Athens vs. Mondoweiss

In my new book, Being in Time—A Post Political Manifesto, I delve into the clear distinction between Athens and Jerusalem. Athens is the capitol of philosophy. In Athens we think things through. Jerusalem, on the other hand, is the city of laws that set the boundaries of correct thinking. In Jerusalem we obey first and think later.

In Being in Time I argue that the dystopia in which we live has a lot to do with the victory of Jerusalem over Athens. The tyranny of correctness is the backbone of the Identitarian and New Left reign. It has managed to obliterate our ability to apply reason and engage in an open vibrant intellectual exchange. It dismantles our dialogical culture and makes a farce of our academic institutions.

No one exemplifies the sickening attitude of the Jerusalemite better than Mondoweiss, a Jewish progressive outlet openly dedicated to the concealment of Jewish power and the political impact of Jewish culture. Mondweiss’ editorial staff seems utterly confused by Miko Peled’s momentary endorsement of universal freedom of speech.

A few weeks ago, Peled declared at a fringe Jewish Labour Party conference that universal freedom of speech entails that amongst other things, we can “discuss Holocaust Yes or No.” In less than 24 hours Peled made a complete U- turn, and confirmed to the The Guardian that before we do so, we must acknowledge first that “the Holocaust was a terrible crime that we must study and from which we must all learn.” Peled ended up opining that we can “discuss the holocaust Yes or No” as long as we start by accepting Yes. Peled’s quick turn around shouldn’t be a surprise. The kosher solidarity industry is Peled’s bread and butter. He was left with no other option, submit or starve.

But the tribal merchants at Mondoweiss wanted to see more blood. Jonathan Ofir tormented his kosher readers with a uniquely convoluted Talmudic rant that proves beyond doubt that Ofir, like Mondoweiss are Incompatible with the West and its values or openness and tolerance .

To Ofir, as to other Judeo-progssceptic Goyim are a bunch of dogs that react only upon the call of their masters. According to Ofir, Miko’s openness towards a holocaust debate “was a major dog-whistle for all kinds of Holocaust deniers and revisionists.” Does Ofir really believe that David Irving or Mark Weber need the approval of an ex-Israeli karate instructor?

The Anti Zionist Zionists (AZZs) at Mondoweiss fail to grasp the concept that freedom of speech is a binary option—either we can speak or we can’t. If we accept the universal notion of freedom to speak about everything (Athens) then we must refrain from defining the boundaries of our thoughts (Jerusalem).

In his reply to the intellectually challenged Ofir, Peled unfortunately confirms that his position on freedom of speech is at least as problematic.

“I really do not understand how anyone can claim to believe in free speech yet claim that ‘holocaust deniers’ are criminals.” Peled wrote in his Mondoweiss reply to Ofir. This sounds promising and principled but then Peled continues, “if someone is ill informed or ignorant or racist or stupid or all of the above—that is not a crime or a reason to vilify.” Peled’s argument here is that questioning the Jewish past, or even the past in general, is not a ‘crime,’ but it does show ‘stupidity,’ ‘ignorance,’ ‘racist’ inclinations or all the above. Is this the universal freedom offered to us by Peled? It sounds to me like an entry ticket to an ardent Zionist synagogue. And this is exactly what it is. Peled is fighting the threat of exclusion or excommunication—the inevitable call for his disavowal written by a progressive Jew and signed by Ali Abunimah and a few other Palestinian sabbos goyim.

It is depressing to witness that like Ofir, Peled struggles with sound reasoning. Peled doesn’t like Zionism, this is understandable, yet his approach to tolerance brings new light to the meaning of Jerusalem as well as Zionism. Openly and in the name of ‘free speech,’ Peled admits that the concept of freedom is totally foreign to him. He wants to allow freedom of speech only to those very few he agrees with to begin with.

Peled writes: “There is a tendency to create spaces for and sow tolerance toward people who support Zionism and the state of Israel and allow them to express their point of view in an effort to show balance.” Then Peled questions, “would we allow the KKK to do the same? The proponents of apartheid? . . . I believe we should not provide that space, and I believe that this list includes Zionism.” In this Peled makes an obvious attempt to score some populist points by equating Zionism with other racist ideologies. But his reasoning proves him to be an anti-intellectual verging on a total fraud.

I suggest that Ofir, Peled, and others spend some time gaining an understanding of the intellectual, philosophical and ideological roots of Freedom of Speech and elementary liberties before they comment on the topic. John Stuart Mill is certainly a good start. Freedom of Speech is there to facilitate a vibrant exchange, especially with those you may not agree with. This is the real meaning of Athens—the rejection of the synagogue culture Mondowiess, Ofir, Peled and other prog Jews advocate.

Yet one question is left open, how did it happen to the Palestinian people that some of the most underdeveloped minds have become their voice?

Gilad Atzmon is an Israeli jazz musician, author and political activist. His new book, “Being in Time: A Post-Political Manifesto,” may be ordered from or

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