These unhappy critics are in a few marginal sites and tiny discussion groups to practically take up the cause of the American Jewish Committee in criticising Erdogan. The interesting and very positive fact that Erdogan would not allow the stream of lies uttered by Shimon Peres to go unchallenged in the World Economic Forum (Davos) Conference on Gaza seems to have eluded them all. They hardly seem to notice that Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan obviously had come prepared for the sort of arguments he would be hearing, the kind of justifications that Israel gives for its killing sprees, as he took paper from his folder and read off of a sheet, (or tried hard to before the moderator attempted to stifle the Prime Minister and whisk the waiting public to their dinner) three quotes: the first, from the Jewish Torah, the second, from Gilad Atzmon and the third from Avi Shlaim.
Obviously, the Torah is quite authoritative, and even if some atheist Jews don’t mind that God, someone they claim does not exist, is being quoted, what counts is the message, after all. They have decided that Erdogan did something terrible in quoting Gilad Atzmon. What is their problem, with the message or the messenger?
First of all, the message: It stated pretty much the facts that everyone who claims they are for the Palestinians should know by now: "Israel’s barbarity exceeds ordinary cruelty." If anyone is ready to state that Israel used anything less than the most crude disproportionate force, may they speak now or forever hope for "peace".
It is also surprising that rather than state what Erdogan did "right", they are bringing up Kurds, Armenia and other atrocious aspects of Turkish affairs, past or present. This is true of the attacks on Erdogan in the Zionist media right now, and it’s being echoed by those who for a long time have been claiming they are the forefront of the movement, even without the credentials for it, unless their being Jewish so they can add their name to an appeal is the dubious credential. It does seem odd that while the discourse is Palestine, they are very happy to drag it to Anti-Semitism, which obviously did not appear at all in what they are trying to destroy, or to geo-political arenas far from Israel and Palestine. There is NO difference between the Zionist campaign and the anti-Zionist Jewish campaign. Both are to decide what the parameters of discourse are and to destroy the messenger, while making the issue of how Jews feel about themselves and how they think the world should speak about them THE issue.
The messenger: Erdogan is being scoffed at for his belonging to an Islamist party. Well, why should anyone be surprised that this is a deadly sin for Jews who are Zionists and anti-Zionists alike. It is as if it automatically means totalitarian religious regime that is the enemy, and thus, the conditional support or the open criticism of Hamas and Hezbollah. Whether or not that is the case of Turkey, one has only to go there to find out. Women there are actually prohibited from wearing hijab (how fundamentalist is that?) in public offices, to cite but one example of the secular character of this state. Oh, the other problem, that he’s bourgeois. Well, it seems that the only ones acceptable are ones that are just like them, Secular Marxists. Or Secular Liberals. Or Jewish Atheists. Or secular Jewish Liberals… well, you get the picture.
Well, they wonder, how could Erdogan have gotten such an "obscure" writer fall into his folder and be carried from Ankara to Davos and directly to the stage? The critics maybe don’t know that papers by Gilad Atzmon are widely circulated, and not only in the alternative media, but actually they have entered the public discourse through the front door. One of his recent papers was read aloud in full on SkyTurk. Walking around Florence, today we found his papers in Italian stuck under windscreen wipers, turn on your radio and you are hearing him interviewed about Gaza. I suppose it is great to be published in Socialist Unity, but if the argument used is that Atzmon is fringe, margin, obscure, well, that argument once and for all has bit the dust. It is not out of a sense of pride, and we admit, it is indeed a matter of pride to hear your words or words of your friends and allies used to tear down the shameful wall of lies by Peres, while he can just sit and take it. It feels incredibly good. It is enabling. If we can do it, not financed by anyone or doing anyone’s business, everyone’s voice can be heard. As a matter of fact, Erdogan made a lot of people happy. Almost across the board Palestinians and Turks admired his bravery and determination. When he returned home, he was welcomed "As a World Leader". Yet, some will try to undermine that by calling it demagogy, with Turkey nearing elections.
Let’s stop to think for a moment. If it is an electoral tactic to be as bloodthirsty as possible to win votes in Israel, and expressing the humanitarian cries for a beleaguered people in Turkey is the "winning choice". Which country would you rather live in?
And if it is indeed so that the people as a whole believe that Israel is killing and killing in a way that exceeds anything necessary, then the discourse of Atzmon is by no means marginal or fringe, it is at the heart of the discourse. No one has to bombard people with information or letters or campaigns to know how to call things as they see it. They don’t need this Jewish organisation or that one to tell them who to listen to and how to think, cornering them into some kind of bizarre admission that identifying with these words is in some way damaging to Jews and anti-Semitic and some of these movement "leaders" will say, damaging to the movement or cause. In fact, the conclusion to draw is that these writings must be touching nerves, touching the deepest feelings of humanitarian concern and not ones of political or personal expediency. The diffusion of these writings has been by spontaneous proliferation, there is no press office or political group lobbying, there’s just a person at his own computer and the spread of information from there.
There is a rottenness of the "movement" if it does not recognise when the moment to put aside their personal qualms or conflicts with Atzmon and accept that something magnificent has happened, and the humanitarians of the world feel it and know it. Persisting in the campaign to silence Atzmon now would not only be LESS effective than it was before, but it drops down the final mask, that these people operate as crypto Zionists. Their agenda, and the agenda of the American Jewish Committee is one and the same.
Mary Rizzo is an art restorer, translator and writer living in Italy. Editor
and co-founder of Palestine Think Tank, co-founder of Tlaxcala translations collective. Her personal
blog is Peacepalestine.
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