I guess that it must depict a devastatingly intense situation between a murderer in Nazi uniform and an oppressed Jewish man facing his death. However, Dagan and to a certain tragic extent, far too many Jews, are clearly fascinated by the role of the man with a rifle rather than with the ordeal of their collective grandfather, a defenseless venerable victim. Instead of grasping the Holocaust as a universal message against racism or oppression of any kind, Dagan and his Jewish State interpret the holocaust as a license to execute.
 

Though the photograph can be realised as a simplistic symbolic binary opposition between the innocent (Jew) and the evil (Nazi) there is a further element in these photographs that is totally dismissed by Jewish post war political, intellectual and ideological discourse namely universalism. Unlike the Zionist or in our case Dagan, who draws some immediate murderous ‘operative’ conclusions that are there to serve the Jewish tribe and that tribe only, a humanist would stare at such a photograph and try to come up with some ideas that may present us all with some positive prospects of a better future for humanity as a whole.

In the late 1940’s a few sporadic Jewish thinkers insisted that after Auschwitz the Jews should position themselves at the forefront of the battle against evil. Not only has this never happened, the Jewish state is now established as the leading danger for world peace. Moreover, Jewish lobbies enthusiastically support racist ideologies (Zionism) and push for colonial expansionist and interventionist conflicts around the world.

“This old Jew was my grandfather” says the Mossad’s chief. Indeed, after the big war many Jews wanted to believe that the Holocaust provided them with an entry card into humanity for the Holocaust redeems the Jews from the original sin of Crucifixion. The Iconic image of the persecuted venerable collective ‘grandfather’ provides the Jew with a suffering symbol that could easily have stood a competition with Christ or any other emblem of religious persecution. In 1979, Pope John Paul II called Auschwitz the "Golgotha of the modern world." Yet, along this line of thinking, something went horribly wrong. While Jesus’ suffering is interpreted by his followers as a call for mercy and compassion, Dagan’s grandfather’s shoa experience is interpreted by the national Jew as a call for retribution and vengeance. As disastrous as it may sound, the holocaust religion that was recognized by Israeli Philosopher Yeshayahu Leibowitz as the new Jewish religion, is nothing less than a crude and sinister call for murder. It is probably the most resentful religion known to man.

In 1844 Karl Marx argued that for humanity to liberate itself it first must emancipate itself of Judaism*. Karl Marx was not at all a racist, he was probably referring to Jewish ideology (Jewishness) which he knew closely. I would maintain that if we want to find the road to humanism we must liberate ourselves of the Holocaust religion. The Holocaust as a message failed to become a universal call. Instead it matured into a tribal religion that opposes every value humanity and humanism have ever stood for.

Many of us including me tend to equate Israel to Nazi Germany. Rather often I myself join others and argue that Israelis are the Nazis of our time. I want to take this opportunity to amend my statement. Israelis are not the Nazis of our time and the Nazis were not the Israelis of their time. Israel, is in fact far worse than Nazi Germany and the above equation is simply meaningless and misleading.

In the past I mentioned that unlike totalitarian Nazi Germany, the Jewish State is a ‘democracy’. In other words, the entirety of its Jewish population is complicit in IDF crimes against humanity. As if this is not enough, the fact that 94% of Israel’s Jewish population supported the IDF genocidal attack in Gaza just over a year ago makes the case against Israel solid like a rock.

But there is another point that must be mentioned here. As we all know very well, Nazi Germany didn’t like its Jews. It introduced racial laws, it aimed to cleanse Germany and even the rest of Europe of its Jewish population. It didn’t want to see Jews in politics, in the workplace, in shops, in the media, in the banks and in the streets. As resentful as Nazi policies were, one thing was clear. Germany did it all in the open. It didn’t hide a thing. It was racist and it was proud about its bigotry. Israel and its Jewish lobbies on the other hand, are doing it all in a deceiving method. Rather than saying we hate Arabs, we want Muslims out or even dead, rather than admitting its ethnic cleansing policies and practices, Israel always kills in the name of a grand ‘progressive’ ideology: in the name of democracy, pluralism, ‘moral interventionism’, ‘war against terror’ and so on. Israel’s supporters around the world are doing very much the same, they preach for war in the name of ‘noble motives’, they always want to ‘liberate’ other people, and to teach them about the greatest values of the ‘democracy’ through military expansionist interventionism.

The legendary Israeli humanist Israel Shahak wrote in the late 1980’s about his experience as a Jew under Nazi occupation: "if you enter a square from which there are three exits, one guarded by a German SS man, one by an Ukrainian and one by a Jewish policeman, then you should first try to pass the German, and then maybe the Ukrainian, but never the Jew."

I must say it loudly. I take Shahak’s advice very seriously. If I ever enter a square from which there are two exits, one Guarded by a Nazi officer holding a rifle and the other blocked by Meir Dagan holding a pillow, I will certainly go for the Nazi with no hesitation.

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Roger Lafontaine said:

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This is a great article that says plainly what needs to be said plainly. The other night while walking my dog it occurred to me that I should convert to Judaism. Why? Because if I had to choose between being called an anti-semite and a 'self-hating Jew', I would much prefer to be called a self-hating Jew, and of course, since I regularly write letters to our local newspaper criticizing Israel I get called that too often. I have never gotten used to it. It must be deeply embedded in our consciousness by now. We have all seen something like 10,000 movies depicting the Nazis and their horrible crimes and of course the label anti-semite immediately brings up those unconscious and revolting associations. A long time ago I used to believe that the more serious of those movies such as Visconti's 'The Damned' and 'Schindler's List' would actually help us to understand better the manifestation of Nazism, but now I am beginning to wonder if they don't actually serve to obscure it more, because if it doesn't speak with a German accent and shout 'Seig Heil' we think 'Oh no it can't be Nazism'. A Nazi with an American accent killing Iraqis? Or an Israeli demolishing a Palestinian home, and casually crushing a young Jewish American girl beneath it? We're all familiar with the caricature of Nazis, but the real Nazis, i.e. the real Nazis of today, of our present reality not the memory that has become crystallized into our defective consciousness, are given a kind of 'social camouflage'. Well I guess I won't convert - a religion is just a cover anyway for an exaggerated sense of piety or cruelty.
 
March 18, 2010
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