Anti Fascism,  antisemitism

Hope Not Hate and Bradford TUC: Pull the Plug on Gilad Atzmon

Last week, we reported that the racist and promoter of Holocaust denial, Gilad Atzmon, had been invited to perform at an Arts Council and National Lottery funded festival of political protest: Raise Your Banners.

The Arts Council was unconcerned and backed the festival organisers:

A spokesman for the council, which gave a Lottery-funded grant of £4,000 to the festival, said: “It is not the Arts Council’s role to dictate artistic policy to a funded organisation, or to restrict an artist from expressing their views. What our policies and procedures do ensure is that we fund a wide range of organisations and individuals who, collectively, present a diverse view of world society.”

She added that Atzmon was participating in the event “as a musician and not in his capacity as a political writer”.

Nonsense. Atzmon always preaches politics at his performances.

The Raise Your Banners festival organisers discussed Atzmon with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. They are reported to have had no problem at all with Atzmon, either:

Organisers of Raise Your Banners said that they had previously reconsidered the invitation to Atzmon following requests from Jewish Socialist Group members and some supporters of the festival. RYB secretary Sam Jackson said at the time that “we have discussed the matter with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and are satisfied that PSC have no boycott of Gilad Atzmon or events that he is involved in.”

However, this country’s leading anti-fascist organisation, Hope not Hate, and Bradford TUC have taken a clear and strong stand on Atzmon:

Bradford TUC is joining up with the HOPE not hate campaign in calling on the Bradford-based Raise Your Banners organisation to withdraw its invitation to Gilad Atzmon who is due to perform at one of its events on 25 November.

Gilad Atzmon is an antisemite and flirts with Holocaust Denial and Holocaust Deniers. He was born in Israel but now lives in the UK and is a jazz musician.

This is just one of his many offensive comments about the Holocaust.

“When I was young and naïve I was also convinced that what they told us about our ‘collective’ Jewish past really happened. I believed it all, the Kingdom of David, Massada, and then the Holocaust: the soap, the lampshade, the death march, the six million.

As it happened, it took me many years to understand that the Holocaust, the core belief of the contemporary Jewish faith, was not at all an historical narrative for historical narratives do not need the protection of the law and politicians.”

“It took me many years to accept that the Holocaust narrative, in its current form, doesn’t make any historical sense. Here is just one little anecdote to elaborate on:

“If, for instance, the Nazis wanted the Jews out of their Reich (Judenrein – free of Jews), or even dead, as the Zionist narrative insists, how come they marched hundreds of thousands of them back into the Reich at the end of the war?”

“I am left puzzled here; if the Nazis ran a death factory in Auschwitz-Birkenau, why would the Jewish prisoners join them at the end of the war? Why didn’t the Jews wait for their Red liberators?”

Atzmon is also implicated in the distribution of the Holocaust denier Paul Eisner’s book ‘The Holocaust Wars which he has described as a ‘great text’. This great text is notorious for its defence and espousal of amongst others Ernst Zundel, the convicted Holocaust denier. He has also been linked with Israel Shamir, another Holocaust denier, who has links to many white supremacist and Nazi groups. Indeed when Eisner’s document was originally posted it was on Shamir’s website, Atzmon described Shamir as a ‘unique and advanced thinker’.

We believe that Atzmon should be shunned by all decent people – just as we would shun David Irving and Nick Griffin. Just because Atzmon is Jewish does not mean that he cannot be either antisemitic or deny the Holocaust.

Bradford TUC voted unanimously to denounce Atzmon and his invitation to perform at the Raise Your Banners event. The TUC has written to the organisers in the hope that they will withdraw the invitation. Paul Meszaros, of Bradford TUC and HOPE not hate Yorkshire, said: “There is no way that Atzmon should play. The evidence against him is overwhelming.

“We are appalled at this decision and believe that this is a serious point of principle. Bradford TUC has long been at the fore of the anti-fascist movement in the area and it is in this tradition that we demand the withdrawl of Atzmon’s invitation.”

This is the anti-fascist Left at its best.

Atzmon has yet to respond to Bradford TUC and Hope not Hate. However – unbelievably – he has penned this disgusting screed, in which he compares anti-fascist calls for his withdrawal from a publicly funded event to the treatment of jazz musicians by … the Nazis:

What we see here is scarily similar to the experience of Jazz musicians in Germany during the Nazi era. Astonishingly enough, it is Jewish representative bodies such as the Board of Deputies that are actively engaging in trying to restrict artistic expression. Apparently, some people out there, really drew the wrong lesson from that disturbing era.

It is game over for Atzmon.

If you stand with Atzmon, you’re standing with a promulgator of Nazi ideology, and against anti-fascists and trade unionists. It should be an easy choice to make.