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His Jewish Problem

Israel Shamir is a slippery Holocaust-doubter whose anti-Semitic, anti-Israel views are—in the age of WikiLeaks—finding a new audience. Part 1 of 2.

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(Photoillustration by Len Small/Tablet Magazine; Israel Shamir image by Will Yakowicz)
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His Jewish Problem

A few years ago, Israel Shamir’s anti-Israel vitriol would have been marginal and largely ignored. But in the age of WikiLeaks, a Holocaust-doubter can become a legitimate source of news. Part 2 of 2.

I.

Outside my window in Moscow everything is frozen, the thick ice-coated ground, the wind whining through alleys between the gray apartment buildings that stick out from 5-foot bases of hard snow, the orange dump trucks full of snow chugging along the street. Seven floors down, men in blue and orange overalls and black snowcaps are smashing the 3-inch-thick layers of ice coating the sidewalks with wooden-handled-and-metal-ended ice picks. Then there’s me, waiting in my thermals for the supposed Russian representative of WikiLeaks, a man who says his name is Israel Shamir, but who is also known as Jöran Jermas, and Adam Ermash, and who spends his time between Sweden, Israel, and Russia.

I have spent too much time in the paranoid corners where Shamir’s articles appear, on websites that claim the Jews planned the attacks of Sept. 11, Jews convinced the George W. Bush Administration to go to war in the Middle East, Jews have nuclear weapons not to just destroy Lebanon and Iraq and Syria, but Europe, too. Shamir says he was born in Novosibirsk, Siberia, in 1947 to Jewish parents but in 2004 was baptized into the Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem. While he claims to be a Palestinian activist, a believer in the “One State Solution,” his work reads more like right-wing anti-Semitic propaganda. He writes and speaks about the existence of “Jewish Media Lords” who have hijacked newspapers and TV to brainwash Americans into carrying out “Judaic goals,” which include the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. As he writes in one of his books, Cabbala of Power, “The Jewish ‘plan’ is no secret; there is no need to re-read The Protocols or to ask Jews what they want.” In addition to having accused Israel of all manner of crimes, he has also been labeled a Holocaust-denier by both Israelis and Palestinians.

Shamir and I first corresponded via email four months ago. After he canceled a planned interview in February, we began talking on the phone every week, but he still refused to schedule an interview. The most he would promise me is that if I come to Moscow and called him, he might meet me, but then again he might not. “Things are getting very complicated,” he explained. “All I might have is an hour.”

The day before I left New York for Moscow, I bumped into Norman Finkelstein, a scholar and Holocaust-doubter who was denied tenure at DePaul University because of his published work, The Holocaust Industry, which claims the factual account of mass-extermination has been exploited so Jews can “gain immunity to criticism.” I had emailed Finkelstein early in February, after Shamir told me they were friends. Finkelstein wrote back, “I want nothing to do with this article. [Shamir] is a maniac.” So, when on another day on Gravesend Neck Road in Brooklyn outside of a closed-down Russian Apteka, I saw a tall man with gray thin hair wearing a brown corduroy blazer with a Palestinian flag pin on his lapel, I recognized him as Finkelstein and approached. As two young boys ran past us wearing kippas, he elaborated on his email: “He’s sleazy—Shamir said we were friends because he’s sleazy, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg,” he stated while his nose ran in the February wind. “He has invented his entire personal history. Nothing he says about himself is true. And you won’t get this article published anywhere.”

One night before my trip, I realized that I started to believe this dark character who crawled out from the perverse nooks of the Internet to save my goy soul from the people he called “Jewish Media Lords.” I was sitting up on my couch at 4 a.m. reading a Shamir article about IDF soldiers who steal Palestinian organs and sell them on the black market. Then I read an article that called Jews “Christ-Killers” and another that said “a Jewish media lord—and one of the nastiest: Arthur Sulzberger Jr.” owns the New York Times. Hardly convincing, but then why was I starting to doubt the Times? I realized I had better get some sleep.

When the sun came up that first morning in Moscow, I called Shamir and told him I was in town. He told me that it’s “too hard to tell” if he would be able to meet. He suggested that if I called him at 2 p.m., he might have a better idea. If we met it would be at the Dom Zhurnalista, the Journalist’s House, off Arbatskaya metro station. While I waited and smoked, I re-read Shamir’s Cabbala of Power. Jews as a group, he argues, don’t know what they want, but at the very least they want war. Shamir quotes the Bible to explain, “‘The locusts have no king, yet they attack in formation …’ (Proverbs 30:27) and devastate whole countries as if by plan.” In Masters of Discourse Shamir writes, “There are no important media outlets in the US that are not owned or controlled by Jews.”

I was drifting in the silver smoke sitting near Red Square. I was there to meet a marginal weirdo and a notorious Holocaust-doubter. But I was also meeting a man who has real power in the newest form of journalism. Julian Assange, the founder of the whistle-blowing site WikiLeaks, had given Shamir access to cables and made him the organization’s representative in Moscow. Is Shamir crazy, or not? The question seemed important.

On March 1, 2011, the New York Times published an article about a report about a phone conversation that was never recorded. According to this article, Julian Assange told the British magazine the Private Eye that there is a Jewish conspiracy against WikiLeaks led by British journalists, including editors of the Guardian. The report, written by the publication’s editor, Ian Hislop, was based on a phone conversation Hislop had with Assange on Feb. 16, 2011. During the conversation, Hislop claimed that Assange stated the Jewish conspiracy to smear WikiLeaks was spearheaded by the Guardian’s editor, Alan Rusbridger, investigations editor David Leigh, and by Index on Censorship’s John Kampfner. Although Rusbridger is not a Jew, Assange stressed that he is “sort of Jewish,” because he and David Leigh, a Jew, are brothers-in-law. But what really bothered Assange was a different article by the same publication titled, “Man in the Eye: Israel Shamir,” which claims Shamir is a Holocaust denier. Assange said that the article was “crap”—one more example of the Jewish conspiracy against WikiLeaks.

At 2 p.m., I called Shamir. He said he would meet me in one hour. I pulled it together, drank one more cup of coffee, and jumped on the subway. I was close.

II.

I first became curious about Shamir when the original reports came out in December in Russian and Swedish newspapers, and then in Reason and on the blog of New York Magazine, which claimed that he was the Russian “content aggregator” for WikiLeaks, as well as a “Holocaust denier.” I became more curious when I read an excerpt of the aformentioned Private Eye article about Shamir’s alleged anti-Semitic and Holocaust-denying beliefs and his direct relationship with Assange. And I became very interested when I read WikiLeaks’ statement on its website: “Israel Shamir has never worked or volunteered for WikiLeaks, in any manner, whatsoever. He has never written for WikiLeaks or any associated organization, under any name and we have no plan that he do so. He is not an ‘agent’ of WikiLeaks.”

A spokesman for WikiLeaks, Kristinn Hrafnsson, confirmed this when I called to ask if Shamir was directly connected to the organization. “No, he is not,” said Hrafnsson. “He only worked on the Cable Gate release, like hundreds of other journalists.” Then the line went dead.

In Moscow, on my way to meet the man, I exited Arbatskaya Station and walked underneath the busy bul’var. I came out to see snow, ice, and a big black iron gate, behind which lay a courtyard and the Journalists’ House. In front of the big beige building was a set of stairs, which led down to a café. Through the window, I could see Shamir sitting at a table.

We said hello. Shook hands. “How do you like Moscow?” he asked me in fluent English, but with a Russian accent tinged with a Hebrew one, or possibly the other way around. I reached for my cigarette. He did the same. Shamir had recognizable human qualities, like a strong handshake and a fine smile. It felt nice to talk with someone, because I had been alone during my days of wandering and waiting around Moscow. Then I remembered that I was dining with a man who dedicated his life’s work to writing about why it’s wrong to be a Jew. And I knew from my reading of his work that there was something in his ice-hard anti-Semitic soul—be it anger, prejudice, or a reincarnation of an ancient darkness into modern anti-Israel sentiment—that genuinely scared me. I thought about an excerpt from Cabbala of Power: “In order to save the world from possible spiritual devastation, the Jewish state must be dismantled. … It can be done softly, without bloodshed, by creating a democratic state for all residents of Palestine, native and adoptive Palestinians. It won’t be a Jewish state, but Israeli Jews will eventually be absorbed by Palestinians, as the Jews of old were absorbed by Palestinians during the 2nd to 7th centuries.”

To me, it read like soft-core ethnic cleansing. But it was too late to analyze, as I was already studying his tan, wrinkled face and his thick, bristly mustache. Israel Shamir was a short man, neither fat nor skinny. His gray-and-black loose curls puffed around his cranium, and he sat with his elbows on the table after he fumbled to get his voice recorder to work. His hands touched, rubbed, and pressed his mustache, forehead, and temples incessantly throughout our conversation. He ordered the salad with sliced radish on top, and I ordered the borscht.

We talked about Julian Assange, of whom he said, “My acquaintance with him is so superficial. I have this very superficial view of the man.” He scratched the base of his nose above his lip. He turned his head and looked at the gray painted brick wall of the stairway out the window.

I know that when Assange was in Ellingham Hall in the Norfolk County that you went to visit him. He introduced you as “Adam.” I know you have a couple different names. Why were you introduced as Adam?

Well, Adam is my real name as well, Christian name as well. I actually use it quite often.

Yes, Adam Ermash, right?

Just Adam. Usually in many books I have it “Israel Adam Shamir.”

It was also reported that at Ellingham Hall, with Julian Assange and you were introduced as Adam, that you asked for cables about the Jews. Why did you ask for cables about the Jews and did you get any?

Oh, yeah, I have a lot of cables about the Jews. [He grins.] I have thousands of cables about the Jews.

And what do the cables say about the Jews?

Oh, it’s a very entertaining thing. I want to write about it, but I haven’t had time yet. But I think it is a very entertaining subject. A lot of cables about Jews.

Give me one example, what does a cable say?

One of them for instance that was published by me in a Russian newspaper a couple of weeks ago, there was a piece by the U.S. Ambassador in Moscow saying that Russia has no anti-Semitism.

And does Moscow have anti-Semitism?

No, surely not.

He finished his salad and put his napkin on his lap and pulled out one of the two packs of Dunhills he brought. He smoked cigarettes constantly, and he smoked with heart and vigor; he truly seemed to enjoy the act of smoking. The waiter stopped by, and Shamir ordered a cappuccino politely and nonchalantly. Our pasta did not look appetizing—noodles with chucks of tough meat in a brown oily sauce.

What is hatred?

That’s something I don’t, I’ve never experienced.

You’ve never experienced hatred?

Nuh-uh.

He was silent for 10 seconds until I asked the next question.

Well, on your site you say you’re a lightening rod for smear jobs. Do you think people hate you?

Well, they have a practical meaning also. I don’t think someone smears me because somebody hates me personally all that much. That would be very odd. I mean, provided I don’t feel hatred for others, would be strange to think someone hates me all that much.

Do you think you could be provoked to hate? What if you saw a murder?

Yaaaa …

As I understand you’ve seen terrible things that murderous Jews have done. When you were in the settlements you saw the hilltop youths—

One gets annoyed, you know. One gets annoyed. Ah, one gets annoyed. But I kind of personally don’t think I have ever felt such strong, passion as hatred. Hatred is very strong passion. I don’t think I’ve ever came close to it.

When you write about the IDF as SS soldiers in Gaza?

No, that’s not out of anger. That’s not even out of very strong anger. Or any way, that’s what I try, not to write … angrily. First of all, if one writes angrily, people do not read it. [Laughs.]

It would take days for the Moscovite ice pickers to chop through his ice. But every now and then, Shamir gets tired of smiling and laughing things off.

When I was in the West Bank there was definitely hostile feelings towards the Palestinians.

Yes. [Laughs.] Yes. Very silly, very silly. My mother lives in a settlement, called Eli.

Eli? I’ve been there.

Yeah, oh, you know. And she’s very much a settler. Very ideological. Very keen on all this stuff. She can speak forever about how awful everybody else is to them. I’ve tried many times to tell her why not kind of look at it differently, why not to see that people can live together? Basically to try to live together peacefully. That would be good enough. But kind of she didn’t really like it.

It must be hard for her to read your stuff.

Oh, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes …

What does she say about your books?

Well, she doesn’t like it. [Laughs.] She doesn’t like it.

I think about how he described the Hilltop Youth once in his book Flowers of Galilee. “They seemed like nothing you ever saw. To their shaven heads, black boxes were strapped by narrow black belts; black belts crisscrossed their bare arms. The Jews put on the phylacteries … for a morning prayer, but on these young men they looked like the amulets of a warlike tribe. They wore dark trousers and dark tee shirts; white shawls with black stripes flew behind their backs. Their rifles were pointed at us. They looked possessed by some strange demon.”

Shamir continued talking about his Jewish settler mother. “Well, that’s the way with mothers. So we don’t have to worry about it all that much. We don’t have obligations of this sort towards our mothers,” he said casually. He rested his left arm on the table and held his chin in the cup of his right hand. It was getting dark outside, but our interview was far from over.

For the second installment of this article, click here.

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Daniel Munro says:

Norman Finkelstein is not a holocaust denier, both his parents were survivors of Auschwitz. After reading that sentence I had no interest in continuing to read the rest of the article. If the writer and “the tablet mag” wants to propagate misinformation they are welcome to, I support net neutrality, but don’t expect a pulitzer anytime soon.

benj says:

“Israel Shamir” is a well-known former KGB provocator agent who was never Jewish. This has been known for years. Why you feel the need to give this forgotten figure undeserved publicity is beyong me.

“I wish to express my outrage that the Holocaust, unlike any other historical event, is not subject to critical revisionist investigation. Furthermore I deplore the fact that many so-called democratic states have laws that criminalize public doubting of the Holocaust. It is my position that the veracity of Holocaust assertions should be determined in the marketplace of scholarly discourse and not in our legislatures bodies and courthouses.” — Michael in New York City

HaSoferet says:

Norman Finkelstein is certainly not a denier and anyone who claims he is has never read any of his work. What Finkelstein does say is that the Shoah has been exploited by Israel and various Jewish groups. That is not the same thing as denying it occurred.

Gene says:

Norman Finkelstein is not a holocaust denier but he shares ideology of holocaust deniers and anti-semites. The fact that he is son of Holocaust survivors does not give him much credit: every Jew who lived in Europe during WWII is a Holocaust survivor. Just in Soviet Union alone there were 2 millions Holocaust survivors and their children live now around the globe: in Israel, USA and other places. It does not matter how one survived the Holocaust: either by being a kapo in concentration camp or as a homeless refugee in Central Asia or as a resistance fighter in the woods of Belarus – they all managed to survive the slaughter. Most of them, millions, possess now views completely opposite to the views of Norman Finkelstein; they support Avigdor Lieberman and his tough position against Palestinians but nobody gives them a credit because they are children of holocaust survivors. Millions don’t but Finkelstein does. Why is that?

After a lecture I asked Mr. Finkelstein if he ever read a good Holocaust Denial book, he said, “yes but I didn’t like it.” I asked, “Which one?” He said, “Hoax of the Twentieth Century.” I said, “Oh, that’s a good one, why didn’t U like it?!” He smiled and said, “No comment.” Anyone who reads, “Hoax” must have some doubts about whether or not 6,000,000 were exterminated with louse disinfestant & Diesel exhaust.

Izzy says:

The man sounds like a living copy of the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”. I believe that one should confront these things head on and let the light shine upon and expose the disease they carry.

Well Done!

Barry says:

Well, its been alleged that Finky’s mom was a Kapo.

So, Rinky Finky’s parents are survivors, of sorts. Much in the same way that left-wing supporters of Muslonazi suicide bombers are “Peace Activists” according to B’Tselem and HRW.

Barry says:

* that should have been “Rinky Dinky Stinky Finky.”

Peter says:

Shamir id not anti-Semitic,.. he loves the Palestinians who are the true Semites – you have to come up with new terms of slander, as most Jews themselves are not Semites , but non-Semitic Ashkenazim/Yiddish. No Semitic blood, but Khazar Turko Asiatic Mongols

HaSoferet says:

Just because one familiarizes themselves with denier writings does not make one a denier.

Finkelstein isn’t a Holocaust denier. He’s something far more insidious.

He does, however, market his books to Holocaust deniers and appears at their conferences and gatherings as a guest..

What he shares with Holocaust deniers and other anti-Semites is a belief that the Holocaust somehow gives Jews power over other nations, consequently, he is welcomed by many Holocaust deniers as someone who makes their argument for them.

MJ Rosenberg says:

I cannot stand Norman Finkelstein’s views on Israel or much else about him. His support for Hezbollah makes me sick.
But he is not a Holocaust denier. Saying that it is exploited for political reasons is not denying it happened. It is exploited.
You owe him a retraction and an apology.

Do you think Finkelstein will sue?

Ruth Gutmann says:

I too question the usefulness of publishing this story. Look at the result! Have your readers been made any wiser? The less said, the better.

eloyahu says:

what a saucy narrator, who just “bumps into” Norman Finkelstein. Gimme a break. This doesnt say anything new about self-hating Jews, just for the narrator.

The intricate parsing of the term “anti-Semitism” is designed to obfuscate rather than clarify,which is why I use the term “Jew-Hatred”…whether people are Holocaust deniers,anti- Zionists,Revisionists or those of their ilk,IF they take an irrevocable,adamantine position on Jews and/or the History of Jews that is always against Jews and supportive of Hate and Murder then they are Jew-Haters and impervious to any argument…

MethanP says:

I hear accusations. Does anyone have FACTS about this guy?
As for Holocaust denying-anti-Semite Jews? Just look around.
J-street, Chomsky. There is NO shortage. My fear for my people
is not Islamists, mad mullahs or neo-facists. Its my fellow
Jews. Left wing self hating Jews

Zach says:

Can none of you read? MJ Rosenberg, you make a living writing screeds, the least one would expect of you is that you could read. The article, quite clearly, says Finkelstein is a “Holocaust doubter”, not a denier, a term the article also uses vis-a-vis Shamir. Clearly, these two terms are different (a doubter is surely an appropriate label for Finkelstein), something none of these commenters have recognized for want of intelligence or lack of reading comprehension.

shavit says:

people, people … the author never claimed Finkelstein was/is a denier. He calls him a doubter, which he is by suggesting that history is being manipulated (exaggerated) for political gain.

James Pollock says:

Holocaust questioner = doubter = denier = anti-Israel policy = Anti-Semite. That is the logic here.

shavit says:

whoops … Zach beat me to the punch (and phrased it so much more eloquently).

shavit says:

“Holocaust questioner = doubter = denier = anti-Israel policy = Anti-Semite. That is the logic here.”

James, if you are talking about Shamir, the logic is: he’s an antisemite … if you claim that the jews are controlling the media and spout conspiracy theories about how jews are attempting to control the world, you are an antisemite, regardless of whether you give yourself that title.

HaSoferet says:

Finkelstein is not a doubter either.

You who debate the fine points of what does and does not constitute a Holocaust Denier are dancing on the head of a pin.

You argue for the sake of arguing, not to determine truth.

It happened. We died by the millions. End of discussion.

Argue about something else.

Like what will happen to the Yankees this year.

HaSoferet says:

Arguing is a way to determine truth and is a long-established Jewish tradition. But I guess you didn’t go to a Yeshiva.

“Jews convinced the George W. Bush Administration to go to war in the Middle East”

“Quietly lobbying Congress to approve the use of force in Iraq was one of AIPAC’s successes over the past year.”
AIPAC executive director Howard Kohr

mark says:

i dont know who has the bigger problem, anti semites or the people who
seek them out?

zetob says:

here the same interview with Shamir on his website
http://www.israelshamir.net/English/young-man.htm

MeMyself says:

“. . . Julian Assange told the British magazine the Private Eye that there is a Jewish conspiracy against WikiLeaks led by British journalists, including editors of the Guardian.”

The Guardian? The bible of Jew-hating Israel bashers?

Funny that the Arabs claim that WikiLeaks is a tool of the Zionists.

Spoff says:

How illuminating to read Shamir’s transcript (backed by the recording).

For some reason “Youthful Folly” springs to mind:

Youthful Folly has success.
It is not I who seek the young fool;
The young fool seeks me.
At the first oracle I inform him.
If he asks two or three times, it is importunity.
If he importunes, I give him no information.
Perseverance furthers.

I look forward to “pinning down a shape shifter”.

Isn’t it strange that name-calling abounds in this article – but no-one asks the question: Where is truth in this matter?
There are serious thinkers, academicsw, ethicists, philosophers asking basic questions about the Holocaust-Shoah:
1. Prove the six million deaths;
2. Where is the written Hitler Order that started the alleged extermination process. Remember, a bureaucracy needs a written order to start its work. The US President Obama signed an Order to start the process against Osama bin Laden;
3. The murder weapon – homicidal gas chambers: Where is it? Show it to the world.

Barry says:

Fredrick, the issue here isn’t the Holocaust or the details of the Islam-inspired Jihad against the Jews by German Leftists during the 40’s.

The issue is that the psychotic Stinky Finky is a loser. And his best friend – Israel Shamir – is not just an ugly creep, but also Finky-style loser. Phillip Weiss too.

What did the satanic Mohammedans deserve such supporters. LOL

Fergie says:

A while ago Matt Rothschild (editor of the Progressive) called Finkelstein and Raul Hilberg “Holocaust minimizers,” is a minimizer different than a doubter? Can one be both if they are different or are the categories exclusive? Are there any others of which I should be aware, maybe four more? Maybe I should google “seven levels of Holocaust denial.”

“You will know them because they know more about the Jewish religion than you do. As soon as you meet one of those, and think, by God they’ve got a lot of quotations, by God they know everything about Jews—then that’s what they are. And what cheers me about all this, is that your true anti-Semite, like your true Holocaust denier, is doomed to a kind of Dante-esque hell of living among Jewish things, Jewish books, Jewish artifacts. You can see them in the library, they’ve got the Talmud up here, and they’re burrowing away to find more and more evidence against the Jews. Few Jews live a more perfect scholarly Jewish life.”
– Howard Jacobson [http://www.standpointmag.co.uk/node/1098/full]

Tom Syder says:

So many holocausts
How can anyone believe the Holocaust, when no one is allowed to hear of it.

I have not heard the truth of it and for many reasons, the information is a house of glassy smoked mirrors, ih which only ghost of non-existent shadows reside.

Imagine people everywhere can afford to have a diference of opinion on GOD who is the creator is, but not an idea perpetuated by a section of the creation. The whole thing is ridiculous to a laugh!!!

The people who make the decisions about the No Discussion, messed up badly when they used that strategy to perpetuate the idea. I would use another strategy.

Even if this non-discurssion is the reason for disbelief, the position is reasonable.

No discussion is alowed by someone, so they unleash a unholy hell on anyone who says they do not believe.

I am willing to discuss the TRUTH (note I said truth) of this “holocaust” anytime, with any Mr Man, if he is willing to give equal time to the holocaust of US Indians, Eskimos etc.
I want the truth about who started the black holocaust slave trade, from where, his name and religion…

I want to hear about who owned the ships and the rum factories that swapped rum for people in the colonies of the Americas and Africa.
And when slavery was finished because of whatever reason I want to hear the near holocaust of the Indian and Chinese across the oceans with the promise of better.

I want to hear about which set of people benefitted from black colonies
Talk to me about slavery and who owned the ships, employed the sailors.

After that we can talk about the People without a land and land without a people idea that started another one.
Then we can talk AGAIN about the truth of the Holocaust, the truth.

I have learnt that when history is falsified, we also have to falsify, geology, philisophy, music, complete literature and most importantly the memories of the neighbours of the people who have been targeted for this falsification.
Give me a verifiable reason to believe!!!!

I hope everyone here in this forgotten corner of the web understands how little anyone cares about these issues. In case you don’t understand: No one cares. This goes for your opponents as well, the people you label “deniers”. No one is interested anymore about WW2, Israel, racism, zionism, or anything else that happened in the 1940’s. It’s over. We have bigger fish to fry. We are all about to be swallowed whole by the New World Order.

Ted K says:

Norman Finkelstein is NOT a Holocaust denier, THIS IS A BOLDFACED LIE BY THE AUTHOR. Because Finkelstein dares to talk about the crimes against humanity in GAZA 2008 and the Richard Goldstone Report by the UN, these lies are propagated by the Tablet author of this. I won’t read the second part of this story, as everything after that grotesque lie becomes extremely questionable.

Jose Sanchez says:

Shamir is cool and despite the awkward hatchet job comes out shining as always. Now for the real interview go check out http://www.israelshamir.net/English/young-man.htm
to see the youth attempt to sharpen his rather blunt axe on a man that has seen the whole sordid goon show once too often.

Onward to Palestine me hearties!

The translation of the interview on Shamir’s website is much different than the actual interview. It’s a bit slanted. Listen to it and you’ll see.

For those saying the author called Shamir a denier – you should read the article – he is called a doubter. There’s a difference – do you have a dictionary?

Herb says:

MJ Rosenberg, why do you hate Hezbollah? What did Hezbollah do to you?

PilgrimSoul says:

Finkelstein is not a Holocaust denier or a Holocaust doubter. This author has some interesting things to say, but he discredits himself by making this claim. Finkelstein has written often of the Holocaust, and its effects on his parents. He is critical of Israel’s policies, and in THE HOLOCAUST INDUSTRY showed how quite a few people used it to make money and seek political power. Any justice-oriented person would have to be happy that such things are being exposed, because people who make money off the Holocaust disrespect every person who died in Hitler’s gas chambers.
By saying that Finkelstein is a Holocaust denier, is this author perhaps saying, in effect, that he identifies so strongly with the Holocaust that anybody with whom he disagrees must be some kind of Holocaust denier, or doubter, or whatever?
This powerful identification with the Holocaust, which has become central to so many Zionists, is the key to the ethos that so many of them are promoting. They identify with the aggression of the Holocaust, and can’t stop thinking, talking and acting on that identification. Their increasingly rightwing politics seem to be nothing more or less than a continuation of the Holocaust by other means, applied to the Middle East.
But even killing six million Arabs will not redeem the six million dead in Europe. The only way to redeem the Holocaust is to stop identifying with it, to stop thinking and talking about it, and find a solution in which Jewish Israelis can have human rights without taking away the human rights of the Palestinians.

arcaneone says:

Their increasingly rightwing politics seem to be nothing more or less than a continuation of the Holocaust by other means, applied to the Middle East.

Ridiculous.Israel offers medical treatment to thousands of Gazans each year. Since their conquest by Israel in 1967, Gazans’ life expectancy has risen from 48 to 73. Israel supplies medical equipment, food, electricity and fuel to Gaza. Does that sound like what the Germans did?

Finkelstein and Chomsky are cranks, as demonstrated by their support for Hezbollah. Notice that this “resistance” organization turned its guns on the Lebanese people, and has threatened to do so again if the Hariri investigation doesn’t go its way. Hezbollah has also been accused of complicity in political repression in Syria and Iran, but being anti-Israel earns them a pass from Chomsky(an actual Communist in this day and age)and Finkelstein.

Finkelstein is a Holocaust minimizer, who has claimed that “only” about a million and a half Jews were killed by the Germans. In this regard, at his Nuremberg war crimes trial, Auschwitz commandant General Rudolph Hoess claimed that 3.5 million people were exterminated in that concentration camp alone, 1 million by disease and 2.5 million by direct deliberate acts.

Dror Ben Ami says:

In my opinion Israel also practices holocaust denial because it rarely if ever mentions the 6 1/2 million gentiles who were also killed by the Nazis in the camps.

If Israel would hold memorial services for Ukrainian Christians who were killed or Polish Christians who were killed in those countries then it would be much more difficult for holocaust deniers to convince people these things never happened.

For example: at Babi Yair, it is true that Jews were executed, but many, many more gentiles were executed and Israel, for all intents and purposes ignores this.

If New York honored only the Americans killed on 9/11 there would be a public outcry, yet every year at Yad Vashem and every other ceremony in Israel, this is exactly what they do. They homor the memory only of the Jews and don’t even mention the gentiles…it’s wrong

american-israeli journalist says:

finkelstein has never said he doubts the holocaust happened. he has merely questioned the way the tragedy is being used.

i think the writer was on a very slippery ideological slope when he massaged in his little label “holocaust-doubter.”

I this was a “smear job”, it was an utterly botched one. It provides no proof that Israel Shamir is not who he says he is (if you want to accuse him of faking his identity, why is there no proper investigation into this?), and it fails in portraying him as a racist, since he talks mainly about everyone living peacefully together. Where does he say it is wrong to be a Jew? And even if you interpret it as if he does, where does he dispute people’s right to choose their own ethnic and religious identity?

It is not as if the man is immune to criticism. If I had wanted to make a REAL smear job on Israel Shamir, I would have played on his sympathy for Stalin, Kim Jong-Il and Saddam Hussein, and I would have quoted selectively from his essay on 9/11.

But the point about Shamir is this: yes, he is a political loonie and madman, but he is also a writing genius. He is usually interesting to read, even when you disagree completely with him.

Lee Klein says:

“He who touches you (Israel) touches the apple of MY eye” Zechariah 2:8

Louis Proyect says:

Israel Shamir is a rather disreputable character, but no more so than Lee Smith whose Arab-baiting articles are a regular feature here.

Dani ben Leb says:

Do a portrait of Philipp Weiss of mondoscheiss.Please.

Jules says:

Israel Shamir is bound by the very nature of the subject to court strong emotionalism and controversy but I have long found some things of worth in his writings particularly in what he terms “holocaustamania.” I do agree with him that this mania has become a cynical and recycled ultra-emotional industry and a brand trademark tool to silence legitimate criticisms of Israel. It is also an emperor’s “new” suit of clothes which has in reality fallen into a pair of moth eaten rags in the light of modern history.

And to think that in the mid-1980s, he and I worked on the same floor – at the Knesset. he as a Mpama faction spokesperson and me at Techiya.

Is it my browser or the internet site, but I can only see 50% the post. How should I response this?

Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to say that I have truly enjoyed browsing your blog posts. After all I’ll be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again soon!

The writer here describes Norman Finkelstein as a “Holocaust doubter”, however this is inaccurate and unsubstantiated.

ObjectiveWesterner says:

This piece is awfully written. From the frozen wind to “He smoked cigarettes constantly, and he smoked with heart and vigor; he truly seemed to enjoy the act of smoking.” So bad I couldn’t finish it.

ObjectiveWesterner says:

Absolutely awful. How much they smoked, how much they enjoyed smoking, how they put out their cigarette butts, no detail is too irrelevant or inane for this writer.

Herb says:

Israel Shamir’s viewpoints are pretty similar these days to that of Thomas vof Friedmann and ROger von COhen of the New York Times

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His Jewish Problem

Israel Shamir is a slippery Holocaust-doubter whose anti-Semitic, anti-Israel views are—in the age of WikiLeaks—finding a new audience. Part 1 of 2.

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