Paris, (Pal Telegraph) – Salman Rushdi caused tremendous chaos over his allegations against Islam. His book, “Satanic Verses,” which relied on his own personal harmed liberties in the West, caused damage in Great Britain. Rushdi was praised, won many prizes, and became an icon in the West for his open and loud criticism of Islam. He was even encouraged by the British Government, who still continues to protect him. Yet his work nearly ignited a civil war between the Muslim community in Britain and the police.
With Gilad Atzmon, it is totally different. Whenever this man tries to speak out on Israel or criticize the Jewish identity, he is accused of being an anti-Semite or a holocaust denier. Unlike Rushdie, he is not protected by British Government. In spite of many people saying he is the one of the best jazz players in the world, he can’t enter the world of celebrities. Is there a particular reasons? Indeed! His controversial and critical views of Israel are the key reasons. In his many daily articles, Atzmon tries to clarify the facts about the nature of Israel. For this, he is constantly under attack. His new book has recently drew the ire of the mainstream once more.
The Wandering Who is a courageous book that vividly clears the dust on many issues concerning Israel. It really guides non-Jews to an understanding of the politics behind the Jewish identity. It helps to understand how the Zionist state operates. More importantly, it reveals the real intention of some people, and a group who pretends to support Palestinians, who are in reality supporting Israel.
In the first chapter, Atzmon divides the Jews into various groups. The first group consists of those who follow Judaism; the second are those who happen to be Jews; and, the third consists of those who put their jewish-ness over and above all traits.
I never knew of or how those in the third group thought, which is in spite of my encounter with them upon coming to the UK. I met some of them at pro-Palestine activities. They liked my talk since I had recently come from Gaza. Afterward, I met some of them in many of my meetings. Surprisingly, some of them criticized me openly. They were very upset with my argument that the only solution was one state. They didn’t want any solution for the problem of Palestine. I really don’t know why a group who pretends to be pro-peace and justice could reject such a suggestion.
A very attractive subtitle in the Giad’s book speaks of Jewish separatism. I think every group or minority has to keep and protect its own identity, but there are limits to separatism. On the train going from London to Manchester one day, an English man and a Jew were having a heated debated. The English guy seemed to be very angry and abhorred the notion of Jewish separatism in Manchester. He literally said that, “You are a Jew not English. You don’t have a loyalty to England but for your own nationalism.”
Maybe Gilad is very wise to elaborate on the issue of separatism, as it’s really seems to be deep in the Jewish Dogma. This view can be supported by the calls for a Jewish state. A state built on the Jewish race is a larger example of that which occurred on the train.
Plainly, the book tackles the religious side of Israel. In chapter 15, a very nice image has been drawn by Atzmon. It’s an exact image of the de-facto state in the occupied Palestine. It shows you how the Jewish religion or the Bible is misused by the state of Israel. It draws images of the suffering that Palestinians face on the hand of the radical biblical new Israelites. Those religious norms referred to by Atzmon are not embodied on the settler’s level in Israel only.
The whole Israeli society is leaning to the very right. It seems that the Old-testament is the constitution of Israel. These days, the IDF is being staffed by radical Jews; and, the Israeli government is also being formed by very radical Jews. The radical Jews are the ones who are taking full control of the state.
I’m not calling for the left in Israel to come instead, as they all the same once in power. The head of the left these days, Tziphi Livni, can be more radical than religious Jews. What will govern her are limits being drawn by Ovadia Yosef and those around him. Ovadia, indeed, has great fellowship that can abrogate any government if settlements polices are frozen!
Trauma of various kinds was a theme in the Book. I think it is a realistic diagnosis that link the past and present of the Jewish nation. Israelis use the holocaust as constant tool to justify their barbaric attacks against the indigenous people of Palestine. The trauma is a embedded within the Israeli society and its self image..
Successive Israeli governments, especially since the establishment of Israel, push their people to live in a case of fear and trauma. They always tell the people that we are in danger from Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran. Thousands of Bunkers are there. Dozens of military drills are being carried out yearly, which costs billions. Gilad’s fear of the alleged fake Syrian air raid is one example.
In conclusion, the book of Atzmon is a breakthrough in the taboos. He courageously dares to speak out against them and his book didn’t mind the future reactions of the Israelis and radical Jews. It is really overwhelming to have a very clear text that speaks frankly on Israel and its allies from within and in the Diaspora. As a Palestinian, I do believe this book adds more weight to the Palestine solidarity movement. It supports the Palestinian side of the story, which is that we are occupied by Israel and its allies in western Governments and elsewhere!
by Sameh Habeeb
A Palestinian Journalist from Gaza