Sunday, November 06, 2011

From Alan Dershowitz in The New Republic:

As the discourse about Israel on university campuses continues to degenerate, there is growing concern that some of Israel’s most vocal detractors are crossing a red line between acceptable criticism of Israel and legitimizing anti-Semitism. The recent endorsements by several internationally prominent academics—including John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Richard Falk of Princeton—of an overtly anti-Semitic book written by a notorious Jew-hater illustrate this dangerous trend. 
The book in question is entitled The Wandering Who? and was written by Gilad Atzmon, a British jazz musician. Lest there be any doubt about Atzmon’s anti-Semitic credentials, listen to his self-description in the book itself. He boasts about “drawing many of my insights from a man who … was an anti-Semite as well as a radical misogynist” and a hater of “almost everything that fails to be Aryan masculinity” (89-90). He declares himself a “proud, self-hating Jew” (54), writes with “contempt” of “the Jew in me” (94), and describes himself as “a strong opponent of … Jewish-ness” (186). His writings, both online and in his new book, brim with classic anti-Semitic motifs that are borrowed from Nazi publications:
Throughout his writings, Atzmon argues that Jews seek to control the world:
·     “[W]e must begin to take the accusation that the Jewish people are trying to control the world very seriously.”
·     “American Jewry makes any debate on whether the ‘Protocols of the elder of Zion’ [sic] are an authentic document or rather a forgery irrelevant. American Jews do try to control the world, by proxy.” 
...Atzmon rehearses many of these ideas in The Wandering Who?:
·     “[T]o be a Jew is a deep commitment that goes far beyond any legal or moral order” (20) and this commitment “pulls more and more Jews into an obscure, dangerous and unethical fellowship” (21).
·     If Iran and Israel fight a nuclear war that kills tens of millions of people, “some may be bold enough to argue that ‘Hitler might have been right after all’” (179). 
...·     Children should be allowed to question, as he did, “how the teacher could know that these accusations of Jews making Matza out of young Goyim’s blood were indeed empty or groundless” (185).
·      “The Holocaust religion is probably as old as the Jews themselves” (153).
·       The history of Jewish persecution is a myth, and if there was any persecution the Jews brought it on themselves (175, 182). 
In light of this Der Stürmer-like bigotry against Jews, it should come as no surprise that even some of the most hard-core anti-Israel activists have shunned Atzmon out of fear that his anti-Semitism will discredit their cause. ....
Hard-core neo-Nazis, racists, anti-Semites and Holocaust deniers, on the other hand, have happily counted Atzmon as one of their own. David Duke, America’s premier white supremacist, has posted more than a dozen of Atzmon’s articles on his website over the past five years and recently praised Atzmon for “writ[ing] such fine articles exposing the evil of Zionism and Jewish supremacism.” Kevin MacDonald, a professor at Cal State Long Beach whose colleagues formally disassociated themselves from his “anti-Semitic and white ethnocentric views,” called Atzmon’s book “an invaluable account by someone who clearly understands the main symptoms of Jewish pathology.” Israel Shamir, a Holocaust denier (“We must deny the concept of Holocaust without doubt and hesitation”) who argues that Jews ritually murdered Christian children for their blood and that “The rule of the Elders of Zion is already upon us,” refers to Atzmon as a “good friend” and calls Atzmon one of “the shining stars of the battle” against “the Jewish alliance.”
But neither Atzmon’s well-established reputation for anti-Semitism nor the copious anti-Semitic filth that fills The Wandering Who? has deterred Professors John Mearsheimer and Richard Falk from actively endorsing Atzmon’s work. Mearsheimer, the Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, calls The Wandering Who? a “fascinating” book that “should be read widely by Jews and non-Jews alike.” Falk, Milibank Professor of International Law Emeritus at Princeton University and United Nations Special Rapporteur on “human rights in the Palestinian territories,” calls The Wandering Who? an “absorbing and moving” book that everyone who “care[s] about real peace” should “not only read, but reflect upon and discuss widely.” Falk’s endorsement appears prominently on the cover of Atzmon’s book. Mearsheimer’s endorsement is featured on its first page. These professors are not merely defending Atzmon’s right to publish such a book; they are endorsing its content and urging their colleagues, students, and others to read and “reflect upon” the views expressed by Atzmon. One wonders which portions of this bigoted screed Professors Mearsheimer and Falk believe their students and others “should” read and “discuss widely.”
Mearsheimer has defended his endorsement (on Stephen Walt’s blog) by questioning whether his critics have even read Atzmon’s book. Well, I’ve read every word of it, as well as many of Atzmon’s blogs. No one who has read this material could escape the conclusion—which Atzmon freely admits—that many of his “insights” are borrowed directly from classic anti-Semitic writings. Mearsheimer claims, however, that he has endorsed only Atzmon’s book and not his other writings. But the book itself is filled with crass neo-Nazi rants against the “Jew,” “World Jewry,” and “Jewish bankers.” He claims that “robbery and hatred is imbued in Jewish modern political ideology on both the left and the right” (123). And like other anti-Semites, Atzmon is obsessed in the book with Jewish names. It was Jews, such as Wolfowitz and Libby, who pushed the United States into war against Iraq in the “interests” of “their beloved Jewish state” (26). “How is it that America failed to restrain its Wolfowitzes?” Atzmon asks (27).
Likewise, according to Atzmon’s book, it was “Jewish bankers,” financiers, economists, writers, and politicians such as Greenspan, Levy, Aaronovitch, Saban, Friedman, Schiff, and Rothschild who have caused the economic and political problems of the world, ranging from the Bolshevik revolution to the wars of the 20th century to the current economic troubles (27,194). And like other classic anti-Semites, Atzmon doesn’t simply fault the individual Jews he names; he concocts a worldwide Jewish conspiracy motivated by a “ruthless Zio-driven” (27) “Jewish ideology” (69) that finds its source in “the lethal spirit” (122) of the Hebrew Bible. This sort of conspiratorial drivel is borrowed almost word for word from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion—the Czarist forgery that became a staple of Nazi propaganda.  
I'm glad Dershowitz actually read the vile book, because it is clear that most of Atzmon's defenders did not.



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