By Gilad Atzmon
Towards the end of my most recent book, Being in Time - a Post Political Manifesto, I elaborate on Jewish controlled opposition strategies. I contend that when Jews detect that that something associated with them has become problematic they quickly form satellite dissent movements: they are first to oppose themselves. When Capitalism was identified as a Jewish problem, Marx was first to offer a coherent alternative. Once Palestine emerged as an acknowledged Jewish problem, a Jewish solidarity industry (JVP, IJAN, Mondoweiss, IJV) formed to dominate the opposition discourse on Israel. The intellectual debate on Zio-con immoral interventionist wars has been reduced into an internal Jewish debate between Sam Harris and Noam Chomsky. I expect soon we’ll see Jews leading the fight against sexual predatory behaviour in Hollywood and beyond. None of this is necessarily conspiratorial. It is normal for people to be embarrassed by members of their tribe who are associated with bad and criminal behaviour.
The documentary, Independent Jewish Voices: 100 Years After Balfour, is a fascinating window into the world of Jewish controlled opposition.
The documentary provides a retrospective on the Balfour declaration from the Jewish progressive perspective. It was spectacularly produced by IJV, a “network of Jews in Britain who share a commitment to certain principles, especially with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in mind: putting human rights first.”
It is shocking that, despite the fact that the Balfour Declaration led to a century of ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, not one Palestinian voice is featured in the Jewish film. More significant, the scholarship presented was carefully selected to fit within the Jewish ‘progressive narrative. Not once are we reminded of the crucial fact that the Balfour Declaration points at the dominance of the Jewish Lobby in Britain at least as early as 1917. Nor does it mention that the declaration was made to pull America into the war by appealing to American German-Jewish bankers who were initially pro German and anti British. This indicates the dominance of Jewish bankers in the USA in the early 20th century. Naturally the ‘independent’ Jewish Voices are committed to the concealment of these facts.
The documentary asks us to accept the Jewish so-called progressive historical narrative, a tale designed to convey an image of profound Jewish ethics, Jewish values and Jewish peacefulness. I wish I could support any of it. The attempt is, in itself, duplicitous and reflects badly on the so-called ‘independent Jews’ and their ‘voices’. Most crucially, and it must be stated once again-- there is no such a thing as ‘Jewish ethics.’ In Judaism, obedience to Mitzvot (commandments and laws) replaces the ethical. Adherence to such rules and laws (Talmud) replaces the judgment process inherent in the notion of ethics. It is far from clear what ‘Jewish values’ are and whether they are at all universal.
Bizarrely, early Zionism in its initial promise to ‘civilize the Jews’ by means of ‘homecoming’ vowed to bring out the ethical and the universal in the Jews. In practice, the project collapsed and, if anything, achieved the opposite as Brian Klug pretty much admits in the documentary. While early Zionism was a secular anti Judaic movement, it was soon hijacked by Judaism (יהדות) and Jewishness (יהודיות). If early Zionism promised to make Jews ‘people like all other people,’ Judaism and Jewishness ensured that Jews were kept different -- clinging to the notions of choseness and tribal exceptionalism.
Once again, I suggest to the Independent Jewish Voices that independence means freedom- the unique act of thinking freely and creatively as opposed to tribally and collectively. To be independent is to unshackle oneself, to become ethical and universal for real, to stop concealing the truth on behalf of putative tribal interests. To be an independent voice is to stop acting as ‘voices.’ Is it that being independent and being Jewish is a political oxymoron? The Independent Jewish Voices may want to decide whether they prefer to operate politically as Jews or independently as ordinary, ethical human beings. Until they make a coherent decision, they may want to bear in mind that we have dissected Jewish progressive tactics and we are not entirely impressed with this film despite the stunning production.