Sunday, August 15, 2004

Israel Shamir Exposed by Searchlight

Searchlight, the leading British anti-racist, anti-fascist magazine had an interesting report in its May issue.

A man who claims to be one of Israel’s leading intellectuals is also a Swedish antisemitic writer. Israel Shamir presents himself on his website as a leading Russian-Israeli intellectual and a writer, translator and journalist. But in 2001 he changed his name to J├Âran Jermas and has surrounded himself in Sweden and Norway with antisemites and strange conspiracy theorists.

Shamir also claims to have occupied a string of important positions as a translator of classical works and to have worked as a journalist in several heavyweight media institutions, including for the major Israeli paper, Haaretz. However, when Monitor started investigating Shamir’s past last year, it found no evidence that Shamir had ever held these positions. His supposed job as Moscow correspondent for Haaretz turned out to consist of just a few freelance articles.

The Swedish Census Registry does give a few clues about Shamir and his movements. It shows that his name was entered onto the Registry in October 1984 and he later obtained Swedish citizenship. According to the register he still lives in Dalagatan, Stockholm, not in Jaffa, Israel, as he publicly claims. Shamir’s first wife and two sons also live in Stockholm.

In July 1993, Shamir emigrated to Russia and later to Israel, where he married again in July 1994. He and his new wife returned to Sweden in autumn 1998.

Shamir, who claims to be one of Israel’s leading intellectuals, has concealed the fact that he has lived in Sweden for a long time. Another strange fact is that there are hardly any references to Shamir on the internet before 2001, the same year in which he changed his name. This was a strange time to do this, just as he was being noticed and had started to publish his works under the name of Israel Shamir.

(Read the entire article here)

Even though Shamir has been denounced as a raving anti-Semtic loon by such pro-Palestinian activists as Nigel Parry and Ali Abunimah and Hussein Ibish, he has been enthusiatically embraced by much of the Arab American community and pro-Palestinian, including radical leftists, in Europe.

Back in 2001, Parry wrote "an increasing amount of the tone and content was observed by more than a few to fall into what could -- if this hadn't been an Israeli Jew writing it -- best be described as a classic anti-Semitic repertoire. Shamir's identity as a Jew initially enabled people to excuse this, until the whole mess began to unravel as more and more questions were asked."

So it turns out that Shamir is not an Israeli and apparently is not Jewish in any real sense. He defines himself as a Christian.

While it is positive that Parry, Abunimah, and Ibish rejected Shamir, by their own words they were willing to work with him, even after they knew he was a extremist.

Reporting on a three hour meeting with Shamir in Washington DC in 2001, Ibish wrote
I strongly felt that subsequent offerings have tended to the crude bashing of Jews in general and the implication that the United States, if not the world, is controlled by some sort of Jewish cabal. Also, it seemed curious that no one had heard of him, if he was, as he claimed,
"one of Israel's most respected journalists."
In other words I went to the meeting with serious concerns and doubts, but also with a good deal of hope that we could clear things up and lay the basis for developing a working relationship.
Even after Shamir outlined his plans to "marginalize" American Jewish and to portray Ariel Sharon as the anti-Christ to fundamentalist churches, Ibish expressed only a rhetorical difference with Shamir.
I spoke with him at length about the need for him to moderate his outrageous language (remember this is before the Tufts speech and the Easter Message) and to be aware of the sensitivities of political discourse in the United States. I tried to explain why I had a problem with some of his rhetoric

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