Dershowitz’ Lies and Glitches

Gilad Atzmon – gilad.co.uk November 9, 2011

Rabid Zionist Alan Dershowitz is devastated by the success of ‘The Wandering Who. He just cannot accept that professors and academics endorse the book “as ‘brilliant,’ ‘fascinating,’ ‘absorbing,’ and ‘moving’,” In his latest article he again misses an opportunity to debate the book, its message and its meaning. He prefers instead to indulge in the only things for which he possesses any talent at all – lying and bullying.
But why, I wonder, does Dershowitz insist on reducing a potentially ethical, intellectual and ideological debate to just one more Zionist exercise in mud-slinging? I can think of only two possible answers; First, Dershowitz lacks the necessary intellect to engage in a debate and second, that Zionism and Israel cannot be defended - ethically, morally or intellectually.   
But there is also an amusing aspect to Dershowitz’s Zio-centric tantrum.  For some strange reason, he believes that it’s down to him, an ultra Zionist, to decide who his kosher enough to lead the Palestinian solidarity discourse. “There is growing concern that some of Israel’s most vocal detractors are crossing a red line between acceptable criticism of Israel and legitimizing anti-Semitism,” he pontificates without really being able to point at any anti Semitism in mine or anyone else’s work. But is it down to Dershowitz or any other Zionist to define the ‘red lines’ of the solidarity discourse?
Dershowitz tries so hard to ‘prove’ that I am an anti-Semite but fails to even define what anti Semitism is. In the past, anti Semites were people who didn’t like Jews but on Planet Dershowitz, anti-Semites are simply those Dershowitz hates (or fears).  He mentions, for instance, the significant role of Austrian philosopher Otto Weininger in shaping my views  yet seems unable to suggest exactly what it is in Weininger’s influence that makes me into an ‘anti- Semite’.  He points at my contempt for the ‘the Jew in me’ but this leaves me wondering, why am I not permitted to hate myself?  Why am I not permitted to loathe ‘the Jew in me’? I’ll try to expand on this. Why is it that when I hate ‘myself’ Dershowitz is so devastatingly and personally offended? Is it possible that my loathing of the ‘Jew in me’ exposes an inherent problem at the core of Jewish identity politics in general? And if this is indeed the case, why can’t we just discuss it openly? What is Dershowitz afraid of?  
It’s obvious that, like other Zionists, Dershowitz lacks the elementary capacity to engage in proper intellectual debate. Instead he prefers to take quotes out of context – or if that fails, well, he just lies. 
In his latest article, Dershowitz conceals from his readers the fact that my book deals solely with Jewish ideology. It avoids any reference to Jews as people, race or ethnicity and concentrates only on ideology and culture. He probably realises that my avoidance of any form of criticism of the Jews as people or ethnicity leaves him and his life’s-work on a path to nowhere.  
For example, I do indeed call the recent credit crunch a  ‘Zio-punch’ (22) and I insist that by no means was it “a Jewish conspiracy”.  Because, as I clearly prove, “it was all in the open” (30).
So why is this anti Semitic? I neither blame, nor associate the ‘Jew’ or the ‘Jews’ with the financial turmoil. But I do make the necessary connection between that financial turmoil and the criminal Zionist wars in which we are engaged. If Dershowitz is unhappy with my reading of the situation, well, all he has to do is to produce a counter-argument. Clearly, this is the one thing he cannot do.   
I also follow Israeli historian Shlomo Sand and argue that, as far as Israel is concerned, Influential Zionists had better stay right where they are in the Diaspora rather than make Aliya. Have not Wolfowitz, Rahm, Emmanuel, Dershowitz etc “proved far more effective for the Zionist cause by staying where they are”? (19). Is this an anti Semitic statement? Is it not rather an ‘astute political observation’?
And Dershowitz is right. I do insist that the American media “failed to warn the American people of the enemy within” (27), though it seems that those who now occupy Wall Street have certainly managed to grasp who the enemy are and where they may be found. But is it really anti-Semitic to oppose the influential lobby of a foreign State which dominates your country’s foreign policy? Is it anti-Semitic to oppose a politically motivated club that succeeds in driving your country to financial ruin?    
Dershowitz writes “Atzmon has written that Jews are evil and a menace to humanity”. This does leave me a touch bewildered, because, first, it doesn’t represent my views at all. Second, it doesn’t sound even remotely like me or my writing. Third,  not one single sentence in my book or in my writing  refers to ‘Jews’ as people or an ethnic group but only to Jewish identity politics, Jewish culture or Jewish ideology. Far more significant is the fact that Dershowitz fails to support his bizarre statement with any contextual reference whatsoever. Instead of citing any criticism of ‘Jews’ or the “Jew’ he just provides us with examples of my criticism of Israeli behaviour.  “With Fagin and Shylock in mind Israeli barbarism and organ trafficking seem to be just other events in an endless hellish continuum.”
The truth is that, in my original text, the above sentence actually refers to Zionist lawyer Anthony Julius’ latest book. Here is the original quote in full: “It doesn’t take a genius to gather why Julius and others are concerned with Fagin or Shylock. Fagin is the ultimate plunderer, a child exploiter and usurer. Shylock is the bloodthirsty merchant. With Fagin and Shylock in mind, the Israeli treatment of the Palestinians seems to be just a further event in an endless hellish continuum.” (51)
Harsh words indeed, but they refer clearly to Anthony Julius’ Zionist advocacy and his obsession with Jewish stereotypes such as Shylock and Fagin.  So what’s Dershowitz up to? 
But, I’ll say this for him, he doesn’t give up. Again, he tries his luck – “The Homo Zionicus quickly became a mass murderer, detached from any recognised form of ethical thinking and engaged in a colossal crime against humanity.” – but again he fails. The ‘Homo Zionicus’ is not a ‘general’ reference to ‘Jews’ but a clear attempt to point at a particular form of Jewish national school of thought, namely Zionismus. Dershowitz should explain to us, once and for all why he believes that Zionism is beyond criticism.  
Now Dershowitz gets desperate. His article is going nowhere so now he decides to deceive his readers.  He quotes me as saying “[T]o be a Jew is a deep commitment that goes far beyond any legal or moral order” (20) and this commitment “pulls more and more Jews into an obscure, dangerous and unethical fellowship” (21).
I was slightly surprised to read this quote since such a statement would be for me completely out of character. So I decided to check my original text. And would you believe it, it was immediately clear that Dershowitz had deliberately and consciously decided to drop the first half of the sentence. He was, quite simply, trying to trick the reader. Judge for yourself.
“(Jodeph) Lapid, later a member of Sharon’s cabinet, makes it very clear: to be a Jew is a deep commitment that goes far beyond any legal or moral order.”  
Yes, the above sentence actually refers to right wing Israeli journalist Joseph Lapid’s perception of Jewishness. But in his article Dershowitz tries to attribute this view to me. Truly, Dershowitz does work ‘by the way of deception’.
I know Dershowitz is no fool. He knew what he was doing. He was lying in an attempt to score points. But the irony of this grubby little episode is that the above half-quote actually portrays Dershowitz’s true ethical attitude. For him at least, ‘to be a Zionist is a deep commitment that goes very far beyond any legal or moral order’. The question to ask here is whether Dershowitz’s deceitful attitude is symptomatic of the Zionist discourse. I am afraid that this may be indeed the case. After all, the Mossad’s mantra is plainly clear-“ by way of deception, thou shalt make war.”
Dershowitz continues. If Iran and Israel fight a nuclear war that kills tens of millions of people, “some may be bold enough to argue that ‘Hitler might have been right after all’” (179). Here, I obviously stand by my words.  I really don’t think that Germans, Italian and French will be all that pleased to learn that a lethal radioactive cloud is approaching their borders due to an Israeli pre-emptive nuclear attack on Iran. This is not wishful thinking on my part, as I clearly state in the book, but a clear warning to Israel. If Israel proceeds with its plans to nuke Iran, the consequences may well include a serious shift in the view of the Jewish past. 
 Dershowitz says, “Atzmon regularly urges his readers to doubt the Holocaust and to reject Jewish history.” Here, correction is needed. I actually urge my readers to question every historical narrative and this obviously includes the Shoa and Jewish history. And yes, I do indeed oppose any notion of the primacy of Jewish suffering.
Dershowitz quotes me as saying “Even if we accept the Holocaust as the new Anglo-American liberal-democratic religion, we must allow people to be atheists.”  I must admit to being rather proud of my aphorism here so thank you Mr Dershowitz for sharing one of my gems with your Neo-con readers. 
Anyway, he’s certainly not impressed by my idea that children should be allowed to question “how the teacher could know that these accusations of Jews making Matza out of young Goyim’s blood were indeed empty or groundless” (185). I suppose that Dershowitz hasn’t heard about Israeli professor Ariel Toaff’s study of Jewish medieval blood libel. Toaff found that accusations of blood rituals levelled against Jews in the Middle Ages were not entirely without foundation, to say the least. I suppose that if Dershowitz had heard about Toaff, his reaction to my take on the subject might have been a little more tolerant.
Dershowitz kindly says on my behalf that “the history of Jewish persecution is a myth, and if there was any persecution the Jews brought it on themselves” and he even provides page numbers: (175, 182).  Well, this statement sounded foreign to me, so I searched the relevant pages but could find none of the above. I actually elaborate philosophically on issues to do with temporality, ‘being in time’, the meaning of the past and the significance of history. Is it possible that a professor at Harvard Law School would deceive so openly and repeatedly? I fear this indeed may be the case.
“Atzmon”, write Dershowitz,  “argues that Jews are corrupt and responsible for ‘why’ they are ‘hated’.” Again I’m puzzled because the book is not about ‘Jews’ but about Identity politics. So I was looking forward to seeing how Dershowitz supports this peculiar interpretation.  And yet again, it seems that it is Dershowitz himself who conflates the notions of the ‘Jew’ and ‘Israel’. Dershowitz quotes me saying- “[I]n order to promote Zionist interests, Israel must generate significant anti-Jewish sentiment. Cruelty against Palestinian civilians is a favourite Israeli means of achieving this aim.” It is totally clear that the above quote refers to Israel and Israeli politics. It doesn’t refer at all to the ‘Jew’ or ‘Jews’.
At one stage Dershowitz  just loses it. He starts to think that he can get away with downright deception. For instance, he accuses me of suggesting that “The ‘Judaic God’ described in Deuteronomy 6:10-12 ‘is an evil deity, who leads his people to plunder, robbery and theft’ (120).  But he deliberately fails to produce the most relevant quotes. Here they are, and I will leave it to you to come up with the appropriate judgment regarding Deuteronomy’s God:
 “When the Lord your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess and drives out before you many nations …you must destroy them totally. Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy.” Deuteronomy 7:1–2
“Do not leave alive anything that breathes. Completely destroy them … as the Lord your God has commanded you …” Deuteronomy 20:16
I’m afraid that the above God does not appear to be the most compassionate and merciful around.
According to Dershowitz it is “Atzmon (who) explains that ‘Israel and Zionism … have instituted the plunder promised by the Hebrew God in the Judaic holy scriptures” (121).”
Here is the complete original quote. It makes a lot of sense to me, but is not in any way anti-Semitic. “The never-ending theft of Palestine in the name of the Jewish people is part of a spiritual, ideological, cultural and practical continuum between the Bible, Zionist ideology and the State of Israel (along with its overseas supporters). Israel and Zionism, both successful political systems, have instituted the plunder promised by the Hebrew God in the Judaic holy scriptures.” (121)
The above quote is certainly not very flattering to the Zionist project but it is, nonetheless, an attempt to understand the logos behind Israeli aggression. Dershowitz is entitled to present a counter-argument. But this is something, he never manages to do.
Rarely does Dershowitz manage to draw an appropriate and informed conclusion from the book. Here, somehow, he succeeded.  “The moral of the Book of Esther is that Jews ‘had better infiltrate the corridors of power’ if they wish to survive (158).”  This is, I believe, the primary moral of The Book of Esther. And in ‘The Wandering Who’ I do indeed establish an ideological continuum between The Book of Esther and the Book of AIPAC. Is it anti Semitic to trace the ideological background of an ethnocentric political aspiration?
Dershowitz also grasps that as far as I’m concerned, in some ways, Israel is indeed worse than  Nazi Germany. “Many of us including me tend to equate Israel to Nazi Germany. Rather often I myself join others and argue that Israelis are the Nazis of our time. I want to take this opportunity to amend my statement. Israelis are not the Nazis of our time and the Nazis were not the Israelis of their time. Israel is in fact far worse than Nazi Germany and the above equation is simply meaningless and misleading.”
For obvious reasons Dershowitz fails to provide a reference, and he also manages to forget to provide us with the next few lines which are crucial to the understanding of the above statement. “Unlike totalitarian Nazi Germany, the Jewish State is a ‘democracy’. In other words, the entirety of its Jewish population is complicit in IDF crimes against humanity. As if this is not enough, the fact that 94% of Israel’s Jewish population supported the IDF genocidal attack in Gaza just over a year ago makes the case against Israel solid like a rock.” It is a fact that Israel is a ‘democracy’ and that makes Israelis collectively complicit in the colossal and continuous Israeli crime against humanity.
Sad it may be, but in his entire article Dershowitz fails to provide a single example of ‘bigotry against Jews’. He instead tries to silence any criticism of Israel and Zionism. I would agree with Dershowitz that some of the things I say and write could be painful to both Zionist and Jewish ethnic activists, but here, Dershowitz may just have to come to terms with the fact that political, ideological and ethical matters are sometimes painful.   
Perhaps one day Dershowitz might admit that he couldn’t find any real fault in the book. “(L)ike other classic anti-Semites, Atzmon doesn’t simply fault the individual Jews he names; he concocts a worldwide Jewish conspiracy motivated by a ‘ruthless Zio-driven’ (27) ‘Jewish ideology’ (69) that finds its source in ‘the lethal spirit (122) of the Hebrew Bible.” Unfortunately Dershowitz is again not accurate. He’s right when he admits that I ‘do not fault individual Jews’, but surely he must also know that I oppose the notion of ‘Jewish conspiracy’. Every anecdote and reference in the book is subject to public and open scrutiny. In my work there is no Jewish conspiracy. Everything is done right out in the open. I indeed blame the ideology and look into the culture because I believe that Ideology must be subject to scrutiny and criticism.  
But Dershowitz must believe that Jewish ideology is beyond criticism. On that I disagree. Being an anti-racist writer, I oppose any form of Jewish supremacy. Moreover, considering that Israel defines itself as the Jewish State and bearing in mind the level of its criminality, surely scrutinising Jewishness must be a primary humanist task.  
Dershowitz ends his empty drivel by challenging Professors John J. Mearsheimer and Richard Falk to a public debate “about why they have endorsed and said such positive things about so hateful and anti-Semitic a book by so bigoted and dishonest a writer.”
It’s pretty obvious that Dershowitz has failed to produce a single shred of evidence of myself being anti-Semitic. But it’s also embarrassingly clear that when Dershowitz speaks about a “bigoted and dishonest writer” he actually projects his own symptoms onto me – yes, he is speaking about himself. This Zionist bigot must be tormented by his own life of deceit.  
I doubt if respected academics and humanists such as Mearsheimer and Falk would find the time for Dershowitz.  However, as I said before, I will find the time for this Zionist mouthpiece. I would just adore tearing  him apart in public. As I said before, Mr Dershowitz, any place, any time.

The Wandering Who on Amazon.com  or Amazon.co.uk

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Gilad Atzmon

Gilad Atzmon, a former Israeli soldier now a writer and an award winning Jazz musician resident in London, where he lives in virtual exile

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