Holocaust religion is probably as old as the Jews."
By Gilad Atzmon
- When analysing the work and influence of
AIPAC within American politics it is the Book of Esther that we
should bear in mind.
AIPAC is more than a mere political lobby. AIPAC is a modern-day
Mordechai, the AJC is modern-day Mordechai. Both AIPAC and AJC are
inherently in line with the Hebrew Biblical school of thought.
However, while the Mordechais are relatively easy to spot, the
Esthers, those who act for Israel behind the scenes, are slightly
more difficult to trace.
- I believe that once we learn to look at
Israeli lobbying in the parameters that are drawn by the Book of
Esther/Holocaust-religion, we are then entitled to regard
Ahmadinejad as the current Haman/Hitler figure. The AJC is Mordechai,
Bush is obviously Ahasuerus, yet Esther can be almost anyone, from
the last Necon to Cheney and beyond."
- "In certain contexts, memory can be
subversive; in others, memory can shield the status quo. When
individuals and communities become vested with memory as a form of
identity and specialness, then other suffering threatens to displace
the centrality of our experience. Instead of a bridge of solidarity
to others who are suffering in the present, suffering in the past
can become a badge of honour, protecting us from the challenges that
are before us. Then our witness, originally powerful, opening
questions about God and power, becomes diluted, can be seen as fake,
contrived, even wilfully so. An industry grows up around you,
honours you, and at the same time uses your witness for other
reasons. In the end a confusion results, externally and internally,
until the witness himself can no longer differentiate between the
world of interpretation he helped articulate and the world that now
speaks in his name. Is this what happened to Wiesel, or is
Finkelstein's more acerbic analysis accurate?"
- Jewishness is a rather broad term.
It refers to a culture with many faces, varied distinctive groups,
different beliefs, opposing political camps, different classes and
diversified ethnicity. Nevertheless, the connection between those
very many people who happen to identify themselves as Jews is rather
intriguing. In the paragraphs that follow, I will try to further the
search into the notion of Jewishness. I will make an attempt to
trace the intellectual, spiritual and mythological collective bond
that makes Jewishness into a powerful identity.
- Clearly, Jewishness is neither a racial
nor an ethnic category. Though Jewish identity is racially and
ethnically orientated, the Jewish people do not form a homogenous
group. There is no racial or ethnic continuum. Jewishness may be
seen by some as a continuation of Judaism. I would maintain that
this is not necessarily the case either. Though Jewishness
borrows some fundamental Judaic elements, Jewishness is not Judaism
and it is even categorically different from Judaism. Furthermore, as
we know, more than a few of those who proudly define themselves as
Jews have very little knowledge of Judaism, many of them are
atheists, non-religious and even overtly oppose Judaism or any other
religion. Many of those Jews who happen to oppose Judaism happen to
maintain their Jewish identity and to be extremely proud about
it. This opposition to Judaism obviously includes Zionism (at
least the early version) but it also is the basis of much of Jewish
- Though Jewishness is different from
Judaism one may still wonder just what constitutes Jewishness:
whether it is a new form of religion an ideology or if it is just a
'state of mind'.
- If Jewishness is indeed a religion,
the next questions that have to be asked are, "what kind of religion
is it? What does this religion entail? What do its followers believe
in?" If it is a religion, one may wonder whether it is possible to
divorce from it as much as it is possible to step out of Judaism,
Christianity or Islam.
- If Jewishness is an ideology, then
the right questions to ask are, "what does this ideology stand for?
Does it form a discourse? Is it a monolithic discourse? Does it
portray a new world order? Is it aiming for peace or violence? Does
it carry a universal message to humanity or is it just another
manifestation of some tribal precepts?"
- If Jewishness is a state of mind,
then the question to raise is whether it is rational or irrational.
Is it within the expressible or rather within the inexpressible?
- At this point I may suggest to consider
the remote possibility that Jewishness may be a strange hybrid, it
can be all of those things at once i.e., a religion, an ideology and
a state of mind.
- The Holocaust
- "Yeshayahu Leibowitz, the philosopher
who was an observant orthodox Jew, told me once: "The Jewish
religion died 200 years ago. Now there is nothing that unifies the
Jews around the world apart from the Holocaust." (Uri Avnery)
- Philosopher Yeshayahu Leibowitz, the
German born Hebrew University professor, was probably the first to
suggest that the Holocaust has become the new Jewish religion. 'The
Holocaust' is far more than historical narrative, it indeed contains
most of the essential religious elements: it has its priests (Simon
Wiesenthal, Elie Wiesel, Deborah Lipstadt, etc.) and prophets
(Shimon Peres, Benjamin Netanyahu and those who warn about the
Iranian Judeocide to come). It has its commandments and dogmas
('never again', 'six million', etc.). It has its rituals (memorial
days, Pilgrimage to Auschwitz etc.). It establishes an esoteric
symbolic order (kapo, gas chambers, chimneys, dust, Musselmann,
etc.). It has its shrines and temples (Yad Vashem, the Holocaust
Museum and now the UN). If this is not enough, the Holocaust
religion is also maintained by a massive economic network and global
financial infrastructures (Holocaust industry a la Norman
Finkelstein). Most interestingly, the Holocaust religion is coherent
enough to define the new 'antichrists' (the Deniers) and it is
powerful enough to persecute them (Holocaust denial laws).
- Critical scholars who dispute the notion of
'Holocaust religion' suggest that though the new emerging religion
retains many characteristics of an organised religion, it doesn't
establish an external God figure to point at, to worship or to love.
I myself cannot agree less. I insist that the Holocaust religion
embodies the essence of the liberal democratic worldview. It is
there to offer a new form of worshiping. It made self loving into a
dogmatic belief in which the observant follower worships himself. In
the new religion it is 'the Jew' whom the Jews worship. It is all
about 'me', the subject of endless suffering who makes it into
- However, more than a few Jewish scholars in
Israel and abroad happen to accept Leibowitz's observation. Amongst
them is Marc Ellis, the prominent Jewish theologian who suggests
a revealing insight into the dialectic of the new religion.
"Holocaust theology," says Ellis, "yields three themes that exist in
dialectical tension: suffering and empowerment, innocence and
redemption, specialness and normalization."
- Though Holocaust religion didn't replace
Judaism, it gave Jewishness a new meaning. It sets a modern Jewish
narrative allocating the Jewish subject within a Jewish project. It
allocates the Jew a central role within his own self-centred
universe. The 'sufferer' and the 'innocent' are marching towards
'redemption' and 'empowerment'. God is obviously out of the game, he
is fired, he has failed in his historic mission, he wasn't there to
save the Jews. Within the new religion the Jew becomes 'the Jews'
new God', it is all about the Jew who redeems himself.
- The Jewish follower of the Holocaust
religion idealises the condition of his existence. He then sets a
framework of a future struggle towards recognition. For the Zionist
follower of the new religion, the implications seem to be relatively
durable. He is there to 'schlep' the entirety of world Jewry to Zion
at the expense of the indigenous Palestinian people. For the
Socialist Jew, the project is slightly more complicated. For him
redemption means setting a new world order, namely a socialist
haven. A world dominated by dogmatic working class politics in which
Jews happen to be no more than just one minority amongst many. For
the humanist observant, Holocaust religion means that Jews must
locate themselves at the forefront of the struggle against racism,
oppression and evil in general. Though it sounds promising, it
happens to be problematic because of obvious reasons. In our current
world order it is Israel and America that happen to be amongst the
leading oppressive evils. Expecting Jews to be in the forefront of
humanist struggle sets Jews in a fight against their brethren and
their supportive single superpower. However, It is rather clear that
all three Holocaust churches assign the Jews a major project with
some global implications.
- As we can see, the Holocaust functions
as an ideological interface. It provides its follower with a logos.
On the level of consciousness, it suggests a purely analytical
vision of the past and present, yet, it doesn't stop just there, it
also defines the struggle to come. It defines a vision of a Jewish
future. Nevertheless, as a consequence it fills the Jewish subject's
unconsciousness with the ultimate anxiety: the destruction of the
- Needless to say, a faith that stimulates
the consciousness (Ideology) and steers the unconsciousness (Spirit)
is a very good recipe for a winning religion. This structural bond
of ideology and spirit is fundamental to the Judaic tradition. The
bond between the legal clarity of the halacah (ideology) and the
mysteriousness of Jehovah or even Kabala (spirit) makes Judaism into
a totality, a universe in itself. Bolshevism, the mass movement
rather than the political theory, is built upon the same structure,
the lucidity of pseudo-scientific materialism together with the fear
of the capitalistic appetite. Neoconservative's politics of fear is
again all about locking the subject in the chasm between the alleged
forensic lucidity of WMDs and the inexpressible fright of 'terror to
- This very bond between consciousness and
unconsciousness brings to mind the Lacanian notion of the 'real'.
The 'real' is that which cannot be symbolized i.e., expressed in
words. The real is the 'inexpressible', the inaccessible. In Zizek's
words, 'the real is impossible', 'the real is the trauma'.
Nevertheless, it is this trauma that shapes the symbolic order. It
is the trauma that forms our reality.
- The Holocaust religion fits nicely into the
Lacanian model. Its spiritual core is rooted deeply within the
domain of the inexpressible. Its preaching teaches us to see a
threat in everything. It is the ultimate conjunction between the
ideology and the spirit that has materialised into sheer pragmatism.
- Interestingly enough, the Holocaust
religion extends far beyond the internal Jewish discourse. In fact
the new religion operates as a mission. It sets shrines in far
lands. As we can see, the emerging religion is already becoming
a new world order. It is the Holocaust that is now used as an alibi
to nuke Iran. Clearly, Holocaust religion serves the Jewish
political discourse both on the right and left but it appeals to the
Goyim as well, especially those who are engaged in merciless killing
'in the name of freedom'. To a certain extent we are all subject
to this religion, some of us are worshipers, others are just subject
to its power. Interestingly enough, those who deny the Holocaust
are themselves subject to abuse by the high priests of this
religion. Holocaust religion constitutes the Western 'Real'. We are
not allowed to touch it or to look into it. Very much like the
Israelites who are entitled to obey their God but never to question
- The Scholars who are engaged in the study
of the Holocaust religion (theology, ideology and historicity), are
engaged mainly with structural formulations, its meanings, its
rhetoric and its historical interpretation. Some happen to search
for the theological dialectic (Marc Ellis), others formulate the
commandments (Adi Ofir), some learn its historical evolution (Lenni
Brenner), other expose its financial infrastructure (Finkelstein).
Interestingly enough, most scholars who are engaged in the subject
of Holocaust religion are engaged with a list of events that
happened between 1933-1945. Most of the scholars are themselves
orthodox observants. Though they may be critical of different
aspects of the exploitation of the Holocaust, they all accept the
validity of the Nazi Judeocide and its mainstream interpretations
and implications. Most of the scholars, if not all of them, do
not challenge the Zionist narrative, namely Nazi Judeocide, yet,
more than a few are critical of the way Jewish and Zionist
institutes employ the Holocaust. Though some may dispute the numbers
(Shraga Elam), and others question the validity of memory (Ellis,
Finkelstein), no one goes as far as revisionism, not a single
Holocaust religion scholar dares engage in a dialogue with the
so-called 'deniers' to discuss their vision of the events or any
other revisionist scholarship.
- Far more interesting is the fact that
none of the Holocaust religion scholars have spent any energy
studying the role of the Holocaust within the long-standing Jewish
continuum. >From this point onward, I will maintain that Holocaust
religion was well established a long time before the Final Solution
(1942), well before the Kristalnacht (1938), well before the
Nuremberg Laws (1936), well before the first anti-Jewish law was
announced by Nazi Germany, well before the American Jewish Congress
declared a financial war against Nazi Germany (1933) and even well
before Hitler was born (1889). The Holocaust religion is probably as
old as the Jews.
- Jewish Archetypes
- In a previous paper I have defined the
notion of 'Pre-Traumatic Stress Disorder' (Pre-TSD) . Within the
condition of the Pre-TSD, the stress is the outcome of a phantasmic
imaginary episode set in the future, an event that has never taken
place. Unlike the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, in which stress is
realised as the direct reaction to an event that (may) have taken
place in the past, within the state of Pre-TSD, the stress is formed
as the outcome of an imaginary potential event. Within the Pre-TSD
an illusion pre-empts the conditions in which the fantasy of future
terror is shaping the present reality.
- As it seems, the dialectic of fear
dominates the Jewish existence as well as mindset far longer than we
are ready to admit. Though fright is exploited politically by Jewish
ethnic leaders since the early days of emancipation, the dialectic
of fear is far older than modern Jewish history. In fact it is the
heritage of the Tanach (the Hebrew Bible) that is there to set the
Jew in a pre-traumatic state. It is the Hebrew Bible that sets a
binary framework of Innocence/Suffering and Persecution/Empowerment.
More particularly, the fear of Judeocide is entangled with Jewish
spirit, culture and literature.
- I would argue here that the Holocaust
religion was there to transform the ancient Israelites into Jews.
- The American anthropologist Glenn Bowman
who specialised in the study of exilic identities offers a crucial
insight into the subject of fear and its contribution to the subject
of Identity politics. "Antagonism," says Bowman, "is fundamental to
process of fetishsation underlying identity, because one tends
precisely to talk about who one is or what one is at a moment in
which that being seems threatened. I begin to call myself such and
such a person, or such and such a representative of an imagined
community, at the moment something seems to threaten to disallow the
being the name I speak stands in for. Identity terms come into usage
at precisely the moment in which for some reason one comes to feel
they signifying a being or entity one has to fight to defend." 
- In short, Bowman stresses that it is the
fear that crystallises the notion of identity. However, once the
fear is matured into a state of a collective pre-traumatic stress
then identity re-forms itself. When it comes to the Jewish people,
it is the Bible that is there to set the Jews within a state of Pre-TSD.
It is the Bible that initiates the fear of Judeocide.
- More and more Bible scholars are now
disputing the historicity of the Bible. Niels Lechme in 'The
Canaanites and Their Land' argues that the Bible is for the most
part "written after the Babylonian Exile and that those writings
rework (and in large part invent) previous Israelite history so that
it reflects and reiterates the experiences of those returning from
the Babylonian exile."
- In other words, being written by
home-comers, the Bible incorporates some hardcore exilic ideology
into an historic narrative. Very much like in the case of the early
Zionist ideologist who regarded assimilation as a death threat, "The
communities which aggregated under the leadership of the Yahwehist
priesthood (at the time of the Babylonian exile) saw assimilation
and apostasy not only as social death for themselves as Judeans but
also as attempted deicide. They resolved to maintain an absolute and
exclusive commitment to Yahweh who they were sure would lead them
back to the land from which they had been expelled. The prescribed
blood purity as a means of maintaining the borders of the national
community, thus proscribed inter-marriage with those surrounding
them. They also established a series of exclusivist rituals that set
themselves off from their neighbours, and these not only included a
surrogate form of temple worship but also a distinct calendar which
ritualistically enabled them to exist in a different time frame than
the communities with which they shared space. All of these
diacritical devices served to mark and maintain difference, but did
not prevent them from trading with and thus being able to sustain
themselves amongst the Babylonians."
- Looking into Bowman and Lechme's
spectacular reading of the Bible and the Judaic narrative as a
manifestation of exilic and marginal identity may explain the fact
that Jewishness flourishes in exile but rather loses its impetus
once it becomes a domestic adventure. If Jewishness is indeed
centred around an émigré collective survival ideology, than its
follower will prosper in Exile. However, that which maintains the
Jewish collective identity is fear. Similar to the case of Holocaust
religion, Jewishness sets the fear of Judeocide at the core of the
Jewish psyche, yet, it also offers the spiritual, ideological and
pragmatic measures to deal with this fear.
- Book of Esther
- The Book of Esther is a biblical story
that is the basis for the celebration of Purim, probably the most
joyous Jewish festival. The book tells the story of an attempted
Judeocide but it also tells a story in which Jews manage to change
their fate. In the book the Jews do manage to rescue themselves and
even to mete revenge.
- It is set in the third year of Ahasuerus,
and the ruler is a king of Persia usually identified with Xerxes I.
It is a story of a palace, conspiracy, an attempted Judeocide and a
brave and beautiful Jewish queen (Esther) who manages to save the
Jewish people at the very last minute.
- In the story, King Ahasuerus is married to
Vashti, whom he repudiates after she rejects his offer to 'visit'
him during a feast. Esther was selected from the candidates to be
Ahasuerus's new wife. As the story progresses, Ahasuerus's prime
minister Haman plots to have the king kill all the Jews without
knowing that Esther is actually Jewish. In the story, Esther
together with her cousin Mordechai saves the day for their people.
At the risk of endangering her own safety, Esther warns Ahasuerus of
Haman's murderous anti-Jewish plot. Haman and his sons are hanged on
the fifty cubit gallows he had originally built for cousin Mordecai.
As it happens, Mordecai takes Haman's place, he becomes the prime
minister. Ahasuerus's edict decreeing the murder of the Jews cannot
be rescinded, so he issues another edict allowing the Jews to take
up arms and kill their enemies, which they do.
- The moral of the story is rather clear.
If Jews want to survive, they better find infiltrates into the
corridors of power. With Esther, Mordechai and Purim in mind, AIPAC
and the notion of 'Jewish power' looks like an embodiment of a deep
Biblical and cultural ideology.
- However, here is the interesting twist.
Though the story is presented as an historic tale, the historical
accuracy of the Book of Esther is largely disputed by most modern
Bible Scholars. It is largely the lack of clear corroboration of any
of the details of the story of the Book of Esther with what is known
of Persian History from classical sources that led scholars to come
to a conclusion that the story is mostly or even totally fictional.
- In other words, though the moral is clear,
the attempted genocide is fictional. Seemingly, the Book of Esther
set its followers into a collective Pre-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
It makes a fantasy of destruction into an ideology of survival. And
indeed, some read the story as an allegory of quintessentially
assimilated Jews who discover that they are targets of
anti-Semitism, but are also in a position to save themselves and
their fellow Jews.
- Keeping Bowman in mind may throw some
light here. The Book of Esther is there to form the exilic identity.
It is there to implant the existential stress, it introduces the
Holocaust religion. It sets the conditions that turn the Holocaust
- Interestingly enough, the Book of Esther
(in the Hebrew version) is one of only two books of the Bible that
do not directly mention God (the other is Song of Songs). In the
Book of Esther it is the Jews who believe in themselves, in their
own power, in their uniqueness, in their sophistication, in their
ability to conspire, in their ability to take over kingdoms, in
their ability to save themselves. The Book of Esther is all about
empowerment and the Jews who believe in their powers.
- From Purim to Birkenau
- In an article named "A Purim Lesson:
Lobbying Against Genocide, Then and Now", Dr. Rafael Medoff
shares with his readers what he regards as the lesson inherited to
the Jews by the Book of Esther. If to be more precise, it is the art
of lobbying which Esther and Mordechai are there to teach us. "The
holiday of Purim" says Medoff, "celebrates the successful effort by
prominent Jews in the capitol of ancient Persia to prevent genocide
against the Jewish people." But Medoff doesn't stop just there. This
specific exercise of what some call 'Jewish power' has been carried
forward and performed by modern emancipated Jews: "What is not well
known is that a comparable lobbying effort took place in modern
times -- in Washington, D.C., at the peak of the Holocaust."
- In the article Medoff explores the
similarities between Esther's lobbying in Persia and her modern
brothers lobbying within the FDR's administration at the pick of
WW2. "The Esther in 1940s Washington was Henry Morgenthau Jr." says
Medoff, "a wealthy, assimilated Jew of German descent who (as his
son later put it) was anxious to be regarded as 'one hundred percent
American.' Downplaying his Jewishness, Morgenthau gradually rose
from being FDR's friend and adviser to his Treasury Secretary."
- Clearly, Medoff spotted a modern Mordechai
as well, "a young Zionist emissary from Jerusalem, Peter Bergson
(real name: Hillel Kook) who led a series of protest campaigns to
bring about U.S. rescue of Jews from Hitler. The Bergson group's
newspaper ads and public rallies roused public awareness of the
Holocaust -- particularly when it organized over 400 rabbis to march
to the front gate of the White House just before Yom Kippur in
- Medoff's reading of the Book of Esther
provides us with a glaring insight into the internal code of Jewish
collective survival dynamics in which the assimilated (Esther) and
the observant (Mordechai) are joining forces with clear Judeo
centric interests in their minds.
- According to Medoff the similarities are
indeed shocking. "Mordechai's pressure finally convinced Esther to
go to the king; the pressure of Morgenthau's aides finally convinced
him to go to the president, armed with a stinging 18-page report
that they titled 'Report to the Secretary on the Acquiescence of
This Government in the Murder of the Jews.'"
- Dr. Medoff is rather ready to draw his
historical conclusions. "Esther's lobbying succeeded. Ahasuerus
cancelled the genocide decree and executed Haman and his henchmen.
Morgenthau's lobbying also succeeded. A Bergson-initiated
Congressional resolution calling for U.S. rescue action quickly
passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee -- enabling Morgenthau
to tell FDR that 'you have either got to move very fast, or the
Congress of the United States will do it for you.' Ten months before
election day, the last thing FDR wanted was an embarrassing public
scandal over the refugee issue. Within days, Roosevelt did what the
Congressional resolution sought -- he issued an executive order
creating the War Refugee Board, a U.S. government agency to rescue
refugees from Hitler."
- It is clear beyond doubt that Medoff sees
the Book of Esther as a general guideline for a healthy Jewish
future. Medoff ends his paper saying: "the claim that nothing could
be done to help Europe's Jews had been demolished by Jews who shook
off their fears and spoke up for their people -- in ancient Persia
and in modern Washington." In other words, Jews can do and should do
for themselves. This is indeed the moral of the Book of Esther as
well as the Holocaust religion.
- What Jews should do for themselves is
indeed an open question. Different Jews have different ideas. The
Neocon believes in dragging America and the West into an endless war
against Islam. Emmanuel Levinas, on the contrary, believes that Jews
should actually position themselves at the forefront of the struggle
against oppression and injustice. Indeed, Jewish empowerment is just
one answer among many. Yet, it is a very powerful not to say a
dangerous one. It is especially dangerous when the American Jewish
Committee (AJC) acts as a modern-day Mordechai and publicly engages
in an extensive lobbying effort for a war against Iran.
- When analysing the work and influence of
AIPAC within American politics it is the Book of Esther that we
should bear in mind. AIPAC is more than a mere political lobby.
AIPAC is a modern-day Mordechai, the AJC is modern-day Mordechai.
Both AIPAC and AJC are inherently in line with the Hebrew Biblical
school of thought. However, while the Mordechais are relatively easy
to spot, the Esthers, those who act for Israel behind the scenes,
are slightly more difficult to trace.
- I believe that once we learn to look at
Israeli lobbying in the parameters that are drawn by the Book of
Esther/Holocaust-religion, we are then entitled to regard
Ahmadinejad as the current Haman/Hitler figure. The AJC is Mordechai,
Bush is obviously Ahasuerus, yet Esther can be almost anyone, from
the last Necon to Cheney and beyond.
- Brenner and Prinz
- In the opening paragraph of this essay I
ask what Jewishness stands for. Though I accept the complexity of
the notion of Jewishness, I tend to additionally accept Leibowitz's
contribution to the subject: Holocaust is the new Jewish religion.
However, within the paper I took the liberty of extending the notion
of the Holocaust. Rather than referring merely to the Shoah,
i.e., the Nazi Judeocide, I argue here that the Holocaust is
actually engraved within the Jewish discourse and spirit. The
Holocaust is the essence of the collective Jewish Pre-Traumatic
stress disorder and it predates the Shoah. To be a Jew is to see the
'other' as a threat rather than as a brother. To be a Jew is to be
on a constant alert. To be a Jew is to internalise the message of
the Book of Esther. It is to aim towards the most influential
junctions of hegemony. To be a Jew is to collaborate with power.
- The American Marxist historian Lenni
Brenner is fascinated by the collaboration between Zionists and
Nazism. In his book Zionism In The Age of Dictators he presents an
extract from Rabbi Joachim Prinz's book published in 1937 after
Rabbi Prinz left Germany for America.
- "Everyone in Germany knew that only the
Zionists could responsibly represent the Jews in dealings with the
Nazi government. We all felt sure that one day the government would
arrange a round table conference with the Jews, at which - after the
riots and atrocities of the revolution had passed - the new status
of German Jewry could be considered. The government announced very
solemnly that there was no country in the world which tried to solve
the Jewish problem as seriously as did Germany. Solution of the
Jewish question? It was our Zionist dream! We never denied the
existence of the Jewish question! Dissimilation? It was our own
appeal! ... In a statement notable for its pride and dignity, we
called for a conference." 
- Brenner then brings in extracts from a
Memorandum that was sent to the Nazi Party by the German Zionist
ZVfD on 21 June 1933:
- "Zionism has no illusions about the
difficulty of the Jewish condition, which consists above all in an
abnormal occupational pattern and in the fault of an intellectual
and moral posture not rooted in one's own tradition ... On the
foundation of the new state, which has established the principle of
race, we wish so to fit our community into the total structure so
that for us too, in the sphere assigned to us, fruitful activity for
the Fatherland is possible. ... Our acknowledgement of Jewish
nationality provides for a clear and sincere relationship to the
German people and its national and racial realities. Precisely
because we do not wish to falsify these fundamentals, because we,
too, are against mixed marriage and are for maintaining the purity
of the Jewish group ... We believe in the possibility of an honest
relationship of loyalty between a group-conscious Jewry and the
German state ... "
- Brenner doesn't approve either of Prinz's
take nor the Zionist initiative. Filled with loathing he says, "This
document, a treason to the Jews of Germany, was written in standard
Zionist cliches: 'abnormal occupational pattern', 'rootless
intellectuals greatly in need of moral regeneration', etc. In it the
German Zionists offered calculated collaboration between Zionism and
Nazism, hallowed by the goal of a Jewish state: we shall wage no
battle against thee, only against those that would resist thee."
- Brenner fails to see the obvious. Rabbi
Prinz and the ZVfD were not traitors, they were actually genuine
Jews. They followed their very Jewish cultural code. They followed
the Book of Esther, they took the role of Mordechai. They tried
to find a way to collaborate with what they correctly identified as
a prominent emerging power. In 1969, Rabbi Prinz confessed that ever
"since the assassination of Walther Rathenau in 1922, there was no
doubt in our minds that the German development would be toward an
anti-Semitic totalitarian regime. When Hitler began to arouse, and
as he put it 'awaken' the German nation to racial consciousness and
racial superiority, we had no doubt that this man would sooner or
later become the leader of the German nation."
- Whether Brenner or anyone else likes it
or not, Rabbi Prinz proves to be an authentic Jewish leader. He
proves to possess some highly developed survival radar mechanism
that fit perfectly well with the exilic ideology. In 1981 Lenni
Brenner interviewed Rabbi Prinz. Here is what he had to say about
the collaborator Rabbi:
- "(Prinz) dramatically evolved in the 44
years since he was expelled from Germany. He told me, off tape, that
he soon realized that nothing he said there made sense in the US. He
became an American liberal. Eventually, as head of the American
Jewish Congress, he was asked to march with Martin Luther King and
he did so."
- Once again, Brenner fails to see the
obvious. Prinz didn't change at all. Prinz didn't evolve in those 44
years. He was and remained a genuine authentic Jew, and an extremely
clever one. A man who internalised the essence of Jewish émigré
philosophy: In Germany be a German, and in America be American. Be
flexible, fit in and adopt relativistic ethical thinking. Prinz,
being a devoted follower of Mordechai, realised that whatever is
good for the Jews is simply good.
- I went back and listened to the invaluable
Brenner interviews with Rabbi Prinz that are now available on
line. I was rather shocked to find out that actually Prinz
presents his position eloquently. It is Prinz rather than Brenner
who provides us a glimpse into Jewish ideology and its interaction
with the surrounding reality. It is Prinz rather than Brenner who
happens to understand the German volk and their aspirations.
Prinz presents his past moves as a proud Jew. From his point of
view, collaborating with Hitler was indeed the right thing to do. He
was following Mordechai, he was probably searching for an Esther to
come. Thus, it is only natural that Rabbi Prinz later became the
President of the Jewish American Congress. He became a prominent
American leader In spite of his 'collaboration with Hitler'. Simply
because of the obvious reason: from a Jewish ideological point of
view, he did the right thing.
- Final Words About
- Once we learn to look at Jewishness as
an exilic culture, as the embodiment of the 'ultimate other' we can
then understand Jewishness as a collective continuum grounded on a
fantasy of horror. Jewishness is the materialisation of politics of
fear into a pragmatic agenda. This is what Holocaust religion is all
about and it is indeed as old as the Jews. Rabbi Prinz could foresee
the Holocaust. Both Prinz and the ZVfD could anticipate a Judeocide.
Thus, from a Jewish ideological point of view they acted
appropriately. They were committed to their esoteric ethics within
an esoteric cultural discourse.
- Zionism was indeed a great promise, it was
there to convert the Jews into Israelites. It was going to make the
Jews into people like other peoples. Zionism was there to identify
and fight the Galut (Diaspora), the exilic characteristic of the
Jewish people and their culture. But Zionism was doomed to failure.
The reason is obvious: within a culture that is metaphysically
grounded upon exilic ideology the last thing you can expect is a
successful homecoming. In order to live for its promise Zionism had
to liberate itself of the Jewish exilic ideology, Zionism had to
liberate itself of the Holocaust religion. But this is exactly what
it fails to do. Being exilic to the bone, Zionism had to turn to
antagonising the indigenous Palestinians in order to maintain its
fetish of Jewish identity.
- Since Zionism failed to divorce itself
from the Jewish émigré ideology, it lost the opportunity to evolve
into any form of domestic culture. Consequently, Israeli culture and
politics is a strange amalgam of indecisiveness; a mixture of
colonial empowerment together with Galut's victim mentality. Zionism
is a secular product of exilic culture that cannot mature into
authentic homegrown perception.
- Gilad Atzmon was born in Israel and
served in the Israeli military. He is the author of two novels: A
Guide to the Perplexed and the recently released My One and Only
Love. Atzmon is also one of the most accomplished jazz saxophonists
in Europe. His recent CD, Exile, was named the year's best jazz CD
by the BBC. He now lives in London and can be reached at: email@example.com
-  Marc Ellis,
- Marc Ellis on Finkelstein
-  Marc H. Ellis, Beyond Innocence &
Redemption - Confronting The Holocaust And Israeli Power, Creating a
Moral Future for the Jewish People (San Francisco: Harper & Row,
-  Glenn Bowman-Migrant Labour:
Constructing Homeland in the Exilic Imagination, Antrhropological
Theory II:4. December 2002 pp 447-468.
-  Ibid
-  Ibid
All highlighting of text
was added to the article by Gnostic Liberation Front.
Tax Honesty Movement
Are Kidd, Becraft, Banister
and Schulz “Extremists”?
March 22, 2007
band leader, political polemicist, humourist, essayist and saxophonist
Atzmon has recorded with Ian Dury, Robbie Williams, Shane McGowan,
Robert Wyatt and is a member of the Blockheads. As leader of the Orient
House Ensemble he is one of the most successful musicians in the UK and
Europe playing to an ever expanding almost cult like following across
Europe. His last album musiK (Enja Records) was nominated for 'Album Of
The Year' at last years BBC jazz Awards, an award he won previously for
Exile. His other albums include Orient House Ensemble (Enja Records) and
Take It Or Leave It (Face Records).
Raised as a secular Israeli Jew in Jerusalem, Atzmon witnessed and
empathised with the daily sufferings of Palestinians and spent 20 years
trying to resolve for himself the tensions of his background. Finally,
disillusioned, he left Israel and came to England to study philosophy.
But when he met Asaf Sirkis, a fellow Israeli exile, Atzmon rediscovered
his interest in playing the music of the Middle East, North Africa and
Eastern Europe that had been in the back of his mind for years. Atzmon
founded the Orient House Ensemble and started re-defining his own roots
in the light of political reality. He now regards himself as a devoted
His debut novel 'A Guide To the Perplexed' was published in 2001 and has
been published in over 20 languages and his new novel 'My One And Only
Love' was published by Saqi books last year and Atzmon has recently
composed the music for the Northern Stage production of Dennis Potter's
'Son Of Man', a radical retelling of the story of Jesus.
-- From inside the halls
of Congress to the offices of Democratic politicians around the country there is
increasing criticism of the stranglehold the America Israel Public Affairs
Committee (AIPAC) and its political allies have on the Democratic Party's agenda
and political message.
March 7, 2007
-- From inside the halls of Congress to
the offices of Democratic politicians around the country there is increasing
criticism of the stranglehold the America Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)
and its political allies have on the Democratic Party's agenda and political
message. WMR has spoken to a number of Democrats off-the-record and the story is
much the same: Democratic leaders, from House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm
Emmanuel to Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Dianne Feinstein -- pursuant to
dictates from pro-Israeli political interests -- are curbing debate on the
withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, impeachment, and generally, any strong or
effective reaction by the Democrats to the Bush administration's and the
neo-cons' disastrous war in Iraq. In various congressional districts, the
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) is bypassing progressive
Democratic candidates and replacing them with "centrist" and less anti-war
candidates for the 2008 election.
Criticism within the Democratic Party of
AIPAC is carried out very quietly. The consequence for any Democratic politician
who is identified as speaking ill of the powerful lobby group is a political
death sentence. However, from Washington DC to California, the message is much
the same -- AIPAC and its allies are wearing down the patience of a number of
Democrats who see the organization as a Republican and neo-con Trojan Horse
within the Democratic Party. Next week, AIPAC will be holding its annual
convention at the Washington, DC Convention Center. The gathering is bound to
create more angst among Democrats -- with both Democratic presidential
frontrunners, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, tripping over themselves in
seeking AIPAC campaign support.
The schism within the Democratic Party
appeared when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi refused to allow ranking member of the
House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Jane Harman of California to
become chairman. Pelosi was backed by powerful House Defense Appropriations
Committee chairman John Murtha. That set off a battle for the House Majority
Leader position between Murtha and Steny Hoyer of Maryland. Hoyer handily won
the election while Pelosi supported Murtha. Hoyer's sister, Bernice Manocherian,
has served as an executive president of AIPAC.
The controversy about Harman arose after
she attempted to interfere in the Justice Department's investigation of AIPAC
for espionage. Harman's links to AIPAC sank her chances of becoming HPSCI chair.
Harman reportedly agreed to work with Republican chairman Peter Hoekstra to
avoid an investigation of the cooked up pre-war intelligence on Iraq in return
for the Bush administration going easy on the investigation of AIPAC officials
Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman, both later indicted for receiving highly
classified documents from Israeli Pentagon spy Larry Franklin. After the Libby
trial, the next major bombshells are expected to come from the Rosen and
Weissman trial, set for June 4. The AIPAC conference next week will undoubtedly
be readying for public relations spin for June's "perfect storm" -- sentencing
for Libby is scheduled for June 5, the day after the Rosen and Weismann trial
The last straw for some Democrats is
quiet but firm backing from AIPAC-allied politicians and special interests for a
presidential pardon for convicted former Vice President Chief of Staff Irving
Lewis "Scooter" Libby. Even as Libby was being found guilty, the Libby Legal
Defense Fund announced a new member had joined its advisory committee. He is
Charles Heimbold, Jr., former Chairman and CEO of Bristol-Myers Squibb Company
and a former U.S. ambassador to Sweden. Advisory Committee Chairman Mel Sembler,
the former U.S. ambassador to Italy whose fingerprints are found on the
transmittal of the bogus Niger documents from Italian hands to the Bush
administration -- one of the incidents that led to CIA Leakgate -- said the
following about the conviction of Libby: "Scooter is a good man and a
distinguished public servant who has been wrongly accused."
Other Libby Defense Fund advisory
committee members who continue to support the convicted felon include Mary
Matalin, former aide to Dick Cheney and wife of Democratic Party insider and
Hillary Clinton supporter James Carville; former Education Secretary William
Bennett; former HUD Secretary Jack Kemp; former Attorney General Edwin Meese
III; former Senator Don Nickles; former Rep. Bill Paxon; former Clinton Middle
East envoy Dennis Ross; former Senator Alan Simpson; Hollywood straphanger and
former Senator Fred Thompson; and former CIA Director James Woolsey. The one
question that can be asked of all these and other Libby Advisory Committee
members is: "Why do they hate America so much?"
Libby Defense Find
features this photo of Libby with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai. Libby once
penned a novel titled "The Apprentice," which featured pedophilia, bestiality,
and rape. Karzai is rumored by our Afghanistan sources to be an aficionado of
"boy dancers," underage male strip dancers that are popular with Karzai's fellow
Pashtun warlords. One reason the Taliban banned music and dancing was to
eliminate the attendant sexual exploitation of boys by the Pashtun elite.
AIPAC spy case:
Larry Franklin sentenced, former honchos may sue over legal fees
Pentagon Iran analyst Larry Franklin was
sentenced to 12 years and seven months in prison after he pled guilty to passing
classified military intelligence about Iran and Iraq to two indicted former top
lobbyists for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee as well as an Israeli
diplomat. In its Saturday, Jan. 21 edition, The New York Times saw fit to print
this item on the last page (p. 30) of its A Section.
Franklin was sentenced by Judge T.S.
Ellis III in the Federal District Court in Alexandria, Virginia just across the
Potomac River from Washington, DC. Despite Ellis' puzzling remark that Franklin
had been motivated by a desire to help the United States, Franklin's aim was
less noble when he had asked Steve Rosen, the indicted AIPAC lobbyist who was in
charge of foreign policy issues, to speak a good word for him with officers on
the National Security Council, which Franklin had been ambitious to join.
Franklin will not begin serving his
sentence until the completion of legal proceedings against Rosen and fellow
former AIPAC employee Keith Weissman, like Franklin an Iranian specialist. Plato
Cacheris, Franklin's prominent Washington, DC lawyer, was quoted as saying, "Mr.
Franklin will not have to commence his sentence until after he completes his
cooperation; at which time the court will entertain a motion to reduce his
According to the Israeli daily Haaretz
for Dec. 22, 2005, Naor Gilon, the Israeli Embassy diplomat to whom Franklin is
accused of passing military secrets, was back in Washington "three weeks ago."
Gilon had been stationed at the Israeli Embassy in Washington for three years
when he left his post for "personal reasons" last summer, at which time the
press reported that the FBI had wanted to talk to him and to two other Israeli
Embassy officers. The fact that Gilan had returned to Washington and left
without incident means, according to Haaretz, that there no longer is any
"serious" U.S. concern about Israeli involvement in the AIPAC affair.
In an apparent effort to lessen the
seriousness of the charges against Rosen and Weissman, who are due to be tried
on April 25, The New York Times saw fit to explain that "They operated in a
circle of lobbyists who had traditionally traded gossip, political insights and
intelligence with administration officials, Congressional aides and journalists.
But prosecutors have suggested that their actions.... could have damaged the
The Times' benevolent view sought to
portray Rosen and Weissman as simply playing a harmless and "traditional"
Washington, DC game.
A countervailing opinion of AIPAC is
that of a political colossus so powerful that it actually prevents the United
States from pursuing Middle East policies that preserve its own interests.
Consider its undoubted role in the initial Bush administration appointments of
Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, Under Secretary of Defense Douglas
Feith and Under Secretary of State John Bolton. Might the United States have
avoided the war in Iraq without the twisted intelligence fed Bush by these
neocons and their fellow travelers?
At the Pentagon, Feith created a private
U.S. intelligence operation called the Office of Special Plans (OSP). There he
cherry picked the most outlandish bits and pieces of intelligence to feed to the
office of Vice President Dick Cheney. Feith's OSP "proved" that Saddam Hussain
possessed nonexistent weapons of mass destruction.
Cheney then whispered Feith's lies about
Iraq into President Bush's ear, and this disinformation helped Bush make up his
mind to attack Iraq. Did Feith not play a role in the disastrous Iraq
misadventure? Nor is there any sign that he cared about the consequences for the
An April Date
The trial of Steve Rosen, former foreign
policy director for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), and
Keith Weissman, AIPAC's former Iranian analyst, is set to begin April 25 at the
U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia. Although AIPAC, Washington's
principal Israel lobby, has offered $1.625 million to cover Rosen's and
Weissman's legal fees, the two erstwhile AIPAC officers refuse to put a cap on
their defense costs, which they estimate will come to $4 million. The above
information was reported in Israel's Jerusalem Post and the American Jewish
Negotiations between AIPAC and Rosen/Weissman
have come to a halt, at least temporarily, amid indications that the two
dismissed employees may sue over the issue. Their position is that AIPAC should
continue to pay their lawyers' monthly legal fees as it did between August 2004
and March 2005. The two insist that AIPAC has the money, having raised $59
million in 2004, and with the figure for 2005 expected to surpass that. They
rejected AIPAC's offer because it was made on the condition that they forfeit
the right to sue their former employer.
AIPAC is doing all it can to distance
itself from Rosen and Weissman fearing that, if the two are convicted of
receiving classified information from former Pentagon analyst Larry Franklin and
passing it on to Israeli diplomats and members of the press, AIPAC's reputation
will suffer a serious blow. Rosen and Weissman, on the other hand, are straining
to identify themselves as closely as possible to AIPAC, arguing that AIPAC
officials were fully aware of, and approved, their actions.
AIPAC initially hired attorneys Abbe
Lowell to represent Rosen and John Nassikas to represent Weissman, undertaking
to "cover the legal costs." But the payments to the legal team ended when AIPAC
fired the defendants last spring.
"It is very possible that" Rosen and
Weissman will call senior AIPAC officials to testify in court, sources familiar
with the case told the Forward. Such testimony undoubtedly would be embarrassing
to Israel's lobbying behemoth.
Essentially the dispute between the
defense attorneys and AIPAC is a "mock" fight, with the two sides implicitly
agreeing that they will not really harm each other. AIPAC apparently recently
hired Jamie Gorelick, a prominent Washington, DC lawyer, former deputy attorney
general and member of the 9/11 Commission, to demonstrate that it would stick to
its guns. In a letter to Rosen and Weissman's attorneys, she wrote that the
question of payment "cannot be addressed or resolved until current proceedings
against them have been concluded." In other words, "Don't press us to pay now
(because it makes us look guilty) but we'll pay up when it's all over."
Andrew I. Killgore is publisher of the
Washington Report on Middle East Affairs.
RELATED ARTICLE: The Pro-Israel Party
ON FEB. 4, The Washington Post's Walter
Pincus joined the apologists for indicted AIPAC has-beens Steve Rosen and Keith
Weissman. Wrote Pincus: "The former head of the Justice Department's Office of
Legal Policy helped write a memorandum of law calling for dismissal of Espionage
Act charges against the two pro-Israel lobbyists, arguing that in receiving
leaked classified information and relaying it to others, they were doing what
reporters, think tank experts and congressional staffers do perhaps hundreds of
times every day."
In Israel, Nathan Guttman, writing in
the Feb. 22 Jerusalem Post, argued that Rosen and Weissman should be exonerated
because Israel is a U.S. ally. Nearly two decades ago, spy-for-Israel Jonathan
Jay Pollard tried to use that same defense--unsuccessfully. Guttman, too,
maintained that the "AIPAC case" represented nothing more than "common practice"
in Washington, DC.
The question, of course, is whether
these practices are common to the American friends of all foreign governments,
or to those of one in particular.--A.I.K.
Guess Who Came to Dinner?
IN HER FEB. 10 "Diplomatic Dispatches"
column, Washington Post correspondent Nora Boustany reported on a "high-powered
dinner party" given two days earlier at his official residence by Israeli
Ambassador Daniel Ayalon (known to CNN's Wolf Blitzer and other intimates as
"Danny"). Guest of honor was Israel's new Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, a former
Mossad agent and close adviser to comatose Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
According to the Feb. 5 New York Times, the Israeli government official also is
the daughter of members of the Irgun terrorist organization which, among other
acts, blew up the King David Hotel in 1946, killing 91 people. Her father, Eitan,
was Irgun's head of operations, and her mother, Sara, "was an Irgun heroine who
had a song written about her."
Livni arrived at the ambassador's
residence after having met with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Vice
President Dick Cheney. According to Glenn Kessler, whom Boustany describes as "a
Washington Post reporter who attended the event"--but who also was named as one
of the reporters indicted former AIPAC officials Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman
spoke to after having been fed classified information by indicted former
Pentagon analyst Larry Franklin--Livni was seated between Director of National
Intelligence John D. Negroponte and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff.
Not surprisingly, many senators and
congressmen were in attendance, including Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY),
Norm Coleman (R-MN), Dianne
Feinstein (D-CA) and Joseph
Lieberman (D-CT), and Reps. Gary Ackerman (D-NY), Shelley Berkley (D-NV), Jane
Harman (D-CA), Tom Lantos (D-CA) and Nita M. Lowey (D-NY).
Among the non-elected American officials
dining at Danny's were Assistant Secretary of State David Welch, Deputy National
Security Adviser Elliott Abrams and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Liz
Cheney. Rounding out the merry band of Israel-firsters were former U.S.
Ambassadors Dennis Ross and Martin S. Indyk and "other players" such as Slim
Fast founder F. Daniel Abraham and U.S. News and World Report publisher Mort
The following day, during Livni's
meeting with National Security Adviser Stephen J. Hadley, President George W.
Bush dropped by "and then took her aside for a half-hour, one-on-one session,"
according to an Israeli official quoted by Boustany.
And who says Washington's not a fun
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