Friday, September 23, 2011

As for Rushdie and Mistry, so for Gilad Atzmon

UPDATE: The usual Zionist fanatic smear tactics -  i.e, accusations of Nazi sympathies, Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism-  have been applied to me by on-line anonymous cowards. Not surprisingly, these are the same three charges that being flung by the same rabid loons at the writer and musician, Gilad Atzmon and the eminent scholar, John Mearsheimer. Fortunately, Prof. John Mearsheimer has meticulously and very articulately dismantled the outright lies by these fanatics. If you are a Zionist fanatic, you would not care for the truth and need not bother. However, if you are just a regular reader of this blog and are baffled by the current kerkuffle, you may want to read this piece which details and dismantles the hateful lies and concentrated smear campaign conducted by a handful of fanatics with the sole and clear intent to shut down all reasoned debate on Israel.

And the original post: I am beginning to realise that at least once a year, I use this blog to tell off fanatics. So far, it has been Islamist nut-jobs who got offended by my piece on Salman Rushdie. Then some time later, I wrote about Mumbai and Rohinton Mistry and some Hindu fundamentalists (what an oxymoron that is!) were equally offended. Both these links here will take you to what I wrote in those instances.

Last week I tweeted about Gilad Atzmon's new book and that has apparently offended some Zionist club of fanatics. Apparently, according to tweets and blogs and other online fora where these fanatics dwell, my reading of a book by a dissident Israeli brands me an "anti-Semite", a Holocaust denier and/or a Nazi supporter.

Full disclosure: I know Gilad professionally as we share the same literary agent although by no stretch of imagination can we be considered friends. I like his music and respect his writing and political convictions although there are many points of disagreement as well. And we are bound by our mutual respect and affection for Shimon Tzabar, the literary legend and human being par excellence (and one of the few utterly moral people I have had the privilege of knowing). 

What I wrote for Rushdie applies now to the Zionist nut-jobs accusing me of anti-Semitism, and beautifully demonstrating their own narrow-minded, ignorant racism in their comments. I will not repeat all of that piece as you can check the link above if you really care to learn but I will make a specific point.

Of the many Zionist accusations, the one I find most ridiculous is the one where I am apparently 'playing to a Muslim audience.' It shows the ignorance and idiocy of my Zionist accusers who see a brown woman with an exotic name and assume she must be a Muslim. So for the record, let me repeat what I wrote to the Islamist nut-jobs way back when and redirect it to my  Zionist accusers (Aside: hilarious how Anton Block's narcissism of minor differences applies so well to both):

As a Hindu, I grew up in a household where books were kissed (like Rushdie's household). But more importantly, I also grew up in a home where pens, notebooks, and more recently - with typically Hindu logic – laptops are worshipped. Every year on Diwali, you see, we are required to offer prayers to Durga – the goddess of war – and to our weapons that she is believed to embody and inhabit.  In my childhood, my family would clean and polish old swords, spears, revolvers and rifles on every Diwali. And at midnight, these weapons would be placed on the altar and anointed with kumkum, turmeric, ghee. We would conduct an aarti, the polished metal of the weapons gleaming through the fragrant smoke of diyas and agarbattis.

While I was still a child, my grandmother began the tradition of placing our schoolbooks and pens on the altar instead of weapons. She said that in the coming world, these would be our weapons. That tradition endures and to this day, I place my laptop, even draft manuscripts, on the altar on Diwali. It is a tradition I plan to uphold and live for the rest of my life.

The point I am making is simple: keep those threats and hate mails coming!

I am not about to back down from saying what I believe. And I am not about to back down from fighting for what I believe. And I am not – like some writers – about to “self-censor” my writing because some pathetic, cowardly, creature out there may be offended.

This is not about Rushdie or Mistry or Atzmon! This is about my right to words, stories, opinions. And I will be damned if I let go of those without a fight!

A final point to note: fanatics are not only to be found on all ends of the spectrum, but they also show the same lack of imagination when it comes to the depth of their arguments. Good to know that there is a meeting point for fanatics of all ilk somewhere even though its marked by an acute absence of intelligence and imagination.


  1. Rashmi Singh9/23/2011 5:18 pm

    Bravo Sunny! It is unfortunate that some individuals can be so narrow-minded as to be unable to look at an intellectual, substantiated argument and engage with it on the same level without resorting to hate-speech, threats and personal attacks. But your attitude is to be commended - and as I always say to you: KEEP WRITING!

  2. Well done! Don't let your voice be silenced. :-)

  3. Thanks. Much appreciated. Annoyed but not silenced :-D

  4. You believe that Atzom's popular antizionists cliches are as "thought provoking" as mister Rushdie's books.

    I believe that your comparison with such a dunce as Atzmon would not please Rushdie, that is if he cared about your opinion.

  5. Supporting Holocaust deniers is nothing to be proud of. Given your earlier work it is so very disappointing you cannot distinguish between secularism and racism.

  6. This machine kills fascists9/25/2011 1:03 pm

    I am not a zionist by any stretch, but Gilad Atzmon is an odious man and you should be thoroughly ashamed of yourself.

  7. Which part of I am FREE to read what I want did you fanatics miss? Moreover although "holocaust denier" is a wonderfully potent weapon of silencing criticism of Israel's racist policies, it neither serves as a reasoned argument nor as a particularly useful point of engagement.

    Moreover, let me point out: posting anonymously reveals your cowardice.

    Finally, don't bother hurling abuse. Regardless of your invective, I shall continue to read, write and form my own opinions. I would suggest that your time and effort at bullying critics of Israel into silence shall be better served elsewhere.

    Many thanks

  8. Ernie Christ9/26/2011 4:49 pm

    Have you read his site yet? Looked into his various hateful anti-semitic pronouncements?

    Ultimately you will have to do one of two things: admit that you have made a terrible error and supported a Nazi, or declare yourself to be a Nazi like Atzmon.

    In the meantime I, and several others, will write to your employers - Nazis cannot hold posts in British Universities, I'm afraid.

    Best of luck

  9. I am allowing comments that are not entirely offensive and rude on this blog. I will not post the vicious violent incoherent rants no matter how often and how many send it through.

    As for threats, like the one above, yes, please do write to my employer and whoever else you please.

  10. Ernie Christ9/27/2011 10:15 am

    "I cannot say whether the holocaust happened or not as I am not a historian"

    "I cannot say whether burning down a synagogue is right or wrong but I can see it is a rational act"

    "We must begin to take seriously the idea that there is a Jewish conspiracy trying to take over the world"

    "Perhaps Hitler was right after all"

    ...please defend these comments of Atzmon's (they are in no way the only anti-Semitic comments on his blog, in his books and in the interviews he gives, but it would be an interesting start to see you defending these particular ones)

  11. And again: am posting a comment that is at least comprehensible in language if not thought.

    I do not need to defend anything ANYONE says, including Atzmon, Mistry or Rushdie.

    I do not have to agree with anyone to read them. It is their right in a free country to say things, even those that may not be pleasing. And it is my right to hear, read and comment on them. But perhaps that is too complex for fanatics...

    Now go away and bully someone else.

  12. Ernie Christ9/27/2011 10:33 am

    And again you have the nerve to compare Atzmon to Rushdie. Disgraceful.

    So, you need to be a "fanatic" to find it offensive that a University lecturer is promoting the work of a racist and holocaust denier?

    Or is that just "bullying" you again?

  13. As I said before, go elsewhere.

    Also, if you are so upset about Rushdie, take it up with him.

    I am sure that as a leading member of International PEN, he will be entirely in sympathy with your attempts to shut down reading and writing freely.

  14. "While I was still a child, my grandmother began the tradition of placing our schoolbooks and pens on the altar instead of weapons. She said that in the coming world, these would be our weapons."

    Your grandmother had more common sense and foresight than all our current leadership put together :-)

  15. Thanks S. My grandmother sure did. She also had more stubbornness than most people put together - and I seem to have inherited that too :-)

  16. Sunny, I just found out about Gilad Atzmon and read this blog entry. Bravo! Keep up the great work. Don't be discouraged by the negativity from the Zionist bigots.