IJAN Statement regarding the Freiburg Conference

Recently, Jewish anti-Zionist activists, includingorganizers of the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN), wereattacked in a video(i) made by Gilad Atzmon. In this video, Atzmonaccuses us of "relentlessly putting pressure" on conference panelists, to"suppress freedom of speech" and "hijack the Palestinian solidarity movement."

Contrary to Atzmon's misrepresentations, not only has IJANnot put any pressure on any of the people allegedly "silenced" and "pressured"not to attend the conference in Freiburg, but we had no communication at all withany of them. IJAN had a discussion that included Hajo Meyer, an IJAN member. Discussingour concerns, or for that matter voicing a public opinion, censors no-one, andwe will not ourselves be censored by this absurd accusation.

Meyer and IJAN share a commitment to challenging the Zionistmisuse of the holocaust. For two years running, Meyer toured the US and Europeas part of the IJAN "Never Again for Anyone" campaign, organized with ourpartners.  This campaign exposes andchallenges the misuse of the Nazi genocide of Jews by Zionist institutions bybringing together victims of genocides, including Jewish holocaust survivors,with Muslims struggling against Islamophobia. We discussed together the possible implications for our work if heshared a platform with an antisemitic ideologue and promoter of holocaustdenial. The Never Again campaign challenges Zionism. Holocaust denial, asJoseph Massad has pointed out, is "the strongest manifestation ofanti-Semitism" in the West andhas "no position whatsoever inside the PLO nor any legitimacy among thePalestinian intelligentsia."ii)

It is an insult to imply that Auschwitz survivor Hajo Meyercaved in to "relentless pressure" from anyone. Meyer made his decision to not attendthe conference in Freiburg after reading Atzmon's published articles and tryingunsuccessfully to reason with him. Because we were not in communication withSabine Schiffer and Ramzi Baroud, we do not know the basis of their withdrawal.

However, the numbers of those refusing to share a platformwith Atzmon are growing. Ghada Karmi and John Rose rejected offers to speak alongsidehim this year. Last year Ali Abunimah and Haidar Eid publicly dissociated themselvesfrom Atzmon during another conference in Germany. Three years ago As'adAbukhalil called Atzmon "a classical anti-Semite."

In his own words, Atzmon believes that "fundamentally,Jewish anti-Zionism is still just another manifestation of Jewish tribalsupremacy." (ii) In previouscorrespondence he informed us that "Jewishness is capitalism and viceversa" - such baseless attacks on Jews, especially those working in solidaritywith the Palestinian struggle, serve no purpose other than to undermine ourmovement.

We do not consider it our particularresponsibility to defend the integrity of the movement of solidarity with the Palestinianstruggle against hijacking by any form of bigotry. It is a collectiveresponsibility that we share with all those committed to a more just and humaneworld. However, we will continue, without any hesitation, to share our viewswith others as we continue our efforts in the struggle for full Palestinianself-determination and the return of the refugees.

i.                    http://vimeo.com/29260543

ii.                  Joseph Massad, Al Ahram Weekly, 9 - 15 December2004, http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2004/720/op63.htm

iii.                 Silvia Cattori, Interview with Gilad Atzmon, http://www.gilad.co.uk/writings/silvia-cattori-an-interview-with-gilad-atzmon-to-call-a-spad.html





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