Monday, July 03, 2006

Culture Wars' Troubling Praise of Israel Shamir

Given my past experience with Culture Wars and E. Michael Jones', it did not come as a suprise to find a positively glowing review of Israel Shamir's Pardes in the September, 2005 issue of the publication (Shamir on the Jewish Question, by Tom White. September 2005 -- now posted on the website).

White has nothing but high praise for Shamir, finding "everything he writes illuminated by a fine intelligence, a good heart, massive knowledge of world history, a truly Christian humility, tremendous sophistication, considerable humor, and a determination to speak his piece no matter what." He likens him to the American poet Ezra Pound, gushing:

Shamir answers for me the question: What is wrong in the world that our nation is collapsing -- or at least getting ready to collapse -- in a welter of monstrous, unpayable debt, illegal and unwinnable wars, pornographic "entertainment," grossly corrupt government, ruinous taxation, and totalitarian-style police-state encroachments on the activities of everyday people, all the while no one seems to be able to do anything to stop any of it?

Pound's political and economic writings, which were a career sideline for a man who was a superb if sometimes difficult poet, are still politically incorrect, because he thought the chief architects of the extreme folly of the two great European World Wars, which wrecked Christendom and murdered millions of human beings, were the money men and munitions men, the giant usurers in their role as warmongers. Pound made plain that he thought -- nay, he knew -- that a lot of the biggest of them were Jews.

Shamir comes now with even more serious accusations, and reporting, if you will, from the inside, to contend that "the Jews" (defined below) are engaged in a monstrous scheme of world control and world government that is within an ace of carrying the day.

Now, just who is Israel Shamir? -- The name sounded oddly familiar. As it turns out, he is referenced by John Sharpe in "Judaism and the Vatican" (The Angelus June 2003 Volume XXVI, Number 6), and a search of Robert Sungenis' Catholics Apologetics International reveals that Shamir is twice recommended by a reader in an exchange with Robert Sungenis (Question #26 and Question #55). E. Michael Jones also displays some familiarity with Shamir, citing one of his columns in Harretz.

The problem of a proper vetting of sources has come up repeatedly in past discussions on this blog. Should it matter that Culture Wars praise Shamir's writings as a reliable source on Jewish affairs? Or that Sungenis and Sharpe make use of him as a reference in their articles? -- Consider the facts, and decide for yourself.

According to his own website Israel Shamir is a "leading Russian-Israeli intellectual, writer, translator and journalist" -- a Russian translator of Joyce, Homer and Agnon; "A native of Novosibirsk, Siberia, a grandson of a professor of mathematics and a descendant of a Rabbi from Tiberias, Palestine," schooled at the "prestigious Academy of Sciences . . . [and] Novosibirsk University".

In 1969, he allegedly moved to Israel, served as a paratrooper and fought in the 1973 war, after which point he resumed his study of law at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and then abandoned the profession in pursuie of a career in journalism, later serving as a columnist for the Israeli daily Haaretz "but was sacked for publishing an article calling to the return the Palestinian refugees and the rebuilding of their ruined villages," whereupon he was employed by the Russian newspaper Pravda.

The second Palestinian Intifada turned Shamir to his highly political and poetic pieces centred on Palestine. In the midst of the endless talk of a "Two State solution", Shamir, along with late Edward Said, has become a leading champion of the "One Man, One Vote, One State" solution in all of Palestine/Israel. As the battle for Palestine spilled over into Iraq, Shamir wrote more about the deeper, philosophical and theological meaning of the war. His essays have been circulating widely on the Internet . . . His English essays are collected in three books, The Flowers of Galilee, Our Lady of Sorrow and the PaRDeS.

However, investigations of Israel Shamir's background -- also operating under various aliases as Schmerlin, Robert David, Vassili Krasevsky and Jöran Jermas -- reveal something of a different story:

  • Israeli writer is Swedish anti-Semite, Tor Bach, Sven Johansen and Lise Apfelblum. Searchlight Magazine, May 2004:
    Shamir also claims to have occupied a string of important positions as a translator of classical works and to have worked as a journalist in several heavyweight media institutions, including for the major Israeli paper, Haaretz. However, when Monitor [Searchlight "sister" magazine in Norway] started investigating Shamir's past last year, it found no evidence that Shamir had ever held these positions. His supposed job as Moscow correspondent for Haaretz turned out to consist of just a few freelance articles.

    The Swedish Census Registry does give a few clues about Shamir and his movements. It shows that his name was entered onto the Registry in October 1984 and he later obtained Swedish citizenship. According to the register he still lives in Dalagatan, Stockholm, not in Jaffa, Israel, as he publicly claims. Shamir's first wife and two sons also live in Stockholm.

    In July 1993, Shamir emigrated to Russia and later to Israel, where he married again in July 1994. He and his new wife returned to Sweden in autumn 1998.

    Shamir, who claims to be one of Israel's leading intellectuals, has concealed the fact that he has lived in Sweden for a long time. Another strange fact is that there are hardly any references to Shamir on the internet before 2001, the same year in which he changed his name. This was a strange time to do this, just as he was being noticed and had started to publish his works under the name of Israel Shamir.

  • Jermas's translator in Norway is Hans Olav Brendberg, a teacher, who was recently asked to leave the executive committee of a branch of the Red Electoral Alliance (RV) -- see RV member to be expelled? [Norway] Monitor February 2004.

  • Israel Shamir: Wolf in Sheep's Clothing, by Roland Rance. [Google cache]. The Socialist / Anti-Zionist magazine Socialist Viewpoint, which used to publish Shamir's writings, explains why they are now distancing themselves from the author and are repulsed by his anti-semitism, evidence for which they locate in his Easter message to his readers:
    In his 2001 Easter Message he wrote: "The Jewish supremacy forces and the greed worshippers united again to crucify Christ…. Two thousand years ago, the spirit of brotherhood rose again, to give hope for the second joust. If he is defeated again, we all shall become forever slaves to our faceless masters. They will destroy the Mother Earth herself, turn her into waste lands of Mordor. They need this victory to bind U.S. together by the dark forces of domination. Let U.S. deny them, this time." [Take Two: Easter greetings to you from Israel Shamir MediaMonitors April 15, 2001 ]

    I'm not given to looking for anti-Jewish racism under every stone; but I think that, in this case, it is shouting from the roof-tops! Like many U.S. racists, he refers to the forces of ZOG (Zionist Government) to explain the behavior of the U.S., where he writes: "This brings us back, to the Fifth Element of Luc Besson, for in the movie as in real life, Zog is not an independent force. A slave of Mammon, a servant of the Shadow, he is helping the Dark force fulfill its metaphysical task, to blot out the Light of Christ and to turn our world into Godless desert. That is why he sends bulldozers to wipe out flowers in Palestine, sends troops to sack Baghdad and Damascus, threatens Paris and Moscow, perverts Christianity."

  • Nigel Parry: The Israel Shamir Case - Once "rapidly and warmly accepted into the pro-Palestinian activist scene," Perry explains why Shamir was ultimately expelled on account of his "classic anti-Semitic repertoire":
    As his articles kept coming, however, an increasing amount of the tone and content was observed by more than a few to fall into what could -- if this hadn't been an Israeli Jew writing it -- best be described as a classic anti-Semitic repertoire. Shamir's identity as a Jew initially enabled people to excuse this, until the whole mess began to unravel as more and more questions were asked. Eventually, these questions began to be answered, and the issue errupted into a controversy. This page is an archive for some of the material that circulated, and is offered to the Palestinian community in particular as a warning to check the backgrounds and content of the message of people who claim to speak on their behalf. However worthy the cause, the end does not justify the means.
  • Lord Ahmed's unwelcome guest, by Stephen Pollard. April 27, 2005. On February 23, Shamir / Jermas was invited to speak in Britain's House of Lords by Nazir Ahmed, a Muslim Labor peer:
    The gist of Shamir/Jermas's speech at the meeting can be gleaned from its title, "Jews and the Empire". It included observations such as: "All the [political] parties are Zionist-infiltrated." "Your newspapers belong to Zionists . . . Jews indeed own, control and edit a big share of mass media, this mainstay of Imperial thinking." "In the Middle East we have just one reason for wars, terror and trouble -- and that is Jewish supremacy drive . . . in Iraq, the US and its British dependency continue the same old fight for ensuring Jewish supremacy in the Middle East." "The Jews like an Empire . . . This love of Empire explains the easiness Jews change their allegiance . . . Simple minds call it 'treacherous behaviour', but it is actually love of Empire per se." "Now, there is a large and thriving Muslim community in England . . . they are now on the side of freedom, against the Empire, and they are not afraid of enforcers of Judaic values, Jewish or Gentile. This community is very important in order to turn the tide."
    "Why would Lord Ahmed have hosted such a man in the Lords?" Pollard inquires, when a quick search of the web would have revealed his true nature:
    Indeed, Shamir/Jermas's own website proudly reprints his views: "Jews asked God to kill, destroy, humiliate, exterminate, defame, starve, impale Christians, to usher in Divine Vengeance and to cover God's mantle with blood of goyim . . . " "The Ashkenazi Jews believed that spilled Jewish blood has a magic effect of calling down Divine Vengeance on the heads of the Gentiles . . . The picture of Jews slaughtering children for cultic reasons exerted huge impact on the Christian peoples of Europe." On and on it goes.
    See also London Times Exposes Columnist "Israel Shamir" as Swedish neo-Nazi; A Labour anti-semite? March 22, 2005.

  • Israel Shamir exposed! A fake or a plant?, by Manfred Ropschitz. April 26, 2005. posts a copy of Israel Shamir's / Jöram Jermas' passport, documenting his dual-identity. Again, the author of the article is "an anti-Zionist Jew, the son of a Polish Holocaust survivor and an active supporter of Palestinian rights since the late 1970's" -- one of many anti-Zionist activists who have disowned and distanced themselves from Shamir.

  • "Israel Shamir" and the Austrian Left , by Karl Pfeifer. TransAtlantic Intelligencer May 26, 2005:
    Today, it is not crude fascist-type street politics that mainly characterizes anti-Semitism but rather heavily coded and implicit arguments -- almost always accompanied by a pre-emptive disavowal of any anti-Semitic intent -- to the effect that the world's problems, including September 11 (and even the Tsunami) have their origins in the policies of and the existence of Israel, that Israel can get away with it because the USA gives it carte blanche, and that the USA does so because its own government is under pressure from, or is itself, ZOG. This kind of argument, in turn, is a key ingredient of simplistic, black and white, assessments of events in the Middle East, especially the Israel-Palestine issue.
  • From Israel Shamir - Wikipedia provides a lengthy entry with copious references and sources on the ongoing investigation into the background of this popular "Israeli" writer.
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Something that Culture Wars and Israel Shamir have in common is the fact that their articles are picked up by the the National Vanguard, a website/organization of questionable ideology (being an offshoot of the white-supremacist National Alliance).

Shamir's columns are regularly featured on The Vanguard's website. In February 24, 2005, Culture Wars' book review of Shamir's Pardes was picked up by The Vanguard, followed by David O'Connell's Elie Wiesel and the Catholics shortly thereafter.

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I see the expose of Israel Shamir has provoked the ire of Culture Wars' Thomas Herron.

Israel Shamir's current residence -- Jaffa, Israel or Sweden? As noted in the various investigatory reports, he has dual citizenship -- is, in my mind, incidental to the content of his writings. Here Herron takes the usual line of defense that Shamir/Jermas is not an anti-semite, but merely opposed to Zionism -- and then mentions the fact of his conversion to Greek Orthodoxy to exonerate his remarks.

But, it is Shamir's writing that is the question -- specifically, the kind of phrases commonplace in his writings, the rhetoric that is drawn from run-of-the-mill European anti-semitism and which has caused many of Shamir's former Palestinian and anti-Zionist admirers to disown him outright. (Herron cites two letters from friends of Shamir who have met him and speak of him highly; in contrast, here is a written account of a personal meeting between Hussein Ibish and Israel Shamir. Ibish is a press spokesman of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), who met with Shamir to discuss his views and warned of Shamir's growing extremism.

Herron appears at a loss as to explain why the majority of those who are now distancing themselves from Shamir's extremism are, for the most part, left-wing anti-Zionist/pro-Palestinian activists who are in no way sympathetic to Zionism or Israel.