Gilad Atzmon, his Defenders, and their Enablers

Here is what you need to know about Gilad Atzmon:

  • Atzmon promotes the deicide charge that spurred centuries of anti-Jewish massacres. “The Jews were responsible for the killing of Jesus,” he tells readers.
  • His larger point is that modern Jews are contemporary Christ-killers: “Jews who get angry when blamed for killing Jesus are those who identify themselves with Jesus’s killers. Those who would commit this murderous act today.”
  • Atzmon is also a Holocaust denier. “I am left puzzled here, if the Nazis ran a death factory in Auschwitz-Birkenau, why would the Jewish prisoners join them at the end of the war?” he asks. “Why didn’t the Jews wait for their Red liberators?
  • Indeed, in his account, Nazis didn’t want to kill or even expel Jews: “If, for instance, the Nazis wanted the Jews out of their Reich (Judenrein – free of Jews), or even dead, as the Zionist narrative insists, how come they marched hundreds of thousands of them back into the Reich at the end of the war?
  • How it is that the number Jews who died in the Holocaust keeps dropping in people’s minds,” Atzmon wonders aloud. “The number of Jews who died in the big war keeps fluctuating.”
  • About Auschwitz, he insists that “The question of whether there was a mass homicide with gas or ‘just’ a mass death toll due to total abuse in horrendous conditions is no doubt a crucial historical question.”
  • Atzmon doesn’t only rely only on questions to promote Holocaust denial. He eventually gets to the point: “The Holocaust narrative, in its current form, doesn’t make any historical sense.
  • But even if the Nazi persecution was as it is chronicled by history, Hitler’s antisemitism — all antisemitism — is the Jews’ fault: “[W]e should…ask why? Why were the Jews hated? Why did European people stand up against their next door neighbors? Why are the Jews hated in the Middle East? … Why did America tighten its immigration laws amid the growing danger to European Jews? We should also ask for what purpose do the holocaust denial laws serve? What is the holocaust religion there to conceal?
  • If Atzmon sounds like Holocaust-denier David Irving, that’s because he’s a fan.
  • Atzmon doesn’t just recommend Irving’s books; he also credits Irving’s antisemitism as an inspiration: “‘If I were a Jew,’ [Irving] said, ‘I would ask myself why it always happens to us?’ At the time, I was a still Jew but I took up Irving’s challenge. I looked in the mirror and didn’t like what I saw so I decided to leave the tribe and I stopped being a Jew.”
  • Atzmon welcomes fellow Holocaust deniers onto his website, where he effusively praises them as they write about “the Holocaust®, the founding myth of the zionist entity.”
  • Atzmon asks whether American Jews conspire to control the world: “Zionists complain that Jews continue to be associated with a conspiracy to rule the world via political lobbies, media and money,” he says. “Is the suggestion of conspiracy really an empty accusation?
  • And he quickly answers his own question: “American Jewry makes any debate on whether the ‘Protocols of the elder of Zion’ are an authentic document or rather a forgery irrelevant. American Jews do try to control the world, by proxy.
  • He charges American Jews with dual — or worse, external — loyalty: “We have to ask ourselves what motivates American Jews to gain such political power. Is it a genuine care for American interests?” (No, he goes on to argue.)
  • He insists that “The current mess in Iraq is the direct outcome of Jewish political domination of the West for the last two decades.”
  • Amid all this old-fashioned antisemitism, his Israel-focused Holocaust inversion — “Israelis are the Nazis of our time,” Atzmon charges — seems almost timid.

There’s plenty more where that came from, but the key point is clear. Gilad Atzmon is a vile antisemite, and he doesn’t care to hide it.

So be it. The world has its skinheads. And it has fellow travelers who prefer other hairstyles. Important, but not extraordinary. What’s notable about Atzmon, though, is that he has prominent allies, enablers, and defenders. And those defenders face no consequences for joining hands with an anti-Jewish bigot.

Gilad Atzmon image

Gilad Atzmon hates Jews, denies the Holocaust, and plays the saxophone.

Perhaps the best known of Atzmon’s defenders is John Mearsheimer, a distinguished professor at the University of Chicago. Mearsheimer even wrote a blurb for a 2011 book by Atzmon — a book about Jews, naturally — which the professor heartily recommended.

The very act of endorsing Atzmon’s book is, of course, an affront. Can you imagine a well-regarded professor at a prestigious university encouraging students and the wider public to read former KKK leader David Duke?

But it gets worse. After Mearsheimer faced inevitable criticism for promoting an anti-Jewish bigot, he teamed up with Stephen Walt, his one-time coauthor and a professor at Harvard, in an impassioned  defense of Atzmon’s integrity. “I do not believe that Atzmon is an anti-Semite,” Mearsheimer insisted in a piece solicited and published by Walt. A few paragraphs later, he discarded any equivocation: “[The] charge that Atzman is a Holocaust denier or an apologist for Hitler is baseless. Nor is Atzmon an anti-Semite.”

Not an antisemite? Feel free to revisit the bullet points at the top of this piece. Atzmon is guilty of nearly every variant of antisemitism invented in the long history of the world’s oldest hatred, short of the view that Jews are shape-shifting lizard people from space.

By exonerating Atzmon, Mearsheimer went from endorsing an antisemite’s book to the greater sin of endorsing the antisemite himself, and defending his antisemitism.

And it gets worse yet. Walt and Mearsheimer’s fervent defense of Atzmon’s hate speech appeared in Foreign Policy, a mainstream publication in which Walt has a recurring column.

We don’t know whether his editors paused to consider whether pro-antisemite polemics are in line with the Foreign Policy brand. We do know that Walt is still a regular contributor to the publication.

And what about Mearsheimer, the man who, in exculpating Atzmon from the charge of antisemitism, gave a thumbs up to denying the Holocaust, to slurring modern Jews as Christ-killers, to casting American Jews as disloyal citizens, to invoking the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and to alleging the Jews seek world domination? Was he, at least, rejected by polite society? Not quite. Just last week Mearsheimer was welcomed onto the New York Times Opinion pages to pen an Op-Ed on world affairs.

Walt and Mearsheimer have insisted that criticism of Israel is a “third rail” for American writers. What we actually learn from the duo, and their continued prominence long after advocating for Gilad Atzmon and defended his bigotry, is that, alas, even antisemitism is not a third rail.

This article was updated on July 11 to add an additional quote by Atzmon.