A Statement by Gilad Atzmon
“The criminalization of political speech and activism against Israel has become one of the gravest threats to free speech in the west.” Glenn Greenwald 19.7.2017
Together with veteran Pink Floyd star Roger Waters and many other artists and thinkers worldwide, I am being subjected to an international smear campaign, orchestrated and promoted by various Zionist institutions that attempt to silence every form of legitimate dissent of Zionism and Israelipolitics.
Local councils, clubs and festivals that promote my music or my thoughts around the world are being subjected to a barrage of emails sent in a clear and malicious attempt to slander me. In these emails I am called an ‘anti-Semite’, ‘bigot’, ‘racist’, ‘Holocaust denier’, and so on.
Obviously, there is no truth in any of this. As a writer I have indeed criticised Israel and other manifestations of Jewish political exceptionalism, I critically analysed Zionism, Jewish politics, ideology and identity politics in general. I do believe that all states, ideologies and politics must be subject to criticism, but I have never criticized Jews (or anyone else for that matter) as people, as a race or as a biological entity. In fact, my work is deeply anti-racist and focuses only on the political and the cultural.
Update: in January 2018 Gilad Atzmon was listed amongst ‘one hundred living peace and justice activists, advocates, models.’
Unfortunately, there are some who are engaged in relentless censorship and book burning and we must never permit them to succeed. Intellectual freedom and tolerance are precious Western values which we must defend at all odds. So in case you feel the need to address some of those hateful operatives, here are a few points you might wish to take into account.
1. From its day of inception, my own musical group, the Orient House Ensemble (OHE) has been a melting pot for artists of many different ethnicities and backgrounds, including Jewish, Black, Arab and Romani musicians – hardly a ‘bigoted’ setting.
2. Despite increasingly tough ‘hate speech’ laws in the UK, Europe and the USA, I have never once been questioned by any law enforcement authority about any of my writings or public appearances. My views and thoughts are well within the strict boundaries of the law in the UK, EU and every other Western country.
3. I have been accused of being a ‘Holocaust denier.’ This is clearly not the case. I do not deny the Holocaust, but I do insist that this chapter in our past should be treated not as a religion or dogma, but must, like all other events in the past, be subject to scrutiny and open discussion. Despite Germany and Austria’s stringent Holocaust denial laws, my books and writing are translated and published in both countries and I perform and teach there regularly without ever being subjected to any legal issues.
4. My work has been endorsed by some of the most respected humanists and scholars around. Here are just a few examples:
“A transformative story told with unflinching integrity that all (especially Jews) who care about real peace, as well as their own identity, should not only read, but reflect upon and discuss widely.” Professor Richard Falk
United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Palestine
“Fascinating and provocative” Professor of Political Science, John J. Mearsheimer
“Atzmon has the courage – so profoundly lacking among Western intellectuals” Professor of Sociology, James Petras
“Gilad’s book constitutes an excellent critique of Identity Politics in general and Jewish Identity Politics in particular from a humanistic perspective.” Professor of International Law, Francis A. Boyle
“Instead of King of the Jews. Perhaps Atzmon should be recognized as the prophet of old, At least in his self description and his outreach, this is the way he appears” Jewish theology Professor Marc Ellis
“A superb and necessary book that demystifies some “undeniable truths” about Jewish identity –
Gauden Sarasola, El Pais
“Atzmon’s essential contribution to solidarity with Palestine is to help non-Jews realize that they are not always in the wrong when conflicts with Jewish organizations arise.” Science Professor Jean Bricmont
“Gilad Atzmon’s book, The Wandering Who? is as witty and thought provoking as its title. But it is also an important book, presenting conclusions about Jews, Jewishness and Judaism which some will find shocking but which are essential to an understanding of Jewish identity politics and the role they play on the world stage.” Publisher and Film Producer Karl Sabbagh
“Gilad’s escape from spiritual claustrophobia towards a free and open humanitarianism is fearless” Legendary Musician Robert Wyatt
“It is excellent from beginning to end. very well-organized and well-articulated arguments.” Revolutionary Songwriter David Rovics
“In his inimitable deadpan style, Atzmon identifies the abscess in the Jewish wisdom tooth – exilic tribalism – and pulls it out. Ouch!” Eric Walberg, Al Aharam Weekly
“A brilliant analysis that makes what appear to be contradictions in Jewish identity based political behavior not only comprehensible but predictable.” Jeff Blankfort, Jewish Solidarity Campaigner
“A fascinating achievement” Law professor Oren Ben Dor,
“Gilad Atzmon is someone who encompasses what it means to be an intellectual.” Kim Petersen, Dissident Voice