The Guardian’s comfort with publishing essays by antisemites – providing their commentary includes “progressive” tropes about anti-imperialism, anti-colonialism or anti-Zionism – makes me wonder if the only thing preventing the paper from posting commentaries by racists like David Duke, Nick Griffin, or David Irving (and their fellow political travelers), is that such haters have failed to master the faux liberal language of the Guardian left.
Back in 2009, the Guardian’s literary critic John Lewis interviewed Atzmon, in the music section of the Guardian – a piece focused primarily on Atzmon’s Jazz career. The profile briefly took note of Atzmon’s pro-Palestinian activism, anti-Zionism, and what they characterized as the saxophonist’s “firebrand political outbursts”, while only barely alluding to his well-documented record of antisemitism in this throw away passage:
Some Palestinian activists see his provocatively anti-Jewish rhetoric as discrediting their cause [emphasis mine]
The Guardian profile of Atzmon included this headline and photo:
As a Rosh Hashana greeting on Wednesday evening, Sept. 28, The Guardian published a letter by Atzmon, Letters: Moral obligation and Jewish identity, which responded to a CiF commentary by Andy Newman which singled out Atzmon as an example of antisemitism on the left.
Atzmon’s letter included the following:
“How to define a Jew is a loaded topic since Jews define themselves in many different ways, some contradictory, and use those definitions to try to achieve political aims. And yet not many people dare to touch upon these subjects for fear of being accused of antisemitism. To paraphrase what I say in my book, “An antisemite used to be someone who hates Jews; nowadays an antisemite is someone Jews hate.” [emphasis mine]
“But I also insist that each of us has the right to express his or her opinion on the subject without being censored, bullied or intimidated by charges of antisemitism.It is very disappointing to see a newspaper renowned for its egalitarian stance publishing, without checking, the unsubstantiated rantings of self-interested campaigners.”
Here are a few passages from Atzmon’s essays over the years which are quite “substantiated”, as they are quoted verbatim from Atzmon’s own website:
“Zionists complain that Jews continue to be associated with a conspiracy to rule the world via political lobbies, media and money. Is the suggestion of conspiracy really an empty accusation? … we 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’ are an authentic document or rather a forgery irrelevant. American Jews do try to control the world, by proxy.
“American Jews (in fact Zionists) do control the world.. So far they are doing pretty well for themselves at least. Whether the Americans enjoy the deterioration of their state’s affairs will no doubt be revealed soon.”
Holocaust Denial (Jewish Power prevents serious research into whether the Holocaust indeed happened):
“The established history of the Holocaust is a “religion” that “doesn’t make any historical sense”. [Jewish power has] “managed to prevent the West from accessing one of the most devastating chapters of Western history”.
“Throughout the centuries, Jewish bankers bought for themselves some real reputations of backers and financers of wars and even one communist revolution. Though rich Jews had been happily financing wars using their assets, Alan Greenspan, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve of the United States, found a far more sophisticated way to finance the wars perpetrated by his ideological brothers Libby and Wolfowitz…
“There is no anti-Semitism any more. In the devastating reality created by the Jewish state, anti-Semitism has been replaced by political reaction. I am saying that these acts [vandalizing synagogues and Jewish cemeteries]…should be seen as political responses rather than racially motivated acts or ‘irrational’ hate crimes. If Israel is the state of the Jewish people and the Jewish people themselves do not stand up collectively against the crimes that are committed on their behalf, then every Jewish person, Jewish symbol and Jewish object becomes an Israeli interest and a potential terrorist target….we should be consistent and regard any act against Jews as a political reaction rather than an irrational racist attack.”
Here is the photo accompanying Andy Newman’s critique of Atzmon. Please note the caption.
Let it be known that the Guardian’s understanding of legitimate liberal commentary evidently includes even those who explicitly charge Jews with engaging in a conspiracy to take over the world, accuse “rich Jews” and “Jewish bankers” of starting wars and revolutions, and lend credibility to Holocaust Denial.
Indeed, much of Gilad Atzmon’s commentary on Jews is simply indistinguishable from the most odious extreme right antisemitism advanced in the 19th and 20th centuries.
There is, of course, one mitigating factor for the Guardian which morally ameliorates Atzmon’s expressions of hate towards Jews.
He’s “an advocate of the Palestinian cause”.