Gilad Atzmon

Atzmon tries to lift the Palestinian Discourse where Wittgenstein left it…

1 “What can be said at all can be said clearly, and what we cannot talk about, we must pass over in silence.” (Ludwig Wittgenstein 1918)

1.1 Humanism and ethics are ends worth fighting for.

1.2 Western politics and political discourse (on the other hand) are concerned with power and hegemony.

1.3 Hence, humanism and ethics are foreign to the Western political discourse and vice versa.

2 The Palestinian liberation struggle is grounded on humanist and ethical arguments since it is based on moral rights, namely ‘the right of return’ and ‘liberation’.

2.1 Since the Palestinian liberation struggle is a humanist cause, Western politicians and political discourse are foreign to the Palestinian struggle.

2.11 As a result Western politics left, right and centre were not able to provide for the Palestinian people and their struggle over the period of decades of Zionist abuse.

2.12 This is unfortunately a true reading of the colossal failure of the left in helping the Palestinian people. Being a political discourse, the left is concerned with power and hegemony. Consequently it had been exploiting the Palestinian discourse in order to maintain its own political relevance (or rather irrelevance) within its imaginary universe.

2.121 Palestinians have learned their lesson. Their liberation movement has matured and abandoned the utopian dream that was misleading and foreign to their national cause.

2.1211 Since the Palestinian struggle is a geographically orientated, ethnic and national struggle, proletarian, cosmopolitan ideologies better revise accordingly.

2.122 However, truth must be said. Western leftist campaigners were very effective in producing solidarity culture, whether these are badges, scarves and placards, which they circulated among themselves and to close family members.

2.123 And yet, badges, placards and flyers didn’t save a single Palestinian kid from being shelled by an Israeli tank.

2.2 The Palestinian people will have to liberate themselves.

2.21 And the solidarity activists had better learn to listen.

3 Since ‘humanism and ethics are worth fighting for’ (1.1),

3.1 And the Palestinian struggle is a human cause (2.1),

3.2 We must support the Palestinians for what they are and their (democratic) choice.

4 There is an inherent difficulty within the heart of the Palestinian solidarity discourse that must be addressed:

Zionism (ideology), Judaism (religion), Jewishness (identity) and the Jews (people) are closely related, confusing terms. Consequently, any form of pro-Palestinian activism is curtailed by the fear of accusations of sustaining ideas that may be considered by some as racism.

4.01 At the same time, the vast majority of the Palestinians and solidarity activists realise that Israel, Jewish lobbies, Jewish pressure groups and any other form of Jewish tribal activism are often indistinguishable.

4.1 The question that comes to mind is: how can we say what we believe to be the truth and still regard ourselves as humanists?

4.12 How can we talk openly about the Jewish state, Jewish lobbying, Judaism and Jewishness and still maintain an anti-racist humanist and ethical stand?

4.2 The answer is simple. We can do so only if we manage to categorically dismantle the traces of any racial argument. We must refrain from talking about the people yet attacking any form of Zionism, Jewish political tribalism and Jewishness. We must attack it as an ideology and as a dogmatic credo.

4.3 We are entitled to do so as humanists due to the simple reason that every form of Jewish tribal politics is racially orientated and exclusivist. We are entitled to refer to Jewish political tribalism as a non-humanist and anti-universalist worldview.

4.4 Consequently, dismantling Jewish ideology and political tribalism is a humanist task.

4.5 Fighting Jewish tribal politics is a humanist and ethical act because it aims toward peace, universalism and inclusiveness (as opposed to war, tribalism and exclusiveness).

5 “What can be said at all can be said clearly, and what we cannot talk about, we must pass over in silence.”

Gilad Atzmon is a jazz musician, composer, producer and writer.


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