2011-02-03 Who is Israel Shamir?

Who is Israel Shamir?

The principal claims about Israel Shamir are drawn from an article by Professor Emeritus of Russian Literature at the University of Gothenburg, Magnus Ljunggren, in the Swedish tabloid newspaper Expressen.

From: 2010-12-10: Expressen: "Daddy's Boy" by Magnus Ljunggren

[Shamir] is in fact one of the world's most notorious anti-Semites. He has gone by at least six different names. Growing up in Soviet Novosibirsk he was Izrail Schmerler. As a Jew, he took in 1969 to Israel. 1984 he came to Sweden as Israel Shamir. He became a Swedish citizen in 1992. During the years 2001-2005, he called himself Joran Jermer, and since then he transformed himself, in the population register, into Adam Ermash. Internationally, he is still Israel Shamir. He has held a variety of addresses around the world, mostly in Israel and Russia. In the early 2000s he adopted the Orthodox faith.

As Israel Shamir, this chameleon was regularly involved in the Russian "maroon" weekly bulletin Zavtra, at once nationalist, Stalinist, and militantly anti-Jewish. He uses this to an old Soviet-left jargon as he has declared - and proved - that he is prepared to cooperate with the far right at any time, for the good anti-Jewish cause.

He appeared at Förintelseförnekarkonferensen in Tehran in 2006. There also spoke of a former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, who once wrote a preface to his article on "Jewish ritual murder."

Interviewed by Mohamed Omar, he made clear last year that "it is every Muslim's and Christian's duty" to dispel gaskammarmyten.

Last spring, appearing on the Russian extreme publisher Algorithm, Shamir's book "How to Blow Up the Elders of Zion Conspiracy". This makes it clearer than ever that it is the old czarist Russian falsification "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" which is his ideological basis. The world is faced with an American-Israeli conspiracy. The Jews have conquered the international media.

The broad biographical details are apparently confirmed by the biography on Shamir's website, IsraelShamir.net, although I have read more than once that the details over his having fought for Israel in the Yom-Kippur war are under dispute.

From: Biography on IsraelShamir.net

A native of Novosibirsk , Siberia, he moved to Israel in 1969, served as paratrooper in the army and fought in the 1973 war. After the war, he turned to journalism and writing. In 1975, Shamir joined the BBC and moved to London . In 1977-79 he lived in Japan . After returning to Israel in 1980, Shamir wrote for the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz, and was the Knesset spokesman for the Israel Socialist Party (Mapam). He translated and annotated the cryptic works of S.Y. Agnon, the only Hebrew Nobel Prize winning writer, from the original Hebrew into Russian. In 2006 his mammoth annotated translation of a medieval Hebrew classic Sefer Yohassin (The Book of Lineage) was published by Zacuto Books. Shamir also translated the Odyssey, and selected chapters of Joyce’s Ulysses.

But Palestine , its sad history and enchanting landscape remained his most important subject. His views were summed up in The Pine and the Olive, the story of Palestine/Israel, published in 1988 and republished in 2004, and became a cult book among the readers. The second Palestinian Intifada turned Shamir to his highly political and poetic pieces centred on Palestine . As the battle for Palestine spilled over into Iraq , Shamir wrote more about the deeper, philosophical and theological meaning of the war. In 2004 he was received in the Orthodox Church of Jerusalem and Holy Land , being baptised Adam by Archbishop Theodosius Attalla Hanna. Shamir (60) lives in Jaffa and spends much time in Moscow and Stockholm ; he is father of three sons.

Is Israel Shamir an anti-semite?

Is Israel Shamir an anti-semite? It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that his work displays strong anti-semitic characteristics. Yet to call someone a "notorious anti-semite" as Ljunggren has done is to invite the reader to conclude that he must exemplify that category in the fullest sense, because that must be where the weight of opinion lies. Whenever notoriety is alleged, we ought to examine the evidence all the more closely. I've been careful below to accurately characterize Shamir's work, and I do believe that it is appropriately characterized by the term "anti-semitic."

Shamir's writing takes itself as addressing problems arising from the actions of "the Jews" within society. He appears to subscribe to a rather classic conspiracy theory, whereby "the Jews" are responsible, through a surreptitious bid for global influence, for many of the world's evils. The techniques allegedly employed include ownership of the media (through which perceptions of "the Jews" among the non-Jewish are shaped to Jewish advantage), the takeover of positions of influence in big business and official corridors of power, the invasion of the intelligentsia of the West, biological seperatism and internal ethnic purism, and the embellishment of the events of the Holocaust, including active promotion of its perception in history as being such an event as to demand Jewish exceptionalism as the penance of the West. Shamir is staunchly anti-Zionist, and sees the Zionist project, carried out in the Israeli state, as merely the vanguard of Jewish plans for world domination.

From: Pardes by Israel Shamir

Palestine is not the ultimate goal of the Jews; the world is. Palestine is just the place for the world state headquarters; necessary, for otherwise the people of Europe wouldn't be magetised like a rabbit in the headlights of a car.

These are some of the classical elements of the anti-semitic propagandaic efforts of Weimar Germany. The claims within them are comprehensively false, and the reasoning beleagured by cognitive bias and a fondness for defunct stereotypes. This sort of thinking does find common cause with violent xenophobic movements all over the world, looking for pretexts on which to direct hate.

One wouldn't feel the need to say any more, but for the fact that Shamir is apparently not, as we are given to believe in the wealth of recent coverage of him, someone who would agitate for the extermination of Jews - which is the immediate (but here incorrect) inference that most people are given to make from the fact that someone might be an anti-semite. There is certainly something very unseemly about all of these "anti-Jewish" conspiracy theories, but it is important to be aware of precisely why it isn't to be taken seriously, lest unconditional and misinformed outrage over it fund renewed fervour among its adherents, as often happens when people are told they can't say things. Shamir appears to actually relish the accusation of anti-semitism - it provides him with an opportunity to engage in the polemic of the persucuted. These "Jewish conspiracy" theories are ridiculous, and share company with some other unsavoury ideologies, but it is my impression that their taboo status is something that attracts those looking for something to rebel against.

Much has been made of Shamir's comment that "the Jews are a virus in human form" - originally from a Tufts lecture he gave in 2001. This easily recalls the worst excesses of Nazi genocidal theories. I imagine Shamir appropriates this sort of language in order to seek attention. He appears to thrive on controversy, but I am happy, after labouring through many pages of his work, that his substantive views are not well represented by this (rather cherry-picked) comment. Shamir has clarified his meaning on that comment himself (in a manner that does not excuse the exceptionally provocative choice of terminology). I will characterize his broader views here, while making it clear that I don't for a moment endorse any of them.

While being very certainly anti-Jewish, Shamir is not, apparently, an essentialist about Jewishness. He appears to believe that to be Jewish is a choice, a choice he reneged on during his conversion to Christianity. He doesn't pin Jewishness on physiognomic traits, nor on heredity, the way the Nazis did, but on ideology. There is no biological essentialism here. To him, it is an ethnic and religious identity the adherence to which lends tacit support to the supposed world-domination plans outlined above. In this respect, he takes part of his mission to be the conversion of adherents of the Judaic faith to Christianity, and the persuasion of, for instance, Zionists that Zionism is an objectionable world-view. For this programme, he chooses the exceptionally stupid name, given the context, of "kill a Jew" - by which he appears to mean, "killing the Jew" within oneself.

From: Expert.ru: Israel Shamir: Kill a Jew, and everyone can

- Do you really hate the Jews?

- No, of course. I just think it is important to kill the Jew in me ... Generally the reason is that Jews see themselves as victims. This is the basis of national identity. And finding themselves with new neighbors, they immediately reproduce the usual relationship - just as torturers. This place is not the right place. A victim of anything can be that neither will do - all the protection. But you know, because you can win it in himself, to abandon petty tribal egoism. I call it: "kill a Jew." I think everyone should do it.

But it is clear that despite this extraordinarily offensive terminology, and the arguable self-loathing it divulges, his project is apparently one of self-liberation from what he perceives as a damaging cultural/religious/ethnic ideology.

From: Assange in the Entrails of Empire

Excuse me if I’m sounding like a teenager’s comic book, but this story has so many twists and plots it makes my head swim. I haven’t been this dizzy since my first days as an anti-Zionist writer, hounded and alone. One day I was approached by a venerable Hassidic man; I instinctively cringed, expecting an ugly scene. Instead of condemnation I was deluged with goodwill, and at that same moment an orchestra next door suddenly struck up an old Jewish wedding tune. This ancient blessing seemed to rocket me up, up and away from the modern nationalist cult of brutal force, up to a place where old traditions still had value and relevance. Or was that just Clark Kent doing his thing again?

Consider also, in his recent article:

From: BBC Joins Smear Campaign Against Assange and Wikileaks by Israel Shamir

I have written hundreds of pages on the topic, but for the benefit of the reader I’ll sum it up. Naturally, as a son of Jewish parents and a man who has lived in the Jewish state, deeply and intimately involved with Jewish culture, I harbour no hate to a Jew because he is a Jew. I doubt many people do. However I did and do criticise various aspects of Jewish Weltanschauung like so many Jewish and Christian thinkers before me, or even more so for I witnessed crimes of the Jewish state that originated in this worldview.

Furthermore, for Shamir, most "Jews," - that is, adherents of this ethnic-cultural social programme, are not aware of their role in this purported conspiracy. World domination plans are not conspiratorial motives that every "Jew" secretly conceals in his heart, but instead, remain the preserve of powerful people who exert their influence over "the Jews," - who harnass social consent that derives from the self-constitution of the Jewish people and direct that consent towards nefarious ends. To Shamir, even these powerful people are not the final conspirators - they are ultimately enslaved by religious programming in the Judaic faith - the ultimate responsibility for the "Jewish conspiracy" derives, for Shamir, from a religious doctrine of Jewish exceptionalism ("the chosen people") and perversion of the original Judaic theology. Most of Shamir's work is theological in nature, then, and tries to trace causal origins for his inchoate Jewish conspiracy in scriptural doctrine - an endeavour during which he presents the conversion to Christ as the only viable option.

From: Pardes by Israel Shamir - speaking of his role as an Israeli soldier in the Yom-Kippur war.

Not one of us, with the possible exception of our commander, understood the logic behind our actions. ‘Theirs was not to reason why’, soldiers do not fight on need-to know basis. We tried to do our job and survive. Only two days later, when the armoured columns of General Brenn reached us, did we learn of the General Staff plans to cut off the Egyptian Third Army on the East bank of Suez Canal, and to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Much later we learned of the man who made it possible – Henry Kissinger, the Jewish U.S. Secretary of State who gave the green light and spread the nuclear umbrella of protection over the Israeli troops. He had told a hesitant Golda Meir to break the Security Council-ordered cease-fire and to complete the encirclement. Only then did our modest action began to fit into a strategy. In a similar way, a Jew rarely knows or understands what the Jews want from themselves and from bewildered mankind. This lack of understanding causes many fine men and women to proclaim their support (or opposition) to the body politic called ‘the Jews’. Being born and raised a Jew does not help at all, just as belonging to the elite troops does not provide you with an understanding of the General Staff plans. A person of little knowledge is described in the Jewish lore as a ‘tinok shenishba’, ‘a kidnapped child’. A kidnapped Jewish child has no knowledge of Jewish customs, beyond knowing that he belongs to the Jews. Recently, Israeli President Moshe Katzav described non-religious Jews as ‘kidnapped children’, and even religious Jews have a very limited understanding of the Jewish world-organising plans. Many Israelis vented their anger at Katzav’s words, but he was right. Your average ‘Jew’ has very little knowledge and understanding of the subjects we shall be dealing with; it is highly probable he (or she) considers himself a Jew just because his grandparents were Jewish. Our goal is to understand and explain what ‘the Jews’ want. This task is a hard one, for the Jews have no obvious leaders who create a single strategy, no headquarters or central command. It is hard to swallow that the Jews can have a strategy but no strategist; and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion are popular precisely because they posit such a supreme (if obscure) strategist. However, ‘the locusts have no king, yet but they attack in formation’ (Proverbs 30:27) and devastate whole countries as if by plan.

It is possible there are no (or almost no) Jews who fully understand what the Jews want. The term ‘The Jews’, as used in this article, is meant to denote a spiritual persona of higher rank, relating to individual Jews like the Catholic Church is related to an individual Catholic, or a beehive to a bee. Thus, there is no subjective personal guilt associated with individual Jews, unless their specific actions or inaction are criminal or sinful per se. Thus, this discourse should help an individual to decide whether he wants to be a Jew or not, in the same way one may choose whether one wants to be a communist or a Quaker... It is my deep conviction that to be or not to be a Jew is an act of free will. A French Jew can be just French, a Russian Jew – just a Russian, a Palestinian Jew – just a Palestinian.

Shamir's entire confused philosophy is riddled with perverse religious symbolism, possibly the root cause of its objectionable content. Nominally laudable sympathy for the plight of Palestinian civilians is bound up with spiritual metaphors and idiosyncratic collective psychoanalysis. The Holocaust, for Shamir, is a false Christ suborning the worship of non-Jews - particularly those in positions of power in the West - to the advantage of "the Jews," while the Palestinians are a true Christ, crucified relentlessly by "the Jews" - just as, in a remarkable throwback to the classical anti-semitic refrain of the Middle Ages, "the Jews crucified our Lord." It is in this context that Shamir's alleged Holocaust-denial should be interpreted. Consider the Mohamed Omar interview, in Swedish, during which Shamir said the following:

From: Mohamed Omar: "The Holocaust is an idol" - interview with Israel Shamir

MO: Should it be allowed to criticize the Zionist version of the Holocaust?

Shamir: More than that, I think it is a duty to do so. I think it is every Muslim's and Christian's duty to deny the Holocaust, to reject this belief, just as Abraham and Moses rejected the idols. Any person who confesses to God should deny the Holocaust. I think it's much more serious that people deny God, right?

MO: Today, even the Pope went out and demanded that they should believe in the Holocaust.

Shamir: It is terrible. There is only one God, the Holocaust is an idol. I refuse to worship the Holocaust.

Shamir claims here that he never made this statement, and that the interview is online for cross reference, but the above is directly from the interview, and it appears that he did in fact say these words. By "The Holocaust" he appears to mean the elevation of the Nazi genocide of the Jews to the status of religious idol, something which he believes ought to be denied as a matter of religious faith. He apparently does, following controversial figures like Robert Faurisson, challenge the historicity of specific events, and he openly doubts the testimony of eyewitnesses as to some of the excesses of the gas chambers, but does not appear to dispute that a systematic Nazi genocide of Jews (as well as homosexuals, the disabled, the Roma and others) occurred.

From: BBC Joins Smear Campaign Against Assange and Wikileaks by Israel Shamir

As for the accusation of “Holocaust denial”, my family lost too many of its sons and daughters for me to deny the facts of Jewish tragedy, but I do deny its religious salvific significance implied in the very term ‘Holocaust’; I do deny its metaphysical uniqueness, I do deny the morbid cult of Holocaust and I think every God-fearing man, a Jew, a Christian or a Muslim should reject it as Abraham rejected and smashed idols. I deny that it is good to remember or immortalize such traumatic events, and I wrote many articles against the modern obsession with massacres, be it the Jewish holocaust of the 1940s, the Armenian massacre of 1915, the Ukrainian “holodomor”, Polish Katyn, Khmer Rouge etc. Poles, Armenians, Ukrainians understood me, so did Jews – otherwise I would be charged with the crime of factual denial which is known to the Israeli law.

His imperative to deny (or "dispel") the Holocaust is apparently above all a denial of the spiritual and cultural hegemony of that event over the collective conscience of the West, as he appears to outline here (also, apparently, slurring homosexuality as a "perversion"):

From: Pardes by Israel Shamir

The total profanation of Man is physically impossible. Just as deprivation of normal sex life in jails causes perversions, a perversion of Western spirituality will come to life. The African slaves in America developed a new slave cult, mixing their old beliefs with those of their masters. Similar slave cults are growing now among the Europeans, and the cult of the Holocaust is one of them.

Theologically, this cult is an adaptation of the Jewish spiritual rule for Christian minds, as it replaces Christ with Israel, Golgotha with Auschwitz, and the Resurrection with the creation of the Jewish state. People who argue with the dogma of Holocaust are met with treatment the heretics were given in the days of yore. They are excommunicated and excluded from society.

Usually they are people of scientific mind; their arguments recall the arguments of naive atheists who were prone to say, "A whale can't swallow man, ergo, the story of Jonah is not true." In a similar vein, heritics of the Holocaust cult say: such vast amounts of Jews could not be killed, or there are no gas chambers to prove their existence. But these arguments cut no ice: people who found themselves in the Jewish universe have to invent some religious tools and dogmas.

On a subconscious level, the Americans and to lesser extent Europeans have already accepted their defeat. Claude Lanzmann sounded the challenge when he said: "If Auschwitz is true, then there is a human suffering with which that of Christ simply cannot be compared. In this case, Christ is false, and salvation will not come from him. Auschwitz is the refutation of Christ." This challenge was not met. No new Roland picked up the glove of the advancing enemy. Lanzmann was not ostracised, his films were screened in the cinemas of France, while theologians discussed "Christianity after Auschwitz." Spiritual capitulation of the West was manifested by the removal of the Cross and of a church from the grounds of Auschwitz; it was confirmed by the Pope's Canossa in Jerusalem, when the head of the Roman Catholic church asked forgiveness from the Jews.

It was a mistake. It is not a coincidence that soon afterwards, Sharon marched on the Temple Mount and started the World War Three. The Jews are no Christians, and they consider apology a sign of surrender. Our friend Paul Eisen wrote:

To the Christian and to the entire non-Jewish world, Jews say this: "You will apologise for Jewish suffering again and again and again. And, when you have finished apologizing, you will then apologize some more. When you have apologized sufficiently, we will forgive you, provided you let us do what we want in Palestine.

Eisen was too optimistic. Palestine is not the ultimate goal of the Jews; the world is. Palestine is just the place for the world state headquarters; necessary, for otherwise the people of Europe wouldn't be magetised like a rabbit in the headlights of a car. If a Jewish state would be established in say, Herzl or in Madagascar as per Hitler, it would not be able to activate deep levels of Christian consciousness. Now, appearing as a part of prophecy, it has captivated their mind.

It has captivated the mind of Israelis too. Their task in the whole setup is admittedly limited. The Jews in their drive to world domination need a base, and the Israelis are to seize and secure this base. For such a job they do not need much imagination, and Zionists are a simple-minded folk. Even average Israeli IQ is 95, below the mid-European 100 and way below the European Jewish 105. The lower IQ is not the result of Sephardi Jews being counted in, as sometimes is claimed, but of a well known fact: clever and successful Jews hardly ever immigrated to Israel. They made their career in the US or Russia, in France of Germany. They make money on Wall Street, fight antisemitism on the pages of Le Monde and The Times, rule nations and write art reviews. Israelis are the riffraff of World Jewry, sent to conquer the land for the NWO HQ.

Shamir, then, in his writing at least, is not straightforwardly an adherent of the same ideologies that provoked the Holocaust, although this is a poor excuse for much of the problematic material he is responsible for. The distinction seems an overly fine one, too. The "anti-semitic" characteristics of his work constitute a peculiar sort of anti-nationalistic, anti-racist, Christian theology married to some of the classical anti-semitic themes of Jewish world conspiracy and media ownership. He does not recommend hatred of Jews, or violence against Jews, but his philosophical tracts are belaboured with faulty inferences, defunct and erroneous cultural stereotypes, crude theological gambits and overly swift generalizations over huge groups of people, all of which are uncomfortably close to the underlying dogmas of hate-speech.

While Shamir himself appears to desire the cessation of conflict and violence in the world - laudable aspirations on their own - the flawed theoretical apparatus through which he views the world puts him in the company of, and provides endorsement for, violent Neo-Nazis and avowed racists. A "friends of Shamir," mailing list on his website contains material from a rogue's gallery of "theorists" of "Jewish hegemony," some of whom, in various iterations, treat Jews in a xenophobic fashion. Shamir is careful to criticize these writers, and there is apparently a variety of categories by which writers in this sub-literature differentiate themselves from each other. Shamir is at pains to distance himself from "racialists" - those participants in his mailing list who - distastefully - appear to believe the different ethnic groups to be sub-species of humanity, and take issue with Jews on this basis. But Shamir is also at pains to insist that these barely literate, paranoid tracts do contain valuable insights, despite their racism. He can either be seen as someone who remonstrates with straightforward anti-semites about their objectionable beliefs, or someone who, by addressing them, validates them.

His material, at any rate, does not evince a hatred of people to whom the cultural label "Jews" attaches in normal parlance, but appears to demonstrate an aversion to a specific religious cultural programme. It is certainly, to my mind, a problematic body of work. While there is quite a lot of historical precedent for writers performing collective psychoanalysis of this sort, it isn't an enterprise that can be afforded much scientific respect. Attempts to impute collective ideological traits to vast groups of people, as a method of explanatory history, has been employed with various levels of fruitfulness, by thinkers like Hegel and Marx, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, Voegelin, Arendt and Strauss, Husserl, Heidegger, Gadamer and Ricouer.

It is possible that Shamir's example appears particularly objectionable because it purports to study a "Jewish Weltanschauung." But as a parting comment on this, without wishing to diminish the sense in which this way of thinking is flawed and undesirable, it would be fortunate if we could take this opportunity to consider how tacitly acceptable this manner of thinking is when applied on cable news networks, for instance, to "Arabs," or "Muslims." Where Shamir's material is rightly, and uncontroversially, considered problematic, a close relative of it enjoys endorsement in mainstream media such as FOX news, but is no less tacitly racist. It embarks on the same enterprise of cultural generalization, attributing to "Arabs" or "Muslims" (considered interchangeable) a hatred of the West, its freedoms and peoples, religious conquest of the West for Islam, and all of the flawed and hateful discourse that flows from that. It is not limited to commercially viable circus-acts like Ann Coulter, but is instead pervasive and widely accepted.

In whatever form we find it when it it rears its head, whether in the writings of fringe anti-semites, or the observations of news anchors, this sort of thinking should be repudiated in detail, and everyone should be given the appropriate intellectual resources to see its flaws for themselves.

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