A few days before Christmas, Labour Cllr Richard Watts and the Islington Council, acting at the request of the UK Likud Herut Director, chose to stop me from playing with the Blockheads. The impoverished Council, in an odd interpretation of working for its citizens, hired two partners from one of London’s most expensive law firms to help them in their crusade against my saxophone.
Their action prompted hundreds of complaints and a petition of protest from almost 7000. Despite the backlash, another Labour councillor has stepped in to try to ruin my musical career. Rachel Eden has in the past attempted to interfere with my literature event at Reading Literary Festival, organised a protest against me without knowing who I was and what I stood for, and is on the Zionist We Believe in Israel list of 2016 General Election candidates who pledge their support for Israel.
Cllr. Eden furthered the campaign to ruin me financially for my political beliefs by sending the following email to the Progress Theatre in Reading:
From: Rachel Eden Date: Wed, 19 Dec 2018 at 09:25
Subject: progress theatre and an anti-semite
Hope you’re well and enjoying the run up to Christmas…
Sorry to email you about something controversial but I suspect that you’d rather I let you know. (the comments in brackets are my own GA)
I just wanted to alert you that I am sure inadvertantly (sic) Progress has taken a booking from Gilead (sic) Atzmon. He’s not a household name but he is very well known by the Jewish community as an anti-semite, last time he came to Reading he claimed that Jerusalem-ites doing mitzvot caused the Grenfell Tower tragedy:
https://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/atzmon-blames-grenfell-tower-tragedy-on-jerusalemites-following-mitzvot-1.447012 (GA: If Mrs. Eden had actually bothered to read the JC article, she would have noticed that I emphasise that Jerusalem vs. Athens is not a Jew vs Gentile binary. I pointed out that tragedies like the Grenfell tower come about because in Jerusalem people are trained to follow patterns and regulations: as opposed to thinking authentically and ethically as in Athens.)
As you’ll see from this story he was protested by a mix of Jewish and LGBT residents, he is also a holocaust ‘skeptic’ and Labour councillors including me. (GA: I am not a Holocaust ‘skeptic’ as I am not an historian, however, I support the idea that every event in the past must be subject to historical analysis and revision!)
If you want to know a bit more about him the Jewish Chronicle keeps an eye on him:
https://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/antisemite-gilad-atzmon-banned-from-performing-islington-council-1.474094 (GA: now there’s an unbiased source)
He recently lost a libel lawsuit in which was sued by the campaign against anti-semetism:(sic) (GA: I settled a libel suit with CAA’s Gideon Falter, and the issue was not relevant to antisemitism.) https://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/gilad-atzmon-forced-to-ask-supporters-for-funds-after-campaign-against-antisemitism-libel-lawsuit-1.473179
Hope not hate have a bit about him here:
All in all I am guessing you and the committee probably didn’t know any of this as he is trying to portray himself as “just” a jazz musician, but I would assume he’s not the sort of person you want associated with Progress Theatre.
The promoters of the concert replied to Cllr Eden as follows: “Our focus is on – and our interest is in – the music, nothing else. We do not aim to provide a platform for people to express their personal views on any non-musical subject. We have not received complaints of offence being caused at any of our concerts in the fourteen years we have been promoting jazz, despite programming a wide variety of acts and individuals. In the case of Gilad Atzmon, we understand that he has never even been questioned by any law enforcement authority about the allegations to which you refer, let alone convicted.”
It would be a blessing for the kingdom if our politicians had the clarity of thinking, ethical stand and respect for free speech displayed by our musical promoters and venues. Apparently, despite Eden’s persistent harassment of the venue, the promoters held fast against her onslaught.
As expected, when it became clear that Cllr. Eden would not be able to stop my concert, the notorious ultra Zionist Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) in accord with its stated goal to ruin anyone it deems a threat to Zion, openly re-joined the effort to rid Britain of my saxophone.
Apparently, numerous promoters around the country have received threatening letters from Stephen Silverman, a ‘music teacher’ as well as The CAA’s ‘Director of Investigation and Enforcement.’ A charity is defined as “an organisation set up to provide help and raise money for those in need.” I wonder what it is that qualifies an organisation as charitable when instead of helping others it operates to investigate and ‘enforce’ rules of its own making.
Enforcement commissar Silverman’s email is a rehash of their usual list of misleading, misquoted and badly sourced accusations and ends with, what for them is an unusually polite declaration: “It would, of course, be inappropriate for us to attempt to dictate who appears at your venue, and that is not my intention. The purpose of this letter is merely to provide you and your venue with information of which you may be unaware.”
Naturally, Silverman does not actually mean his deferential words. Once a venue replies that it does not intend to accede to the demands of Silverman and his klan, Silverman sends a second letter accusing the venue of “taking side” with haters, in “dereliction of duty” to side with Jews. The email ends with a clear threatening note:
From: [email protected]
Sent: 18 January 2019 17:11
Cc: ‘Anthony Orkin’ [email protected]
Subject: RE: Gilad Atzmon
Thank you for your reply. On the basis of your response it is clear that, by failing to stand up to antisemitism, you have chosen to side with those who seek to stir up hatred towards this country’s Jewish community. Your willingness to turn a blind eye to the activities of this leading antisemite shames you, your board and your arts centre, and is nothing less than a dereliction of duty.
There is a vast amount of documented evidence, accumulated over many years, that bears witness to the extent of Gilad Atzmon’s antisemitism. He attempts to shield himself from the consequences of this with a bogus philosophy of his own devising that purports to be critical of ‘Jewishness’, Jewish politics and Jewish culture rather than of Jews. It is a paper-thin facade that crumbles under even the most cursory scrutiny.
This is someone who publicly told a Jewish man that he detested the Jew in hone (GA: actually, this was in reply to a tweet that “as a Jew” I should want to kill Arabs. The tweet was from vile hateful character @onepound1 who was subsequently banned from twitter for hate speech. I didn’t know that @onepound1 is indeed Jewish, perhaps Mr. Silverman is more familiar with this anonymous twitter user and his murderous intent?) stated that burning synagogues could be considered a rational act (GA: indeed, as are many violent actions in a war. They are rational not ethical and not desirable. The Guardian published my letter in that regard) and invited the Jewish people to apologise for being so hateful that the world has been forced to persecute them (GA: here’s the quote in context: “Instead of constantly blaming the Goyim for inflicting pain on Jews, it is time for Jews to look in the mirror and try to identify what it is in Jews and their culture that evokes so much fury. It may even be possible that some Jews would take this opportunity to apologise to the Gentiles around them for evoking all this anger.”). He repeats some of the same discredited antisemitic views about Jewish power that were employed by the Nazi regime to pave the way for the Holocaust, and he uses his blogs, videos and public talks to encourage others to share his hatred. (GA: noticeably Silverman doesn’t present a single hateful comment by me.) In 2012, he was disavowed by a group of prominent Palestinian writers and activists who refused to have anything further to do with his antisemitism. (GA: here he is telling you that a group of 20 Palestinian activists are more sensitive to accusations of antisemitism then they are in furthering their cause.)
We will endeavour to ensure that your actions, positive or negative, receive the attention that they deserve.
Director of Investigations and Enforcement
Direct: 0330 822 XXXX extn 203
As I point out above, Silverman’s accusations are misleading. However, threatening emails from this specific Jewish charity raise some serious concerns. In August, 2017, after the CAA and Silverman sent similar threatening notes to an Oxford bookshop that refused to acquiesce to their demands, a member of the audience was the victim of a vicious physical attack that left him with a severe eye injury. After the attack, audience members, some of whom were Jewish, responded with angry letters to the CAA, but the British ‘charitable’ organisation refused to take any responsibility for the attack.
Friday night’s concert at the Progress Theatre was a sold out success, in spite of Cllr Eden’s campaign and CAA’s threatening messages. Last night we performed at the Ropetackle Arts Centre which has received similar threatening emails from Silverman and one Simon Butler, a NYC ‘CAA’s volunteer.’
The Ropetackle Arts Centre responded to the threats as follows:
“The letter from Mr Silverman has been passed to me in my capacity as chairman of the charity which runs the Ropetackle Arts Centre.
We recently received a similar request from Simon Butler. After very careful consideration, we informed him that we were intending to go ahead with the concert. This remains our decision which we do not feel appropriate to explain or justify other than to point out that Gilad Atzmon has performed at our Centre on numerous previous occasion without any complaint.”
If the CAA wants to fight antisemitism for real they should consider ceasing their operation tomorrow morning. Their mean spirited attempt to ruin people financially reflects disastrously on them and anyone who is associated with their campaign. The more their operation and its methodology become known, the more likely the public is to believe that their bullying is supported by Jews in general. Such thoughts could lead to a real backlash which is a result antithetical to the goals of those of us who oppose all racism and violence.