PORNOGRAPHIC PAST vs MURDEROUS PRESENT

November 9, 2009 – 4:11 am


There are some who not only cling on to the memory of the Holocaust but even derive some satisfaction by making up stories about the Holocaust. On the other hand, they are the witnesses of an ongoing holocaust in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. As writer and musician Gilad Atzmon points out, “We also witness Israel preparing itself to nuke Iran in the name of Jewish history and the Holocaust in particular.”

“Why would any writer make up stories about the Holocaust?” asks Melissa Katsoulis on mainstream British media outlet The Independent.

Katsoulis has recently published a book about the history of literary hoaxes. She is interested in particular in a unique fictional genre; namely ‘the Holocaust hoaxers’.

On the one hand, she confesses that “special privilege must be given to those increasingly few witness-writers who survived the Second World War in Europe.” She is even willing to accept Elie Wiesel’s peculiar take on ‘truth and fiction’, that “some stories are true that never happened.”

On the other hand she says, “those memoirists who think that they can pretend they were there when they weren’t ought to remember that hijacking the experiences of others for selfish ends will only end in ignominy.”

Katsoulis suggests that perhaps what “readers seek in trauma stories is akin to what people look for in pornography: something edgy they have never seen before, followed by a spectacular resolution”. Very much like the case of pornography, the dedicated audience of Jewish pain “want to identify (safely) with what they are reading; to try on someone else’s crisis for a while and see how it compares to their own.”

Katsoulis’ reference to ‘pornography’ is indeed interesting bearing in mind that, at the time of the Eichmann Trial in Jerusalem (1960s), a new genre of S&M pornography namely “Stalag” emerged in Israel. It was a short-lived, highly sexualised fictional magazine that drew its imagery from Nazi exploitation of inmates in prisoner camps.

Very much like the case of pornography, the dedicated audience of Jewish pain “want to identify (safely) with what they are reading; to try on someone else’s crisis for a while and see how it compares to their own.”

However, Katsoulis’ reference to ‘pornography’ may raise some questions. While pornography consumption can be realised as an attempt to seek libidinal pleasure through the imagery of others celebrating their symptoms, one may wonder, what kind of satisfaction anyone might seek from the repetition of a holocaust memory? Do we look for satisfaction? And if we do, what kind of satisfaction are we after exactly? What are the symptoms that are celebrated by the story tellers, and what are our symptoms consuming them?

Instead of a culture hooked on recycled images of degradation and suffering, I would actually expect a moral lesson to surface from the Shoa. I would hope for a genuine search for mercy and compassion. Evidently, this has never happened. Putting aside Israeli barbarism in Palestine, the West and the English speaking empire have never stopped igniting wars in the name of fake values driven by the Holocaust (democracy, liberalism, ‘universal’ human rights and so on).

Katsoulis stresses that the ‘hoaxers’ “had difficult childhoods but, feeling that their truth was shamefully small, they sought the grand signifier of the Holocaust to attract the compassion that they desired.” I urge you to read Katsoulis and if you have a spare moment, check out the comments that are no less revealing.

I myself saw recently saw two short videos that left me puzzled. The first was an ABC News televised interview with Herman Rosenblat.


Click on the graphic for the video.

“The twinkly-eyed American pensioner who came forward with a story so magical that it lifted the heart of every cynic in New York,” was nothing but that of a compulsive liar. Once Rosenblat was confronted as a hoaxer he told the camera.”It wasn’t a lie. It was my imagination. I believed my imagination, I believe my mind, I believe it now.”

“But you know it wasn’t true” he is challenged by the ABC interviewer. “Yes”, he answers, “But in my imagination it was true”.

I guess that no one can argue with such an advanced post modernist argument.

In another video clip; Irene Weisberg Zisblatt, whose testimony is showcased in Steven Spielberg’s documentary film The Last Days, is caught lying to the camera at least twice.


Click on the graphic for the video.

I am not judging Zisblatt’s dishonesty or her tendency to exaggerate. It is more than likely that this woman went through hell on earth. But I do challenge Steven Spielberg who, for some reason decided to exploit this woman in his Hollywoodian attempt to archive and depict what he calls the ‘truth’ of the holocaust.

What kind of satisfaction anyone might seek from the repetition of a holocaust memory? Do we look for satisfaction? And if we do, what kind of satisfaction are we after exactly? Instead of a culture hooked on recycled images of degradation and suffering, I would actually expect a moral lesson to surface from the Shoa. I would hope for a genuine search for mercy and compassion. Evidently, this has never happened.

The question we are left with is why. Why does she lie? Why does he lie? Why does anyone lie? And if they lie and are entitled to believe in their figment of imagination, where can we learn about the truth? What can we learn about the truth? What is truth? Is there any truth? And if we can ever be lucky enough to find the truth or even just ‘a truth’, can we announce it without being at risk of social exclusion or even losing our freedom?

Katsoulis exposes a perverse tendency in the midst of our Western discourse. It is proved beyond doubt that our freedom to speak, and even to think, is under severe assault. I would take it one step further and argue that the Holocaust religion is the biggest current assault against humanity and humanism. First, it stops us from revisiting and revising our own living memory. Second, it stops us from drawing a universal ethical lesson from history and third, it leads to more and more genocidal crimes.

Instead of a revenge-driven doctrine, what we really want is grace and compassion.

Rather than a singular monolithic belief system promoting a deceptive notion of freedom centred on Jewish pain, what we really want is real pluralism and tolerance that would accept more than just one truth and encourage belief systems to respect each other.

Instead of a revenge-driven doctrine, what we really want is grace and compassion.

In fact, the Jews, should have been the first to grasp it all. As Emmanuel Levinas suggested after WWII, Jews should have located themselves at the forefront of the battle against evil and racism. Despite there being a handful of Jewish ’self haters’ who are committed to the exposure of the Zionist crime, this never happened. Not only did it not happen, the Jewish state is the ultimate example of a racist nationalist terrorist state.

Katsoulis is far from being a Holocaust denier. She believes that the Holocaust happened, yet she writes about the robbery of its memory. “When a writer stands before other survivors and gives as scripture what is stolen from the memories of real witnesses, they can expect little sympathy.” Katsoulis offers some criticism of the “unregulated Holocaust “industry”, where victimhood is rewarded by money and fame.”

However, I would like to extend Katsoulis’ quest. I would maintain that in fact we are the witnesses of an ongoing holocaust in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. We also witness Israel preparing itself to nuke Iran in the name of Jewish history and the Holocaust in particular. In front of our eyes we see the emergence of evil on a colossal magnitude, and we are somehow paralyzed by a historical chapter that, in comparison to contemporary Israeli crimes, has less and less significance or relevance.

Rather than being subject to an idolatry of an untouchable past, we better start to be concerned with the HERE and NOW, with the genocides that are committed in our names and under our nose by Israel and its supporters around the world.

Note: Gilad Atzmon was born in Israel and served in the Israeli military. He lives in London, and is the author of two novels: A Guide to the Perplexed and the recently released My One and Only Love. Atzmon is also one of the most accomplished jazz saxophonists in Europe. He can be reached at: [email protected] The above article was posted at Information Clearing House. Visit Gilad Atzmon at http://www.gilad.co.uk/.

  1. 10 Responses to “PORNOGRAPHIC PAST vs MURDEROUS PRESENT”

  2. In his essay entitled, “PORNOGRAPHIC PAST vs MURDEROUS PRESENT” November 9, 2009, author Atzmon draws an odd conclusion that I would invite clarification of. He states, “…we are the witnesses of an ongoing holocaust in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.” Exactly who in any of these countries is building death camps? His analogy does not hold water there. He next comments, “…the HERE and NOW, with the genocides that are committed in our names and under our nose by Israel and its supporters around the world.” Okay… can we get a better definition of the term, genocide? In Palestine I have yet to hear about solving the resettlement problem by kiling every Non Jew in the territory. As for Afghanistan and Pakistan, the majority of the deaths and death related headlines are attributable to the Taliban. Iraq? Same fecal matter, different group… The suicide bombings which account for the majority of the deaths seem to be Iraqi vs Iraqi. Perhaps the terms “Holocaust” and “Genocide” have been chosen for their inflammatory nature, especially when applied to Israel, rather than for anything remotely resembling accuracy.

    By Kevin on Nov 9, 2009

  3. 1 million civilians killed and 4 million displaced in Iraq sounds pretty much like a holocaust. With such numbers who needs a death camp! Block all exit into and out of a narrow strip of land (gaza) and bomb the captive population who are guilty because they are of the same type (read palestinians) to smithereens and while you are at it bomb their schools, hospitals, UN shelters, mosques, ambulances and throw in a couple of white phosphorous bombs. If that’s not genocide, what is?!!

    By buelias on Nov 11, 2009

  4. It’s not genocide when you defend yourself against unremitting rocket attacks. It’s not genocide when you try to kill missile-firing militants who are using schoolyards to fire from, and hospitals to store their weapons in. It’s not genocide when you risk the lives of your own soldiers by giving warning of your targets in advance, in an attempt to save innocent
    Palestinian lives.

    When you do all these things, and knowingly feed and provision your enemy, as the Israelis are doing, this is not called genocide. This is called self-defence in the face of murderous provocation. It is called the urge to survive in the face of fanatical ideological hatred.

    And it is called the wisdom of experience. It does not take the discovery of 500 tons of smuggled Iranian weaponry en route to Hizbollah to remind the Jews that they have always been the favourite scapegoat of the godless and the violent. The Nazi persecution is branded on the Jewish forehead like Harry Potter’s scar, and he cannot forget ; he sees it every time he lokos long enough in the mirror.

    By Anth on Nov 15, 2009

  5. There’s a Nov 16, 2009 report about the alleged arms shipment from Iran here:

    http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=111410&sectionid=351020101

    Israel gaffe reveals ‘Iran ship photos’ were forged

    In brief, the Iranians are saying the evidence is forged. “In any case, the newspaper should know that if a country plans to send a secret arms cargo to another, it will not brand the shipment with a full description of the batch.” Read the report at the link above.

    Clearly someone is supplying weapons but maybe not that ship.

    By admin on Nov 17, 2009

  6. i have read the new book by penelope holt and herman rosenblat called “the apple”. its really great. holt did a wonderful job. i am inspired by the courage of a man i consider a hero, herman rosenblat. ms. holt thanks for telling his story and putting it in words. both of you are true inspirations to us all!

    By marianne on Nov 21, 2009

  7. penelope holt did a wonderful job on her new book, “the apple”. i am now inspired by the courage of a man i consider a hero, herman rosenblat. ms. holt thanks for telling his story and putting it in words. both of you are true inspirations to us all!

    By marianne on Nov 21, 2009

  8. Who has the biggest and only nuclear stockpile in the Middle East? Who is leading the world towards nuclear conflict and devastation? Who labels thinking individuals concerned with the survival of the human race as anti semitic, thus effectively obliterating any whiff of dissent to their agenda?

    The shoah is being used to justify the most savage, barbarous and inhuman acts one human being could inflict on another, as is evidenced by the Gaza genocide.

    This self-destructive behaviour is clear to any straight thinking person but is sadly invisible to the perpetrator and the herd.

    By buelias on Dec 3, 2009

  9. herman rosenblat is my hero and author penelope holt is a saint. she did a wonderful job restoring my faith in a wonderful man. i love you ms. holt. my rosenblat is an american hero and miss holt you have told america once again what a wonderful man he is. bless you!

    By sal on Dec 11, 2009

  10. everyone seems to ignor this book and the writer. they dont deserve any of our attention. nada. rosenblat did a terrible thing. the best thing is to simply ignor the whole lot.

    By gina on Jan 10, 2010

  11. great youtube of mr. rosenblat at auschwitz.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_A7b9fXw0aY

    By dan mason on Jan 23, 2010

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