- 'Ethics and morality are far more crucial than some UN
decision.' --Gilad Atzmon
- It is a huge pleasure for me to share with you the transcript
of a Q&A by email which I did recently with Gilad Atzmon. I first discovered
Gilad the jazz musician years ago when I myself was still playing jazz
guitar (btw - I recently reviewed his latest album here), and only later
did I learn of his political activism. Having since read as much of his
writings as I could find, I now consider him to be one of the most intelligent,
well-informed and insightful political activists ever. What I most love
and respect in Gilad are his absolute commitment to the truth and his equally
forceful determination to speak that truth to power; I can only begin to
imagine the vitriolic hatred which Gilad elicits from the Zionist crazies
which he relentlessly denounces. --The Saker
- VS: Two leading intellectuals have recently made strong
arguments for the so-called "right to exist" of Israel. Norman
Finkestein's argument is simple, yet powerful. He says the international
community, via the UN General Assembly and the World Court, has already
decided what the solution of the conflict should be: two states in the
1967 borders, side by side, with refugees either back or compensated. He
points to the fact that all the countries in the world agree on that except
the Israel, the USA, and some small south Pacific Islands. He does not
claim that this is the best solution, but he says that this is the only
doable one. He therefore dismisses the "One State" solution as
- GA: In general, I am trying to avoid any discussion to
do with discourse resolution. I avoid it for a few reasons. I do not live
in the region and it is not down to me to decide for the Palestinian what
country, political setting or resolution they should follow. However, I
may use the opportunity to suggest that the Two State Solution doesn't
address the Palestinian cause. It is impractical for the Israelis will
never let refugees into theirshtetle state. But most importantly, the right
of return or the right to live on your land is not a subject to international
community decisions or laws. It is actually a moral right. And as far as
I am concerned as an individual, ethics and morality are far more crucial
than some UN decisions that are made by Zionised politicians and corrupted
- VS: Shlomo Sand has recently stated that "even the
child born of a rape has the right to live. Yes, 1948 was a rape, and that
rape gave birth to Israel, but that is now a reality which cannot be dismissed".
- GA: It is hard to avoid the fact that the "rape
child" is living on a "stolen land', It is impossible to deny
the fact that the "child" is now more than sixty years old and
yet, he is still driven by murderous zeal. The "child"' is yet
to come to term with his original sin. In fact the "rape child"
has transformed into a rapist father and then grandfather.
- VS: I notice two fundamental features of these arguments.
Both Finkestein and Sand fundamentally accept the authority of the United
Nations to create a Jewish state in Palestine and both Finkestein and Sand
seem to believe that the fundamental nature of that state has no bearing
on the topic of the legitimacy of its existence. However, the creation
of a state - any state - in Palestine without the consultation of the local
people seems to me to violate the principle of the right of self determination.
- GA: You are absolutely right. However, I am not that
fascinated about the "right of self determination" for this right
was exploited by the Jewish national project for more than a century, For
some reason the national Jew believes that he is entitled to self determine
himself on the expense of others.
- VS: The principle of international law which states that
no territory can legitimately be acquired by war would indicate that only
the 1948 borders of Israel would have a legal basis and even here this
basis would be tenuous because these borders were eventually agreed to
with Arab neighbors and not with any body representing the Palestinians.
- GA: Were they? After 60 years of Israeli barbarism and
total failure of international community and of the international law to
support the Palestinian, I just do not hold my breath any more. I believe
that Palestinian will liberate themselves. Israel is living on borrowed
time. I would invest my intellectual effort supporting Palestinian resistance.
- VS: The other thing which bothers me is that in discussing
the solution to the Middle-East conflict (somewhat of a misnomer), neither
Finkestein nor Sand look at the nature of the self-declared "Jewish
state". They seem to be talking about a state like Belgium or Spain.
But Israel is qualitatively different. It is the last openly racist state
on the planet, it is built on a mythology which many (such as Garaudy or
Sands) have debunked.
- GA: It is not just racist, it is also nationalist and
expansionist, murderous and most concerning, democratic. Every Israeli
is basically liable to the crimes committed by his state.
- VS: Israel is also the Ueber-terrorist state of the planet
which is conducing a slow-motion genocide against the Palestinians and
it is a state which has comprehensively rejected any kind of abidance by
the rules of international law or even basic civilized behavior. Whether
looked at from a legal or a moral point of view, the existence of a racist
state like Israel is a monstrosity, a disgrace for all of mankind. So even
if a child born of a rape has the right to exist, does that still mean
that when this child turns into an adult self-worshiping mass-murderer
it's existence is still a "right"? It is obvious that the only
people who have a right to decide what solution is, or is not, acceptable
to this conflict are the Palestinians themselves. But without prejudging
of what they might decide, what is your opinion of the arguments presented
by Finkelstein and Sand and what do you make of the so-called "right
to exist" issue?
- GA: I assume that everyone in the region has the right
to decide. However, the Israelis have lost the battle. They cannot dictate
a solution. I would agree that every nation should enjoy the right to exist.
However this right cannot be celebrated on the expense of other nations
- VS: you say that "the Israelis have lost the battle".
Why? Are they not being successful in their slow-motion genocide of the
- GA: Indeed, the Israelis do realize that implementing
genocidal measures is counter effective. Israel does realize that its Hasbara
project is falling apart due to its unacceptable tactics. Some of its ministers
and military official are under real threat of being arrested. If anything,
the Palestinian movement and the Hamas included bought a lot of legitimacy
during and after operation Cast Lead.
- VS: The USA under Obama supports Israel as much as Bush
did, even though the rhetoric is somewhat different.
- GA: I am not so sure about it.. Monitoring Israeli press
and other sources I get a different impression. Israel seems to be rather
hesitant with Obama administration. However, Obama is irrelevant to the
topic. He was elected by the American people to lead their nation rather
than to liberate the Palestinian people. Palestinian people will liberate
themselves, with Obama or without him. If Obama manages to pull out American
soldiers from Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan this would be a major step
- VS: To make things worse, Israel is now openly threatening
Iran with war. And you yourself admit that these polices do have the support
of a majority the Israeli public opinion. Where do you see the signs of
the defeat of Israel and what kind of scenario do you envision for this
defeat to become indisputable?
- GA: I see the wall as an Israeli acknowledgment that
Israel is a fearful entity. Israel accepts that time is running out. This
itself leads to total panic. They do not have any long term solution within
- VS: speaking of the Israeli public opinion I want to
ask you a simple question: what is wrong with them?!
- GA: Let me say it clearly, something is wrong, what is
it? I do not know. I spend much of my energy exposing the symptoms. What
is the disease exactly, I do not know for sure but I guess that it is something
between supremacy, chosenness and self loving.
- VS: Surely the Israelis are "people like everybody
- GA: In fact it is not that clear. The Zionists indoctrination
may as well make them into a very dangerous collective, far more dangerous
than anything we are familiar with.
- VS: Yet they clearly support genocide, gross human rights
violations, systematic violations of the laws of war, a racist ideology
("Jewish state"). What are the roots of all this evil?
- GA: It must have something to do with their secular interpretation
of the Bible and endorsement of the Holocaust religion as their main precept.
- VS: How can people who emigrated to Israel from all over
the world and who were presumably educated in very diverse circumstances
all come together and unite a racist, self-worshiping and utterly inhuman
- GA: You probably hit the nail here, once you are a Zionist
it doesn't matter where you come from. You become a vengeance driven possessed
human being. You do not even have to be Jewish. As we know, many of the
Russian new immigrants to Israel were very quick to endorse the most militant
right wing Ideas in spite of the fact that many of them were not Jewish
- VS: Rabbi Yeshaiahu Karelitz once said that "the
secular-Jewish cart is empty" and Shlomo Sand, who quotes him, also
agrees with him. Do you agree with that?
- GA: For sure, but the secular and nationalist do manage
to fill the empty box with a lot of phantasmic and imaginary content. As
you probably know I insist that Jewish Marxist and Jewish anti Zionism
are not different categorically from Zionism. They are both tribally orientated
rather than universally driven.
- VS: In your opinion, what cultural, national traits or
ethos do Jews have in common which distinguishes them from non-Jews?
- GA: Suffering, they are in love with the tail of suffering.
This is probably why Israeli scholar Yeshayahu Leibowitz suggested that
Holocaust religion is the new Jewish religion. However this is where the
Jewish tragedy forms. The Holocaust religion lacks goodness, mercy or kindness.
It offers redemption through vengeance and self love.
- VS: Considering that most self-identified Jews are not
religious, how could rabbinical Judaism define or determine their identity?
- GA: It doesn't. Secular Jews are defined by negation.
Rather than by what they are, they are defined by what they aren't. While
the observant Jew is defined by his belief system. He follows the Halacha
law, he observes the Sabbath and so on, the secular Jew is defined by a
set of negations. He is not a religious Jew, yet he is not a Goy, he is
neither American, English or French. The emancipated secular Jew is not
defined by positive qualities but rather by some different sets of negations.
- VS: Then what is the positive content of the Jewish self-awareness
and how does it translate into the desire to either live in a racist and
genocidal state or to support such a state from afar?
- GA: Positive content is a relative notion. I assume that
Jewish nationalism left right and center can be realized as futile craving
- VS: Last question: you say that the Palestinians will
liberate themselves - how do you see that happening? Do you believe that
like the South African Whites, the Israeli Jews will come to realize that
their racist regime is immoral and "switch sides" or do you think
that, like in Algeria, the colonizers will have to leave on a boat?
- GA: No, I do not believe that Israelis will ever come
to acknowledge their immorality. Self mirroring is foreign to the Jewish
philosophy and identity both religious and secular. I believe that Israel
will be defeated into submission by facts on the ground. They are turning
into a minority. Time is Israel's biggest enemy. The only one who can save
the Israelis of a rapid demographic disaster are the orthodox Jewish communities.
Seemingly the Israeli resent their orthodox brothers more than the Palestinians.
Israel is an isolated entity in a region that is becoming more and more
unforgiving . Israel is entangled with its neighbors. At a certain stage
it won't be able to maintain its security by heavy policing. This will
be the end of it.