Antisemitism, the Holocaust and Palestine
By Gilad Atzmon
A Statement Delivered By Gilad Atzmon at Babylon Theatre Berlin (14.12.2017)
December 16, 2017 "Information Clearing House" - In the last few days, in advance of the NRhZ’s humanitarian award ceremony, like Ken (FM) Jebsen and others, I have been subject to an insane defamation campaign. None of it was substantiated. It was comprised of fabricated quotes: I was called a ‘holocaust denier’ and a ‘holocaust relativist.’ Yet, not a single genuine reference was made to my writings or talks. In my work I criticise reducing the holocaust into a crude religion, an intolerant dogma. In my writing I protest against all history laws (Nakba laws, Armenian Genocide laws, Holocaust laws etc.) History for me, is the attempt to narrate the past as we are moving along. As such, it must be sustained as a dynamic discourse, subject to constant change and revision, even if this change happens to be slightly uncomfortable. For me, history is an ethical message --Only when we revise the past may we be able to, once again, rethink our future and destiny.
In recent days some of the German press referred to me as an ‘anti-semite.’ Am I? Have I ever criticized anyone including Jews as a ‘people’, as a ‘race,’ as a ‘biology,’ or as an ‘ethnicity’? Never. My work is anti racist. I have dedicated my entire adult life to fighting racism through my music, my writing and my performances. I am opposed to all forms of biologically-oriented politics: White, Black, Gender as well as Jewish. I am searching instead for that which brings humans together. In my writing and talks I make a clear distinction between the Jews (the people) whom I never criticize, Judaism (the religion) which I rarely deal with and Jewishness (the ideology, politics and culture). In my work I focus on the last- - the ideology , the politics and the culture, assuming that we all agree these (ideology, politics and culture) must be open to criticism.
But if you want to talk about holocaust denial, I will tell you something about denial. To deny intellectuals, authors and artists the right to express their views in the open is where fascism starts. What I saw in Germany in the last few days suggests to me that some segments within your society really learned nothing from the history of your country. To deny the holocaust is to deny its meaning, to turn your eyes away when you see evil, to let your heart become cold when you yourself participate in evil or celebrate hatred. To deny the holocaust is to fail to address your own inability to tolerate others and otherness. It is beyond painful for me to witness Germany being led blindly into the same trap just seven decades after the liberation of Auschwitz.
But I would like to add one more line on Palestine. Some Germans claim to be tormented by their past, by the atrocities of the 3rd Reich. If this is indeed the case, let me please remind you of a simple but embarrassing fact – the Palestinians are the last victims of Hitler.
It was the extent of the Shoah that brought support to Zionism and led to the formation of the Jewish State in Palestine. But it is the innocent Palestinians who, for the last seven decades, have been paying the price for crimes committed by Europeans.
If you feel guilty about Hitler, stand for Palestine and the Palestinians!