By June Terpstra, Ph.D.
Recently, a group calling themselves progressives sponsored an open letter in The Monthly Review (MR) opposing sponsorship of events featuring author-musician Gilad Atzmon, aiming to censor his free speech concerning the Israeli atrocities against the Arab people. http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/2012/ga280212.html This OpEd is written to assist them and readers generally, in recognizing moral imperialism and the cognitive dysfunction by decoding the behaviors displayed in their listserves, newsgroups and "Open Letter". Instead of defamation this "league" could go out and do some concrete work amongst those who perpetrate Israeli oppression instead of collaborating with the oppressors by obstructing the efforts of Gilad Atzmon to address the real needs of the oppressed Arabs being killed, tortured and imprisoned by the Israeli entity and its imperialist allies.
With forked tongue the Atzmon Defamation League (ADL) claims to be anti-racist while they talk public smack about one of the few people with the courage to tell his experience of being raised within the Jewish state occupying Palestine, Gilad Atzmon. While Atzmon is speaking from personal experience for the liberation of the oppressed Arab people this so called "progressive" group opposes his alternative epistemic voice. The complaint against Atzmon, is that "he is racist". This accusation is made in the classic tradition of assets of the state, the agent provocateur, and the cultural imperialist who thinks he or she "knows better" than those who actually experience the phenomena itself. Like the white anthropologist observing the native the group represents a privileged group of North American white people who hate and attempt to censor Atzmon's auto-ethnographic narrative and philosophizing. They say that Atzmon is:
"Attempting to latch onto the just, vital, and growing movement in support of the Palestinian national liberation struggle" they manage. That "Gilad Atzmon is one of a very small and unrepresentative group of writers who have argued (in agreement with many Zionists) that there is no meaningful distinction to be made between Jews in general and Israeli atrocities."
They don't want to let the rogue philosopher-musician Atzmon into their exclusive solidarity club. Atzmon in response says to them directly that their accusation is an:
" Outright lie, I do not write about Jews, I write about Jewish ideology and Jewish identity politics. Whether I am "representative' or "unrepresentative' should be determined by popularity of my thoughts. As it happens my papers appear on almost every progressive outlet around the world."
The ADL failed to provide a single racist reference made by Atzmon in their die-a-tribe. They cannot find a single reference to Jews as people, ethnicity or race. Unlike the ADL who attempt to gate-keep Atzmon actually believes in open discourse and free exchange with those claiming right, left, center within and without of the global plantation. Atzmon would like to promote tolerance and pluralism instead of intellectual tyranny. The ADL exhibit the complete opposite of an open democratic discourse in their letter.
I reject this group's ploy to play vanguard and left gatekeeper in efforts to silence and censor, Gilad Atzmon. Nor do I accept them as they see themselves as a "just, vital and growing movement". Blinded by privilege and unable to accurately judge the true situation, they do not recognize their cultural and moral imperialism. They are heirs of the same system they oppose and, despite their professed lack of "imperialist feelings"; they perpetuate this moral imperialism simply through their desire for the privilege to exclude those such as Atzmon working to end oppression. In a classic example of white supremacy they feel is their "due"--their right to control the discourse of liberation struggles in ways that benefit them and have little to no contribution to end the suffering of the Arab people of Palestine or the region. This group may critique whom-ever they wish but let's not play pretend about the powerful front operations, AIPAC and the other ADL lobbies, and intelligence agencies looking to play just these types of games to discredit and ruin people who truly stand against oppression with name calling of racism and anti-Semitism. Ultimately, who benefits from the censorship of Gilad Atzmon? The Zionists and the Jewish State and all who support them.
The ADL is opposed fundamentally to freedom of speech concerning Jewish cultural, political and religious supremacy. While their so called movement tries to dictate the discourse globally they remain trapped in the structure of supremacy and imperialism itself. Their cognitive dysfunction is palpable. They are members of socially privileged communities whose social advantage has fostered epistemic disadvantage in the goal of attaining moral truth. The consequence of their distress is it pulls attention to themselves as wanna-be Vanguard and away from the oppressed Arabs. They also benefit, while the oppressed suffer. In their attempts to silence Gilad Atzmon, who truly stands with the Arab people they waste people's time in the manner of all assets of empire and oppression. It is Atzmon that is confronting the specific racial/religious/cultural/military supremacy that is causing today's genocide of the Arab people. It is Atzmon calling out the Israeli entity that is codifying a racist nation state over the dead bodies and bulldozed homes of Palestinians. I am proud to support the work of Gilad Atzmon and support him and all who stand in solidarity for the oppressed.
June Terpstra, Ph.D., is an activist educator and full time faculty lecturer in the Justice Studies Department at Northeastern Illinois University.
* OPEN LETTER TO SPONSORS OF GILAD ATZMON sponsors:
Dan Berger, Wild Poppies Collective, Philadelphia PA, Susie Day, Monthly Review, New York NY, Todd Eaton, Park Slope Food Coop Members for Boycott/Divestment/Sanctions, Brooklyn NY, Elizabeth Horowitz, solidarity activist, New York NY, Karl Levesque AKA Kay Kersplepeded , Left Wing Books, Montreal, Mark Lance, Georgetown University/Institute for Anarchist Studies, Washington DC, Bob Lederer, Pacifica/WBAI producer, Queers Against Israeli Apartheid, New York NY, Matthew Lyons, Three Way Fight, Philadelphia PA, Matt Meyer, Resistance in Brooklyn, New York NY, Michael Novick, People Against Racist Terror/Anti-Racist Action, Los Angeles CA, Liz Roberts, War Resisters League, New York NY, Emma Rosenthal, Cafe' Intifada, Los Angeles, CA, Joel Schwartz, CSEA Local 446, AFSCME, New York NY, Simona Sharoni, SUNY/author, Gender &the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Plattsburgh NY, Laura Whitehorn, former political prisoner, NYS Task Force on Political Prisoners, NY