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Jonathan Cook: “I have no idea whether Atzmon has expressed anti-semitic views”

Former Guardian journalist Jonathan Cook has published a piece about Gilad Atzmon for the website Global Research, complaining about the “cult” of the Guardian. He writes:

I have no idea whether Atzmon has expressed anti-semitic views – and I am none the wiser after reading Newman’s piece.

Atzmon has written that the credit crunch was a Jewish attack on global financing, thinks that the Shylock and Fagin accurately represent Jews, and thinks that the evil of the Jews will eventually prove Hitler right. Even after reading this, I am fully confident that Jonathan Cook will be “none the wiser” still.

He continues:

As is now typical in this new kind of Guardian character assassination, the article makes no effort to prove that Atzmon is anti-semitic or to show that there is any topical or pressing reason to bring up his presumed character flaw. (In passing, the article made a similar accusation of anti-semitism against Alison Weir of If Americans Knew, and against the Counterpunch website for publishing an article by her on Israel’s role in organ-trafficking.)

This sentence is quite revealing:

Atzmon has just published a book on Jewish identity, the Wandering Who?, that has garnered praise from respected figures such as Richard Falk, an emeritus law professor at Princeton, and John Mearsheimer, a distinguished politics professor at Chicago University.

The problem is, these “respected figures” somehow become less respected when they endorsed Gilad Atzmon. Funny that!

Cook argues:

And there was no case made to prove that Atzmon is actually anti-semitic. It was simply assumed as a fact. Atzmon, even by his own reckoning, is a maverick figure who has a tendency to infuriate just about everyone with his provocative, and often ambiguous, pronouncements.

Cook carries on to berate the Guardian for criticising the pro-dictatorship and neo-Nazi linked Wikileaks organisation:

The implicit philosophy of Wikileaks is to promote an ever-greater opening up and equalisation of access to information, while the Guardian, following its commercial imperatives, wants to ensure the gatekeepers maintain their control.

Uh huh. Tell that to the democrats in Belarus or Zimbabwe.

Jonathan Cook is outraged that anyone should accuse Chomsky of being a genocide denier:

In a column in June he accused Ed Herman, a leading US professor of finance and a collaborator on media criticism with Noam Chomsky, and writer David Peterson of being “genocide deniers” over their research into events in Rwanda and Bosnia. The evidence was supposedly to be found in their joint book The Politics of Genocide, published last year, and in an online volume, The Srebrenica Massacre, edited by Herman. Implying that genocide denial was now a serious problem on the left, Monbiot also laid into journalist John Pilger for endorsing the book and a small website called Media Lens that dedicates itself to exposing the failings of the corporate media, including the work of the Guardian and Monbiot. Media Lens’ crime was to have argued that Herman and Peterson should be allowed to make their case about Rwanda and Bosnia, rather than be silenced as Monbiot appeared to prefer.

Does Cook know how highly Chomsky values the Pol Pot-apologist and genocide-minimaliser Malcolm Caldwell? Does he care?

Jonathan Cook writes for Abu Dhabi-based newspaper The National.

He is also the 2011 winner of the Martha Gelhorn Special Prize for journalism.

I’m sure he feels very proud about this, but the main prize appears to be somewhat of a poisoned chalice, in recent years.