John Friend: Gilad Atzmon on Jewish ethnocentrism, hypocrisy, & “anti-Semitism”
John Friend: What follows is part two of an ongoing Q&A discussion I am having with Gilad Atzmon, an Israeli-born internationally renowned musician, philosopher, and writer. I hope to continue this dialogue in the future.
JF: I think a strong argument can be made that the vast majority of Jews, and certainly the organized Jewish community, conduct their lives, business, and other affairs by the maxim: Is it good for the Jews? What’s good for the Jews is often also framed as: is it good for Israel? Admittedly, there are at times heated debates and diverging points of view within the international Jewish community about what exactly is good for the Jews (and by extension the Jewish state of Israel).
GA: This is a true observation, however I would refine it a bit, if you allow me. The Judeocentrism you describe above is symptomatic of those who identify politically, socially, spiritually and culturally as Jews. This identification is vague and is kept vague for a reason. It allows the tribally oriented mind to slip in and out and to morph in accordance to the transforming reality around it. However, it is true to argue that those who identify as Jews, whether hard core Zionists or so-called “progressives”, such as Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), are primarily concerned with one thing, namely Jewish interests. They just fail to agree amongst themselves what these interests are.
JF: It is quite obvious that Jewry has a very strong sense of ethnocentrism, identity, purpose, and direction. Jews get involved in various political causes, engage in “culture creating” activities (i.e., producing movies, plays, literature, etc.), advocate and lobby for public policy, and engage in other activities primarily to advance the interests of their own community, which often translates into enormous wealth and prestige for themselves as well. We discussed the Jewish infiltration and subversion of the Palestinian Solidarity movement in order to advance Jewish ethnic interests in our last Q&A, and I recently wrote an article for American Free Press dealing with the organized Jewish community’s use of the Anti-Terrorism Act in the United States to pursue and advance Jewish ethnic interests. There are many more examples of Jews engaging in a variety of activities with the specific goal of advancing the overall Jewish community’s interests and agenda.
Would you agree with my analysis? In your view, what explains this high level of Jewish ethnocentrism?
GA: Totally, your observation is well-founded. In my recent work, which I have now compiled into a book, I offer a few methods that help to explain this unique tribal mode.
In The Wandering Who I offered a study of Jewish identity politics which examines the origin of this thought from cultural and political perspectives.
There is no doubt that Judaism as an exilic spiritual precept had supported the development of some unique survival tactics that maintained Jewish segregation and sustained Jewish existence. In The Wandering Who I refer for instance to the Book of Esther that teaches Jews how to form political lobbies and to intervene with a host nation’s politics.
However, while the rabbinical Jewish society kept Jews separated (culturally, religiously and physically) from their host nations, the emancipation of European Jewry and the call for emancipation led to the development of a new type of Jewish identity. Unlike their rabbinical ancestors, the emancipated Jews were seeking integration and assimilation.
Some Jews have taken the most radical measure and demoted themselves into ordinary human beings – they became goyim and drifted away from Judaism and Jewishness. However, many other Jews adopted the Jewish Haskala paradigm, where they were goyim in the street but sustained Jewishness at home. This mode of behavior is obviously duplicitous. The Haskala Jew deceived the ‘Goy’ while in public, yet lied to his or her creator while at home.
Zionism was born to solve this ethical dilemma. It admitted that Jewish secular diaspora existence was incompatible with Western civilization. It vowed to take the Jews away and to make them into a “people like all other people.” As we know, in spite of Zionism being a spectacularly successful and powerful project, the Jewish state is on its last leg. The Jews have managed to make themselves hated in the Middle East. And this is far from being surprising, in spite of the Zionist promise to “civilize” the Jew. From its day of inception Zionism was based on the plunder of other peoples’ land and assets.
As bizarre as it may sound, it is actually secularism, emancipation and the collapse of the ghetto that transformed Jewish culture into a tribal bond driven by an imaginary concept of racial brotherhood.
JF: When I interviewed Fredrick Toben on my radio program last year, we discussed how the Jews essentially operate as a race, pursuing their own specific racial interests (often at the expense of other peoples), while denying that very same right to other racial or ethnic groups, especially White people (whether in Europe, America, Canada, Australia, or elsewhere). Toben published an article quoting the renowned German philosopher Martin Heidegger as stating: “The Jews, with their marked gift for calculating, live, already for the longest time, according to the principal of race, which is why they are resisting its consistent application with utmost violence.” Quite an insightful and powerful statement, don’t you think?
GA: I was also fascinated by this insightful quote by Heidegger that appeared in the recently published Black Notebooks. I also found it fascinating that The Guardian saw anti-Semitism in it. Heidegger was basically pointing at Jewish cultural projection that is performed collectively by those who identify with the tribe.
However, please allow me to comment on the idea that the Jews are an unique racial group. The Jews are not a race and are actually far from forming any racial continuum. However, it is true that Jewish politics and culture are racist to the core and this applies to Zionists and anti-Zionists, liberal Jews and progressive Jews.
JF: Jewish activists and intellectuals have literally pathologized White racial identity, especially in the post-WWII era. If a White person openly identifies with their racial kinsmen, concerns himself with their future well-being and prospects, and seeks to formulate and advance his race’s unique political, cultural, and economic interests, he is immediately denounced and slandered as a “racist” or a “White supremacist” or even “a Nazi”. Whites are certainly not permitted to organize along political lines, at least not openly. There are no explicitly White political or cultural groups, at least not in the mainstream.
GA: To start with, as you surely know, I am a jazz artist. I basically dedicated my artistic life to Black music and culture. As such, the dichotomy between Black and White is foreign to me. I would also mention that though my Black musician friends are clearly subjected to daily discrimination of all sorts, I have hardly encountered any of them exploring the shockingly vile anti-White language that is unfortunately so common within Jewish “liberal” circuits. I have never heard any of my Black colleagues calling to wipe out the White race or destroy Whiteness. What they want instead is to live in equal terms, which is something I obviously fully support!
There is no doubt that some Jewish political merchants see the White subject and White working class as an enemy. It is also true that some dominant segments within the Jewish progressive circles aim to break the working people into sectors of identity politics. The method is simple. Rather than following the old leftist mantra that was there to unite us all against “the capitalists,” regardless of our ethnicity, race, or gender, the New Left is there to teach us to view ourselves in sectarian terms (i.e., as a Jew, as a Black, as a lesbian, as a woman, as a gay, as a Muslim etc.).
The New Left is a doctrine that cosmopolitanizes the symptom. The gay, the woman, the Muslim etc. are becoming transnational identities just like the “cosmopolitan Jew”. Rather than being devoted to the nation, to the soil and to the local interests of the working class and other compatriots, the new identity enthusiasts are bonded with a segment of the world population who share the same symptoms or belief system. Devastatingly enough, the New Left and identity politics is the other side of the globalization coin.
JF: On the other hand, the organized Jewish community controls a billion dollar charity industry (which receives many millions of dollars from various governments around the world), AIPAC and other Jewish political lobby groups openly advocate for Jewish interests and pro-Israel public policy, and we see countless specifically Jewish cultural and educational organizations operating all across the United States, a nation founded and built by White people.
GA: Correct, you are spot on. The first to grasp that identity politics are a disaster were the Zionists and Israelis. And why? Because after being submerged by identity political thinking for 3000 years, Jews have developed enough intellectual anti-bodies to that ideology.
Israel was the first to grasp that identity politics is dangerous for the cohesiveness of diaspora Jewry. Israeli hasbara and Zionist merchants correctly pointed out to their fellow diaspora Jews that speaking “as a Jew” didn’t really mean much out of Jewish orthodoxy. They told the American, British and French Jews, rather than speaking “as a Jew,” come to Israel and “be” Jews. We will teach you how to fly F-16 or drive a Merkava tank. Israel offered a very successful alternative to the bogus “identifier” offered by the Jewish Left.
It would be important to mention that ISIS offers a very similar product. Rather than speaking “as a Muslim,” which really means little in institutionally Islamophic France, ISIS would tell young European Muslims, “Join us and be a real Muslim!”
In general, the rise of nationalism which we see in Europe is a clear reaction to years of the duplicitous New Left agenda that is set to split people into sectarian discourses.
JF: What explains this hypocrisy? How can the Jews be so openly ethnocentric and concerned about their own unique political, cultural, and economic interests, while demonizing and pathologizing other racial or ethnic groups – especially White people – for even attempting to do the same thing?
GA: In the light of the above, what we see now is an internal debate within the Jewish world. A conflict between radical Zionist nationalism and identity politics advocates, both of whom are fully dedicated to Jewish tribal interests. The question is how is it possible that an internal Jewish debate has such a seriously devastating impact on Western society? I think that the answer is Jewish power – the ability to suppress any attempt to discuss, let alone criticize, Jewish power.
JF: Finally, I’ve have written quite a bit about “anti-Semitism” on my blog. If you read the Jewish press, and by the Jewish press I mean newspapers, websites, blogs, and other sources of information published by and written specifically for the Jewish community, “anti-Semitism” is a constant theme. Almost every single day, one could find an article in the Jewish press hyping the threat of “anti-Semitism”, discussing the alleged “rise of anti-Semitic sentiment” around the world, purported attacks on Jews just because they are Jews, etc. In my view, “anti-Semitism” is a weaponized term that is used by the organized Jewish community to marginalize, demonize, and delegitimize anyone who is opposing some aspect of Jewish power and influence.
GA: If being a (secular) Jew is defined as the unique capacity to evoke hatred amongst others then the existence of anti-Semitism is there to suggest that Jewish politics has fulfilled its mission.
JF: But “anti-Semitism” is rarely specifically defined. The ADL conducted a global survey last year on “anti-Semitic” attitudes around the world. It found that roughly 25% of individuals polled harbored “anti-Semitic” attitudes. But if you look at the criteria for determining whether or not someone is an “anti-Semite”, you will discover that the ADL considers an individual an “anti-Semite” if they simply recognize the power and influence of the organized Jewish community, or state basic facts about Jews.
GA: Correct, and I think that this is why some of our friends decided to coin the phrase “Too much knowledge is anti-Semitism” and even to make it into a popular badge. As I mentioned above, I define Jewish power as the power to suppress discussion and/or criticism of Jewish power. What you describe above is the mechanism the ADL and the Jewish left (i.e., Chomsky, Democracy Now!, and the entire Jewish political continuum) are using to suppress some clear and necessary observations regarding Jews and their relative power in politics, culture, academia, banking, entertainment and so on.
JF: I basically understand “anti-Semitism” to mean someone who:
- states basic facts about Jews, Jewish power and influence in the West, and/or agendas promoted by the Jewish community;
- openly discusses Jewish criminality and treachery;
- opposes or denounces Israeli barbarity, terrorism, and criminality; or
- questions or refutes Jewish interpretations of events, both in a historical and contemporary context.
How do you define “anti-Semitism”? What exactly is “anti-Semitism”?
GA: What you describe above is indeed fully consistent with the Jewish suppressive mechanism that is symptomatic to lobby groups all across the Jewish political spectrum, from the ADL to JVP and beyond.
The Jewish political attitude is pretty simple to grasp. It is a concentrated institutional collective attempt to shift the blame from the Jews onto the goyim. Within the context of contemporary Jewish politics, Jews are always innocent and the goyim, whoever or whatever they are, are always guilty of blind racially motivated hatred.
But is it really possible to imagine an historical narrative in which Jews are always innocent and goyim are constantly guilty? In other words, how is it possible that Jews have managed to make themselves unpopular in so many places and in so many cultures that have nothing to do with each other?!
Bernard Lazare, an early Zionist and a contemporary of Herzl, hated anti-Semitism, but he was courageous enough to accept that “it was not born without cause.” In the late 19th century, Lazare produced one of the most daring studies of anti-Semitism. He attempted to find out what is it in the Jews that makes their history into a chain of countless holocausts. Bernard Lazare did the impossible – he blamed the victims. He came to the conclusion that some Jewish religious and cultural traits are indeed problematic and beg for correction.
I myself tend to believe that anti-Semitism is the core of Jewish shame. Jews hate to be hated; they desperately try to make themselves loved. Zionism is a radical attempt to make the Jew likable. JVP is a similar desperate attempt to make the Jew loveable for being anti-Zionist. Jewish history and politics is an inconsistent zigzag operation set to avoid the shame or attempt at mirroring. It therefore systematically places the blame on the goyim while vindicating the Jews.
My close friend Paul Eisen defines anti-Semitism as “Goyim reaction to bad Jewish behavior.” Like Bernard Lazare, Eisen also blames the victims. Like Eisen and Lazare, I also believe that Jews must self-reflect and identify what is it in their politics and exceptionalist cultural attitude which some people reject.
I would also use this opportunity to mention that along my intellectual career, I have met many opponents of Jewish politics, Israel and even Jewry. But I have hardly met anyone who opposes the Jews as a race, as a biological entity or even as an ethnicity. As peculiar as it may sound, it may be possible that the only people who still think in ethnocentric and racist terms are those who engage in Jewish politics. It is almost amusing to find out that in racist Israel the third biggest party in the Knesset is an Arab party, yet the JVP board is a collective of ethnic Jews, not one goyim invited, let alone a Muslim. And why no Yusuf or Hammed on the boards of JVP, J-BIG or IJAN? Probably because they are not racially qualified.
As bizarre as it may sound, it is the Jewish left and New Left in general that are sustaining the racially oriented discourse and the reason is simple. “Race” sustains the relevance of the left. Otherwise, it has very littler to offer.