By John Friend
Editor's note: Gilad Atzmon, an internationally renowned musician, philosopher, and writer born in Israel, is currently on a speaking tour to promote his latest book entitled A to Zion: The Definitive Israeli Lexicon, as well as address the Jewish subversion of the pro-Palestinian movement. On Monday, May 11th, Atzmon spoke at a public library in San Diego County, an event I was able to attend. We had a nice conversation and I was able to ask him a question following his presentation.
What follows is a Q&A I conducted with Atzmon via email shortly after his speech in San Diego. I hope to continue this dialogue in the near future. There are many more questions I'd like to ask him.
JF: In your talk, you described Jewish leftists infiltrating and ultimately undermining the Palestinian Solidarity movement - why? What is their ultimate goal?
GA: In an interview a few years back, Philip Weiss, the chief editor of the Jewish pro-Palestinian website Mondoweiss, admitted to me in plain terms that, in his eyes, pro-Palestinian activism serves "Jewish self interests."
Such a Jewish activity conveys a (misleading) image of Jewish political pluralism. It suggests that not all Jews are "bad," Jewish politics can even be ethical and universal.
Evidently, Jewish liberals are angry with me for unveiling the deceit that is embedded in such an attitude. They have invested a great effort attempting to silence me, and for a good reason - I have produced some persuasive arguments suggesting that Jewish solidarity is not the solution, it is actually the core of the problem.
In fact, the Jewish Left is far more problematic and dangerous than hardcore right-wing Zionism. Zionism is a celebration of the Jewish "symptom," so to speak. The so-called "anti" are set to deny the rest of us an access to the symptom.
If Jewish power is defined as the power to suppress the discussion on Jewish power, Mondoweiss, Jewish Voices for Peace, Democracy Now!, Noam Chomsky and others are there to pursue with that task day and night.
They crudely restrict the boundaries of the discourse by means of political correctness. Mondoweiss went as far as banning any criticism of Israel within the context of Jewishness. This duplicitous attempt to subvert the discourse worked for a while. However, not anymore, and I take some credit for it.
Together with other thinkers and commentators, I have been pointing at a controlled opposition apparatus that is committed solely to "Jewish self interests," as Philip Weiss was either brave or foolish enough to admit back in 2011.
JF: How is the Palestinian Solidarity movement or pro-Palestine cause now framed in Jewish terms and related to overall Jewish interests?
GA: As I showed in my San Diego talk, while in the past it was the Palestinian right of return that defined the Palestinian cause in ethical, political and legal terms, the growing domination of liberal Jews within the movement diluted this elementary right. It was replaced by a tsunami of misleading and faulty terminology that was set to appease some diaspora Jews and whatever is left of the Israeli Left. All of that was done at the expense of the Palestinians.
While the right of return located the Palestinian plight within historical, political, legal and moral context, the newly imposed terminology i.e., "End of Occupation", "Colonialism", "Apartheid", and even the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (post-2010), is legitimizing the Jewish state within pre-1967 borders. It dismisses the refugees, Gaza, and the Palestinian diaspora’s plight entirely.
It instead engages only with issues that are relevant to the West Bank, and why? Because the West Bank is subject of an internal Jewish debate. While the vast majority of world Jewry sees the West Bank as an integral part of greater Eretz Yisrael, a few liberal Jews in Manhattan insist that Tel Aviv is the true fulfillment of the Zionist project. The meaning of it is tragic. Thanks to the growing domination of Jews within the Palestinian Solidarity movement, the entire movement has been reduced into a Jewish internal debate. This may explain why the solidarity movement has achieved nothing as far as Palestine is concerned. It was born to fail and it achieved its goal.
In short, the Palestinian Solidarity movement is now a Jewish movement devoted to solidarity with the Jews. This could have been an amusing development unless there was a tragedy of another people involved.
JF: Can you comment on how the Palestinian Solidarity movement has become part of the larger overall social justice movement (LGBT rights, immigrant rights, feminism, etc.) in recent years?
GA: The Palestinian Solidarity movement becoming a part of a large social justice movement could have been a great and welcome development. Yet, one may wonder, is the breaking of society into identity politics sectors or factions such a great development? Obviously not.
In the last six decades the working people have been plundered repeatedly. The people who used to be called the working class are now the workless class, and many of them are underclass by now. But why?
Unlike the (imaginary) "old good labor-oriented Left" that promised to unite us all against capital and the Empire, the neo-Marxists and the Frankfurt Yeshiva enthusiasts invested a huge effort breaking the cohesiveness of the working people and Western society in general.
Instead of bringing people together, which was the old Left ideal, we are now split into tribal sectors. We are transformed into a matrix of a manifold of Jew-like tribal groupings defined largely by biology (color, gender, sexual preferences, race, etc). However, it is hardly surprising that Jewish identity merchants are way better than anyone else in being Jews. Jews have been practicing Jewish tribal survival strategies (identity politics and ethnocentrism) for 3000 years. This form of tribal politics is pretty new to gentiles and this may explain why identity politics has failed those who were lame enough to follow it in the first place.
We are dealing here with a multiplicity of impotent, marginal identity campaigns that are paralyzed by a strong sense of victimhood. The feminists are oppressed by masculinity, the Black is intimidated by the White, the gay is chased by the homophobe, the Muslims and their Islamophobes, and now the Palestinians also have the Zionists. We are dealing with a binary dichotomy between an imaginary and evasive "oppressor" and a concrete and lucid "victim".
But here is the problem: those who indulge in a victimhood narrative end up in a state of paralysis - they learn to blame others yet vindicate themselves. Those who succumb to victimhood never look in the mirror; they never take responsibility for their fate.
For more than a while we have been witnessing a few Western Palestinians and Jewish liberals spreading hollow and misleading terminology that has removed the conflict from Palestine and their resistance; colonialism, apartheid, BDS - everything but building Palestinian rockets or military defiance. This development obviously served the Jewish state. Instead of fighting Palestinian freedom fighters, the conflict was reduced into a meaningless exchange between two Jewish positions.
Though some Western Palestinians and NGOs joined this well-funded corrosive liberal Jewish project, Hamas didn’t fall into this trap. IDF infantry units were minced in Gaza last summer. They were met with fierce Palestinian resistance. While Chomsky debated Dershowitz on some questions to do with "the future of Palestine," young Palestinians were preparing for battle. While the liberal Zionist George Soros’s Open Society funded a BDS LGBT tour in America, young Hamas engineers were digging tunnels and building rockets in Gaza. I am convinced that Palestinian Muslim leaders in Gaza grasped at a certain stage that the struggle for Palestinian queer politics may not be the definitive path toward Palestinian liberation.