Thursday, May 26, 2005

Karl Pfeifer on "Israel Shamir" and the Austrian Left

(With Update on "Israel Shamir" and the UN)

At the close of "The Parallel Universe", I alluded to anti-Semites who allow that The Protocols of the Elders of Zion might be a forgery, but insist that the content is, nonetheless, "true". These are the pioneers of what has become the "fake but accurate" argument. One such is the increasingly prominent anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist who goes by the name of "Israel Shamir" - although, according to investigations conducted by Searchlight Magazine, since 2001 his legal name is Jöran Jermas. "If the Protocols would have no relation to reality, they probably wouldn't be as popular as they are," Shamir writes, "The Jews are sufficiently powerful to dream of domination, and some do." Now, Shamir/Jermas has received a ringing endorsement from a leading "Middle East specialist" of the Austrian Social Democratic Party (SPÖ). The SPÖ is, along with the Austrian People's Party (ÖVP), one of Austria's two major political formations.

The Austrian writer Karl Pfeifer has the details below. Many thanks to Karl for passing on his piece. I've converted footnotes into direct links to the materials referenced.

"Israel Shamir" and the Austrian Left

by Karl Pfeifer

The Austrian left-wing publisher Promedia has brought out a book, “Flowers of Galilee”, by the Swedish anti-Semite Israel Shamir. Shamir, who in 2001 changed his name to Jöran Jermas and has claimed to be “one of Israel’s leading intellectuals”, is no stranger to the pages of various media that have exposed his links to other anti-Semites and loony conspiracy theorists. [1]

Despite the man’s bogus claims and dubious connections, Fritz Edlinger, the general secretary of the Austro-Arab Friendship Society and the former representative of the Austrian Social Democrats [SPÖ] on the Socialist International’s Middle East Committee, has edited the book and written a foreword in which he insists that Shamir is a “leftist and a radical democrat”.

The ravings on his website give an insight into just what kind of “intellectual” Shamir, who professes to be a Greek Orthodox Christian – he previously claimed to be a Jew – really is. For example, he writes: “The Jewish supremacy forces and the greed worshippers united again to crucify Christ. The US, this New Rome, again gives hand and agrees to become the executioner. Now it is our turn to decide. …they will destroy the Mother Earth herself, turn her into waste lands of Mordor. They need this victory to bind us together by the dark forces of domination. Let us deny them, this time.”

Elsewhere, he rants that “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”
[3] and repeats the infamous blood libel that Jews have used the blood of Christian children whom they murdered to produce unleavened bread.[4] Bizarrely, Shamir has also claimed that even if the notorious Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion are a forgery they are nevertheless true. [5]

Edlinger has included in the book a German translation of Shamir’s article “The Shadow of Zog” – an acronym for “Zionist Occupation Government” employed by hate groups and anti-Semites around the world – in which Shamir says: “ The Occupation Regime in Iraq was installed by the US army in the interests of Zionists, and it may be rightly called ZOG, Zionist Occupation Government if anything. However, this ZOG is also a Zog, a servant of Darkness and Annihilation, for its first step was the destruction of Baghdad’s libraries and museums. […] The problem is, the US people have no way out of the Zionist takeover. […] The prominence of Jews in Western discourse causes the same sort of trouble that you would experience if you were to refuel your diesel car with petrol.”

Shamir, the author of this shameless anti-Semitic frenzy, is not reticent about collaborating with fascists. Indeed, despite being more or less unknown until recently, his articles are published and his books praised with increasing frequency on revisionist websites and in revisionist print media.

Shamir himself notes on his German homepage that the ZOG article was translated into German for the so-called Deutsche Kolleg,
[7] an intellectual outfit whose active leaders, Reinhold Oberlercher and Horst Mahler, found their way from the radical left to the Nazi right. The purpose of the Deutsche Kolleg is to act as a Nazi ideological and linguistic training center.

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.

Horst Mahler, who calls himself a “national Marxist”, openly propagates a “red-brown alliance”. The fact that Austrian leftists can publish Shamir’s crude anti-Semitic rubbish suggests that this approach has already gained a small measure of success.


It will come as no great surprise, but it might be of some interest, nonetheless, that one of the other organizations to lend legitimacy to Shamir/Jermas is...the UN. In June 2001, the UN held an "International Media Encounter on the Question of Palestine" in Paris. The ostensible "theme": "The Search for Peace in the Middle East". Shamir figured among the invited speakers. The program is here, and here is what the UN had to say about its distinguished guest. Shamir shared the honor with, among others, Phyliss Bennis, author of the then just published Calling the Shots: How Washington Dominates Today's UN - a book the inanity of whose thesis would be massively demonstrated by essentially everything that has happened on the international stage in the intervening years. Between the two of them, Mr. Shamir and Ms. Bennis were well chosen to articulate just that chain of phantasms so ably summarized by Karl Pfeifer in his article. (Ms. Bennis is, incidentally, a frequent speaker at UN-sponsored events. Perhaps she believes that she too is a marionette of "Washington"?)

The event was moderated by Shashi Tharoor, at the time the interim head of the UN's Department of Public Information and in the meanwhile a full-fledged Under-Secretary-General of the organization. Tharoor read a welcome message from his boss: Kofi Annan.

Shamir/Jermas provides his own account of the event here, including his explanation for what he described as the media's "bias in covering the Palestinians": "The reason is obvious. Too many of our media lords subscribe to the notion of Jewish supremacy, and they are spread around the globe."