Israel – Palestine debate at Birmingham University, 24 November 2011

Hope Not Hate refuse to be bullied

Nick Lowles writes at Hope Not Hate.

GILAD ATZMON: Supporting Holocaust Deniers and spreading hatred of Jews

Our decision to ask Raise Your Banners to withdraw its invitation to Gilad Atzmon has caused a lot of controversy from his small, but very vocal, band of supporters. In all the years of writing this blog I don’t think I have received as many abusive and angry emails as I have over this issue, though it must be stressed that many of the emails are from the same two or three people.

I’m sticking to my position – namely that Gilad Atzmon flirts with Holocaust Denial, has supported Holocaust Deniers and is a racist antisemite. I will not be bullied or threatened into silence. HOPE not hate stands for decency, tolerance and equality. I will speak up against racism and antisemtism just as I will campaign against fascism and anti-Muslim prejudice.

Gilad Atzmon supports Holocaust deniers and claims that the established history of the Holocaust is misleading. He attacks Jewish identity in a way that would clearly be recognised as racist if it were about any other minority identity, and claims that because of how Jews behave, in the future people might think Hitler was right about Jews. He tells crude antisemitic jokes and mocks any concerns about antisemitism.

Much of the criticism against our position stems from those who believe that we are part of some Zionist plot which seeks to silence criticism of Israel. Nothing can be further from the truth. To me, this has nothing to do with the Israel/Palestine conflict but merely opposition to a man who makes racist and antisemtic comments.

If David Irving or Nick Griffin voiced Atzmon’s opinions then the Left would be up in arms – and rightly so. Virtually no-one on the left supports Atzmon though most prefer to stay silent than speak out publicly. Even the most strident anti-Zionist Jews in Britain believe Atzmon is antisemitic. The Socialist Workers Party, who used to have an association with Atzmon, have long since distanced themselves from him and even the leadership of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign have let it be known in the last few days that they want no public connection with him. I, however, am not going to stay silent. Wrong is wrong, from whatever quarter it comes from.

Let’s put aside the Israel/Palestine question (after all I have never once vocalised my opinion on this subject though my detractors are quick to accuse me of being part of a co-ordinated Zionist conspiracy) and let’s look at what Gilad Atzmon actually says:

Atzmon’s racism and antisemtisim

Atzmon targets “Jewishness” in his writings and not just Zionism or Israel. He writes about Jewish traits – as though every Jewish person is the same – in a way that is clearly racist. If someone wrote such generalised abuse of African-Caribbean’s then we would be rightly outraged. He claims not to be attacking all Jews, but then writes about Jewish identity and behaviour in a way that effectively treats Jewish people throughout the world as though they are one homogeneous group. We rightly attack the English Defence League for blaming all Muslims for the actions of a few so why should we turn a blind eye to Atzmon’s racism.

Here are a few of Atzmon’s thoughts:

“ Jewishness means supremacy and chauvinism and chosenness, and when it comes to Jewishness I am not a Jew because I am not a follower of Judaism…I deal mainly with Jewishness. What is Jewishness? Jewishness is different forms of tribally or racially oriented supremacy.”

 

“every single Jewish political discourse… is either already supremacist or on the verge of becoming supremacist.”

 

The idea of “Jewish supremacism” is most commonly associated with American neo-Nazi and former Klan leader David Duke, who wrote a book of that name. Duke has expressed his admiration for Atzmon’s writings.

Flirting with Holocaust Denial

Atzmon’s views border on Holocaust Denial. He certainly disputes the accepted Holocaust narrative and in doing so heaps praise on holocaust revisionists. Here are a few of his writings on the Holocaust (and these are separate quotes).

“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?”

“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”

“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?”

Again, if Nick Griffin wrote such things we would be outraged. Why are people not outraged with Atzmon saying them?

Support for Holocaust Deniers

Atzmon has been linked to several leading Holocaust Deniers. This should tell us something about his politics.

“The Holocaust religion is also maintained by a massive global financial network…this new religion is coherent enough to define its ‘antichrists’ (Holocaust deniers), and powerful enough to persecute them (through Holocaust-denial and hate-speech laws)…The Holocaust religion is, obviously, Judeo-centric to the bone…This new Jewish religion preaches revenge. It could well be the most sinister religion known to man”.

 

“If you look for instance at the Jewish academics looking into the notion of the Holocaust, the history of the Holocaust, the research is really lacking. I think that the Holocaust must be looked again and again and again and again and as it happens, actually the only people who are doing it are actually Revisionists.”

 

“the [Nazi] death marches were actually humane.”

 

Atzmon also distributed a Holocaust Denial article, “The Holocaust Wars”, written by Holocaust Denier Paul Eisen, which Atzmon 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.

Another of Atzmon’s associates is the infamous Nazi Israel Shamir, another Holocaust denier with links to many white supremacist and Nazi groups. Atzmon has described Shamir as a ‘unique and advanced thinker’.

Here are a few more interesting Aztmon quotes.

 

* Antisemitic caricatures

 

“Some Jews are rather unhappy with Charles Dickens’ Fagin and Shakespeare’s Shylock, who they regard as ‘anti Semitic’…On the other hand, the British Holocaust Educational Trust (HET) has managed to plant Anne Frank within the British curriculum…Fagin is the ultimate plunderer, a child exploiter and usurer. Shylock is the bloodthirsty merchant. With Fagin and Shylock in mind, the Israeli treatment of the Palestinians seems to be just a further event in and endless hellish continuum.”

 

* In the future, people may think Hitler was right

Atzmon argues that the Middle East conflict may lead some people to conclude that Hitler may have been right about the Jews. For example, in the apocalyptic scenario of nuclear war between Iran and Israel:

“I guess that amongst the survivors of such a nightmare scenario, some may be bold enough to argue that ‘Hitler might have been right after all.’”

* Crude racist jokes

At a recent talk in Norway, Atzmon told this joke:

“Nobody speaks about throwing the Jews to the sea.

 

[“Nobody?”]

 

Nobody.

 

[“Never?”]

 

“No no. No. And it’s not fair on the sea as well. I never thought of that one”

 

[laughter]

Atzmon called a chapter in his latest book “Swindler’s List”.

And finally, somebody noticed that Atzmon says on his website that he has played with Paul McCartney, and decided to wind him up: This is the email he sent with the reply from Atzmon:

—– Forwarded Message —–
From: Gilad Atzmon <giladatzmon@mac.com>
To: xxxx xxxxxxxxx <xxxxxxxxxx@yahoo.co.uk>
Sent: Sunday, 13 November 2011, 10:33
Subject: Re:

Send me his foreskin, once you chopped it .we ll look after it and re install it once he realizes what he is involved with 🙂

Sent from my iPhone

On 13 Nov 2011, at 11:06, xxxx xxxxxxxx <xxxxxxxxxx@yahoo.co.uk> wrote:

> Paul McCartney is to be made honoury jew at this meeting for is marriage to two jews and his support for Israel. Apparently he has given millions.

Question to the Dean of Bradford: Is Atzmon an antisemite or is he not?

Harry’s Place reports that the Dean of Bradford has reversed his clear opposition to Gilad Atzmon’s antisemitism.

Read the whole piece on Harry’s Place here.

“We’re seeing a Palestine Solidarity Campaign organiser persuading a senior Anglican churchman to attack a leading anti-racist campaigner (Nick Lowles of Hope Not Hate)  in order to defend an outspoken antisemite.”

Does the Church of England have a particular responsibility to be careful to avoid hosting an antisemitic event?

The following is from Atzmon’s new book:

While the Holocaust “was not at all an historical narrative,” the “accusations of Jews making matzo out of young Goyim’s blood,” may be true (page 175, 185).

Jews caused the recent credit crunch, which the author calls “the Zio-punch” (page 22).

The American media “failed to warn the American people of the enemy within” because of money (page 27).

“[M]ore and more Jews are being pulled into an obscure, dangerous and unethical fellowship” (page 21).

If Iran and Israel fight a nuclear war that kills millions of people, “some may be bold enough to argue that ‘Hitler might have been right after all’” (page 179).

The “new Jewish religion…could well be the most sinister religion known to man…” (page 149).

Extracts via this piece by Alan Dershowitz.

You’re All ‘Zionists’ Now

This is a cross-posted from the CST.

By Mark Gardner.

Raise Your Banners & Karl Dallas: You’re All ‘Zionists’ Now

Anti-Zionists usually deflect accusations of antisemitism by saying that they only criticise Zionists, not Jews. The ‘proof’ is usually provided by far left Jewish anti-Zionists: eagerly using their ‘Jewishness’ to all the better abuse the rest of the Jewish (ie ‘Zionist’) community, and the Jewish (ie ‘Zionist’) establishment in particular.

Now, the ex-Israeli Jew, Gilad Atzmon, threatens to destroy this long standing modus operandi.

Where Jewish anti-Zionists are disgusted at being vilified as ‘self-haters’, Atzmon wears the insult with pride, saying he is ‘a proud self-hating Jew’.

Where most Jewish anti-Zionists generally try to avoid abusing or diminishing the Holocaust, Atzmon does the opposite, even promoting Holocaust revisionists anddeniers.

Where Jewish anti-Zionists try to decouple notions of ‘Jewishness’ from Zionism, Atzmon’s unique selling point is precisely his attack on ‘Jewishness’: rather than Zionism and Israel. Indeed, anti-Zionists who promote their ‘Jewishness’ are Atzmon’s pet hate: because (he claims) they epitomise the secular and psychological depths of ‘Jewish identity politics’.

Unsurprisingly, Jewish anti-Zionists have reacted furiously to this cuckoo in their nest. They have condemned Atzmon every bit as loudly as the rest of their co-religionists whom they so commonly denigrate. For example, it now emerges that the Jewish Socialist Group first raised concerns about Atzmon playing in Bradford as long ago as last April.

Unfortunately, however, Gilad Atzmon is also a world class jazz musician and much of his audience, after decades of being told to hate those damned Zionists, is wide open to the harsh ‘truths’ that he claims to be revealing. Consequently, Atzmon’s anti-Jewish identity riff is drowning out the cacophonous discord from the Jewish anti-Zionists.

Take, for example, Tuesday’s Twitter message from one of the Raise Your Banners Bradford music festival performers, Karl Dallas, (also an activist within Bradford Palestine Solidarity Campaign), who tweeted:

Extraordinary Zionist virulence twds Raise Your Banners, Bradford, cos we’ve invited anti-Zionist Israeli jazzman Gilad Atzmon to play Fri.

The “extraordinary Zionist virulence” has been from many places: including local trade unionists, anti-racists, the mainstream Jewish community, and Jewish anti-Zionist groups. The concerns were not about anti-Zionism, nor premised upon the Zionist identity of the complainants.

This use of the word ’Zionist’ is the kind of stupid, debased, self-serving language that you get after so many decades of fervid distrust and hatred against the mythical Zionist bogeyman. If veteran Jewish anti-Zionists – some of whom have likely campaigned against Israel even at the expense of their own familial relationships – are now to also be branded as Zionists, then we have reached (yet) another absurd new low.

 

Dean of Bradford calls for Atzmon’s invite to be withdrawn

From Nick Lowles at Hope Not Hate.

The Dean of Bradford has added his name to the growing chorus of outrage at the decision of Raise Your Banners to invite antisemite Gilad Atzmon to perform for them in Bradford on Friday. Atzmon flirts with Holocaust Denial, Holocaust Deniers and is an antisemite and as such should have no place on a progressive platform. This is not a question of Palestine and Israel, nor is it an attempt to stifle freedom of speech. It is simply us, as anti-racists, demanding that a racist and antisemite should not be given a platform. The fact that Atzmon, and his supporters in Raise Your Banners, use information obtained from the BNP to attack us should be reason enough to shun him.

Anyway, I will go into this in more detail later but for now I would like to post a comment sent to me by David Ison, the Dean of Bradford:

“The Cathedral authorities were completely unaware of the nature of this musician, and in any case did not invite him. Our premises were hired by Raise your Banners (who have been here before, uncontroversially) who booked for a concert but told us nothing of the nature of the concert of the performers. We were not aware of any issues with this until we were contacted a few weeks ago by the Council for Christians and Jews expressing concern about anti-Semitism in the Cathedral – a concern which we completely share, as the Cathedral is committed as a Christian organisation to truth, justice and equality.

“We do not countenance or give permission for any form of racism or fascism, including anti-Semitism, to be given hospitality at Bradford Cathedral. Having asked for more information about Gilad Atzmon, it has only been in the last few days that we have received clear evidence of the nature of his public statements. In the event, the concert in the Cathedral had already been cancelled due to poor ticket sales; but it seems to be taking place in a smaller venue in Kala Sangam which is not connected with the Cathedral and over which we have no control.

“I am writing to the authorities at Kala Sangam to ensure they are aware of the issues raised by hosting a concert with this musician.”

David Ison

Dean of Bradford

“Raise Your Banners” reply to the call to cancel the appearance of Gilad Atzmon at their festival.

Raise You Banners have issued a statement on the call to cancel the appearance of antisemite Gilad Atzmon at their festival.Their response shows that they first received complaints about Atzmon’s appearance over 6 months ago. Their response in April is below their current response.

In response to a request to withdraw performance of Gilad Atzmon, November 2011

With less than a week to go, Raise Your Banners 2011 organisers are gearing up to a very busy festival. In the past seven days we have had further expressions of concern about our inclusion of Gilad Atzmon to headline one of our seven concerts. Two blogs condemned the festival and its funders for hosting him because they accused Gilad Atzmon of anti-Semitism and holocaust-denial.

These recent claims followed publicity in two blogs on November 12th, and were followed on November 17th by a critical news item in the Jewish Chronicle. We have had eight expressions of concern, some asking us to rescind the invitation to Gilad Atzmon. To do so at this stage would have very bad financial implications for the festival now and in the future.

The committee already considered similar concerns in April, decided to continue its invitation to Gilad Atzmon, and issued a statement then. That statement is reproduced below.

Gilad Atzmon’s philosophical and political writings stir up keen arguments about identity politics within the socialist movement, as well as a strong reaction from their main target the Israeli government. As we explained in our earlier statement in April, we do not believe the claims of anti-Semitism are justified. All artists have signed contracts to adhere to our equal opportunities policy in which abusive or discriminatory behaviour or language are unacceptable and will not be tolerated. We are sure that our audience would not tolerate any such behaviour.

Raise your Banners 2011 enjoys a broad range of contributions. At its Jazz night Israeli Gilad Atzmon is joined by Palestinian Nizar al Issa, UK singer Sarah Gillespie as well as the Orient House Ensemble. We had hoped that Cuban Omar Puente would also be present. In our film room we are showing Holocaust: a music memorial from Auschwitz. John Hamilton will be leading a workshop Songs to Counter the Zionist Bullies with Strawberry Thieves choir. We did not accept Gilad’s offer to present a workshop of his philosophical writing.

Raise Your Banners is an internationalist celebration of the power of music and song. We hope to see you there.

Sam Jackson – Secretary of Raise Your Banners
Ludi Simpson, – Treasurer of Raise your Banners and organiser of the Jazz concert
18 November 2011

 

 

In response to a request to withdraw performance of Gilad Atzmon, April 2011

Raise your Banners 2011 is proud to present its festival of political song in Bradford once more. It is sixteen years since Sheffield Socialist Choir organised the first Raise your Banners in celebration of the great Wobblie union organiser and songster Joe Hill. Raise your Banners unites political choirs with soloists and bands, to celebrate committed and campaigning music that constantly renews the vision of equality for all the world’s peoples. Raise your Banners is music to celebrate ordinary people joining together to struggle for something they want, whether it is local childcare or opposition to the ravages of global capitalism. We seek the best artists who will celebrate popular struggles in their music and song, and aim for all to have a rollicking good time.

RyB 2011 is developing apace. For the Friday night we have planned two big events in parallel: a folk concert with John Tams, Barry Coope and Roy Bailey, and a jazz concert with Gilad Atzmon, Omar Puente, Nizar al Issar, and Sarah Gillespie. We have had opposition to our invitation to Gilad Atzmon to play, and requests that Raise your Banners revoke this invitation on the basis that Gilad Atzmon’s political and philosophical statements have been anti-semitic and have denied the murder of millions in Nazi concentration camps. Gilad Atzmon rejects this interpretation of his writings. The request has come principally from the Jewish Socialists’ Group and some individual supporters of Raise your Banners festival. 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.

The organising committee have discussed this matter in detail, following distribution of the material sent by those objecting to Gilad Atzmon’s invitation to the festival, and a summary of the statements by Gilad Atzmon, with links provided so that people could make their own minds up. A full discussion as held at which all members of the organising committee were able to give their opinions and then respond to those made by others. A vote by members of the organising committee was inconclusive so the directors, as those with ultimate responsibility for the festival, then voted to continue with the invitation to Gilad Atzmon, with the provision that all performers’ contracts include adherence to RyB’s equal opportunities policies.

Raise your Banners festival directors are not arbiters of political disputes between those who consider themselves part of the progressive movements with which the festival identifies. We trust that all our supporters and all our performers will work to make the festival a musical celebration of struggles for equality and against discrimination of the poor and oppressed.

Sam Jackson – Secretary of Raise Your Banners April 2011

Update: Bob From Brockley has his say here.

What is the Progressive Case for Israel?

This piece was written by David Hirsh for a collection published by Labour Friends of Israel

David Hirsh, lecturer in Sociology, Goldsmiths, University of London

What is the progressive case for Israel?  Why should a nation state need somebody to make its case?  What is the progressive case for France or for Poland?  Before the French Revolution, the question of France was still open.  Was Marseille to be part of the same Republic as Brittany?  When there was a political movement for the foundation of France, then there was a case for and also a case against France.  When Poland was half engulfed by the Soviet Union and half by the Third Reich, there was a progressive case for Poland.  But today, thankfully, Poland exists.  It doesn’t need a ‘case’.

There are reasons to be ambivalent about nationalism.  Nationalist movements have often stood up against forces which threaten human freedom.  Nationalism offers us a way of visualising ourselves as part of a community in which we look after each other.  But being part of something also means defining others as not being part of it, as being excluded from it.  The left should fight for freedom with the nationalists but we should also remember the dangers of nationalism.  Like John Lennon, we should imagine a world where people no longer feel the need to protect themselves against external threat, but until it exists, it is wise for communities to retain the possibility of self-defence.

Progressives in France or Poland might hope to dissolve their states into the European Union, or into a global community.  In that sense there is still a possible case to be made for Poland or for France.  But nobody thinks that either has to justify their existences to anybody outside.  Not even Germany after the crimes of the Second World War had to justify its existence.

In the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries, radical Jews were split as to how they should oppose the antisemitism.   Some wanted to dissolve all religious and national characteristics into a universalistic socialism where everybody would treat each other with respect and where the distinction between Jew and non-Jew would eventually be forgotten.  Others wanted Jews to organise themselves into culturally and politically Jewish Bunds which would defend them from antisemitism and which would construct Jewish identity in new, egalitarian and empowering ways.  A third current thought that national self-determination was the key to guaranteeing people’s individual rights, and they wanted Jews from all different places to forge themselves into a sovereign nation.  This last group, the Zionists, made a progressive case for Israel while the other two, the Socialists and the Bundists, made progressive cases against Israel.

In the 1940s the overwhelming majority of the Jewish Socialists, Bundists and Zionists were systematically murdered, alongside Jews who had no opinion, who had other opinions, who only understood themselves to be Jewish through their religious communities and alongside those who thought of themselves only as loyal German, Czech or Dutch citizens.  Jewish culture in Europe was wiped out.  There were a few survivors here and there but most of them felt it unbearable to continue to live amongst those who had killed everybody they knew, and amongst those who had failed to prevent the killing, and amongst those who still had their children and their friends and relatives.

Before, during and after the Holocaust, Jews tried to leave Europe and they went wherever they were allowed.  Lots of Jews were learning the dismal lesson that the Twentieth Century beat into so many around the world: if you have no state of your own, you have no rights.  On April 20th 1945 a British army chaplain helped organise a Shabbat service five days after the liberation of the Bergen Belsen Concentration Camp.  A contemporary BBC radio report says that it was the first Jewish religious service held without fear on German soil for a decade.   The report says:

During the service the few hundred people gathered together were sobbing openly with joy at their liberation and with sorrow at the memory of their parents and brothers and sisters who had been taken from them and gassed and burnt.  These people knew they were being recorded.  They wanted the world to hear their voice.  They made a tremendous effort which quite exhausted them. [1]

The exhausting effort they made was to sing Hatikva, the Zionist national anthem, so it could be heard around the world.  This was how they made their progressive case for Israel.  For many survivors, getting out of Europe was not enough.  Having been taught that they couldn’t rely on others to help them, they wanted Jewish national self-determination.  Feeling safe was too much to hope for, but it would make them feel that if they were again threatened as Jews, then they would be able to die defending themselves, collectively, as Jews.

Even now, there was still a case to be made for and against Israel.  Perhaps immigration into Palestine was too dangerous for Jews, perhaps Israel was an impossible and utopian idea.  Perhaps the need for Jewish self defence could be realised within some kind of bi-national arrangement with the Arabs of Palestine.

But as the Holocaust had defeated the Socialists and the Bundists, so these other criticisms were answered, not by argument or reason but by huge, irreversible events in the material world;  in this case by the UN decision to found Israel and by the defence of the new state against the invading armies of neighbouring states which tried to push the Jews out.  The Jews, armed by Stalin via Czechoslovakia, in violation of a British and American arms embargo, were not pushed out.  About 700,000 Palestinian Arabs left, fled or were forced out during the war and were not allowed back by the new state of Israel.  For them this was truly a catastrophe but the Israel/Palestine conflict was never inevitable.  It was the result of successive defeats for progressive forces within both nations.  It is still not inevitable.  Neither could the fact of the conflict possibly de-legitimise a nation.  Nations exist and do not require legitimacy.

Isaac Deutcher, Trotsky’s biographer, who had been a Socialist anti-Zionist before the Holocaust, wrote the following in 1954:

I have, of course, long since abandoned my anti-Zionism, which was based on a confidence in the European labour movement, or, more broadly, in European society and civilization, which that society and civilization have not justified. If, instead of arguing against Zionism in the 1920s and 1930s I had urged European Jews to go to Palestine, I might have helped to save some of the lives that were later extinguished in Hitler’s gas chambers.[2]

Deutscher was not embracing Zionism as an ideology, he was recognising that the debate was over.  Israel now existed in the material world and no longer just in the imagination.  Antisemitism treats ‘the Jews’ as an idea rather than as a collectivity of actual human beings; an idea which can be opposed was transformed into a people which could be eliminated.  To think of Israel as an idea or as a political movement rather than as a nation state makes it possible to think of eliminating it too.

Israel needs to find the peace with its neighbours, amongst whom hostile and antisemitic movements have significant influence.  It needs to continue to fulfil contradictory requirements, as a democratic state for both its Jewish and non-Jewish citizens, but also as a Jewish state, guaranteeing the rights of Jews in particular.  There is nothing unusual about a social institution finding pragmatic and difficult ways to fulfil contradictory requirements.

But what if it turns out that Zionism’s promise to build a ‘normal’ nation state was utopian.  Perhaps the poison of the Holocaust is not yet spent.  Maybe Israel is, as Detuscher thought, a precarious life-raft state , floating in a hostile sea and before a careless world.  Perhaps the pressure on Israel from outside, and the unique circumstances of its foundation are creating too many agonising internal contradictions and fault-lines.  Whereas people used to tell the Jews of Europe to go home to Palestine, now they tell the Jews of Israel to go home to Europe.  Whereas ‘the Jews’ were thought to be central to the workings of capitalism, today Israel is said to be the keystone of imperialism.  If the Palestinians have come to symbolise the victims of ‘the West’ then ‘the Jews’ are again cast in the symbolic imagination as the villains of the world.   Perhaps Israel is precarious and perhaps we have not yet seen the final Act of the tragedy of the Jews.  And if it comes to pass, there will be those watching who will still be capable of saying, with faux sadness, that ‘the Jews’ brought this upon themselves.

This piece was written by David Hirsh for a collection published by Labour Friends of Israel

[1] This recording is easily accessible on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=syUSmEbGLs4, downloaded 25 August 2011, Smithsonian Centre for American Folk Life.

[2] Isaac Deutscher (1968) The Non-Jewish Jew and other essays, London: Oxford University Press, pp 111-113

Bradford TUC call on music festival to withdraw invitation to Gilad Atzmon

Hope Not Hate and Bradford TUC have now called for the organisers of Raise Your Banners to withdraw the invitation to Gilad Atzmon.

Nick Lowles writes :

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.”

Why no self-respecting organisation should host Gilad Atzmon

A post on the CST Blog which explains why we should take him more seriously than most of the extremists we routinely come up against.

Political music festival featuring antisemite Gilad Atzmon sponsored by the Art’s Council, The Co-Operative and National Lottery Fund.

Raise Your Banners is a “festival of political song” held annually in Bradford and is sponsored by the Art’s Council, The Co-Operative and National Lottery Fund. It was started 16 years ago in celebration of the great Wobblie (IWW) union organiser and songster Joe Hill. However this year it’s featuring Gilad Atzmon. Maybe the organisers don’t know about Atzmon’s politics but seeing that they link to his website, maybe they do. As it’s a festival of poliitical music they can’t use the old argument that they’re hosting Atzmon for his music and not his politics.

You may have liked to have gone to see Peggy Seeger perform but unfortunately it’s sold out. Still you can always go to the workshop “Songs to Counter the Zionist Bullies”.

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