CST Blog

The Truth Will Set You Free - Jazz Redux

12 December 2013

“The Truth Will Set You Free” is an old, very well worn refrain. Originally from the Gospel of John, it was popular in the 1990s within neo-Nazi Holocaust denial circles.

Now, Truth has its latest Orwellian meaning. Who really perpetrated 9/11? Who really runs the world? Why is there war, ecological disaster, poverty and all the rest of it? What is the deeper, hidden Truth?

Former TV presenter turned reptilianista David Icke is probably the best known such New Ager. His book And The Truth Shall Set You Free provides mood music. (There is dispute as to whether or not a publisher dropped him because an early draft allegdly included Holocaust revisionism. Whatever, Icke's previous book featured The Protocols of Zion.) 

Now, jazz musician and ex-Israeli, Gilad Atzmon, has a Truth gig - as shown in a previous CST Blog on the bizarre “Seek Speak Spread Truth" conference. It was organised by Tahra Ahmed, whose facebook shows her stating:

the number of Jews who died during WWII is greatly exaggerated

It is an important development. Those needing conspiracies to explain life can be like putty in the hands of a man like Atzmon, who is as entertaining as he is antisemitic. Atzmon's antisemitism has seen him expelled from mainstream and far left anti-Zionist cricles: bolstering his credentials here. 

Atzmon begins with an old joke, I'm not an antisemite because I hate everyone equally. He deals with Jewish complainants by saying (00min.40secs):

I’m not antisemitic, I’m just anti-Jewish

This is Atzmon's motif, but it is rotten because "antisemitism" has always been a fancy way of saying "anti-Jewish". Indeed, "Antisemitismus" was a German 19th Century attempt to intellectualise "Judenhass": Jew-hatred.

Early on, Atzmon plays his anti-Jewish motif by accusing atheist Jews in the International Brigades of the Spanish Civil War of burning "thousands of churches", but never synagogues (07min.30sec):

Atheist Jews...they hate the rabbis, they hate the synagogues, but they always end up burning churches. They never burn synagogues.

The anti-Jewish motif is amplified by his blaming contemporary anti-Zionist Jews for preventing plain talk about Israel’s Jewishness. Atzmon blames them for words like “Zionism”, or “colonialist”, or “apartheid” (when it should be Nazi), claiming (45min.19sec):

...even the Palestinians are so Judefied that they themselves cannot contemplate freely about their situation.

He is adamant (09min.20sec) that "Zionist" must never be swapped for "Jew", claiming he has been urged (e.g. by Ali Abunimah of Electronic Intifada, 09min.55sec) to perform this conceit. He even claims to have been offered a bribe to "stop talking about the 'J'" (Jew) and instead talk about "Zionist". He rejected it because (40min.50sec):

I really like talking about the J

This comes afer he mocks "queers" (35min.25sec).

Having said (15min.20sec) "[I am] an opponent of Jewish power" and (48min.20sec) "we are dealing with Jewish power", Atzmon denies (56min.20sec) saying that "the Jews run the world". Similarly, (1hr.02min.08sec), "I never speak about Jews, I speak about Jewishness".

Next comes a (surely accidental) echo of the philosopher Brian Klug's notion about antisemites believing in the imaginary Jew - as distinct from what Jews really are. For Klug: "The [antisemite's] Jew belongs to a sinister people set apart from all others, not merely by its customs but by a collective character".

Compare Klug's imaginary Jews and their character, with what "Jewishness" and "the Jews" really are for Atzmon: "...the character. No...The Jews are the people who give a bad name to the Jew" (1hr.02min.05sec):

I actually don't like to talk about Jews. I never speak about Jews. I speak about Jewishness. I speak about the ideology...I also realise that the Jew, the Jew, what is the Jew? The Jew is actually, this is a joke yes...[Atzmon fakes a drum roll]...the Jew is the character. No, sorry, the Jews, who are the Jews? The Jews are the people who give a bad name to the Jew. Heh, heh, heh, think about it.

One audience member (57min.18sec) asks Atzmon why he has been "narrowing it down to one part of the world...it should be about the whole world". Atzmon heartily agrees (58min.48sec), mentioning "Jewish concealment", Paul Eisen (My life as a Holocaust denier) and the Holocaust. The questioner witters away about "Holocaustus" offerings to horned Greek gods (later still, he brings up "Illuminati...masters of everything"). Atzmon pointedly interrupts (59min.19sec):

we can talk about 9/11...Syria...the transformation of our society into a machine that facilitates consumption - [the questioner interrups, "mind control"] - exactly 

Here, Atzmon mentions (59min.50sec) his research into "Jewish power" and the Frankfurt School. (A post WW2 philosophical movement):

all circumcised, mentally and intellectually

He says no more. There is no mention of one of the school’s leading figures, Theodore Adorno, who stated

Antisemitism is the rumour about the Jews

For Atzmon, this is no mere "rumour about the Jews", it is his one size fits all "ideology". New Agers, if they had the sense, should heed Anthony Julius who warns that antisemitism does not deserve to be elevated to the status of an ideology - it is, rather, a polluter of ideologies. Julius has clearly heard this tune before. 

Finally, in Atzmon’s closing number he says capitalism creates a hierarchy of success and power, whereas (1.06.35):

The people who are mobilising the resistance in the current Jewy world are the most stupid people on this planet...they don’t stand a chance.

“Jewy world...most stupid people on the planet”. Indeed, and thanks to Gilad Atzmon they are getting even stupider, because that is what antisemitism does to its adherents.  

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