The study group Aguéli in Uppsala was honored by the writer Israel Shamir presence. He belongs to the small but mighty crowd of Zionism critic of Jewish descent who rejuvenates the intellectual discourse in the West. By his Swedish son, journalist John Wahlstrom, he has been described as a Jew’s equivalent of Salman Rushdie.
Shamir has endured much for his outspokenness and his “blasphemy”. We know it’s not as opportune to provoke the Jews as it is to provoke Muslims. Muslims must learn to endure jokes, certainly, I agree, but should not this also apply to Jews? I have read Satanic Verses and was not particularly impressed. It is not because I am a Muslim. I distinguish between my religious and literary taste. I would just appreciate the orthodox, Muslim novelist, I had not many to choose from.
I do not think Shamir is a jew’s equivalent of Rushdie. I think he is much better. He is a better thinker. But even bolder. Those who leave Islam are received with accolades, but anyone who leaves Judaism is insulted, blamed or ignored. Ex-Jews are simply not as popular as ex-Muslims.
Trendy in the sioniserade, Islam-critical sphere today is anglo-indian Ibn Warraq, author of Why I am not a Muslim. In it he depicts himself as a sceptic of the Enlightenment and the English liberal spirit that freed itself from the irrational, religious dogma. Plenty so. Ibn Warraq has some points in his speech about the modern West’s merits. It’s me magnanimous enough to admit. But suppose that publishers would publish a book entitled Why I am not a Jew? For sure, well even Judaism dogmas irrational? It seemed at least enlightenment philosopher par excellence: the antisemitic Voltaire. Just note that it is not as politically correct to criticize Judaism like Islam.
Maybe that Islamic extremism is a bigger problem than any Jewish? For whom? It is a tricky question. For the ordinary Muslim is of course Muslims boorishness and pedantry of Muslims, particularly Wahhabism, the greater a source of headaches and irritation of everyday life than jew extremism and Zionism. But you raise your sights and start to look at media companies and the global financial elite we see fewer and fewer acidic Wahhabi faces. Ask someone who has just been robbed in a dark alley who he likes least about: the robber or the currency speculator George Soros? Ask an Afghan who had just had his hand cut off by the Taleban, who he likes least about: Taliban or Zbigniew Brzezinski, one of the brains behind the introduction of Wahhabism in Afghanistan. Micro and macro perspectives.
Ibn Warraq love to rant about the free research tingling, questioning the pleasure, of doubt and scepticism intoxicating sweetness, but then he stopped short before the Holocaust religion grim priests and throws himself down on his face in horror mixed reverence. Where now is the cheeky grin of this Voltaire? For the atheist Ibn Warraq, there are other words holy temple in which you can not beat a trill.
Rushdie left Islam, which he has every right to do, like Israel Shamir also has the right to leave Judaism. But they have not only the right to leave the religion, they also have the right to criticize it. To seek and find, but also to lose or throw away truths are part of life’s adventures. Ivan Aguéli writes: “One must however remember that we do not exist without our free will and the more we follow our free will, the more we are ourselves. To deprive someone of his free will, or acquire it, in what you do to his spiritual authority, or destroy it or falsify it, it is a despicable crime than violence, despotism, or homicide, or to bite out the eyes of someone who is weaker than we. ”
Shamir began his talk by explaining why the small Palestine, the Holy Land, is so sought after. To understand this you have to study geopolitics, he said. Politics and history must be understood in light of geographical conditions. Geopolitical analysis is the basis for much of the Empire’s plans and actions. Empire’s goals, said Shamir, is to rule the world.
Shamir then expressed his admiration for Colonel Muammar Gadhafi that by arming the people with machine guns proved that he trusts it and has its support. Admirable too is his progressive Islamist ideology that combines tradition and modernity, popular rule and charismatic leadership. Today it is Ahmadinejad, Gadhafi and Bashar al-Assad of Syria, who represent the anti-imperialist forces. But they must open up for changes, said Shamir. They need to let new people. In particular, Bashar is in the hands of an old stubborn security apparatus. “Democracy”, he says, “is a good thing.” One of the things that made him so hated by Zionists is that he advocates a democratic Palestine.
Apropos of Wikileaks Shamir said that he never had any official position in the organization. “I represent only myself, but I appreciate Julian Assange work”. The cooperation is as it were more friendly than collegial.
Shamir’s excellent collection of essays Flowers of Galilee was published in Swedish by the Alhambra publishers 2003rd I interviewed him in August 2009. Read it here . The study group Aguéli hope that Shamir will return with a new lecture next summer.
The blogger “I want to be dangerous” has written a report from the evening.
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Thanks it was an interesting lecture, in particular, I like Israel Shamir simple and straightforward words of wisdom “try not to ask silly…” that is, pay attention to the information and misinformation that surrounds us every day and try to see and think from multiple perspectives when we read, see or hear anything.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Israel Shamir in Uppsala
This weekend the celebrated Julian Assange his fortieth birthday at the mansion in England, where he is under house arrest. Celebrities such as Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were invited and the invitation contained instructions on where to land with a private plane and how to get to the castle by helicopter. No such instructions were not to get to the basement room in a student area in Uppsala, where Israel Shamir gave a lecture yesterday. In fact, the open invitation of Mr Mohamed Omar’s blog, there were no instructions at all, not even an address. Possibly it was to avoid problems with the protesters or the landlord (which has hit other people who spoke before the Study Group Aguéli). For Israel Shamir is a controversial person (more here ). The mere suspicion of a link between Wikileaks and him have been enough to create a scandal (more here ).
But the event last night was very quiet. About twenty people gathered in a basement for two and a half hours of lecture, questions and conversations. There are some books for sale and in the break are treated to coffee in plastic cup. Age distribution is large, gender distribution is more uniform (a woman in the audience). About half the audience seems to have foreign ancestry which is not totally irrelevant task: Israel Shamir often accused of being anti-Semite and a review of the study group’s list of speakers shows that the group could easily be placed in the tray “extremist” but things are not always as simple as you might think.
Well, if Israel Shamir’s anti-Semite as he seems (at least in the lecture yesterday) have a surprisingly weak focus on Jews and Israel. He begins by explaining what he believes is behind the whole Plestinafrågan. The answer is geopolitics and the British imperial ambitions in the late 1800s. According to Shamir, one can find the response of the British academic, Halford Mackinder , who introduced “hjärtlandsteorien”. Under that have an empire that would rule the world to master some key points on the globe and one of them is Jerusalem.
Since the British had no natural allies in the region so created and supported the British intelligence Zionism. Even today, Israel fills the function of a tool of empire (which today has released the thought of being a British Empire) to control Jerusalem. An explanation based on geography rather than metaphysics. When asked which currently govern the Empire to respond Shamir after some reflection that we can not know (particularly with reference to Leo Strauss’ ideas about exoteric and esoteric message in politics (read more here )).
After this introduction, Shamir goes on and talks about the “Arab spring”. He believes that it is difficult to know not only what will happen, but what has happened. That revolutions have been started, or at least supported, by the Empire believes he is beyond doubt, but why is harder to understand. In several cases, the regimes that overthrow allies of the Empire (eg Egypt) and lived up to the old saying, “He May Be a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of a bitch”. But maybe it got tired empire that only have power over leadership and wanted to redo all the countries and people. Empire would crush the old structures and traditions and reshape the entire society. Here, says Shamir, is a challenge to the Empire’s adversaries: how to preserve the old society without succumbing to pure conservatism (“we want it as it was a hundred years ago”)?
In some other parts of the “Arab Spring” seem Empire motifs be easier to understand. Both Libya and Syria are anti-imperialist states whose regimes Shamir hope could remain in power. However, he seems to see the great need of reform especially in Syria while he feels great admiration for Gaddafi and his relationship to his people. In order to follow what is happening in Libya recommend Shamir his friend Thierry Meyssan . While Shamir says that democracy is good governance so does a strong leader to follow the popular will as well. “The Arab Spring” is not the first example of how the Empire tried to transform and integrate their allies. In the 60s, says Shamir, Sweden was a great country. Anti-imperialism was strong and understanding of the Soviet Union great. Today, Sweden has instead troops in both Afghanistan and Libya. What happened? Well, a major campaign to change people’s attitudes in which they fabricated submarine violations were a central part. These aroused distrust of the Soviet Union and the people were deceived.
So back to the Preamble theme: a few direct questions Shamir speak a little about Wikileaks. No, he has had no official role within the organization but he knows Assange and admire his work. If Assange would go to prison, it is doubtful that Wikileaks would survive. It was said then therefore no real controversy yesterday? Basically no, but Shamir also chose to avoid it. Asked what he thought about the Holocaust of Jews during World War II were answered with “we can not talk about this.”
Mohamed Omar’s version of the evening here .