By Roland Rance
We publish this expose of one, Israel Shamir, several of whose articles we had published in this magazine until we had detected more than a hint of anti-Semitic nonsense about his thesis that the “Jewish Lobby” is primarily responsible for U.S. imperialism’s crimes in the Middle East. He had presented himself as a Russian Jew who migrated to Israel and was militantly opposed to Zionist crimes against Palestine.
Here is the background to my hostility towards Israel Shamir, who also writes under the names of Schmerlin, Robert David, Vassili Krasevsky and Jöran Jermas. I cannot vouch for which of these is the real Israel Shamir:
Shamir is apparently a right-wing Russian journalist, who pretends to be an Israeli Jewish leftist. He claims to live in Jaffa, and may well have a home there, but he also seems to live in Sweden. He uses a Swedish email address, and his website used to be hosted there. His son was deported from Israel to Sweden, and when Shamir tried to sell Nazi memorabilia to David Irving, he wrote to him from 16 Dalagatan, Stockholm, phone and fax (468) 335186.
His CV [Curriculum Vitae, (Resume)] reads like a work of fantasy—grandson of a rabbi, Israeli paratrooper, graduate in law and maths, translated Agnon, Herzog, Joyce and the Talmud into Russian, parliamentary spokesman for Mapam, worked for the BBC. “He also managed to find time to translate a number of Japanese classics.”
I don’t believe a word of it. According to the Jerusalem Post (August 15, 1991), he denounced Sakharov in the right-wing Russian press as a “Zionist agent,” while at the same time, in the Hebrew press and under another name, denouncing Solzhenitsyn and his circle as “enemies of the Jewish people.” He appeared in Israel, as if from nowhere, at the beginning of the Intifada, writing well-received articles, in which his hidden agenda became more and more overt. From the beginning, it was clear to those who could read critically that he was a Christian evangelist rather than a left activist.
Last year, he announced his “conversion” to Greek Orthodox Christianity; I’m sure he was a Christian long before this, but found it useful to pose as a Jew. I stress his Christianity because it is key to his positions. He subscribes to the most anti-Jewish strand of Greek Orthodoxy, and regularly denounces “the Jews” (or “the Mammonites,” as he sometimes calls us) as Christ-killers.
His essay “Christmas Greetings to Hellenes” is revealing. He writes: “The Jews are forever fighting Christ and the Church; there is no chance for peace in the Holy Land unless the position of the Synagogue is undermined and the Jews saved by the Church…only the Orthodox Church can offer true salvation to the Jews escaping their supremacist creed.... There should be an effort to help the Israeli Jews to reach salvation. It can’t be separated from the question of Palestinian clergy, for the Palestinian clergy can show the Israelis that the way of the Church is also the true path to peace.”
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.”
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.”
Other essays are titled “The Vampire Killers,” “Poisoning Wells,” “Kugel Eaters,” “Bloodcurdling Libel” (in which he claims that Jews really did murder Christian children to use their blood in matzo, “New Portnoy’s Complaint,” “The Elders of Zion” and the “Masters of Discourse” (where he argues that it doesn’t matter if the Protocols of the Elders of Zion are a forgery; they are true in any case), and other titles clearly designed to stigmatise Jews. This is not incidental; his comment on Le Pen’s success in the first round of the French elections was “Le Pen is a bad guy in my books, but bad guys will be called to undo the excessive Jewish power if the good guys fail to do it.”
I could cite much more of his writings, making clear his anti-Judaism, his contempt for Jews and the Jewish religion, his racism towards non-whites, his anti-feminism, his opposition to democracy, his proselytizing Christian evangelism and other attitudes; but the problem is not simply that his views are extreme, obnoxious, and offensive. It is that he, his writings, his views, and his actions, are a positive obstacle to the movement, which needs to build in support of a unitary, democratic and secular Palestine.
Many respected and veteran anti-Zionist activists are unable and unwilling to work with Shamir. Lenni Brenner has described him as “a political fool and a libeler. Or, if you prefer, a libeler and a political fool.” Uri Davis says he is “a negative contributor to the debate on Palestine…I want to have as little to do with this man as possible.” According to Ilan Halevi, “Shamir…seems to have simultaneously switched from the most radical anti-Zionism to the most banal Christian anti-Judaism.”
Bill Friend writes “This piece of shit excuse for a human, takes certain facts and then carefully merges them with myths and his own warped sense and comes up with a piece that exceeds any Jew-hating piece he has written in the past.”
Michel Warshawski, Moshe Machover, Tikva Honig-Parnass and Eli Aminov have all expressed their suspicions of Shamir, his past and his motives, and refused to work with him. We are not talking about “the Jewish community” here, but Jewish and Israeli anti-Zionist activists with collectively many hundreds of years of experience in the struggle, people who have for decades stood against the mainstream, have been denounced as “traitors” and “anti-Semites,” who have paid for their commitment to justice in Palestine with prison sentences and exile.
It is not simply his unacceptable views, but his entire political project that is unacceptable. Although he belongs to the Lausanne-based Association for One Democratic State in Palestine/Israel, and professes to believe in religious freedom, equality and coexistence, what he in fact is working for is a Christian regime, and the leadership of the church. In furtherance of these aims, Shamir is prepared to work with the most extreme racists and fascists, such as the ex-leftist Horst Mahler (one of the founders of the Baader-Meinhof group, before his political conversion in the 1980’s). He has written (in an attack on Nat Weinstein,) that “Lyndon La Rouche the Democrat and Buchanan the Republican should be supported in their fight against the Jewish Lobby.”
LaRouche, like Mahler, is an ex-leftist who has switched to the furthest extremes of the far right. For details of his career and views, you can see the excellent material published by Political Research Associates. It was at an anti-war conference organized by his wife, Halga Zapp-Larouche, at the Schiller Institute with which he is associated, that British student Jeremiah Duggan mysteriously died after revealing that he was Jewish. Pat Buchanan has also been comprehensively documented by the PRA (Political Research Associates).
Largely at my instigation, Shamir was expelled from the Al-Awda Unity email list (Jewish supporters of the Palestinian right to return) because of his links with ex-National Front leader Martin Webster, who he described as “a friend.” In fact, he forwarded correspondence from Birmingham University academic Sue Blackwell, including contact details, to Webster. Members of the list agreed that having any contact with Shamir was a serious threat to the physical safety of activists, many of whom have long records of opposition to fascism.
For Shamir, such activity is in fact evidence of “crypto-Zionism”—a charge he made against me and Lenni Brenner. He claims that all anti-fascist organizations are in the pay of Israeli intelligence and that anti-fascist activists are either conscious Zionist collaborators, or gullible dupes of Zionist machinations (“The leftists who break up their meetings are usually Zionists, supported and financed by Zionists, or are in cahoots with Zionists,”[email to Lenni Brenner]). He has denounced Palestinians for engaging in anti-fascist activity, in “Rock of Dissent” where he writes:
“The event is organized by some right-wing Americans, loosely connected to a small group called National Alliance (NA). Whatever one thinks about NA, one would expect a satisfied shrug, at least, if not outright support coming from Palestinians and their friends in the U.S.…these people should be worked with, not rejected out of hand. Some of their erroneous ideas could be corrected. If they would just say ‘affirmation of European legacy’ instead of ‘white supremacy’ you would discover that the arguments against them collapse…these guys are short of finesse, some of their ideas are weird, but they came to correct conclusion: America should not fight WWIII for the Zionists’ sake.”
In “The Elders Of Zion And The Masters Of Discourse,” Shamir argues in effect that it doesn’t matter if the Protocols of the Elders of Zion are a forgery; they are true in any case. “Summing it up, a big share (though not all) of the ideas ascribed to the Jews by the Protocols are indeed the ideas useful or necessary for the Jewish communal well-being, without any need for great hatred towards Gentiles and/or the guidance of mythic Elders of Zion. That is the reason of the Protocols’ long life. Paradoxically, without Israeli apartheid these facts would remain invisible for the host communities.”
In April 2001 Palestinian activists Ali Abunimah and Hussein Ibish: wrote “We do not have any need for some of what Israel Shamir is introducing into the discourse on behalf of Palestinian rights, which increasingly includes elements of traditional European anti-Semitic rhetoric. Such sentiments will harm, not help, the cause. We urge all our friends in the movement for Palestinian rights to seriously consider the long-term effects this rhetoric will have on the cause, and act accordingly.” (…).
 See http://www.israelshamir.net/english/hellen.shtml