I read Gilad Atzmon on and off. I agree with much of what he says. He's wrong though that Islam isn't a problem. It is a problem for very much the reason that Judaism is a problem as he's pointed out in his article below. It is true that not all Muslims follow Mohammed verbatim. However, Mohammed's teachings are followed enough that nearly a billion souls are misdirected away from the full teaching of Jesus Christ who gave us the New Commandment and who fulfilled the law removing all hypocrisy from it.
Gilad, if all were truly Christian, everything would be put right. Jesus didn't do, and doesn't advocate doing, all the things you've pointed out that are rightly deemed evil and sin. I don't know how far you have gone in realizing that all harm is evil and sinful. I don't know whether you realize or not that selfishness is the problem and that the real God is anything but.
It is a common trend amongst rabid Zionists and notorious Islamophobes to quote some isolated and mistranslated verses from the Qur'an for the purpose of collectively libeling Muslims and presenting Islam as a regressive and violent belief system.
Needless to say, so far, such repetitive attempts have been found futile if not actually counter-effective. Not a single Western politician, Zionist campaigner or Neocon think tank has managed to establish a comprehensive case against Islam. The reason is rather simple, in spite of the clear fact that some devastating atrocities have been committed in the name of Islam and in the name of Jihad, these acts were performed by sporadic radicalized and isolated cells. As at it seems, in the eyes of the Western masses, it takes more than just a few random acts of a very few to undermine a humanist universal belief system and implicate its one billion followers.
In order to incriminate Islam and to discredit its believers, a broad argument is needed, a conclusive undeniable proof that would establish a continuum between a given immoral religious text, a religious infrastructure and mass following movement of worshipers who behave immorally and accordingly. For the matter, a CIA-created mysterious character who allegedly hides in a cave for 7 years is not nearly enough. What we really want to see is a continuation between a so-called Islamic 'satanic' Verses and an Organic active collective set of worshipers who are tempted to follow the very verses and perform horrifically. Somehow, such a conclusive and comprehensive link is always missing in the Zionists' and Islamophobes' call for action. A radical Imam in London is not enough, a deliberate mistranslation of Ahmadinejad speeches won't do either. Even repetitive images of the twin towers being chewed by airliners would not provide the goods.
Seemingly, time after time the ZioCon's defamation campaigns backlash. Instead of incriminating Islam and Muslims, ZioCons manage to marginalise themselves revealing their genuine faces. Time after time Zionists and Neocons are exposed marching along, side-by-side, with the most radical xenophobe bigots who happen to dwell amongst us in the West.
Since the collective incrimination of Muslims stands at the premise of the Neocon philosophy as well as global Zionism, and since both Zionists and their Neocon twins are doing poorly on that front, I have decided to dedicate this paper to a pedagogic cause and try to help them out. I will give here a crash course in rhetoric. I will try to enlighten our foes and show them, step by step, how to establish a case based on continuum between the Holy Scripture and merciless collective barbarism.
Assuming that Zionists (both Jews and Christians) as well as Neocons are rather familiar with the Old Testament (as much as they are unfamiliar with the Qur'an), I will point at a relatively very short extract from the Torah. For that purpose I picked up a small biblical extract that will help us to explore the current ZioCon plundering culture in the light of the Judaic teaching and God's promise.
The following verses are a part of an oratory made by Moses to his people while on their way to their 'promised land':
"Listen, Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! You must love the Lord your God with your whole mind, your whole being, and all your strength." - Deuteronomy chapter six: 4-5.
Considering the vast amount of beings around who are engaged in some relentless love seeking, I wouldn't dare criticise the Judaic God for doing the same. The Judaic God is entitled to demand the love of his chosen people. However, the Israelites' God is at least kind enough to give something in return:
"Then when the Lord your God brings you to the land he promised your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to give you – a land with large, fine cities you did not build, houses filled with choice things you did not accumulate, hewn out cisterns you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant – and you eat your fill." - Deuteronomy: Six: 10 -11.
On the face of it, the Old Testament verses above could stand as the most simplistic yet valid and solid proof for the existence of God. As we know, at least according to the Bible, God indeed managed to live up to his promise. He clearly brought his chosen people to the land of milk and honey and made them live in cities they didn't build and drink their water from wells they didn't dig. Clearly, the Lord did not abandon his people. A few millenniums later, the Judaic God capitalised on his might and brought the nations on their knees so they saw the light and willingly voted for the 1947 UN partition resolution. A fatal error that made it legal (rather than moral) for the new Israelite to live in cities he didn't build and drink from wells he didn't dig. Indeed, if there is a question regarding the existence of the Judaic God, the above should be enough to prove his existence.
However, it is rather obvious and very embarrassing to admit that the Judaic God, as portrayed by Moses in Deuteronomy 6:10 is an immoral evil God. It is a God who leads his people to plunder, robbery and theft. Yet, there are many ways to deal with this negative image of the almighty. On the literary level one can suggest that the given verses are not more than just two isolated lines in a gigantic text that is well meaning and offers some fundamental universal thoughts. On the contextual level, one may suggest that it wasn't actually God himself who was talking to his chosen people but rather Moses who failed to deliver the true message of God. In other words, Moses may have 'gotten it wrong' or even 'made it up'. In fact, there are many other ways to save the Judaic God from being the logos behind contemporary Israeli plundering, yet, it is not that easy to save the Israelites from being presented as robbers and plunders, especially in the light of their spiritual, cultural and religious heritage. In short, it is actually impossible not to see the continuum between Deuteronomy 6:10 and the crime against the Palestinian people that is committed by the Jewish State in the name of the Jewish people.
Seemingly, Moses, his contemporaries and their current Zionist followers were and are rather excited about the possibilities laid ahead for them in the Land of Milk and Honey. Israel, the Jewish State, had been following Moses' call to the elements. The ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people in 1948 makes Deuteronomy 6:10 look like a prophecy has come true. On a daily basis the Israelis rob the indigenous Palestinians of their land, cities, villages, fields, orchards and wells. In fact this robbery has never stopped for over a century. For the last sixty years, Moses' call for theft is put into a legal praxis. The Israeli looting of Palestinian cities, homes, fields and wells found its way into the Israeli legal system. Already in 1950-51 Israel legislators approved the 'Absentee Property Law', a racially orientated law that is there to prevent Palestinians from returning to their lands, cities and villages. A law that is there to allow the new Israelites to live in houses and cities they didn't build.
The never-ending robbery of Palestine by Israel in the name of the Jewish people establishes a devastating spiritual, ideological, cultural and obviously, practical continuum between the Judaic bible and the Zionist project. The crux of the matter is simple yet disturbing: Israel and Zionism are both successful political systems that put into devastating practice the plunder promised by the Judaic God in the Judaic holy scriptures.
It seems obvious: Zionist and Neocon repetitive failure tendency to defame Islam and Muslims is actually nothing more than a banal projection. Zionists and Neocons are well familiar with the different immoral teaching within the Judaic spiritual and religious heritage that matured into a Zionist looting. Foolishly, they try to project it on Islam and Muslims. After reading Moses' oratory we may have to confess, the Jewish nationalist project that is supported by the vast majority of Jewish institutions around the world is an attempt aiming at robbery of the indigenous Palestinians following a cultural and religious heritage that is overwhelmingly documented in the Judaic Bible.
Yet we must never forget that not all Jews follow the Bible. Some are not even aware of the biblical text or its content. Some may even suggest to us that we must never forget the Bund and its progressive, secular and cosmopolitan heritage that is currently maintained by a half a dozen enthusiast Jewish Marxists around the world. Indeed, we have to admit that out of the very few Bundists who didn't immigrate to Israel after the war, half a dozen do not agree with Israel, Zionism and the robbery of Palestine. This is certainly a reason to be cheerful. However, Bundists believe that instead of robbing Palestinians we should all get together and rob who is considered to be the rich, the wealthy and the strong in the name of working class revolution. Here is the Bund's call for action taken from 'The Vow' the Bund's anthem:
We swear our stalwart hate persists,
Of those who rob and kill the poor:
The Tsar, the masters, capitalists.
Our vengeance will be swift and sure.
So swear together to live or die!
On the face of it, robbing the rich, confiscating their homes and grabbing their wealth is seen as an ethical act within the progressive discourse. As a young revolutionary I myself took part in some righteous parades. I was ready to grab my sword and to join the hunt for a Tsar, a capitalist or any other enemy who may cross my way. But then, the inevitable happened, I grew up. I realised that such a vengeance towards an entire class of wealthy goyim is not more than an extension of Moses' oratory of Deuteronomy Six.
Robbery cannot be the way forwards. Whether it is Palestinians, Iraqis, world banking or even the Tsar himself. Robbing involves a categorical dismissal of the other. Hence, it must be premised on some inherent self-righteousness. Robbery and plunder doesn't live in peace with a deep understanding of the notion of human equality. Sadly we have to admit that hate-ridden plunder of other people's possessions made it into the Jewish political discourse both on the left and right. The Jewish nationalist would rob Palestine in the name of the right of self-determination, the Jewish progressive is there to rob the ruling class and even international capital in the name of world working class revolution. I better stay out of it.
It must be stated that if Neocons and Zionists are really interested in defaming Islam and Muslims, all they have to do is to provide us with a similar analogous extensive reading of Islam in which an alleged satanic verse is translated into an unethical praxis performed by a substantial organised collective.
However, bearing in mind the increasing influence of the Old Testament within the American political discourse due to the rise of popularity of Christian fundamentalism in America, the notion of the plundering God may help us to understand the American current conduct in Iraq and in Afghanistan. In other words, the growing popularity of Old Testament teachings may help us to grasp the predatory philosophy encouraged by the perpetrators of the notorious 'New American Century'.
Most importantly, within such a problematic reading of the Judaic God as presented in Deuteronomy 6:10 and its total dismissal of the Other, Jesus' call to love one's neighbour comes into life. This is the exact ingredient some of us miss in Moses' oratory as reflected in Jewish political discourse and praxis. It is love to one's neighbour that we lack in contemporary Anglo-American affairs. Human brotherhood is what we miss in Jewish nationalism both right and left. Would the Zionists be open to the notion of brotherhood, they would be empathic to the Palestinian right of return. Would the Jewish Marxists and cosmopolitans be open to the notion of Brotherhood, they would give up on their unique exclusive banners and become ordinary human beings like the rest of us.
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 My One and Only Love. Atzmon is also one of the most accomplished jazz saxophonists in Europe. His CD, Exile, was named the year's best jazz CD by the BBC. He now lives in London.
"SWINDLER'S LIST," by Gilad Atzmon. Middle East Online. April 4, 2008.
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And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. (Matthew 17:24-26)