Gilad Atzmon (Hebrew: גלעד עצמון, born June 9, 1963) is a jazz musician, author and anti-Zionist activist who was born in Israel and currently lives in London."Anti-Semite is an empty signifier, no one actually can be an Anti-Semite and this includes me of course. In short, you are either a racist - which I am not - or have an ideological disagreement with Zionism... which I have."He was born a secular Israeli Jew in Tel Aviv, and trained at the Rubin Academy of Music in Jerusalem. His service in the Israeli military convinced him Israel had become a militarized state controlled by religious extremists. In 1994, Atzmon emigrated from Israel to London, where he studied philosophy. Atzmon is an anti-Zionist who critiques Jewish identity issues and supports the Palestinian Right of Return as well as the establishment of a single state in Israel/Palestine. He is a signatory to the "Palestinians are the Priority Petition" which states “full and unconditional support of the Palestinian people is a condition sine qua non for activists to adopt.
“Spirit does not toss itself about in the external play of chance occurrences; on the contrary, it is that which determines history absolutely, and it stands firm against the chance occurrences which it dominates and exploits for its own purpose”. (Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel 1770 – 1831)
PM Netanyahu was quoted by the Israeli Ynet last week saying that the “whole of Israel would be surrounded by a fence eventually”. According to another report he said “there will be no choice but to fence Israel in on all directions”. What Netanyahu means by ‘fence’ and ‘all directions’ may be left open for the time being. However, PM Netanyahu has managed to bring to light an Hegelian interpretation of the notion of ‘Jewish spirit’ as a relentless inclination towards segregation and isolation. It is the tendency to keep oneself apart that determines and shapes Jewish collectivism. Whether it is the Zionists and their walls, the Orthodox and their Kosher universe or even Jewish anti Zionists and their racially segregated miniature activist cells, somehow every form of Jewish political engagement is there to set the Jews apart.
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As tragic as it may sound, it would be almost impossible to reflect on Jewish history without Israel. It would be impossible to understand how one people managed to bring so much hate on themselves. Israel is, no doubt, a unique social experiment in Jewish history. It is in the Jewish State where the people of the book have managed to liberate themselves of any inhibitions. It is in the Jewish state where "kosher" bus lines feature “separate seating for men and women”. It is in Israel where Jews live their spirit to the max. It is where Jews celebrate their cultural, material, spiritual and ideological symptoms. But it is also a place where Jews live happily on stolen land while oppressing and starving the indigenous population. As it happens, in the Jewish state Israelis celebrate their national ‘home coming’, and they do it all behind fences and at the expense of the Palestinians.
In Hegelian terms Israel is a product of Jewish spirit. Yet, Israel is NOT a representation of Judaism as Israel is not a Halachic State*. It is not the state of the Jews as the majority of Jews prefer to live amongst the Goyim. However, Israel defines itself as the ‘Jewish state’. It is the place where Jews freely explore the meaning and pride of being Jewish. Hence, the reality of the Israeli state and its categorical ethical failure leads us towards an Hegelian critical confrontation with the notions of Jewish consciousness, ideology (Jewishness) and spirit.
The failure of Zionism to erect a civilised humanist Jew is an accepted fact. It instead managed to raise an extremely brutal version of the ‘Diaspora’ tribal subject it aimed to amend. Needless to say that Israeli war crimes are not an isolated rare event, they are actually institutional and committed by a popular army (IDF) that is following orders given by a democratically elected government. As if this is not enough, the Israeli crimes are supported by the vast majority of the Israelis. The fact that at the time of the Gaza war 94% of the Israeli Jewish population supported the genocidal crime is more than enough to incriminate the entire Israeli society as a collective. But it goes further, the Israeli crime is supported institutionally by world Jewry. It would be intelligible to argue that from an Hegelian perspective Israel is the end of Jewish history as much as the French revolution was the Hegelian end of history of mankind. Israel is the materialisation of the Jewish consciousness.
Netanyahu’s recent admission that Israel will be fenced from every possible direction is far more than mere symbolism. It is there to expose the solid kernel at the heart of the Jewish collective tribal desire. As Hegel suggests, it is “spirit that determines history” or to be precise and concrete, it is the Jewish spirit i.e. the inclination towards isolationism that determines Jewish history and the reality of Israeli barbarism.
Listening to Netanyahu and looking at the reality of Israel makes it obviously clear that rather than the Goyim, it is actually the Jewish spirit that imposed the Ghetto on the Jew. Emancipation of European Jewry provided Jews with an opportunity to leave tribalism behind. Needless to say that many Jews bought into the idea and found their way into the crowd. Many Jews had become voices for humanist causes and thoughts. However, many others decided to maintain a spiritual partition. In order to do so they invented a phantasmic cultural ethos. They may have even invented ‘victimhood’ and ‘anti Semitism’ just to justify their state of self imposed alienation. Observing Israel and any other form of Jewish politics makes it too easy to grasp how and where it all goes wrong.
As things stand there is no easy remedy for the secular Jew for there is no safe haven for Jewish secular collectivism or identity that fits into the notion of humanism or universalism. If Jews insist upon being secular and humanist they may have to drop their ‘J’ prefix and to operate as ordinary people. This is the only alternative to Zionism and it can also be a beginning of a wonderful friendship (with others as well as nature).
* The concept of a Halachic state refers to a theocratic state based upon Jewish Law.
by Gilad Atzmon Atzmon tries to lift the Palestinian Discourse where Wittgenstein left it… 1 “What can be said at all can be said...
by Gilad Atzmon Once again America has proven that it can bring a change about. In fact, I would not count on Obama himself to bring a real...
by Gilad Atzmon Waltz With Bashir is a breath-taking new Israeli film, an animated documentary directed by Ari Folman. In ...
by Gilad Atzmon In spite of the fact that I monitor Israeli press and Jewish activism on a daily basis, I must admit that almost once a day I...
by Gilad Atzmon Recently I have been corresponding with Sid Shniad (1), a founding member of Canadian Independent Jewish Voice (Canadian IJV) (2)....
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