antisemitism,  The Left

Zero Books and Gilad Atzmon

Gilad Atzmon is a jazz musician, who promotes pretty much every single antisemitic theory of the neo Nazi Right, including Holocaust denial.

You can read some of his nastiest quotes here.

To summarise:

  • Atzmon claims that Jews were responsible for their persecution by Nazis, and argues that Hitler’s persecution was a “direct response to the declaration of war on Germany by the worldwide Jewish leadership. “
  • Atzmon has argued that American Jews do “try to control the world by proxy”, which “makes any debate on whether the ‘Protocols of the elder of Zion’ are an authentic document or rather a forgery irrelevant”
  • Atzmon claims that “Jewish bankers bought for themselves some real reputations of backers and financers of wars and even one communist revolution”
  • Atzmon has written that the credit crunch was caused by “Zionists”
  • Atzmon promotes the views of Holocaust deniers, and praises “three outlaws: [David] Irving, [Ernest] Zundel and [Germar] Rudolf”
  • Atzmon believes that burning down a synagogue is a “rational act”.

And so on.

This is precisely the kind of antisemitism you will hear from Stormfront, Combat 18, and other neo-Nazi movements.

For a number of years, Gilad Atzmon was a fixture at Socialist Workers Party conferences and events. However, they eventually decided to end the association.

Richard Seymour, the most prominent SWP blogger on the web, says of Atzmon:

Atzmon’s views are disgraceful, incoherent and completely at odds with what the SWP stands for.  He did not recite any of his more offensive ideas for the SW interview, but he does have plenty of stomach-churning bullshit on his web-site. It makes me sick to recite […] Yadda yadda yadda, Jews trying to control the world, where have I heard that one before? […]

If there is one thing that I have always been proud of about the SWP, it is its uncompromising hostility to racism in every form, even the deceptively ‘respectable’ kinds that masquerade as liberal critique of religion. The SWP does not tolerate anti-Semitism, never has, and never will. It was a mistake to invite Atzmon to speak at Marxism, and it is a relief to hear that he was roundly denounced and derided for offering such views.

In a similar vein, Tony Greenstein at Socialist Unity joins the dots between Gilad Atzmon and his friend and associate, the neo-Nazi Holocaust denier “Israel Shamir“. Greenstein is a revolutionary socialist who has spent his life campaigning for the replacement of Israel with Palestine. However, because he identifies as Jewish, Atzmon has pursued a prominent and bitter vendetta against him: describing him as a “Zionist”, because he identifies as ethnically Jewish.

Zero Books is bringing out a new book by Atzmon, The Wandering Who.

Gilad examines the tribal aspects embedded in Jewish secular discourse, both Zionist and anti Zionist; the ‘holocaust religion’; the meaning of ‘history’ and ‘time’ within the Jewish political discourse; the anti-Gentile ideologies entangled within different forms of secular Jewish political discourse and even within the Jewish left.

The book carries a recommendation by Alan Hart, who commends Atzmon’s new booky-wook as:

a scholarly and truly monumental work, deeply profound and, of course, controversial

It will be “controversial”. It is pretty clear that this work will contain the sort of racist themes that are a feature of his other published material.

The thing is, Zero Books also publishes Richard Seymour, Nina Power, Laurie Penny and Owen Hatherley. These are some of the most popular “new left” authors in the country, and their writings are the best-selling titles offered by Zero Books.

Penny is a writer for the New Statesman and appears on Newsnight and Question Time occasionally. Power is an academic based in Roehampton, and writes in left-wing philosophy magazines. Hatherley is a widely read humanist and Marxist thinker.

All four authors write for Comment is Free and appeared at the Socialist Workers Party conference, Marxism 2011. They are highly  influential amongst British Marxists.

Zero Books is run by award-winning author Tariq Goddard:

Tariq Goddard

Zero Books publishes a wide range of alternative books, including: Parapsychology, Esoteric Mysteries, Ogham, Palmistry, Dream Interpretation, Scrying, Dowsing, I Ching, Numerology, Angels and Faeries, Tasseomancy and Introspection, & “Ayni”: Complementary and alternative medicine/healing.

But Atzmon really takes “alternative” to a new level: he’s an outspoken antisemite and a  supporter of Holocaust deniers.

Here’s the thing.

To put it simply, Atzmon is only as influential in British politics, as his political allies and his publishers allow him to be. Atzmon is desperate for validation and support from the far Left. Unfortunately, he has often received it. As a result, Atzmon’s niche position within the British Far Left appears to be strengthening, not weakening.

More now than ever, strong opposition to Atzmon and his politics is needed: both from anti racist campaigning organisations, and those on the revolutionary Left with whom Atzmon is again attempting to ally.