Book Review: The Wandering Who? (2011)

A study of Jewish Identity politics, by Gilad Atzmon
Perhaps the most significant book on the power metapolitics of our age
Reviewed by Brian R. Wright

The Wandering Who? is one of those wholly extraordinary and intellectually sharp, even entertaining, missives in which readers will want to place a highlight on every other page. It is simply the most enlightening book you will read in the next decade or two about one of the most important subjects affecting the modern course of our species: the origin and rationale of “Jewish-ness” and its manifestations.

For roughly a decade, I’ve read a number of articles and books about and given thought to the puzzle. What is a Jew, fair and proper? Need I be concerned one way or the other? Friend or foe? Pro liberty or anti? Are Jews merely practitioners of a faith, a religion—if so, how does the fundamental doctrine square with humanitarian norms or my own secular Trumanism? Or are they, themselves, an ethnic identity, a ‘people’ who have generally been suppressed by conventional Christian society thru the ages? Or have they self-ostracized from surrounding culture, feeling chosen by God? Do they disdain, despise, and/or work to harness the non-Jew? Do they have an affinity for collectivism/communism? Further, how do we figure the genealogy? What percentage of  modern Jews, for example, descend, not from the Holy Land, rather from the Khazars of  the 8th Century? [Ref. Arthur Koestler, The Thirteenth Tribe (1976).]

Gilad Atzmon, perhaps the most unlikely of sources, yet a truly exceptional intellect, has laid all the answers bare… in terms that, well, a fairly conceptually oriented mind will find simple and straightforward. The material is not difficult, but does presuppose an interest in reading sparkling, independent scholarly treatises.

Since reading Alison Weir’s equally vital work on Zionism and Israel several years ago, Against Our Better Judgment: How the United States was used to create Israel, I have thought, along with Ms. Weir and many others, that the essential problem is that many Jews embrace the political philosophy/movement of Zionism and its resulting apartheid state of Israel. I still lean that way, but Atzmon suggests that these notions are facile, unrooted, or, at least, incomplete.

Here Gilad introduces a major premise of his enterprise:

“I launch my journey raising a relatively simple question. Who are the Jews? Or alternatively what do people mean when they call themselves Jews? As far as self-perception is concerned, those who call themselves Jews could be divided into three main categories:

1) Those who follow Judaism.
2) Those who regard themselves as human beings that happen to be of
Jewish origin.
3) Those who put their Jewish-ness over and above all of their other
traits.

“The first two categories may denote a harmless and innocent group of people.

“The third category is problematic. Its definition may sound inflammatory to some. And yet, bizarrely enough, it was the formulation given on the eve of the 20th century by Chaim Weizmann, a prominent early Zionist figure and later the first Israeli President: ‘There are no English, French, German or American Jews, but only Jews living in England, France, Germany or America.’ In just a few words, Weizmann managed to categorically define the essence of Jewish-ness. It is basically a ‘primary quality’. You may be a Jew who dwells in England, a Jew who plays the violin or even a Jew against Zionism, but above all else you are a Jew. And this is exactly the idea conveyed by the third category.” — page 16 [1]

The ‘Third Category’ Jew

In other words, 1st and 2d category Jews are often casual, assimilated individuals who, for want of a better phrase, are glad to dwell in the comfort zone of the Jewish community and the customs in/with which they have grown up. If American, these individuals tend to place the interests of America above the interests of Israel. And large numbers of those who do concern themselves with politics have become increasingly upset with Israel and its on-going ethnic cleansing of the peoples in the lands it has stolen. Jewish Voice for Peace and Mondoweiss are noteworthy examples.

[Atzmon argues that such ‘Jews vs. Zionism’ or ‘Jews vs. Zionist-Israeli Excessive Aggression,’ by not questioning the third-category roots of Zionism (or the state of Israel), itself, serve as merely controlled opposition to the Men of the Power Sickness[2] that Third Category Jewish-ness fosters. Thus, the particular global über gang of power-sociopaths continues on its path of predation and depredation unimpeded. Gilad’s point is well taken. However, such so-called controlled opposition—by supporting BDS and other resistance measures to Israeli aggression—does, in fact, oppose aggression. Effectiveness is shown by what Gilad, himself, presents: more and more Israelis are doubting their own cause.]

“In Zionist eyes Jewish-ness is an international network operation. In his book, Ostrovsky refers to it as racial solidarity; I call it third category brotherhood and Weizmann calls it Zionism. But it all means the same thing. It is all about commitment, one that pulls more and more Jews into an obscure, dangerous and unethical fellowship. Apparently, Zionism is not about Israel. Israel is just a volatile territorial asset, violently maintained by a mission force composed of Hebrew-speaking, third category Jews [and their US/UK allies — bw]. In fact, there is no geographical centre to the Zionist endeavor. It is hard to determine where Zionist decisions are made. Is it in Jerusalem? In the Knesset, in the Israeli PM office, in the Mossad, or maybe in the ADL offices in America? It could be in Bernie Madoff’s office or somewhere else in Wall Street.” — page 20

The above paragraph refers to a commitment “that pulls more and more Jews into an obscure, dangerous and unethical fellowship.” The analysis of THAT commitment, and the ideas/social incentives behind it, is what colors the remainder of Atzmon’s analysis. Some key stimulating ideas (with highlighted text quotes) that I take away from The Wandering Who? are:

  • The Moral Agenda: “They ‘bring’ democracy to the ‘savage’, they ‘bring’ equality to the poor. They employ abstract ethical concepts. But somehow, the Jewish state is always set to benefit. One just has to read the first and prominent Zionist prophet Theodor Herzl to know that this is what political Zionism is all about: getting superpowers to serve the Zionist cause.”
    — page 30
  • Identity Politics and Marginal Philosophies: “Assimilated Jewish Americans, for instance, have always been extremely excited about the possibility of becoming American patriots. Many American Jews have found their way into the leading classes via the academic world, banking, real estate, the stock market, the media, politics and so on. But once they are in key positions within mainstream society, their patriotic tendencies are challenged by those they left in the margins.” — page 37
  • Think Tribal, Speak Universal: “But why do they hate so much? The answer is simple. Once Judaism is renounced, what remains of Jewish identity is pretty threadbare. Once stripped of religious spirituality, all that is left of Jewish-ness is a template of negation fueled by racial orientation and spiced up with some light cultural references such as matza balls and chicken soup. Sadly, I have to say that that… secular collective Jewish identity has never matured into adopting a universal humanist ideological standpoint or even a philosophical insight.”
    — page 55
  • The Righteous Jew: “The more Israelis detest themselves, the more horrified they become at their doomed situation. They despise the fact that they might have lost the ghetto for good, yet have failed to join the community of nations. They have never become ‘people like all people’. To repeat: the more they insist on loving themselves for who they think they are, the more they loathe themselves for what they have become.” — page 86
  • Zionism vs. Israel: “If Zionism exists to maintain Jewish entitlement to a national home in Zion, Israeli-born Jews live this reality from the start. For them, Zionism is a remote chapter of history associated with an old photograph of a man with a big black beard (Herzl). For Israelis, Zionism is not a transformation waiting to happen, but a tedious and dated body of ideas with little relevance whatsoever to their lives.” — page 97
  • The Right to Self-Determination: “In oppressed societies, the right to self-determination is often overshadowed by the impulse to rebel against oppres-sion. For Palestinians in the Occupied Territories and in Gaza, the right to self-determination means less and less. They do not need to self-determine as Palestinians, for they know who they are; if they should happen to forget, the soldiers at the next roadblock are there to remind them.” — page 106
  • The Jewish Paradox: “[Milton] Friedman considers some answers: ‘Rather often we hear from Jews on the left that their affinity to humanitarian issues is driven by their ‘Jewish humanist heritage.’ ‘ More than once I myself have commented that this is an utter lie. There is no such a Jewish heritage. Driven by tribal precepts, both Judaism and ‘Jewish ideology’ are devoid of universal ethics. If there are some remote patches of humanism in Jewish culture, these are certainly far from being universal.” — page 113
  • The Judaic God: “The never-ending theft of Palestine in the name of the Jewish people is part of a spiritual, ideological, cultural and practical continuum between the Bible, Zionist ideology and the State of Israel (along with its overseas supporters). Israel and Zionism, both successful political systems, have instituted the plunder promised by the Hebrew God in the Judaic holy scriptures.” — page 121
  • Pre-Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PSS): “In reality, the Israelis are actually horrified by their own cruelty. It is the terror within that horrifies the most. The recent cold-blooded murder of nine peace activists, on the high seas, by Israeli Navy Seal commandos[3] was a shocking exposure of that lethal dynamic.[4] This astonishing attack was fueled by an imaginary terror threat (pre-TSS).” — page 133
  • Shlomo Sand, Semites?: “Accordingly, the ‘Jewish people’ is a made-up notion, consisting of an imaginary past with very little to back it up forensically, historically, or textually. Furthermore, Sand, who elaborated on early sources from antiquity, comes to the conclusion that Jewish exile is also a myth, and that the present-day Palestinians are far more likely to be the descendants of the ancient Semitic people in Judea/Canaan than the current, predominantly Khazarian-origin, Ashkenazi crowd, which he admits he belongs to himself.” — page 135
  • Roman Exile: “Says Shlomo Sand: ‘I started looking for research studies about the exile from the land, but to my astonishment I discovered that it has no literature. The reason is that no one exiled the people of the country. The Romans did not exile peoples, and they could not have done so even if they had wanted to.'” — page 142
  • The Holocaust Religion: “Professor Yeshayahu Leibowitz, a Latvian-born philosopher at the Hebrew University, was probably first to suggest that the Holocaust has become the new Jewish religion. The Israeli philosopher Adi Ophir also pointed out that far from being merely a historical narrative, ‘The Holocaust’ contains numerous essential religious elements. It has priests (e.g. Simon Wiesenthal, Elie Wiesel, Deborah Lipstadt) and prophets (Shimon Peres, Binyamin Netanyahu, those who warn of the Iranian Judeocide to come). It has commandments and dogmas (e.g. ‘Never Again’) and rituals (memorial days, pilgrimage to Auschwitz, etc). It has an established, esoteric symbolic order (e.g. kapos , gas chambers, chimneys, dust, shoes, the figure of the Musselmann , etc). It also has a temple, Yad Vashem, and shrines – Holocaust museums – in capital cities worldwide. The Holocaust religion is also maintained by a massive global financial network, what Norman Finkelstein terms the ‘Holocaust industry’, as well as such institutions as the Holocaust Education Trust. This new religion is coherent enough to define its ‘antichrists’ (Holocaust deniers), and powerful enough to persecute them (through Holocaust-denial and hate-speech laws).” — page 148
  • Triple Whammy: Holocaust Culture, Pre-TSS, the Book of Esther: “However, I also take the liberty of extending the notion of the Holocaust itself. Rather than referring merely to the Shoah , i.e., the Nazi Judeocide, I believe the Holocaust is actually engraved in the Jewish culture, discourse and spirit. The Holocaust is the essence of the collective Jewish Pre-TSS, which predates the Shoah. To be a Jew is to see a threat in every Goy, to be on a constant alert. To internalise the message of The Book of Esther is to aim for the most influential centres of hegemony, to collaborate with power and bond with rulers.” — page 148 [Note: Dozens of reports on the would-be killing of 6 million Jews occur in mainstream and Jewish journalistic sources before the Shoah, as early as 1900.]
  • However, Israel is not alone…. “As in the case of Jewish history, American and British politicians insist on a banal and simplistic historic tale to do with WWII, Cold War, Islam, 911, etc. Tragically, the criminal Anglo-American genocide in Iraq and Afghanistan, AKA ‘The War against Terror,’ is a continuation of our self-inflicted blindness. Since Britain and Am-erica failed to grasp the necessary message from the massacres in Hamburg and Dresden, Nagasaki and Hiroshima, there was nothing that could stop English-speaking imperialism from committing similar crimes in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq…. Western political leadership is totally detached from humanist thinking or judgments that involve ethics.
    “For America, Britain and the West to rescue themselves all they have to do is to revert to Western values of ethics and openness. They must drift away from Jerusalem and reinstate the spirit of Athens.” — page 188

Epilog

Atzmon is possibly the perfect apostate for the ideal moment: He hails from an Israeli family who vigorously embraced the Zionist militaristic imperative, yet through his art, his music, and an insatiable curiosity rose to independent universal scholar… to bring down that hideous, insidious monster … from the inside. We semi-normal, at least non-bat-feces-crazy, human beings can only hope:

“As far as Jews are concerned, a few questions remain. Can the Jewish identity discourse be liberated from its self-imposed ideological and spiritual tyranny? Can Jewish politics drift away from supremacy? Can Jews save themselves? My answer is simple: for Jewish ideology to universalise itself and for Jews to move on and emancipate themselves, a vigorous and honest process of self-reflection must take place. Whether Jews can engage in such a critical endeavour is an open question. I don’t know the answer, I guess that some can, others can’t. I would hope, though, that this book may offer a fairly good start.”

The astute reader can readily discern that anyone plugged in to the ‘Third Category’-dominated MOPS global cabal—including literally 10s of thousands of the Western power political class, court intellectuals, and mainstream academic, media, legal, entertainment, and business potentates—are apoplectic over this humble world-class clarinet player’s incisive exposure of the emperor, unmasking of Oz’s wizard. Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. All that’s left for them is to admit defeat and walk away from their Samson self-destruct pillars of eternal debt, war, and death. Will they or won’t they?

No matter how it goes, Gilad, the world owes you an immense debt of gratitude.

Everyone, share this book as if the future of the species depends on it.

[1] Try this as a thought-experiment: substitute ‘American Exceptionalist’ or ‘Strident Christian’ or ‘Marxist Communist’ for ‘Jew’ in Mr. Atzmon’s formulation. My point is any Collective-Mind movement or ideology/culture will produce zealots… and according to the rule, 1% to 10% of the believers will produce 99% to 90%, respectively, of the problems.

[2] The Men of the Power Sickness is my phrase, which I popularized in my booklet, The Barrier Cloud—a standalone module of my The Sacred Nonaggression Principle (2008), Free Man Publishing Co. To paraphrase: the MOPS are a small number who try to live by controlling others; they must remain covert in their operations, because human beings naturally have great antipathy toward those who aggress upon others. Unfortunately, over the centuries—I speculate because of a general, inherent central nervous system characteristic—the MOPS have managed, via coercive state agency, to amass great stolen wealth and power, they now stand poised to destroy humankind.

[3] On 31 May 2010, in international waters, Israeli Navy seals raided a humanitarian aid flotilla of six ships. The flotilla carried humanitarian aid and construction materials. It aimed to break the Israeli siege on Gaza. At dawn, hundreds of Israeli elite Shayetet 13 naval commandos boarded the ships from speedboats and helicopters, using excessive power. On the Turkish MV Mavi Marmara, the Israelis met some resistance. The Israelis were quick to use live ammunition. Consequently, nine Turkish peace activists were killed by the Israeli soldiers, some amongst them were executed by Israeli soldiers. The Israeli raid led to widespread international condemnation.

[4] I must also remind readers that we are into the 50th anniversary of the deliberate, false-flag attack on the USS Liberty, an unarmed American eavesdropping vessel in international waters during the Six Day War. The attack lasted two hours, employed unmarked Israeli jets, torpedo boats (cutting stretcher bearers and lifeboats to shreds), and army helicopters with commandos to finish off the survivors. 34 killed, 174 wounded. Of a crew of 294. Miraculously, the Liberty limped away. The US and Israel governments mutually covered up the crime, holding no normal internal inquiries and exonerating Israel. Justice still awaits our men.

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