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"Do I Look Like the Pope?"

by LENNI BRENNER & GILAD ATZMON

Brenner
to Atzmon

Hi Gilad,

People tell me so many things
about you, that I decided to get some answers straight from the
horse’s mouth, as we Yanks say.

Are you a Christian? Was Jesus
human only, or divine in whole or part? Was he the messiah? Is
he coming again? Do you accept the New Testament as divinely
inspired?

Did you write:

“I would suggest that
perhaps we should face it once and for all; the Jews were responsible
for the killing of Jesus who, by the way, was himself a
Palestinian Jew. But then two questions should be asked:

1 – How is it that people living
today feel accountable or chased for a crime committed by their
great great ancestors almost 2,000 ago? I assume that those Jews
who get angry when blamed for killing Jesus are those who identify

themselves with Jesus’s killers. Those who would commit this
murderous act today. Those Jews are called Zionists and they
are already advancing into their sixth decade of inhuman crimes
against the Palestinian people and the Arab world.
Zionism, for those who do not know, is a repetition of the darkest
age of the Jewish Biblical era.”

Does any living Jew have any
responsibility for Jesus’s death? Am I responsible? Do I have
to atone for his death? Do I have to accept that he rose from
the dead?

Thanks, in advance, for your
time and trouble in this regard,

Lenni

BrennerL21@aol.com
New York, February 9, 2007

Atzmon
to Brenner

Hi Gilad,
Lenni: People tell me so many things about you, that I decided
to get some answers straight from the horse’s mouth, as we Yanks
say.

Gilad: Hi Lenni, I do appreciate
it!

Lenni: Are you a Christian?

Gilad: Not that it is your
business (in case you didn’t know, Christianity is not pedophilia,
it is allowed these days), however, I am an ex Jew. I didn’t
formally join any organised religion and this includes: Islam
or Christianity as well as your UK Bundist friends’ version of
Talmudic Marxism (a religion rather than an ideology).

Lenni: Was Jesus human
only, or divine in whole or part?

Gilad: What a pathetic question
Lenni. How am I supposed to know? Do you know? Having been trained
in philosophy, I will try to help you to refine your question.
What you want to ask is whether I BELIEVE that Jesus was divine.

My answer, Mr. Brenner, is very very simple. I do not engage
in questions having to do with divinity. And my own belief is
irrelevant because I am not religious. Yet, I do respect the
FACT that very many people around me believe that Jesus was divine.
Unlike you and your UK friends, I do respect other people’s beliefs.
In fact I respect any form of spiritual activity. I admire people
who are inspired by divinity. I admire Torah Jews, who are the
only noticeable Jewish collective resistance to Zionism. In case
you ask yourself where I find divinity, my answer is very simple:
Coltrane, Stravinsky and Bach, but this changes often.

Lenni: Was he (Jesus) the
messiah? Is he coming again? Do you accept the New Testament
as divinely inspired?

Gilad: Lenni, do I look like
the Pope? How am I supposed to know whether Jesus was the Messiah?
Again, do you know the answers? My affair with Jesus is rather
metaphysical. I regard Jesus as a critical ethical awakening.
For me Christ is all about loving your neighbour. Jesus is the
birth of western universal humanism (as we know it). Following
Hegel, I am inspired by the notion of Otherness, and ‘Master
Slave Dialectic’. However, the notion of Otherness is nothing
but Christ’s heritage. I suggest that you think about it for
a while.

I would like to mention as
well that your dismissal of Christianity and religion in general
is rather disconcerting. However, without me being Christian,
I must insist to remind you and your half a dozen UK followers
that the days when Jews chased Christians are over.

Lenni: Did you write:

“I would suggest that
perhaps we should face it once and for all; the Jews were responsible
for the killing of Jesus who, by the way, was himself a Palestinian
Jew. But then two questions should be asked:

1 – How is it that people living today feel accountable or chased
for a crime committed by their great great ancestors almost 2,000
ago? I assume that those Jews who get angry when blamed for killing
Jesus are those who identify themselves with Jesus’s killers.
Those who would commit this murderous act today.

Those Jews are called Zionists
and they are already advancing into their sixth decade of inhuman
crimes against the Palestinian people and the Arab world.
Zionism, for those who do not know, is a repetition of the darkest
age of the Jewish Biblical era.”

Gilad: Yes indeed, these are
my words and I stand by them.

Lenni: Does any living Jew
have any responsibility for Jesus’s death?

Gilad: Lenni, did you lose
your capability to grasp a very simple text? I would really
like you to present just how my text implies that I accuse contemporary
Jews for killing Christ or for being responsible for it. In fact
the text says the complete opposite. I ask: “How is it that
people living today feel accountable or chased for a crime committed
by their great great ancestors almost 2,000 ago?” In other
words, I find it astonishing that people today happen to be offended
by such accusations.

Lenni: Am I responsible?
Do I have to atone for his death? Do I have to accept that he
rose from the dead?

Gilad: Lenni, do I look like
a shrink? I really leave this question to you. It is you who
should answer whether you ‘feel’ responsible or not. By no means
does my text imply that you or anyone else is responsible. The
text says that those who are offended are “those who identify
themselves with Jesus’s killers. Those who would commit this
murderous act today.” “Accordingly, it is you who should
ask yourself whether you would commit such a crime today.
Once again, you may want to refine your question. The question
you want to ask is whether I BELIEVE that you are responsible.

No is the answer. I don’t
BELIEVE that you are responsible; moreover I KNOW that you are
not responsible. Nevertheless, my text implies as well that you
MAY not be as innocent as you wish to be.

In my text I stress that “I
assume that those Jews who get angry when blamed for killing
Jesus are those who identify themselves with Jesus’s killers.
Those who would commit this murderous act today.”

Seemingly, you are ‘angry’,
you feel accused of something without even being accused of anything.
On the face of it, the question you have to ask yourself is whether
you identify yourself with Christ’s killers? I am pretty sure
that you don’t and you shouldn’t be. However, I must tell you
that the cyber kangaroo courts that you and your friends hold
on a daily basis reminds me too much of the Sanhedrin. I suggest
that you think about that as well for a while.

Somehow you and those like
you know what is good for the Palestinians, the Jews, the working
class. I occasionally ask myself what it is that makes you so
confident. You and your followers indeed have managed to silence
some of the most interesting intellects around just because you
do not approve their politics or religion. I am afraid to inform
you Lenni, that these days are over. Your six UK disciples
are working day and night for more than three years doing their
very best to silence me, I am afraid to tell you that they fail.
In fact they achieve the opposite instead.

I do not feel sorry for them
because they have really zero reputation to defend. But I really
feel sorry for you Lenni. You are an important contributor to
the Israeli-Palestinian discourse. Your books are more than valuable.
You have a reputation to defend. I would like to see you in the
midst of the discourse rather than surrounded by the last shadows
of echoes of tribal socialism.

Just before closing this email
I will sharpen the differences between us.

Unlike you Lenni, I believe
in freedom of speech. Unlike you Lenni, I am against gatekeeping,
I am also against any form of dogmatic or monolithic discourses
of hegemony. Unlike you and your friends, I believe that every
human subject is entitled to human rights. Unlike you Lenni,
I approve of the Hamas. Unlike you Lenni, I understand that working
class politics has very little relevance in Arabia.

Yet, I have never tried to
silence anyone, on the contrary. I will fight for your right
to speak your mind.

Lenni: Thanks, in advance,
for your time and trouble in this regard,

Gilad: It was my entire pleasure.

All the best
Gilad

atzmon@mac.com
London, February 11, 2007

CounterPunch Magazine

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