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The Wandering Who: A Study of Jewish Identity Politics and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
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The Wandering Who Paperback – September 16, 2011

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Editorial Reviews


It is a scholarly and truly monumental work, deeply profound and, of course, controversial. (Alan Hart, British Journalist and covert diplomat in Middle East, ITN's News at 10, BBC's Panorama) A seriously funny writer and the wittiest musician since Ronnie Scott. We're lucky Gilad Atzmon is around. (Robert Wyatt, musician and founding member of Soft Machine)

About the Author

Atzmon is a world-acclaimed jazz saxophonist and composer, a member of the Blockheads and fronts the Orient House Ensemble. He has published numerous political and cultural essays. See:


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 177 pages
  • Publisher: Zero Books (September 16, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846948754
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846948756
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.5 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (99 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #274,546 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

104 of 127 people found the following review helpful By soil sommelier on January 19, 2013
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I had no real interest in reading this until I came across Alan Dershowitz on the John Stossel show, in what seemed a totally inappropriate and uncharacteristic kind of segment. Generally Stossel is all about the Libertarian big ideas, and yet - here was this holder of an endowed chair at Harvard, shrieking like a little girl. He was ranting about how students at some school in Chicago should shun their teacher for him having asked them to read and comment on the book. Seems rational enough a request in an institution of supposedly higher learning, but I got the distinct impression that the Israeli lead apologist thinks that only he and his ilk are qualified to decide what we should and should not be allowed to read. So much for our democratic "friends" in the Middle East eh? More curiously, this Dershowitz character (wasn't he on O.J.'s "Dream Team"?) is actually supposed to be an American citizen, as well as being called one of the great Constitutional scholars of our time. If he's really one of the best, then it's no real surprise why we're where we are. Not being particularly fond of anyone so devotedly myopic to defending Zionism (or any type of close minded zealot for that matter), the more he whined, the more I felt compelled to purchase, read, and share the book. So far, next to Hayek's, Road to Serfdom, it's probably my most frequently lent volume.
The author's credentials were smeared in a very glaring way by the Zionist extremists, but his book is anything but what they claim. Their insults regarding his credentials are meaningless, particularly since people like Dershowitz have never served as the author has, in the Israeli army. This notion of the Holocaust having been turned into a religion all unto itself is also quite an interesting perspective.
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166 of 207 people found the following review helpful By Steve Naidamast on December 26, 2011
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"The Wandering Who" is a difficult piece to review since it immediately stirs up many defensive positions in those that see anything negatively said or written about the Jewish Community or Israel as racist and\or anti-Semitic vitriol. However, if one were to actually understand what Gilad Atzmon has written it would be found to be a rather impartial, well-written but commonplace sociological analysis of the group-think-dynamics of insulated groups; in this case using the Israeli Jewish Community as its basis. What is presented in "The Wandering Who" is more or less an erudite discussion of what happens to a small group of people when under the constant influence of community leaders that have agendas of their own that do not necessarily accommodate the best interests of the community at large.

There is nothing mysterious about Atzmon's writings since most of what he discusses is fairly common knowledge within Israel and the Zionist community itself. What's more it is well documented primarily by Israeli historians, sociologists, and even in parts of the mainstream, Israeli press.

And the idea of "Jewish Identity" politics has no differing symptoms than any other nationalistic fervor that grips a small group or even a large one in many respects. For example, the myth of American Exceptionalism is as much a similar dynamic as that of the concept of "choseness" by the Jewish Community which is fiercely supported by Israeli political endeavor. Both came about for the same exact reasons where the American symptom was provided for by early, fervently, religious Protestants who came to the American shores in the 17th century while the Jewish\Israeli symptom was provided for by their own Judaic belief system.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By junella haynes on October 10, 2014
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I had read the article "The Wandering Who" and found this longer and more detailed account very rewarding. I emailed the article to many friends, some of whom read it, but some of whom were absolutely bewildered by what appeared to be new information. I will share the book with as many friends who are interested and hope they are able to break through to a different understanding than that which they have been taught. Biblical explanations appear to be ever-lasting and impervious to new revelations or new ideas, but with books by Ilan Pappe, Schlomo Sand, and others, more "doors to perception" are opening up.
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112 of 146 people found the following review helpful By Tom on March 2, 2012
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After having read all the reviews (in my Kindle) I have decided to buy the book, such mainly on the grounds of the negative, bigotted reactions from the Zionist apologists.

I have just finished reading 'The Wandering who". There is only one critcism I have to make and that is that the book is too short. His reasoning is sublime and supported by an impressive bibliography of references from a variety of sources. On the whole I found his reasoning clear and easy to follow. There are parts I had to reread twice before I could grasp the meaning. It is a book that one has to read several times. I have read scores of books on the history of the Israeli/Palestine conflict and find this one of the best. It is a must reading it and is in particular recommended to politicians and news paper review editors. But before I am accused of anti-semitism one should know that during WW2 I lived in Nazi occupied Europe and my parents were harbouring Jewish people to save them from the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps and by doing so putting their own lives on the line. They were also active in the resistance. When I went to school we learned during our geography lessons about a country called Palestine; we had to locate Jaffa, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem on the map. Nobody had ever heard of a country called 'Israel'. They are these experiences which have coloured my political views of the present ME conflict and the legal right of people all over the world to resist occupation of their land. I am well aware of the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps, they can never be denied and no one is denying that, not even Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Yet I am still a 'Holocaust denyer'. The problem is that the meaning of this expression is misunderstood by most people.
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