by Scott Creighton
UPDATE: After further review of the references I included in the background section of this article, I found that I had mistakenly attributed a quote to Mr. Atzmon that he never actually made. I apologize for that oversight and have removed it from this post.
A (Not So) Brief Introduction
After my last interview with Tom Kiely of INN World Report, he was kind enough to send me a rough copy of a video of a discussion that took place earlier this year between Rabbi Yaakov Shapiro and ex-Jew Gilad Atzmon. Tom introduced the two and was responsible for bringing these guys together. He served as moderator in the Q&A afterward.
The talk was entitled “Judaism Versus Jewish Identity Politics: Religion Versus Tribalism” and it’s a very enlightening discussion. Though they are both deeply and publicly involved in the anti-Zionist movement, they come at it from vastly different perspectives and not being Jewish myself, it’s hard for me take a side on the subtle yet incredibly important division between these two.
In a nutshell (and certainly not doing either of them any justice with my summation here) Gilad was born a Jew in Israel and his life experience (and more importantly, the policies of Israel as a state) has brought him to the point where he has renounced Judaism calling himself an “ex-Jew” ” and a “Hebrew-speaking Palestinian.”
Gilad openly states that “Jew-land” exists on stolen property which makes him a huge target for the likes of the ADL and their respective Israel-backing so-called “leftists” here in the states as well as a target for the right.
Gilad, having been raised a secular Jew in Israel, condemns “Jewishness” as “very much a supremacist, racist tendency” and that is the root of the problem. Zionism is merely an extension of that.
Rabbi Yaakov Shapiro on the other hand, takes a very different approach toward his opposition to Zionism and even the state of Israel itself.
As an ultra-Orthodox Jew, Yaakov contends that Zionism from it’s inception was designed to do one thing: destroy the Jewish religion.