7 Jan 2008
Atzmon meeting will not take place in Brighton
Criticism of Israel is one thing, anti-semitism is quite another.
So I am glad to see that Gilad Atzmon who seems to have anti-semitic views is not going to be airing them in Brighton.
This is from the Brighton Argus:
In the same essay, Atzmon explained that "we must begin to take the accusation that Zionists are trying to control the world very seriously."
The Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion was a forgery concocted by the pre-revolutionary Czarist secret police in Russia but was treated by the Nazi Party as a foundation stone of their beliefs. Hitler knew it to be a forgery, but ignored this because he considered true the basic allegation that Jews were attempting to control the world.
Distressingly, Atzmon seems to agree.
He points to the number of Jewish people in the Bush and Clinton administrations and asks: "Is the suggestion of conspiracy really an empty accusation?" He adds: "American Jewry makes any debate on whether the Protocols of the elder of Zion are an authentic document or rather a forgery irrelevant.
I saw this on the Socialist Unity blog which is often worth a look:
A man accused of anti-semitism has been forced to cancel a speech at a church over fears it could whip up religious hatred. Event organiser Dr Francis Clark-Lowes cancelled his booking at the Brighthelm Centre, in North Road, Brighton, for the talk by Gilad Atzmon.
Tony Greenstein, of the Brighton and Hove Unemployed Workers Centre, said Atzmon would have faced a major protest outside the building had he tried to enter.
Mr Greenstein said: “Despite his abhorrent views, we did not call for the meeting to be cancelled. We wanted him to face as large a picket as possible in order that he should understand the depth of opposition.
Nonetheless we welcome the fact that Brighthelm has cancelled this meeting as church premises are probably the least appropriate venue for a meeting of this kind.”
Like lots of people I don't agree with everything Tony does, I would much rather he was a socialist in the Green Party than someone who stood against the Green Party in Brighton on the Alliance for Green Socialism ticket at the last General Election, but he does some good work.
To my mind he is a solid active anti-racist, he opposes anti-semitism and supports the Palestian people. Although of course his work as a socialist covers a whole spectrum of activities.
So interesting to see he had been accused of anti-semitism and apologised to:
I was very pleased and amused to see that stauch upholder of political “decency”, David Aaronovitch has been forced along with Times newspapers to apologise to the Palestinian solidarity campaigner Tony Greenstein.
As Aaronovitch now grovels:
At the beginning of July, an item was posted on my weblog which stated that Tony Greenstein had been “intimidating” or “harassing Jews’ at NUS conferences for 30 years. Tony Greenstein believed that this accused him of committing an offence of incitement to racial hatred under s.3A of the Race Relations Act 1976 and that it also implied that he is anti-Semitic.
While Tony Greenstein and I have had our differences, notably at NUS conferences, neither I nor The Times meant to suggest that he has been breaking the law for thirty years or that he is anti-Semitic. Our apologies for any embarrassment caused
There is an interesting article by Tony here
Let me make a confession. I was brought up as a Zionist in an orthodox Jewish household. I also grew up in the shadow of the Holocaust. I concluded from an early age that if anti-Semitism was wrong, then all forms of racism were equally wrong.
Unfortunately the Zionist movement drew the opposite conclusion. Indeed it accepted the arguments of anti-Semitism that Jews did not belong in the lands where they were born and grew up. They were strangers living in exile (Galut). They should ‘return’ to Palestine. Unfortunately they took with them the ideological framework of European racism. In essence, the anti-Semites said ‘you do not belong’ and the Zionists said ‘we agree’.
Today the Zionist movement regularly accuses its opponents of ‘anti-Semitism’. In what is a new phenomenon, there has grown up a small group of people, based around a certain Israel Shamir, who have said ‘yes’ ‘if you call us anti-Semites, then there must be nothing wrong with anti-Semitism’. The phenomenon of a section of the oppressed adopting the ideological framework of the oppressor is nothing new. It is a characteristic of separatist movements, e.g. Louis Farrakhan. What is strange is when ‘supporters’ of the oppressed adopt the ideas of the oppressor.
Indy media now claims the meeting is going ahead/has gone ahead! with some to my mind fairly barking criticism of Tony for opposing it
It is evident that recently Greenstein has acted as a divisive and disruptive individual by shifting the emphasis on Palestine solidarity onto his obsessive crusade against "anti-semitism". Greenstein is today closer to the infamous Engage crowd than to anything that purports to be solidarity with the Palestinians. Gilad Atzmon is an important intellectual and artist whose actions in solidarity with the Palestinians have done more in the past few years than the grand sum of Greenstein's actions ever achieved. Greenstein's tantrums are certainly harmful to focus the Palestine solidarity actions, and if a pipsqueak like Greenstein insists on carrying on his vendetta against Atzmon, then the best would be for him to do so openly and in a civil manner. If he doesn't pursue this course, then the best thing is to relegate Greenstein to the shadows where he more rightfully belongs
I never think describing someone as a 'pipsquek' is a winning argument for a start....this one sadly will run and run
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