“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Posts Tagged ‘Gilad Atzmon

The Racist, Gilad Atzmon And Zero Books.

with 5 comments

Apparently, the racist Gilad Atzmon is about to have some of his disgusting ramblings published.

The publishers, Zero Books, are a small, relatively new enterprise started in 2009, not to be confused with Zero Press.

Atzmon’s work is very popular on the Far Right, so I had assumed that only active Jew haters would take the time and trouble to publish his filth, but that’s not the case.

Zero Books publish a strange mixture of Paganism, New Ageism and Christianity, with political material as a topping.

This is what they say about themselves, replete with elementary spelling mistakes.

It is not terribly clear who’s behind it, but if you’re interested in healing properties of stones and other such nonsense then Crystal Prescriptions will surely be of interest!

But back to the rational world.

Concerning this issue, there is a kerfuffle on various blogs as to why a publisher of Leftwing authors (and I use the term loosely) should be publishing a racist like Gilad Atzmon.

Many of these posts raise interesting questions, but as far as I can see they fail to analyse with any precision why this situation came about.

What would compel otherwise highly intelligent people (book publishers, etc) to print propaganda for a racist?

Could it be that they conceivably agree with his views? That they share some of his prejudices? And if so, why?

And whilst those questions are answered, it would be nice if these issues could be addressed:

Why, latterly, has anti-Jewish racism become so acceptable in Western societies?

What brought this terrible state of affairs about?

There needs to be clear analysis as to why the publishing of the racist Gilad Atzmon came about, not just the details of events, but a broader commentary is needed on why his views are deemed fit for publishing by the intelligentsia and what does that tell us about anti-Jewish sentiment in society?

Gilad Atzmon And The US Boat To Gaza.

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Thanks to Rebecca for keeping me up to date on events in the US surrounding the racist, Gilad Atzmon, as she comments:

“I just got another email update from the US Boat to Gaza folks – advertising Gilad Atzmon’s benefit concert tonight in Oakland. As far as I’m concerned, this means it’s no mistake that he’s doing this benefit – he’s working with them, and they don’t care about his reputation as an antisemite. See my blog today: “

Searching around I can see that they are advertising the event via their Twitter feed.

It is also on their events page.

It is a pity that this organisation is connected to the racist Gilad Atzmon. Read more at Mystical Politics.

Update 1: Adam Holland has more, and as far as I can see Atzmon might be working with the well-known Holocaust denier, Michael Santomauro:

“Gilad Atzmon is using a notorious Holocaust denial website to advertise a speech and performance he is giving tonight at a Methodist church in Oakland, CA. (Read here.) The website, which is maintained by Michael Santomauro, publishes articles propounding what Santomauro euphemistically refers to as “historical revisionism” concerning Naziism and the Holocaust, as well as anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist articles, and promotional material for books with the same themes. A notice on the website indicates that Atzmon himself sent the promotional notice to the Santomauro website for publication there.

Santomauro has worked as an advance man for David Irving’s New York appearances, sometimes under the pseudonym “Michael Singer”, under which name he has booked venues for Irving to promote his books. (Read here.) Emails between Irving and Santomauro planning a speaking engagement were copied from Irving’s website by hackers and leaked to Wikileaks. (I wrote about that here. The hacked emails are online here. A prior post mentioning Santomauro’s link to Irving is available here.) “

Read the rest of this entry »

Gilad Atzmon And The Signatories.

with 8 comments

Rebecca Lesses has a good post on the recent activities of the racist, Gilad Atzmon. I liked this part:

“Signatories of this statement follow below. I think that they should be held responsible for working with Atzmon, who is a notorious antisemite who has been rejected even by other British anti-Zionists like Tony Greenstein and Sue Blackwell.

Nic Abramson, Middle East Crisis Response
Elliott Adams, Past President, Veterans For Peace
Ujju Aggarwal
Laurie Arbeiter, Activist Response Team
Anna Baltzer, Human Rights Activist and Author
Russell Banks, Writer
Kahlil Bendib, Political Cartoonist
Medea Benjamin, Co-founder CODEPINK
Phyllis Bennis, Institute for Policy Studies
Elaine Brower
Naomi Brussel, Activist Response Team
Allan Buchman, Founder and Artistic Director, The Culture Project
Leslie Cagan, Co-Founder United for Peace and Justice
Henry Chalfant, Film Maker
Kathleen Chalfant, New York
Cindy Corrie
Craig Corrie
Ellen Davidson, Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions-USA
Angela Y. Davis, University of California, Santa Cruz
Noor Elashi, Writer
Basem Emara, Gaza Freedom March
Kathy Engel, Poet
Hedy Epstein, Palestine Solidarity Committee, St. Louis, Missouri
Mike Ferner, National President, Veterans For Peace
Lisa Fithian, Alliance for Community Trainers
Felice Gelman, Gaza Freedom March
Jenny Heinz, Activist Response Team/Granny Peace Brigade
Jane Hirschmann, Jews Say No!
Jennifer Hobbs, New York City Attorney/Gaza Freedom March
Nubar Hovsepian, Associate Professor of Political Science and International Studies, Chapman University
Mary Hughes – Thompson, Free Gaza Movement
Abdeen Jabara, Past President, American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Civil Rights Attorney
Tarak Kauff, Veterans for Peace
Kathy Kelly, Co-Coordinator, Voices for Creative Nonviolence
Eleanore Kennedy
Michael Kennedy
Mona Khalidi
Rashid Khalidi, Columbia University
Naomi Klein, Writer
Ramzi Kysia, Free Gaza Movement
Iara Lee, Cultures of Resistance/Freedom Flotilla Survivor
Richard A. Levy, Labor Lawyer
Karen Malpede, Playwright
Helaine Meisler, Hudson Valley BDS
Gail Miller, Women of a Certain Age
Fatima Mohammadi, Attorney at Law/Freedom Flotilla Survivor
Donna Nevel, Jews Say No!
Michael Ratner, President, Center for Constitutional Rights
Mariam Said, New York
Najla Said, Actor/Writer
Hannah Schwarzschild, American Jews for a Just Peace
Bert Shaw
Moira Shaw
Kathy Sheetz, Free Gaza – USA/Freedom Flotilla Survivor
Ann Shirazi, Granny Peace Brigade/Women of a Certain Age
Starhawk, Alliance of Community Trainers
Eleanor Stein, Albany Law School
Michael Steven Smith, New York City Attorney/Author
Vivian Stromberg, MADRE, Executive Director
Yifat Susskind, MADRE Policy/Communications Director
Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies, Syracuse University
Alice Walker, Author
Naomi Wallace
Darlene Wallach, Free Gaza Movement, Justice for Palestinians
Donna Wallach, Free Gaza Movement, Justice for Palestinians
Sarah Wellington, Activist Response Team
Diane Wilson, Writer/Activist
Ret. Col. Ann Wright, Freedom Flotilla Survivor
Rebecca Vilkomerson, Jewish Voice for Peace
Dorothy M. Zellner, Veteran Civil Rights Activist
David Zirin, Sports Correspondent, The Nation Magazine”

Stop The War Coalition Promote Racists.

with one comment

Greens Engage have an excellent post on how both the Berkshire Stop The War Coalition /a>and Stormfront are both promoting the same meeting.

Normally, that wouldn’t be an issue, as it could be a simple mistake, but why would Berkshire StWC promote an event where a well known racist, Gilad Atzmon, is participating is hard to say.

Stormfront are doing it because they hate Jews and these neo-Nazis welcome anything that is perceived to attack Jews.

I hope that the StWC, nationally, take steps to repudiate the activities of Gilad Atzmon and their Berkshire branch.

Unite Against Fascism, Islamophobia And Antisemitism

with 14 comments

There is a problem in Britain and parts of Europe, that problem is anti-Muslim bigotry.

Most of it seems to be a refocused form of existing xenophobia and racism, that are common to many European countries, including Britain, on the weakest.

The levels of social deprivation and poverty faced by many Asians in Britain is well-known and documented, but more so in areas where there is a predominantly Muslim mix. They are often treated like second class citizens. Bigots and neofascists like picking on who they see as weak or vulnerable, that’s why they pick on Muslims for the moment. Their targets have changes over the decades, other ethnic minorities, but the bigot’s and neo-fascist’s basic methods haven’t, stir up hatred.

Modern day neo-fascist in the English Defence League want to use anti-Muslim bigotry to ferment racial hatred in Britain, to start riots and conflict, as the EDL’s recent actions show

This type of bigotry however it masks itself should be combated, from the violent racism of the EDL to the casual anti-Muslim joke. It is wrong and socially cancerous to society and individuals.

So I welcomed the recent Unite Against Fascism initiative against Islamophobia and other forms of racism.

Others might have their reservations concerning the UAF, as a SWP front, but I think if they are going to combat racism that I am prepared to pass over, momentarily, the SWP’s previous mistakes, whilst they do good work.

Astute readers will notice that the original letter from the UAF includes a passage deploring the rise of antisemitism as well, which is to be welcomed:

“We, the undersigned, are deeply concerned by the rise in fascism, Islamophobia, antisemitism and racism. The English Defence League has organised events across the country, stirring up hatred, Islamophobia and racism – running riot in some cases and provoking violent attacks on Muslim, black and Asian communities and on Mosques and Mandirs (Hindu temples)

Imagine, however, my surprise when I read an email on the 6th November’s event and saw something missing.

Yes, that’s right, opposition to antisemitism had somehow been dropped from the event’s main propaganda. There’s a small bit is on a flyer and a previous email, but all of the Facebook links leave it out.

I assumed it was a simple slipup, so I looked on the Facebook page of the UAF.

Nothing mentioning *specifically* opposition to antisemitism, as the letter had.


So I asked a question or 2+ in their comments boxes, but didn’t receive terribly illuminating replies.

In fact, the UAF replies were tetchy, defensive and avoided dealing with my questions, directly. I suppose the UAFers didn’t know what was going on, but couldn’t exactly admit it.

Now I’m prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt in this instance, but I think that the UAF should employ better proof readers and make sure that they don’t forget about opposition to antisemitism in all of their documentation.

The UAF need to spell out their opposition to antisemitism on Facebook and in their links, clearly, and not make it appear as an afterthought.

Update 1: Please let me remind any of my new readers to absorb my comments policy, in particular the bit:

“So if you are hung up about the existence of Jews, Muslims, the Roma, immigrants, “foreigners”, the French, the Irish, etc and feel the need to express your petty hatreds and xenophobia, do it elsewhere. “

Update 2: For UAFers and anyone else interested in combating antisemitism and racism then the CST’s yearly Antisemitic Discourse in Britain is vital reading.

The CST has much more, and here’s a PDF copy.

Update 3: Lancaster Unity has a good dissection of the xenophobia and hate mongering found amongst the worst tabloids in Britain over the last week or so.

Gilad Atzmon, Double Think And The SWP.

with 5 comments

[Editor’s note: I suppose this proves that you shouldn’t blog when a bit tired, I have corrected this post.]

Just got back from a news-free little holiday and I had wanted to study what had been going on in the past week or so before posting anything, but my attention was drawn to a rather weak retraction appearing on the American website:

“An article retracted editor Alan Maass comments on a recent article.

July 14, 2010

ON JULY 13, published an interview with jazz musician and anti-Zionist writer Gilad Atzmon. The interview took up Atzmon’s childhood in Israel and his growing awareness of the oppression of Palestinians, as well as his ideas on music and art.

Since the interview’s publication, we have learned of many allegations that Atzmon has made not just highly inflammatory, but anti-Semitic statements about Jews, be they supporters or opponents of the state of Israel–and that he has associations with deniers of the Nazi Holocaust of the Jews. The evidence for these serious charges is damning.

We knew that Atzmon was a controversial figure among opponents of Israel when we ran our article, but not the full extent of these allegations. And needless to say, there is no trace of such ideas in his interview with, or it never would have been published.

Nevertheless, we believe that our Web site, which is committed to the liberation of the Palestinian people and to the struggle against anti-Semitism, should not have published the interview without any reference to the controversy over someone who could make the comments and advance the ideas that he has–whatever his motives or reasoning. We have therefore withdrawn the article from our site. We invite our readers to comment by e-mail to”

Readers with a slightly better memory than the editor, Alan Maass, will remember how the British SWP (somewhat once related to the American defended Gilad Atzmon and apparently still do.
Read the rest of this entry »

Written by modernityblog

21/07/2010 at 14:03

Atzmon In New York

with 2 comments

That well known anti-Jewish racist, Gilad Atzmon, is back.

He’s in North America, more precisely up-state New York and surprise, surprise, in the company of a Holocaust denier, Daniel McGowan, [Warning, linked to cached copy of Rense, a racist web site].

Mystical Politics has more.

Update 1: Other related (or slightly related) posts.

Gilad Atzmon’s Holocaust Denial And Other Stupid Questions.

Gilad Atzmon, Brockley And Racism

A Racist Speaks Out On YouTube.

The Curious Case Of Rupert And Gilad.

Update 2: I had forgotten, but Seismic has pointed out the nature of Atzmon’s racism before in Gilad Atzmon: Israel Has Christ-Killing Ideology.

Written by modernityblog

30/06/2010 at 01:24

Baroness Tonge – The Penny Drops.

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She finally did it, Baroness Tonge has resigned as patron of the Palestinian Telegraph.

This turn of events is to be welcomed, as the Palestinians’ cause should not be associated with the likes of David Duke, the JC reports:

“Baroness Jenny Tonge has withdrawn her patronage of the Palestine Telegraph after the paper posted a video of former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke claiming that Israel is a terrorist threat to America.

The LibDem peer has often been attacked for her patronage of the Palestine Telegraph, which has previously linked IDF doctors to organ theft in the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake.

Baroness Tonge’s name has been removed from the website. Press TV journalist and sister of Cherie Blair, Lauren Booth, Respect MP George Galloway and Luisa Morgantini, Vice President of European Parliament all remain patrons. The former LibDem MP is believed to have emailed the newspaper to say that she no longer wishes to be a patron.

The video, featuring Mr Duke, an American white nationalist, with the headline “Israel’s terror against America”, was on the front page of the Palestine Telegraph’s website.”

What I find strange is that it took this long.

Surely once the Palestinian Telegraph started pushing the racist Offal libel that was when Baroness Tonge should have thrown in the towel and distanced herself from those vile accusations.

I wonder if the other patrons of the Palestinian Telegraph will have such courage now that the penny has dropped about David Duke?

Update 1: I forgot, that well known racist Gilad Atzmon is still writing for the Palestinian Telegraph as this article shows.

Gilad Atzmon’s Holocaust Denial And Other Stupid Questions.

with 6 comments

Gilad Atzmon’s canter towards the territory of the Extreme Right continues on apace, Dissident Voice have just re-published more of his rantings.

Here’s an extract, if you can stomach it:

“I am left puzzled here; if the Nazis ran a death factory in Auschwitz-Birkenau, why would the Jewish prisoners join them at the end of the war? Why didn’t the Jews wait for their Red liberators?

I think that 65 years after the liberation of Auschwitz, we must be entitled to start to ask the necessary questions. We should ask for some conclusive historical evidence and arguments rather than follow a religious narrative that is sustained by political pressure and laws. We should strip the holocaust of its Judeo-centric exceptional status and treat it as an historical chapter that belongs to a certain time and place.”

I hope that those who previously supported Atzmon, or maybe made excuses for him, will see the implicit holocaust denial embedded in his words, when he writes: “…if the Nazis …”.

Update 1: Some of the related Atzmon material seems to have been deleted or lost on the Web, so here’s a copy of a post on Gilad Atzmon Bookmarks protest at LabourNet UK:

Gilad Atzmon Bookmarks protest

Report by Roland Rance, Jews Against Zionism
Published: 19/06/05

About 30 activists turned out to protest the talk by Gilad Atzmon at Bookmarks bookshop, significantly outnumbering those who actually went in to the meeting. Several of these had attended for the express purpose of denouncing Atzmon and his views, and it is clear that very few attended in order to listen to and learn from him. Numbers of attendees were further restricted by the (unannounced) decision to make the meeting ticket only, thus preventing even some SWP members from attending. Of course, none of the pickets was allowed to attend.

Although some of the audience took our leaflets, and a few engaged in debate with us, the SWP’s leadership treated us with arrogant contempt, refusing even to acknowledge, let alone touch, the leaflets; and, in some cases, aggressively pushing us aside without even asking us to move.

Despite earlier attacks by the SWP that, by calling the picket, we were “lining up with the AWL”, they, and other sectarians and Zionist apologists were totally absent, and the protesters were all clearly opposed to Israel and its Zionist practices. We were further admonished that “reasonable people” like Hilary Rose and Moshé Machover opposed the picket. In fact, Hilary turned up and stood with us in the protest, while Moshé, who was unable to come, sent the SWP a letter strongly supporting and endorsing the picket.

It’s clear that the SWP had no idea of the extent and depth of revulsion at Atzmon’s ideas, and the anger at them for giving him a platform. They have been given something to think about.

After the picket, most of us went for a drink, and were later joined by sympathisers who had attended the meeting. We learned from them that Atzmon had not been received well, that no-one had spoken in his defence, and that several SWP members were apparently in dismay at the views they heard, and the damage they have done to the party’s image. Our shouts, and the many speeches through the megaphone, were heard clearly throughout the meeting.

Apparently, Atzmon devoted a large part of his talk to discussing the highly controversial theories of Otto Weininger (who, as Atzmon himself admitted, was Hitler’s favourite Jew), who, in his work Sex and Character, characterised the Jew as “feminine, and thus profoundly irreligious, without true individuality (soul), and without a sense of good and evil…” Weininger claimed the decay of modern (ie early twentieth century) times was due to feminine, and thus Jewish, influences – see

Atzmon also propounded his own highly sexist theory of gender, before giving a rambling account of his own views, and expressing his bemusement at the picket. In the ensuing discussion, he was roundly denounced by several speakers; John Rose of the SWP reportedly made a particularly powerful and effective response.

Members of the SWP who did not know at the beginning of the meeting, certainly realised by the end what an error they had made. However, we must still marvel at their stupidity in even inviting Atzmon in the first place, as well as expressing our anger at the contempt we faced from some SWP leaders, notablty their national secretary Martin Smith, who refused (unlike most of his comrades) to exchange even one civil word with us.

All in all, we are pleased with our efforts, which in a short time mobilised a large and vocal protest, and which confronted the SWP with a reality they wished to ignore – that they cannot hold a meeting with a racist and expect it to pass quietly, and that you cannot defend Palestinian rights if you accept the Zionist paradigm which identifies all Jews with Zionism.


Update 2: Elsewhere in Socialist Worker 13 March 2007 there is a letter defending Gilad Atzmon, from two leading SWP members:

Gilad Atzmon is not racist

As the organisers of the Cultures of Resistance event we were disappointed to see Michael Rosen claiming that Gilad Atzmon is an antisemite and should therefore not have been invited to perform (Letters, 6 January).

We would never give a platform to a racist or fascist. Our entire history has been one of fierce opposition to fascist organisations and antisemitism.

Faced with such accusations, Gilad has issued a personal statement making it clear that he is not a racist or a Holocaust denier. It is also worth noting that papers like the Morning Star and Guardian have also run articles refuting these claims.

Gilad has now played around a dozen fundraising events for the SWP and we can say categorically that he has never made any offensive/racist comments – in fact every performance has been one of supporting the civil rights struggle and opposing war.

While defending Gilad’s right to play, that in no way means we endorse all of Gilad’s views. However it is worth noting that he is a Jewish exile from Israel who was a member of the Israeli army.

As part of his struggle to break from his Zionist upbringing he has become an angry and bitter opponent of Israel. For the record we have publicly challenged and argued against those of his ideas we disagree with.

Instead of banning him shouldn’t socialists be celebrating his undeniable musical talent, and at the same time challenging those ideas that he holds that we disagree with?

Hannah Dee and Viv Smith, London”

Update 3: The previous letter was a response to Michael Rosen’s carefully worded and moderate rebuked from Socialist Worker 6 Match 2007:

Inviting Gilad Atzmon to play is a bad move

Great news about the Cultures of Resistance musical programme, but I have to say I’m mightily dismayed that you have saxophonist Gilad Atzmon on board.

He is someone who has frequently expressed racist ideas and surely we have always said that you can’t fight racism with racism? I fear that the racism he expresses is seen by some in the liberation movements as a racism that doesn’t matter as much.

That’s to say, it’s said by some that racism towards peoples from countries oppressed and exploited by the West is the main racism we’re fighting, but a racism directed towards peoples seen as heavily implicated in the West’s oppression matters less.

Thus, antisemitism in the 21st century is seen perhaps as “mistaken” within the liberation movement, much as we might say that going on about Rupert Murdoch being Australian is “mistaken”.

This is a disastrous route to go down. Antisemitism imagines the removal or elimination of a group of people from the world system.

All we have to ask ourselves is: 1) would eliminating that group change the system for the better? 2) what ghastly processes would a state create in order to do the removing and eliminating?

I think Cultures of Resistance is making a great mistake taking Atzmon on board with them and this will undermine and weaken what we are all trying to do.

Michael Rosen, East London”

Update 1: If you feel the desire to post a comment on this thread, first make an effort to read and understand, fully, my comments policy.

Written by modernityblog

17/03/2010 at 00:44

Gilad Atzmon, Brockley And Racism

with 2 comments

Bob posts on a racist in Brockley. A notable one, Gilad Atzmon.

I would like to add a few more contributions on Atzmon, but before that I think it is worth while thinking on what Atzmon tells us about people. By that I mean, despite all of the evidence, racist posts, etc by Atzmon he still seems to have some support? Which I find rather peculiar.

Surely anyone with access to the Internet could easily ascertained that his views are noxious and racist.

Still, some young singer from Brockley, Sarah Gillespie seems to be an avid groupie of Atzmon. I can’t understand it.

I can only assume that people who support him, politically, actually agree with some of his views, which is a pretty appalling state of affairs as shown below:

Gilad Atzmon supports anti-Semitism.

Atzmon shares some David Duke’s views.

Gilad Atzmon droning on about the “Offal libel”.

Gilad Atzmon and racist tropes.

Gilad Atzmon and his racist groupies.

There’s plenty more, just put Atzmon in my search box and see.

Finally, I think it is worth noting that Atzmon buys into the whole neo-Nazi/David Duke idea that Jews financed the Russian Revolution, etc. It beggars belief, given the obnoxious nature of his views, that anyone chooses to support him.

Written by modernityblog

07/03/2010 at 00:46

A Racist Speaks Out On YouTube.

with 2 comments

That nauseating and disturbing individual, Gilad Atzmon, is at it again, droning on about the “Offal libel” once more, but seemingly in all seriousness.

The racism that slips from Atzmon’s lips is staggering, and I would like to apologise to readers for this link to a rather nasty conspiracy theorist’s and 9/11 truther’s YouTube channel, but it is an illustration of how far Atzmon has gone.

Atzmon casually discusses the lie concerning organ harvesting at 03:46 on this video clip.
[Warning: a link to awful material, full of conspiracy theories and antisemitic filth]

The Curious Case Of Rupert And Gilad.

with 4 comments

I have been waiting for Dr Rupert Read to comment on his blog without success, and I am not sure quite what to make of Dr Read’s recent conduct. I could, of course, be very critical, it is hard to see how anyone could read the racism embedded in Gilad Atzmon’s work and not be alarmed.

But Dr Read did apologise, he said sorry, which should be an end to it, and it would be, if he hadn’t compounded the problem by making some quite curious and absurd claims afterwards :

Dr. Read: “I think that the influence of ‘the Israel lobby’ in this country as in many others is nefarious.” [My emphasis.]

Nefarious, readers will remember is defined in Webster’s 1913 edition as:

”Wicked in the extreme; abominable; iniquitous; atrociously, villainous; execrable; detestably vile. ”

Further, Dr. Read went on to praise the recent Dispatches programme which has received questionable reviews, still more disappointing is Dr. Read’s inability to explain himself in a lucid and considered fashion.

Normally, we should try to be charitable to those caught up in these mistakes and if they make amends quickly then that should be it. However, from his comments Dr Read doesn’t appear to have learnt anything in the process, anything meaningful. He might well have learnt to be more careful or hide his opinion’s concerning “Israelis”, he might have learnt how to give out a quick apology. Yet it all comes over as rather unsatisfactory.

Unsatisfactory coming from a professional academic, who is one step away from a professorship, someone who in normal circumstances would be considered a critical thinker, an intellectual, someone who could balance in his head numerous arguments and counter arguments in a trice, except that is not what comes over in his statements on this topic.

This is the difficulty, imagine you know someone highly intelligent, articulate and otherwise well balanced yet they hold a strong negative opinion against a particular group of people, and are incapable of articulating why they hold such an opinion in a rational fashion.

In such circumstances the natural conclusion to draw, is not that their views are based on reason, but some bias or prejudice. Let me make it clear I am not accusing Dr. Read of being an antisemite or anywhere close, but his inability to look at these issues rationally and objectively is somewhat mystifying and rather inadequate.

I know the simple answer would be to assume prejudice on Dr. Read’s part, but I am not entirely convinced as I have run across many politicos and a few academics, who were loath to ever admit they were wrong, could not rethink their positions and often showed a striking lack of self-awareness, the recent British MPs’ expenses scandals showed that.

The same could be true for Dr Read’s attitude, that it is more of a character flaw than an active prejudice? I am not really sure. Either way it is rather peculiar that a professional philosopher cannot defend his own views, strongly held views, by clear-cut and comprehensive argumentation.

Written by modernityblog

24/11/2009 at 12:09

Atzmon’s Unstinting Racism

with 21 comments

Many blogs and the media have already covered the disgusting racist stories coming out of Sweden concerning organs.

I suppose it was only a matter of time before age old racist tropes would be updated for the 21st century, still it is depressing to see that a leading Swedish newspaper could print this nauseating rubbish.

Not unsurprisingly that well-known anti-Jewish racist, Gilad Atzmon, has leaped on the bandwagon:

[Linked to a cached copy, not that awful racist site]

“But now the news about Israeli trafficking of human organ is spreading to Western mainstream media. Ynet, the biggest Israeli online newspaper, reported today that “Leading Swedish daily Aftonbladet claimed in one of its articles that IDF soldiers killed Palestinians in order to trade in their organs.”

A few weeks ago we had a debate here on PTT whether Zionism is a colonial apparatus or not. One of the Materialist arguments against the perception of Zionism as a colonial practice was that Palestine has never been too attractive economically; it lacks oil, gold or minerals. However, this may change now. People who specialise in organ theft may find Palestine to be heaven on earth. In the light of the latest vastly spreading accusations, the Jewish national project maybe is colonial after all. “

I wonder if there is any depth to which Atzmon will not plunder? I do hope that his entries on Wikipedia and Citizendium are updated accordingly, but I somehow doubt it.

Update 1:
Engage is covering it, and it is possible to make a comment to the editor via this page (corrected link!)

Be aware they delete comments they don’t like, btw what is “freedom of speech” in Swedish?

Update 2:
Jonathan Leman has more, in the original Swedish, and via Google’s translator.

Update 3: – The Irish Politics Website covers it too as “IDF kill Palestinians for their organs: Sweden’s Aftonbladet”, thankfully many see through it.

Update 4:
European Journalism Centre picked up the story via

“Sweden’s embassy in Tel Aviv has sharply condemned Sweden’s largest circulation newspaper Aftonbladet for publishing an article accusing the Israeli Defence Forces of harvesting the organs of Palestinians. “The article in the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet is as shocking and appalling to us Swedes, as it is to Israeli citizens. We share the dismay expressed by Israeli government representatives, media and the Israeli public. This Embassy cannot but clearly distance itself from it,” writes Ambassador Elisabet Borsiin Bonnier on the Swedish Embassy website. Aftonbladet’s article, ‘Våra söner plundras på sina organ’ (‘They plunder the organs of our sons’), has sparked outrage in Israel. Published on Monday, the article by photographer and writer Donald Boström accuses the Israeli army of involvement in the illegal human organ trade.”

More at

Update 5: The European Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism (EISCA) see it as Recycling Old Libels.

Update 6:
Scanning the web and blogs via Google the original Aftonbladet story has been picked up by the Far Right, some extremists blogs and even on David Icke’s forums.

Update 7: The author of the piece, Donald Boström says “But whether it’s true or not – I have no idea, I have no clue.” “

There you have it, Boström pushes a racist libel in a national newspaper and he’s not even sure if it is true or not. What a sorry excuse for a journalist he is.

JPost has more:

“A report in Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet earlier this week alleging that Israel was harvesting Palestinians’ organs for transplant continued to cause ripples on Wednesday with statements by Israeli officials, the Swedish Embassy in Tel Aviv and the writer of the report.

“I have a personal opinion, it concerns me that it’s true,” Donald Bostrom, who penned the story, told Israel Radio en route to an emergency meeting at the editorial offices Aftonbladet, presumably to discuss the aftermath of the report.

“I was [present] during the interview that night, I was a witness. It concerns me to the extent that I want it to be investigated,” Bostrom told the station. “But whether it’s true or not – I have no idea, I have no clue.”

He was referring to a Palestinian witness who recounted an incident where a Palestinian was allegedly taken by the Israeli military and his body returned several days later – lacking some internal organs. “

Also at the Jewish Chronicle and the Torygraph.

Update 8: Strangely enough, the Guardian is not covering the story. Ops, stand corrected the Guardian’s search engine didn’t find any articles, but there’s a small AP one here.

Update 9: Norm on it.

Update 10: The comments on Jan Helin’s blog show that such racism is apparently accepted by good few of the posters, hmm. Here’s a translation.

Update 11:
At RevLeft they have a thread on the topic, a few posters realize the racist nature of these accusations, but sadly not enough.

Update 12:
The other Swedish newspaper, Sydsvenskan, has a Leader’s blog on it.

Update 13: Haaretz on Swedish daily hits back at critics of IDF organ harvest story:

“Helin called it an opinion piece raising questions of Israel in the context of a suspected link to Israel in that U.S. case. He denied any suggestion of anti-Semitism from his paper.

Sweden’s ambassador to Israel issued a press release on Wednesday condemning the article which appeared in Aftonbladet. “

Update 14: The Swedish government is rather maladroit:

The Swedish government on Thursday distanced itself from a statement by its ambassador to Israel, in which she criticized a newspaper article claiming Israel Defense Forces troops killed Palestinian youths and harvested their organs.

“The condemnation was solely the judgment of the embassy [in Tel Aviv], and designed for an Israeli audience,” said a statement released Thursday by the Swedish Foreign Ministry”

Update 15: Carl Bildt seems to lack political common sense and decency:

“Bildt wrote in a blog post late Thursday that he wouldn’t condemn an article in Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet that suggested IDF troops harvested the organs of dead Palestinians. He says freedom of expression is part of the Swedish constitution.

Bildt said the condemnation of anti-Semitism was the only issue on which there has ever been complete unity in the Swedish parliament.”

Elsewhere Bildt says:

“Bildt however expressed understanding for the feelings of the Israeli people over the article penned by photojournalist Donald Bodström in which he alleged that the Israeli Defence Force systematically removed and traded the organs of dead Palestinian men.

“That the accusations of the article’s author awoke strong feelings in Israel is not difficult to understand. Bitter historical experience has led to a natural and strong sensitivity to implications or accusations which could give antisemitism a chance to develop,” Bildt wrote.

The foreign minister concluded by defending the importance of maintaining a free press and protecting freedom of speech but said that there were lessons to be learned from both this and the Muhammad cartoon debate.

“We live in a world where the public debate spills over old boundaries and where we all in various contexts would be wise to be aware of the historical, national and religious sensitivities.” “

I suppose that means that some Swedes can feel smug about themselves, but it does little to convince others that Blood Libels and other racists accusations are covered by blanket approval of “freedom of speech”.

Update 16:
Barry Rubin on The blood libel that won’t die.

Update 17:
Part of this story has gone global, but not in the original sense. Most of the newer articles concentrate on the Israeli government’s reaction to the absurd and vile accusations, but don’t necessarily debunk or question the validity of the original story.

A recent search of the web reveals that Reuters, Associated press, the Torygraph, a Syrian news agency, PressTV, the Spectator and various Arab news sites have references to Donald Boström and Aftonbladet.

Please bear in mind that the first web sites and blogs to push Boström’s story were on the Extreme Right, either committed purveyors of antisemitism or neo-Nazis and their friends.

Aftonbladet has come in for criticism in Sweden from Sydsvenskan, and Stockholm News.

There may probably be even more in Swedish language press and media, if you can read it.

So I think it paints a false picture to use Donald Boström’s strange mixture of gullibility and greed against the Swedes, all nine plus million of them.

I doubt the editor of Aftonbladet will ever admit his own error of judgment in running the story, but that is probably more to do with his position as editor and his own lack of character, than anything else, as Robert Nyström puts it:

“Helin then describes how a hateful campaign now has started against the cultural section of Aftonbladet, and mentions that he quickly received 200 hateful emails from all around the world.

He thereby tries to make Aftonbladet into some kind of martyr in the name of press freedom, instead of doing something much more suited: giving the public an apology for the sloppy editorial policy of the paper. This is despicable in its dishonesty and shamefulness. “

Update 18: There’s been a lot of comment on this issue, but this from SO Muffin is surely one of the most succinct and lucid.

“This thread is doing funny things to people. With abject surprise, I have to agree to every single word of Judy. What next?

It is not as if Europe per se was anti-Semitic or if there was a huge tidal wave of anti-Semitism, or even anti-Zionism afoot. Those of us who actually live here (i.e. in Europe) can tell it from our personal experience.

Yet, the Aftonbladet affair is vitally important and it is absolutely vital to react to it and expose it for the toxic smear it is.

Racism (and, folks, anti-Semitism is neither more nor less than plain, stupid racism) is based on racist tropes, from the outright objectionable (oily Greeks, hook-nosed Jews, idle Blacks, stupid Irish, smelly Italians, treacherous Arabs) to the thoroughly, absolutely nasty (Jews slaughtering Gentile children to use their blood, Blacks raping blonde virgins, …). Such tropes are emphatically not some sort of harmless background: they are the major vehicle of desensitization, so that people become inured to racism and willing to break social and personal taboos to advance their hate.

Now, it is of course possible for an individual Jew, like for any other individual, to kill a non-Jew for his-or-her organs. Unlikely, but possible. It is equally possible, say, for a Black to rape a blonde virgin (although statistically it is hugely more likely for a blonde rapist to do so). But, firstly, there is a huge difference between an individual perpetrating this sort of crime and an accusation that it is done collectively: that, say, the Blacks of Chicago, or Jews of Israel are engaged, purposefully and together, in this sort of enterprise (as claimed by Aftonbladet).

Secondly, everybody but a hardened racist will realise the sheer danger in this sort of blank accusation. Hence, everybody but a hardened racist will require hard evidence from reliable sources. The only “evidence” in the Aftonbladet article is that bodies of Palestinians who have been killed in encounters with IDF have been returned to their families “with stitches along their abdomen”. Well, even the author would have known perfectly well that in every organised country (yes, even in Sweden) everybody who has died an unnatural death will be autopsied (in Israel, by the Forensic Medicine Institute in Abu Qabbir, in South Tel Aviv) – and stitches along the abdomen are (as everybody who has viewed any of all these morbid police procedural dramas will know) characteristic of an autopsy. To use this (knowingly!) as the sole source for a canard based on long-standing anti-Semitic trope is a deliberate act of anti-Semitism of the highest order.

And this precisely is why there should be a reaction. Not a violent one, not burning Swedish embassies or boycotting IKEA (founded by a member of the Swedish Nazi Party) or boycotting Swedish academics. Ther should be reaction which is dignified, but resolute. Until the Swedish elites recognise the sort of racist viper that they have nourished at their bosom.”

Update 19:
Read J.J.Goldberg’s The Swedish Press Exposes the Invasion of the Jewish Body-snatchers.

Update 20: Aftonbladet are pushing this racist nonsense for the second time with an article that appeared in the Sunday edition by Oisín Cantwell and Urban Andersson.

Update 21: Seth Freeman has a truly awful post on CiF, Israel cries wolf over ‘blood libel’.

Written by modernityblog

20/08/2009 at 00:56