Dean of Bradford calls for Atzmon’s invite to be withdrawn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

8 Responses to “Dean of Bradford calls for Atzmon’s invite to be withdrawn”

  1. James M Says:

    Good for the Dean of Bradford

  2. Geoff Says:

    Well done, Dean of Bradford!

  3. Philip Henshaw Says:

    Gilad Atzmon is of Jewish heritage. He was born in Tel Aviv. He is a strong critic of the Jewish religion and belief system but obviously is not an anti-semite. Anti-semites believe that belief in the Jewish religion is a genetic pre-disposition. Atzmon obviously doesn’t and is fully aware that anti-semites, no matter how critical he is of the Jewish faith and how much he insists he is not Jewish, and he isn’t, would continue to persecute him for being Jewish. The attempt to get Atzmon’s invitation to this festival rescinded is part of a zionist attempt to discredit the pro-Palestinian movement. It is a shame that the Dean of Bradford has been duped by this pathetic campaign. The real anti-semites are to be found in the ranks of the EDL supporting the Zionist suppression of the Palestinians.

    P.S. Atzmon is a superb Jazz musician with a fantastic band drawn from all cultures. Go and support him and enjoy the music.

  4. Saul Says:

    In his defence of Atzmon, Philip Henshaw is using an increasingly popular and populist argument to defend antisemitic tropes and in the case of Atzmon, antisemites.

    The argument is based on a narrow definition of anti-Semtism that reduces it to its ‘scientific’ form; i.e. the pseudo-nonsense that appeared toward the end of the 19th century and which dominanted antisemitic discourse, until 1945. Reduced to this form, such thinking can exclude any non-‘racial’ libels and slurs that pre-existed, co-existed and outlasted its ‘scientific’ expression and which, singly and together contsitute the staples of antisemitic thought.

    According to this abuse of the concept of antisemitism,, the ‘blood libel’ would be excluded from the pantheon of antisemitism,
    “accusations of Jews making matzo out of young Goyim’s blood,” may be
    true (Atzmon, pages 175, 185).

    The myth of Jewish financial power and the omnipotent control of States through such power is not to be considered antisemitic,
    Jews caused the recent credit crunch, “the
    Zio-punch” (page 22).

    These two staples of antisemitism, world control and the blood libel are brought together (
    We “must begin to take the accusation that the Jewish
    people are trying to control the world very seriously,” and that “with
    Fagin and Shylock in mind, Israeli barbarism and organ trafficking seem to
    be just other events in an endless hellish continuum.” (statement made prior to the book’s publication)

    Likewise the malicious myth of Jewish control of the press and Jews as an internal enemy,
    The American media “failed to warn the American people of the enemy
    within” because of money (page 27).

    Likewise, Judaism as a religion that is antithetic to human values,
    The “new Jewish religion…could well be the most sinister religion known
    to man…” (page 149).
    “[M]ore and more Jews are being pulled into an obscure, dangerous and
    unethical fellowship” (page 21).

    It would exclude also newer additions to the antisemitic canon, including the equation of Israel and Nazi Germany (which in Atzmon’s case is revamped into Israel being worse than the Nazis),
    “Many of us including me tend to equate Israel to Nazi Germany. Rather
    often I myself join others and argue that Israelis are the Nazis of our
    time. I want to take this opportunity to amend my statement. Israelis are
    not the Nazis of our time and the Nazis were not the Israelis of their time.

    Israel is in fact far worse than Nazi Germany and the above equation is
    simply meaningless and misleading.” (statement made prior to the book’s publication)

    It would exclude the notion that maybe, after all, Hitler had a point in attempting to exterminate every last Jew from the earth,
    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).

    And, finally, it would exclude the implicit calls to violence against Jews made by Atzmon as a rational response to the alleged evil of Jews and Judaism,
    He cannot “say whether it’s right or not to burn down a synagogue. I can
    say that it is a rational act.’ (statement made prior to the book’s publication)

    Unfortunately, Philip Henshaw rejects the facts of Atzmon’s antisemitism.
    He legitimises Atzmon’s antisemitism and antisemitism in general by what amounts to nothing more than a semantic argument premised on the myth of ‘race’.
    And he adds his own gloss to this legitimisation of antisemtism by claiming that ‘Zionists” support the British nazis.
    He claims that Jews are dishonest in their attacks on Atzmon for his antisemitism; the ‘real’ motive being to smear the ‘pro-Palestinian movement’.
    And, in echoing of previous libels, he concludes that Jews (continue to) dupe well-meaning gentiles such as the Bishop of Bradford for their own narrow and parochial self-interests.

    One can conclude by wondering whether an unthinking recourse to the litany of antisemitic libels is not inherent in the type of defence that Philip Henshaw provides for the overt antisemitism of Gilad Atzmon.

  5. Law 101 Says:

    ‘no matter how critical he is of the Jewish faith’.

    In 1945 or shortly thereafter, the German jurisprude Carl Schmitt complained that he was being victimised by American/Jewish prosecutors for nothing more than being ‘critical of the Jews’.
    Such ‘criticism’ included a series of vile antisemitic journal articles culminating in a conference titled, “German Jurisprudence in Struggle Against the Jewish Spirit’

    ‘fully aware that anti-semites, no matter how critical he is of the Jewish faith and how much he insists he is not Jewish, and he isn’t, would continue to persecute him for being Jewish’

    Antisemitism is to be defined by antisemites. So much for the first lesson in anti-racist education.

  6. Saul Says:

    Law 101,
    It is also to be remembered that Schmitt’s antisemitism was not rooted in the notion of ‘a genetic pre-disposition’ (i.e. notions of a Jewish ‘race’).

  7. Absolute Observer Says:

    “The attempt to get Atzmon’s invitation to this festival rescinded is part of a zionist attempt to discredit the pro-Palestinian movement”
    So, let’s take a look at who is involved in this ‘zionist attempt to discredit the pro-Palestinian movement” and who have recognised Atzmon’s antisemitism……….

    The Jewish Chronicle
    Alan Dersowicz
    Harrys Place
    The Council of Christians and Jews
    Gerry Sutcliffe, the Labour MP for Bradford South
    Sarah Colborne, director of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign
    Tony Greenstein
    Michael Rosen
    The SWP

    All of them, according to Philip Henshaw and others, are ‘part of a zionist attempt to discredit the pro-Palestinian movement’.

    What utter crap!

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