Introduction by Gilad Atzmon: The discrepancy of the general quality between those who stood up for me in the last two weeks and those who used every tactics in the Stalinist book to silence me or my writing is staggering. Amongst my supporters you'll find the greatest minds in academia, activism, journalism, art and beyond. The list of my detractors is slightly embarrassing. It includes an ex-concentration camp guard Jeffrey Goldberg, UK leading Sayanim ring, one or two Bundists operators specialising in harassment campaigns and even one who thinks that he is Lenin.
For the obvious reasons they have failed all the way through- until now we didn’t see a single attempt to debate my ideas. We didn’t come across a single argument. Instead we see a tsunami of unsubstantiated labels levelled against my endorsers, supporters and myself. But we stand firm, we lost our fear. We know that The Tide Has Changed.
I do think that my detractors better change their tactics, just for the sake of making life slightly more interesting. They better find within their battalions some who are clever enough to support their case. Forging documents, quoting out of context, attributing misleading interpretations, copying & pasting, intimidating, harassing, bullying or even shameful tantrums are not going to provide the good.
The following is a short post by professor Brian Leiter from Chicago University who comes into a conclusion looking at the evidence that is laid in front of him. A transparent and brilliant text.
...all because he wrote a blurb for a book, which none of the critics appear to have read. What a world. (I should add I've never met Professor Mearsheimer, and I share Professor Chomsky's skepticism about his and Walt's thesis about The Israel Lobby, but the hatchet jobs on him and Walt, which continue to this day, are such a travesty for academic freedom and honest intellectual discourse, that I hope readers will look at Mearsheimer's measured response to the latest smear and make sure to share it widely with colleagues and friends.)
UPDATE (9/28): Prior to this tempest in a teapot about a blurb (!!!) on a book no one seems to have read (other than Professor Mearsheimer!), I'd not heard of Gilad Atzmon, the author who is apparently so verboten in certain circles that one can't even recommend anything he has written. I found this interview with him illuminating and clarifying about his position, and it certainly confirms Mearsheimer's description of his outlook at the link, above. Of particular relevance is this part of the interview:
I think that when it comes to Israel and ‘Jewish power’ every humanist, including myself, has a conflict to handle. I would formulate it as such: ‘how can I tell the truth about Israel, the Lobby, and Zionism and still maintain my position as a humanist’. It took me very many years to learn to differentiate between the wheat and chaff. I learned to distinguish between Jews (the people), Judaism (the religion) and Jewishness (the ideology). This differentiation is not free of problems, because, as we know, most Jews themselves do not know where they stand on those three. Most Jews do not know where Judaism ends and Jewishness starts.
Likewise, most Jewish anti Zionists fail to admit that they actually operate in Jewish exclusive political cells. We are dealing with a very peculiar political identity indeed. It is racially oriented and deeply racist. It is supremacist, yet it is saturated with victimhood. This identity conveys a universal image – yet in truth, it is driven by tribal interests.
In my writing....I restrict myself to issues to do with Jewish ideology (Jewishness). I try to grasp that unique sense of chosen-ness and observe how it comes into play within politics, culture and practice....
When I discuss Jewish Power, I am strictly referring to the ability of Jewish interest groups to mount political pressure. And it is very important to realise here, and I must emphasise that Jewish power is not at all a conspiracy. It is explored — in the open —through organisations that are set to mount pressure and serve Jewish interests. Such groups are AIPAC, AJC, CFI, LFI, and so on. Zionists are open about, and proud of their lobbying powers....
There is no doubt in my mind that the maintenance of the Holocaust is there to sustain the primacy of Jewish suffering at the centre of every possible political discussion. With this heavy cloud over our head, we are not going to be able to respond properly (ethically) to the crimes committed by Israel in the name of the Jewish people. Hence, I do believe that the Holocaust must be stripped of its religious status or primacy in general. It must be discussed openly and treated as a historical chapter. I believe that this will happen soon and I am very proud to be amongst those who lead the discourse in that direction.
It's clear that given a choice between formulations of his position, Mr. Atzmon more often than not chooses the one that will provoke and invite the most offensive interpretations. But it's equally clear that there's nothing in the positions articulated above that marks him as an anti-semite, in the Sartrean or any other offensive sense of the term; his position is cosmopolitan, though, for reasons of autobiography I suppose, he errs on the side of polemic mainly against the anti-cosmopolitan tendencies embodied only in one ideology. He does not deny the Holocaust or the gas chambers or the mass murder of the Jews and others; he does deny that the Holocaust is unique in human history and he objects to the political uses to which the event has been put. I'm not sure how persuasive his position is (unlike him, I generally think laws against Holocaust denial are morally justified), but the hysterical reaction to it, and to Professor Mearsheimer's straightforward blurb of Atzmon's book (which I've also not read), does nothing to advance honest intellectual discourse. If there's a non-hysterical analysis and critique of the actual substance of Atzmon's position, please send it to me and I'll add a link.
ANOTHER: Chris Bertram (Bristol) directs me to an anti-Zionist blog, which does have a somewhat more sober critique of Atzmon (though it is a bit thin on supporting evidence, and I think misunderstands both 19th-century anti-semitism and Atzmon's position--but read it for yourself and compare it with the linked interview, above).