You’re All ‘Zionists’ Now

This is a cross-posted from the CST.

By Mark Gardner.

Raise Your Banners & Karl Dallas: You’re All ‘Zionists’ Now

Anti-Zionists usually deflect accusations of antisemitism by saying that they only criticise Zionists, not Jews. The ‘proof’ is usually provided by far left Jewish anti-Zionists: eagerly using their ‘Jewishness’ to all the better abuse the rest of the Jewish (ie ‘Zionist’) community, and the Jewish (ie ‘Zionist’) establishment in particular.

Now, the ex-Israeli Jew, Gilad Atzmon, threatens to destroy this long standing modus operandi.

Where Jewish anti-Zionists are disgusted at being vilified as ‘self-haters’, Atzmon wears the insult with pride, saying he is ‘a proud self-hating Jew’.

Where most Jewish anti-Zionists generally try to avoid abusing or diminishing the Holocaust, Atzmon does the opposite, even promoting Holocaust revisionists anddeniers.

Where Jewish anti-Zionists try to decouple notions of ‘Jewishness’ from Zionism, Atzmon’s unique selling point is precisely his attack on ‘Jewishness’: rather than Zionism and Israel. Indeed, anti-Zionists who promote their ‘Jewishness’ are Atzmon’s pet hate: because (he claims) they epitomise the secular and psychological depths of ‘Jewish identity politics’.

Unsurprisingly, Jewish anti-Zionists have reacted furiously to this cuckoo in their nest. They have condemned Atzmon every bit as loudly as the rest of their co-religionists whom they so commonly denigrate. For example, it now emerges that the Jewish Socialist Group first raised concerns about Atzmon playing in Bradford as long ago as last April.

Unfortunately, however, Gilad Atzmon is also a world class jazz musician and much of his audience, after decades of being told to hate those damned Zionists, is wide open to the harsh ‘truths’ that he claims to be revealing. Consequently, Atzmon’s anti-Jewish identity riff is drowning out the cacophonous discord from the Jewish anti-Zionists.

Take, for example, Tuesday’s Twitter message from one of the Raise Your Banners Bradford music festival performers, Karl Dallas, (also an activist within Bradford Palestine Solidarity Campaign), who tweeted:

Extraordinary Zionist virulence twds Raise Your Banners, Bradford, cos we’ve invited anti-Zionist Israeli jazzman Gilad Atzmon to play Fri.

The “extraordinary Zionist virulence” has been from many places: including local trade unionists, anti-racists, the mainstream Jewish community, and Jewish anti-Zionist groups. The concerns were not about anti-Zionism, nor premised upon the Zionist identity of the complainants.

This use of the word ’Zionist’ is the kind of stupid, debased, self-serving language that you get after so many decades of fervid distrust and hatred against the mythical Zionist bogeyman. If veteran Jewish anti-Zionists – some of whom have likely campaigned against Israel even at the expense of their own familial relationships – are now to also be branded as Zionists, then we have reached (yet) another absurd new low.


7 Responses to “You’re All ‘Zionists’ Now”

  1. Eli Tabori (@etabori) Says:

    The current fashion for Israel bashing is not old-fashioned antisemitism, but the ‘anti-imperialism of fools’. According to Hume, for many involved in this strange alliance ‘the Israeli state has become a sort of ersatz America, a symbol of all that they hate about contemporary capitalism. For Israeli, read western; and for the west, read modernity.’

    The editors of JPR’s book A New Antisemitism? Debating Judeophobia in 21st Century Britain, argue that the singular obsession with Israel by many in this new political alliance both manifests, and promotes, Judeophobia—a fear of, and hostility towards, Jews as a collectivity.

    These new political alliances have been observed elsewhere in Europe. In the case of Italy, for instance, Oriana Fallaci, writing in the Corriere della Sera newspaper , controversially argued that the phenomenon in evidence in Europe is ‘a new fascism, a new nazism. A fascism, a nazism, that is much more grim and revolting because it is conducted and nourished by those who hypocritically pose as do-gooders,’

    It used to be said that anti-Catholicism was the anti-Semitism of the intellectuals. Today anti-Semitism is the anti-Semitism of the intellectuals.

    Not all intellectuals, of course. And the seepage of this ancient poison into the intelligentsia — always so militantly modern — is much more pronounced in Europe than here. But as anti-Semitism migrates across the political spectrum from right to left, it infects the intelligentsia, which has leaned left for two centuries.

    Here the term intellectual is used loosely, to denote not only people who think about ideas — about thinking — but also people who think they do. The term anti-Semitism is used to denote people who dislike Jews. These people include those who say: We do not dislike Jews, we only dislike Zionists — although to live in Israel is to endorse the Zionist enterprise, and all Jews are implicated, as sympathizers, in the crime that is Israel.

    The release of Mel Gibson’s movie “The Passion of the Christ” has catalyzed fears of resurgent anti-Semitism. Some critics say the movie portrays the governor of Judea — Pontius Pilate, the Roman prefect responsible for the crucifixion — as more benign and less in control than he actually was, and ascribes too much power and malignity to Jerusalem’s Jewish elite. Jon Meacham’s deeply informed cover story “Who Killed Jesus?” in the Feb. 16 Newsweek renders this measured judgment: The movie implies more blame for the Jewish religious leaders of Judea of that time than sound scholarship suggests. However, Meacham rightly refrains from discerning disreputable intentions in Gibson’s presentation of matters about which scholars, too, must speculate, and do disagree. Besides, this being a healthy nation, Americans are unlikely to be swayed by the movie’s misreading, as Meacham delicately suggests, of the actions of a few Jews 2,000 years ago.

    Fears about the movie’s exacerbating religiously motivated anti-Semitism are missing the larger menace — the upsurge of political anti-Semitism. Like traditional anti-Semitism, but with secular sources and motives, the political version, which condemns Jews as a social element, is becoming mainstream, and chic among political and cultural elites, mostly in Europe. Consider:

    • A cartoon in a mainstream Italian newspaper depicts the infant Jesus in a manger, menaced by an Israeli tank and saying, “Don’t tell me they want to kill me again.” This expresses animus against Israel rather than twisted Christian zeal.

    • The European Union has suppressed a study it commissioned, because the study blamed the upsurge in anti-Jewish acts on European Muslims — and the European left.

  2. Rangjan Says:

    Eli, references please.

  3. mark gardner Says:

    A quick check on Eli’s interesting comment showed some influence from George Will at the Washington Post.

    I was struck by this paragraph from Will, that I show below. (I don’t totally agree with it, regarding it as somewhat over the top, but I think its pretty interesting nonetheless.)

    The appallingly brief eclipse of anti-Semitism after Auschwitz demonstrates how beguiling is the simplicity of pure stupidity. All of the left’s prescriptions for curing what ails society — socialism, communism, psychoanalysis, “progressive” education, etc. — have been discarded, so now the left is reduced to adapting that hardy perennial of the right, anti-Semitism. This is a new twist to the left’s recipe for salvation through elimination: All will be well if we eliminate capitalists, or private property, or the ruling class, or “special interests,” or neuroses, or inhibitions. Now, let’s try eliminating a people, starting with their nation, which is obnoxiously pro-American and insufferably Spartan.

    • Thomas Venner Says:

      Not really a “new twist”, though. Engels said in 1849 (with the Hungarians being his target):

      “The next world war will result in the disappearance from the face of the earth not only of reactionary classes and dynasties, but also of entire reactionary peoples. And that, too, is a step forward.”

      Communism was pretty much the first ideological system that explicitly promoted genocide as a means of achieving positive social change. The idea of exterminating “reactionary peoples”, as Engels described them, was there pretty much from the start.

  4. mark gardner Says:

    Thomas V, thanks for that. Certainly one to bear in mind.

  5. jimmy jehosophat Says:

    I find the unholy allaince of leftists and islamofascists absolutely bizarre.
    How can pseudo-socialists support the likes of far-right groups like Hamas, Hezbollah and the clericalists mysogynists in Iran
    while campaigning for human rights? Total hypocrisy.

  6. jimmy jehosophat Says:

    I also find it weird that so many on the left who are supposedly
    concerned by human rights abuses, their ongoing and current obsession,
    being of course the Israel/Palestine question being the prime example, when
    they ignore the bloodshed in Syria, in Darfur and elsewhere in the Arab world.
    Are oppression and tyranny selective, then?

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