Saturday, February 19, 2011

ATZMON Says: Israel Worse Than Nazi Germany

February 19, 2011


Three months ago, I briefly participated in a Palestinian solidarity conference in Stuttgart. The event was dedicated to the ‘One State Solution’. As it happened, I was touring in Germany at the time, and thus accepted an invitation by the organiser to say a few words.

Being primarily an artist, rather than a politician or an activist, I am committed to truth and beauty rather than a party-line or any given ideological doctrine. Yet, without my intending to do so, and in just a few sentences – I managed to cross every possible ‘red line’, and I bought myself a few more enemies.

In my speech, I said that as much as ‘universalism’ is a beautiful idea, it is incompatible with Jewish culture, since Jewish culture is tribally oriented. I also told the German Palestinian supporters that as much as ‘peace’ is a beautiful concept, associated as it is with harmony and reconciliation,  Shalom, the Hebrew word for peace, is actually interpreted by Israelis as ‘security for the Jews’.

I thought that the supporters of the ‘One State Solution’ should be aware of the complexities that lie ahead.

I also managed  to infuriate some, by suggesting that I was against the comparisons between Israel and Nazi Germany. Indeed, I believe that from certain ideological perspective, Israel is actually far worse than Nazi Germany, for unlike Nazi Germany, Israel is a democracy and that implies that Israeli citizens are complicit in Israeli atrocities.

Needless to say, a few of the attendants of the conference were angry with me.  Such ideas are hardly expressed on German soil. Some of the Jewish activists, and at least one Marxist, demanded that I should be removed from the protocol.

I was obviously sad about it — I believed that those who advocated the ‘One State solution’ should be able to support intellectual pluralism — But it turns out that a few of those who promote democracy in Palestine would be better advised to first confront their own Stalinist tendencies.

Later, I learned that one legendary German Jewish activist and speaker at the conference stood by me.  Evelyn Hecht-Galinski firmly announced that if I was to be removed from the protocol, then she also wanted to be removed. She argued in my defense that I was telling the truth about both Jewish and Israeli culture.

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