Israeli musician living in London publishes book filled with troubling anti-Semitic statements. 'Israel is worse than Nazi Germany' and 'The Holocaust narrative is historically illogical' are only some of his beliefs
LONDON "We must take the accusations that Jews are trying to take over the world with utmost seriousness. Israel is the Nazi Germany of our time. In fact, Israel today is worse than Nazi Germany."
These harsh statements are not the beliefs of a German neo-Nazi, but rather of an Israeli living in London. The speaker is Gilad Atzmon, an Israeli jazz musician performing around the world, whose new book "The Wandering Who?" deals with world Jews and the State of Israel, and includes some very disturbing sayings.
Atzmon, 48, was born in Jerusalem and has been living in Britain since 1994. He is considered a gifted musician who performs in Europe's best jazz clubs, but also one of his homeland's most serious critics in Britain.
He has published quite a few books and articles blasting Israel in the past, but this time it seems he has crossed all red lines.
In his new book he states that he is "proud to be a self-hating Jew", and says that his "insights" are based on the writings of Jewish Austrian philosopher Otto Weininger, who he describes as "an anti-Semite who loathed almost anything that wasn't Aryan manhood."
Atzmon says he is a strong opponent of "Jewishness" and clarifies, "I despise the Jew in me."
"To be a Jew is a deep commitment that goes far beyond any legal or moral order," he explains in the book, a commitment which he says draws an increasing number of Jews into a dangerous, unethical and vague partnership.
Eventually, he writes, a nuclear war will erupt between Iran and Israel, which will lead to the killing of tens of millions of people. "Some brave people will say that Hitler was right after all."
His reference to Hitler is not accidental. Atzmon often compares the Holocaust to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Holocaust, he writes, is "an ancient religion as old as the Jews themselves", and "even if it is accepted as the new Anglo-American liberal-democratic religion people should be allowed to be atheists."
The text also includes some of the most classic anti-Semitic accusations. Atzmon claims that American Jews are trying to control the world, blames them for the global financial crisis, and rules that high-ranking Jewish officials in the United States like Rahm Emanuel and Paul Wolfowitz "stayed abroad instead of moving to 'Zion' in order to serve the Zionist interest in the best way possible."
He even accuses American media of failing to "warn the American public of the danger from within."
Moreover, Atzmon even addresses the classic blood libel, claiming that children should be allowed to ask their school teachers "how do they know that the accusations that Jews used the blood of gentile children to back matzot are indeed empty or groundless accusations."
Jesus hated Jews too
Asked why he hates Jews, Atzmon stresses that he is in good company. "The Jews who ultimately contributed to humanity are those who hated themselves," he says in an interview. "Jesus was a Jew who hated Jews, and so did Spinoza and Marx."
Albert Einstein did not hate his Jewish identity.
"Einstein didn't contribute to humanity. He contributed to physics and was the person who started the Manhattan Project which led to the atomic bomb. When you talk about humanity, you talk about a universal system of values promoting love for one another Einstein didn't contribute anything to that."
You define himself as a 'Jew hater'. Do you think your identity allows you to be Impartial?
"Of course. As a Jew who hates Judaism, I put myself under a magnifying glass and examine every Jewish aspect in me. I don't see any problem with it, and everything I say is subject to the readers' review. By the way, the book has already sold 6,000 copies on the first month of its publication, which is a significant achievement."
Are Jews responsible for the global financial crisis?
"When I diagnose the lobby which led to the global financial crash, I can't ignore these two people, Paul Wolfowitz and Alan Greenspan. In 1994, Wolfowitz wrote that Israel is an important strategic asset, and he was also the architect of the Gulf War I have no doubt he's a Zionist."
You have also voiced harsh claims against the Holocaust narrative accepted by the Western world today.
"I find this narrative unacceptable. History should be subject to criticism as part of a dynamic process of understanding. Holocaust museums perpetuate Jewish suffering, preventing Jews from reaching such an understanding."
The Holocaust issue is subject to an ongoing research process.
"This process institutionalizes the Jewish suffering and doesn't impress me. I heard about Holocaust deniers who were forced to sit in jail just because they wouldn't fall for the Holocaust narrative as described by the Zionists. Holocaust denial laws are the worst they prevent Jews from understanding their own history.
"Take the death marches issue, for example. It's clear to everyone that at the beginning of the war the Nazis wanted to clear the Reich of Jews. If that's the case, why did the lead the Jews at the end of the war into the Reich in what people refer to as 'the death marches'? If the Nazis wanted to destroy the Jews, the last thing they should have done was lead them to Germany."
Jews were an essential labor force.
"Jews were no longer a labor force. They were too weak and therefore died in the marches. Jews say the Nazis wanted to conceal evidence, but that's an idiotic response because the Nazis left Jews behind in the camps."
Okay, so you tell me why the marches took place.
"According to one interesting answer, the Jews preferred to stay with the Germans than fall into the hands of the Russians. There was a typhus outbreak and the assumption was that if the Jews were taken to Germany, the Americans and Britons could deal with the disease.
"So the death marches were actually humane. This is a very consistent ruling."
So the marches were a demonstration of humanity. You also claimed that Israel is worse than Nazi Germany. Do explain.
"Both Nazi Germany and Israel are driven by ethnocentrism. They are both racist countries with a tendency to expand. Israel and the Nazi movement are similar in many categories. But since Israel is a democratic country, each of its citizens is responsible for its crimes, while in Nazi Germany only the Führer and his party members were responsible for the war crimes.
"Moreover, the Zionist movement was born before the Nazi movement. The Nazis disappeared, but the Zionists remain and today they are even stronger than America."
Something very Jewish
Atzmon's statements are not troubling just because of their content, but mainly because of their surprising approval. Researchers from leading US universities, including Richard Falk of Princeton and John J. Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago, have adopted the book and saluted Atzmon for his "courage".
James Petras, Bartle Professor of Sociology Emeritus at Binghamton University, praised the text, calling it "a series of brilliant illuminations".
Mearsheimer, who is also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, concluded that Atzmon "has written a fascinating and provocative book on Jewish identity in the modern world", which he said should be read by both Jews and non-Jews.
This troubling popularity is also expressed in the fact that the book can be purchased on Amazon, a website with a clear policy of not selling books promoting open racist opinions or any type of anti-Semitism. In case you were wondering, you won't be able to buy "Mein Kampf" there.
All this is naturally joined by Holocaust deniers and anti-Israel protestors, who have been praising the book and quoting from it. The fact that the text was written by an Israeli makes many of them accept it as legitimate and address it as a scientific document.
Atzmon, by the way, says he has a loyal audience in Israel too. "Quite a few people in Israel agree with what I'm saying, he states.
"Yoram Kaniuk asked to remove the Judaism classification from his identity card, and I've heard that hundreds of Israelis are following suit. It's a simple conclusion: Many have decided to become like me, to ask questions and wander, at least spiritually.
"My mother agrees with my ideas, and my father said recently that for the first time he understood where I was coming from. I had tears in my eyes."
"I read the book even before it was put to print and I think it's wonderful," confirms the mother, Ariella Atzmon. "It's a very important book, which was a best-seller and analyzes our existence in a very intelligent way.
"It's not at all anti-Semitic. Gilad has a problem with Jews, he talks about three categories of Jews, but you have to read everything to understand rather than bring quotations and take them out of context.
"It's time for people to start thinking about the situation we are living in and about our past in a realistic manner, instead of living by myths. I am very proud of my son."
Israeli singer Yardena Arazi, who worked with Atzmon in the past as a musician, producer and player, is not so proud.
"He is extremely talented, really gifted, but I'm not surprised by his statements," she says. "He is a provocative and witty person, with a lot of humor, and when he first started talking like this I thought he was joking.
"After he went to London I visited him there once with my daughter Alona, but over time he became even more radical, and it eventually ended between us when we slammed the phone in each other's face.
"I took a step back from him. He wrote very painful things, and I don't agree with any of his statements of course, but arguing with him is pointless. He is entrenched in very radical opinions, and there is no way of communicating with him on this level.
"He is an argumentative person and an outsider, and there is something very Jewish about him, even though he denies his Jewishness. I once told him that one day he would become a believer and a great rabbi, but I guess I was very wrong."