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Fri

09

Apr

2010

The Shylocks meet the Fagins by Gilad Atzmon
Friday, 09 April 2010 05:13
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.

Western cultural heritage provides us with a few interesting fictional characters who may be able to throw light on the current moral state of Israel and the latest organ trafficking affair in particular.

In Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice Shylock is a Jewish moneylender, a character who has become a name of the ultimate heartless usurer. In the play Shylock lends money to his Christian rival, Antonio, setting the bond at a pound of Antonio's flesh. Once Antonio fails to pay his loan back, Shylock demands the pound of flesh in return. Though Shylock is just a fictional character, the willingness to attach a price tag to blood or human flesh is rather revealing.

Charles Dickens’ Fagin is a fictional Jewish villain who appears in Oliver Twist. Fagin is the leader of a children’s pick-pocketing gang. In exchange for their services Fagin gives the children a roof over their heads. Fagin is a literary symbol of the total exploitation of the poor and the innocent.

It seems in contemporary Israel, Fagin and Shylock not only meet, they actually flourish.

Ynet reported yesterday on a new Israeli organ trafficking network. Once again Israel is at the center of an organ-trafficking scandal after donors complained they were not paid for their kidneys. Six Israeli suspects have been arrested, among them two lawyers and a 62-year old 1973 war hero Brigadier-General (res.) Meir Zamir.

It seems the ring advertised mainly in Israeli papers in Arabic trying to attract impoverished Palestinians. It offered potential donors $10,000 for kidneys. Those who remained hesitant were offered up to $100,000. However the donors were never paid.

Police were given their first clue when a 50-year old woman from Nazareth issued a complaint saying she had donated a kidney due to financial difficulties, for which she expected to receive $100,000. She said she was called in to undergo a series of tests and then flown to Azerbaijan with another donor, where she was relieved of her kidney.

Upon returning to Israel, she asked those who had sent her abroad for the money owedbut she never received it. Police launched an investigation and meanwhile received another complaint, this time from an 18-year old boy. He said he was promised $80,000 and flown to the Philippines to donate his kidney.

Israeli police officer Aharon Galor told Ynet, "We ran an undercover investigation and were shocked by the proportions of this. Despite the few complaints we received, we learned that there are many people willing to sell a kidney for just $10,000. These are people who have severe financial difficulties, for whom such a sum is a dream come true."

According to Haaretz, Police also said that during the investigation they “uncovered a large, very well-organized industry of organ trafficking. The ring includes organ traffickers, agents, and lawyers”.

The current scandal follows more than a few revelations concerning the Jewish State and some American rabbis involvement in scandalous organ trafficking and organ harvesting. As much as it is hard to imagine a state with such a gross lack of ethical conduct, it is even harder to imagine a world faith in which some members of its spiritual leadership engage in organ trafficking. I also must admit that I can hardly imagine a decorated British or American veteran Brigadier General who may decide to make a living out of organ theft.

In the Jewish state, Fagin the ultimate exploiter, and Shylock the symbolic human flesh merchant, are seemingly united into an amalgam of immoral conduct. In the Jewish state Fagin and Shylock are far from being remote fictional characters. They are actually making a good living at the expense of others.

I do understand that here in Britain highly influential Zionist enthusiasts such as Anthony Julius are concerned with the ‘anti Semitism’ of Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, T.S. Eliot, and others. Bearing in mind the latest news from Israel and organ trafficking rings, I would feel far safer knowing that in school my kids learn from Shakespeare, Dickens and Eliot instead of Anna Frank.

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