Greetings Mr. Abunimah and fellow signatories of your statement titled: “Granting No Quarter: A Call for the Disavowal of the Racism and Antisemitism of Gilad Atzmon.”,
As someone who both respects and admires much of your work, it’s with disappointment and regret that I read this demand for Mr. Atzmon’s disavowal. It is acknowledged that the chief grounds upon which said call is predicated, involve allegations of anti-semitism and racism within his views. These charges are serious and require equally serious examination. Unfortunately, many of the premises therein comprised reductivism and misrepresentation of what are originally more complex accounts. This occludes truth and ends up offering a sideways engagement with the subject matter concerned. Via a few quoted words uprooted from context, very serious charges were made against Mr. Atzmon concerning racism, anti-semitism, as well as implied, (though, not substantiated) Holocaust denial. For a cursory yet a comparably more substantive engagement, the following URL provides adequate illustration: http://www.salem-news.com/articles/march182012/disavowal-perceptionbc.php
Be that as it may, the aim here is to defend Mr. Atzmon’s full right to freedom of expression. Those who think this is intrinsic to total agreement with all his opinions, need read no further. In a democracy, all share the right to freedom of expression, and from what I understand, you claim to support democracy with equal rights for all, where all are welcome. To do so whilst publicly insisting unreservedly on the repudiation of Mr. Atzmon entails a basic contradiction. This is not plausible. To declare outright one’s dissociation from Atzmon’s opinions, is a legitimate move. To go beyond, making normative claims, stipulating who should disavow whom, trying to excommunicate a prolific musician and independent thinker, raises serious questions concerning one’s integrity of position.
This sort of offensive manoeuvre whereby you publicly prescribe his disavowal by others in the absence of carefully presented evidence, displaces you from equal human rights defenders into a camp that’s closer to the so-called democratic state against which you claim to be campaigning. Moreover, it betrays a sense of intolerance, something which has no place in any truly democratic and just world. A traditional chorus now includes: “Gilad’s politics are very divisive.” Yet the divisiveness actualized seems to come from one side. If one genuinely takes issue with the substance of his claims and findings, then, the reasonable recourse is to support a free, open, and meaningful exchange with Mr. Atzmon.
If others wish to express their positions for or against Mr. Atzmon, they can easily do so via mechanisms democratically available to them, without need for your behests or calls. Human history has had more than its share of people telling others where their allegiances should lie.
There is no need for this kind of intra-activist conflict. It misses the mark, diverting much-needed attention from the original struggle, and gives Zionist opposition more grist for their mill.
The human species is in jeopardy and the Israel-Palestine conflict is just one of many that mark our dying planet. In taking this sort of action you subdivide into greater finitude and make this to be about you and Mr. Atzmon, when it’s not about either of you. It’s about the Palestinian struggle for restitution, and ultimately, the defense and upholding of truth and justice for every human being in the world.
Hopefully we can all move forward and waste no further time on such counterproductive distractions.