Roy Ratcliffe – The Case of Gilad Atzmon and those who want him boycotted
The First of Two Parts WRITTEN BY ROY RATCLIFFE
The catalyst leading to the production of this paper was the suggestion of a boycott of an Exeter University student ’Friends of Palestine’ event in May 2008. The suggestion was made by at least one Exeter Socialist because it was alleged that one of the participants, Gilad Atzmon, is an anti-Semite. The charges against Gilad Atzmon were extended to include links with other alleged anti-Semites, Fascists and Holocaust deniers. We were not urged to read the actual articles by Gilad Atzmon, but to read polemics against him.
This was not the first time such remarks had been made, but it was the first time in mid-Devon that this had been translated into a proposal for action against solidarity work for Palestine. This suggestion marked a potentially serious transition from polemic to practical obstruction. Given a long background in activist campaigns I had heard many charges (which later turned out to be false) from within solidarity movements which not only poisoned the atmosphere putting many people off solidarity work and activism, but split and weakened the movements. Having only heard about the various people involved in this particular case, but not knowing them personally, I decided the only sensible way forward was to investigate both sides of the dispute. With this in mind, I initially obtained five copies of articles by Gilad Atzmon and five polemics against him. They later increased to six and then seven. After reading them thoroughly, examining other relevant background material and clarifying the terms being used, I came to the conclusion that the charges as stated were unfounded. However, as I studied the articles and background material further it also became increasingly clear that (any differences in personality apart) the articles which had caused ‘offence’ and polemics against them, revealed two differing and diametrically opposed value systems. In the following sections I will outline the definitions I think appropriate to evaluate the charges, explain my reasoning, indicate and utilise the material I suggest is relevant to such a debate, justify my conclusions and consider possible motivations for the charges.
It is clear to us all that Zionism will not tolerate the truth, free speech or the questioning of the acts of the NaZionist “movement.” Even when it comes from within!