CST Blog

Raise Your Banners & Karl Dallas: You’re All ‘Zionists’ Now

24 November 2011

Anti-Zionists usually deflect accusations of antisemitism by saying that they only criticise Zionists, not Jews. The ‘proof’ is usually provided by far left Jewish anti-Zionists: eagerly using their ‘Jewishness’ to all the better abuse the rest of the Jewish (ie ‘Zionist’) community, and the Jewish (ie ‘Zionist’) establishment in particular.

Now, the ex-Israeli Jew, Gilad Atzmon, threatens to destroy this long standing modus operandi.

Where Jewish anti-Zionists are disgusted at being vilified as ‘self-haters’, Atzmon wears the insult with pride, saying he is 'a proud self-hating Jew'.

Where most Jewish anti-Zionists generally try to avoid abusing or diminishing the Holocaust, Atzmon does the opposite, even promoting Holocaust revisionists and deniers.

Where Jewish anti-Zionists try to decouple notions of ‘Jewishness’ from Zionism, Atzmon’s unique selling point is precisely his attack on ‘Jewishness’: rather than Zionism and Israel. Indeed, anti-Zionists who promote their ‘Jewishness’ are Atzmon’s pet hate: because (he claims) they epitomise the secular and psychological depths of ‘Jewish identity politics’.

Unsurprisingly, Jewish anti-Zionists have reacted furiously to this cuckoo in their nest. They have condemned Atzmon every bit as loudly as the rest of their co-religionists whom they so commonly denigrate. For example, it now emerges that the Jewish Socialist Group first raised concerns about Atzmon playing in Bradford as long ago as last April.

Unfortunately, however, Gilad Atzmon is also a world class jazz musician and much of his audience, after decades of being told to hate those damned Zionists, is wide open to the harsh ‘truths’ that he claims to be revealing. Consequently, Atzmon’s anti-Jewish identity riff is drowning out the cacophonous discord from the Jewish anti-Zionists.

Take, for example, Tuesday's Twitter message from one of the Raise Your Banners Bradford music festival performers, Karl Dallas, (also an activist within Bradford Palestine Solidarity Campaign), who tweeted:

Extraordinary Zionist virulence twds Raise Your Banners, Bradford, cos we’ve invited anti-Zionist Israeli jazzman Gilad Atzmon to play Fri.

The “extraordinary Zionist virulence” has been from many places: including local trade unionists, anti-racists, the mainstream Jewish community, and Jewish anti-Zionist groups. The concerns were not about anti-Zionism, nor premised upon the Zionist identity of the complainants.

This use of the word 'Zionist' is the kind of stupid, debased, self-serving language that you get after so many decades of fervid distrust and hatred against the mythical Zionist bogeyman. If veteran Jewish anti-Zionists - some of whom have likely campaigned against Israel even at the expense of their own familial relationships - are now to also be branded as Zionists, then we have reached (yet) another absurd new low.

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