Musician Gilad Atzmon is due to launch his latest book at an event in Reading, yet as a friend to Holocaust deniers and revisionists he should not be given a platform, writes Paul Meszaros.
The controversial jazz player Gilad Atzmon is due to launch his latest book at an event, organised by Reading Friends of Palestine, as part of Reading International Festival tomorrow (21 October).
The organisers should seriously reconsider this invitation.
Atzmon is an antisemite who has promoted the works of Holocaust deniers. The primary charge of supporting Holocaust denial is Atzmon’s circulation of Paul Eisen’s work The Holocaust Wars.
Eisen who is also of Jewish descent, praised the work of Holocaust deniers from Rassinier to David Irving and Ernst Zundel, and denied that there was any systematic plan for the Holocaust. He also denied the fact of the gas chambers.
Atzmon has denied that this made him a Holocaust denier, while defending Eisen’s work. He has defended himself for distributing Eisen’s work and made his position clearer in his controversial book, The Wandering Who?, from which the following excerpts are taken:
“The question of whether there was a mass homicide with gas or ‘just’ a mass death toll due to total abuse in horrendous conditions is no doubt a crucial historical question. The fact that such a major historical chapter less than seven decades ago is scholarly [sic] inaccessible undermines the entire historical endeavour.
“…Furthermore, unless one approves and repeats the official Holocaust narrative, one may find oneself locked behind bars. This happened lately to three rightwing history revisionists who dared to suspect the official Auschwitz narrative. ….I can see these three outlaws: [David] Irving, [Ernest] Zundel and [Germar] Rudolf, the three rightwing historical revisionists who happen to be locked behind bars.
“…While left academics are mainly concerned with signalling out Holocaust deniers telling us what is right and who is wrong, it is the revisionists who engage themselves in detailed archive work as well as forensic scrutiny.
“… We should also ask for what purpose do the holocaust denial laws serve? What is the holocaust religion there to conceal?… Holocaust religion robs humanity of its humanism. For the sake of peace and future generations, the holocaust must be stripped of its exceptional status immediately.”
Many individuals and organisations on the Left, as well as supporters of Palestinian rights and statehood who once feted Atzmon, have realised their error in once feting him.
The Socialist Workers Party (SWP), for instance, who used to regularly invite Atzmon to its events, has disavowed him and so have many Palestinian activists. In 2012 the US Palestinian Community Network denounced Atzmon, saying:
“With this letter, we call for the disavowal of Atzmon by fellow Palestinian organizers, as well as Palestine solidarity activists, and allies of the Palestinian people, and note the dangers of supporting Atzmon’s political work and writings and providing any platforms for their dissemination. We do so as Palestinian organizers and activists, working across continents, campaigns, and ideological positions.”
Atzmon’s politics rest on one main overriding assertion that serves as springboard for vicious attacks on anyone who disagrees with his obsession with “Jewishness”.
He claims that all Jewish politics is “tribal,” and essentially, Zionist.
Atzmon claims one cannot self-describe as a Jew and also do work in solidarity with Palestine, because to identify as a Jew is to be a “Zionist.”
Atzmon continues to cause outrage through his writing and Twitter outbursts: Jews harm the planet, caused the credit crunch (see below), Israel is worse than Nazi Germany.
His latest rant sees him sickeningly compare the Grenfell fire tragedy with Gaza and he promises to “explain why Grenfell fire was the outcome of Jerusalemite culture”.
Unfortunately, there are still some who do not understand how vicious and reactionary Atzmon’s views and claims are.
Atzmon is an antisemite and friend of Holocaust deniers. He has openly attacked Jews and Jewishness as well as attacking the established facts of the Holocaust, while at the same time cosying up to and befriending virulent and well-known Nazis and antisemites.
His occasional denials are laughable given his statements and the company he keeps, both physically and intellectually.