Thursday, September 13, 2012

The curious case of the Jewish Music Institute and the anti-Semite

Last Sunday I posted the following message with the title "Leading antiSemite plays at Jewish festival":
I arrived  at today's annual Jewish music festival (Klezmer in the Park) at Regents Park London just in time to hear the presenter announce that the previous performer had been Gilad Atzmon.
While I was aware that Atzmon considered himself a Jazz (not Klezmer) musician he is much better known as being one of the UK's leading anti-Semites. Describing himself as an "Israeli born ex-Jew" he is a Holocaust denier who believes in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and a world-wide Jewish conspiracy. You can see a summary of his profile here. He is, of course, also prominent in the anti-Israel movement, although his open anti-Semitism has been an embarrassment even to some of the most virulent anti-Israel fanatics.  There's plenty more on him here and here, but if you think that is all one-sided criticism then just look at his own website.
So the question is: who made the decision to invite Azmon to play at this event, and why? And what irony that this should happen at a time when Atzmon's cohorts ensure that every performance by Israeli musicians or actors in the UK is disrupted or forcibly cancelled.
As can be seen by events like the Jewish book week, the Jewish Comedy festival and Jewish film festival there is a tendency among the cultural elite who organize these kinds of events to give prominence to those with strong anti-Israel views. But an invite to Gilad Atzmon surely trumps anything that's gone before. Perhaps we can look forward to a cameo role from George Galloway - or maybe even a few surviving SS officers - at future London Jewish cultural events.
Shortly afterwards I got an email from the Jewish Musical Institute which simply said: 
Hello Edgar, I am events manager for the jmi. The Jewish music institute. What you have written about the event is not true. Please remove it from publication. Thank you Gil 
I duly removed the posting and responded as follows:
Gil, I've removed the post. But can you explain why the announcement was made that he played?
I got no response to that message or to two follow-up messages over the following two days. So I sent the following message on Wedneday:
Gil
I would be grateful if you could respond to either of the messages that I sent you yesterday. I want to know the answer to the following very simple question: -Why did the announcer say that the previous performer was Gilad Atzmon? I was considerate enough to remove the original blog posting when you said it 'was not true' (even though you did not specify what was not true in my article).
If you do not reply within 24 hours then I will put up a blog posting saying exactly what I heard and that the JMI can offer no explanation why the announcer said what he said (and hence leave it to readers to draw their own conclusions). I'm reasonably confident from your response that Atzmon was not formally invited to play. For what it's worth I'd say the most likely explanation for the announcement is that a recording of Atzmon was played. But I would like to be assured that Atzmon did not simply turn up and play.
This finally prompted the following response today:
Dear Edgar
Gilad Atzmon did not perform at Klezmer in the Park nor was he invited to do so. A piece of his music was played at one point, which presumably is why you heard an announcer mention his name. Until your complaint on Monday we were unaware of Atzmon’s political views.
Regards The Jewish Music Institute
So while I am very happy to put the record straight it does actually appear that - contrary to the original rather rude and abrupt message from the JMI - it is NOT the case that 'what I had written was not true'. I never said I saw Atzmon perform there; I made a perfectly reasonable assumption after hearing his name announced as the previous performer.

I find it very interesting that the JMI was unaware of Atzmon's political views. His anti-semitism - not his music - is what defines his public personna. It is difficult to be aware that Atzmon is a musician at all without being aware of his anti-Semitism. Indeed the only link to Atzmon and Klezma music at all can be found here.  Note that every song title has a clearly implied anti-Israel theme; the first three are
  1. Dal'ouna on the return (trad. Palestinian) 4:45
  2. Al-Quds (Gilad Atzmon) 9:59
  3. Jenin (Gilad Atzmon) 5:50
I also noticed that the next publicized event by the JMI involves David Rosenberg leading a musical tour of the East End. Presumably the JMI are also unaware that Rosenberg - leader of the Jewish Socialist Group, is a very active and visible anti-Israel campaigner. In fact, he works with the anti-Semitic Palestine Solidarity Campaign to boycott all Israeli goods and tourism (see this document) and to delegitimize Israel.

While these kind of people seek to boycott and disrupt every cultural event involving Jewish performers from Israel (irrespective of their political beliefs) I would never dream of disrupting a performance by anybody because of their nationality or even their obnoxious racist views. But neither would I choose to go to - or even listen to -  performers who are hypocritical Israel haters. Therefore having such people either invited to - or simply promoted - at main stream Jewish events is something I find both offensive and ironic.

Finally (and thanks to commenter amie for pointing this out) the JMI has serious form when it comes to an ambivalent attitude towards Israel. In March 2011 they rejected Israeli funding for one of their events when they came under pressure from the anti-Semitic boycott brigade. In fact the Jewish Chronicle report is rather too kind on Geraldine Auerbach the Head of the JMI. In this report by the boycotters themselves you get a much more detailed understanding of the extent to which the Auerbach bent over backwards to meet the boycotters demands:
In correspondence with the protesters, Geraldine Auerbach, the head of the Jewish Music Institute, stated “I confirm that there is no funding directly or indirectly from the Israeli Government or institutions”. Subsequently all reference to the Israeli- related organisations was removed from the conference’s online publicity materials. Similarly Ms Auerbach, who had stated in the Jewish Chronicle that the Israeli Embassy was helping to promote the Conference, now stated that no such promotion had taken place.







15 comments:

Jack said...

Edgar

Great article.
Its either this institute is Anti Israeli or real antisemite, ot those Idiots, should be kicked off.
I find it hard to believe that someone who is involved in Music, dose not know what Antisemite Atzmon represents.
On the other side, those Anti Zionist Jews, see the world through thier disturbed mental eyes, meaning I can cancel other performers because of..... but I am ok, as no one else will invite me.

I guess next time they will invite Antisemite Tony Greenstein to blow his Shofar as farting is the only issue he is capable of.
Those Antisemites should know that they cannot play thier games openly.

Edgar Davidson said...

Jack

Indeed. Of all the genuine Klezmer music they could have chosen to play between acts, the fact that someone chose Atzmon (who could not possibly be on the radar of any genuine non-political person with an interest in Klezmer) is of course 'purely coincidental'. Just as I am sure it is purely ooincidental that Rosenberg was chosen for the next event over the many other knowledgable (but not fanatically anti-Israel) East End guides.

amie said...

JMI behaved dishonorably already last year:

http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/47089/appalling-jewish-music-festival-reject-israeli-funding

Edgar Davidson said...

Amie
Thanks for that. I vaguely remember this but did not connect it to the jmi. Everything is now starting to fit into place.

Jack said...

Edgar

I sent them an Email, asked them to invite David duke,Paul Eisen and David Erwin, for the next event to coplete the gang.
I Also mentioned the issue in HP, something is going on in this organization and they should be monitored.
I will spread the issue arround, people should be aware to what event they are going to, specialy when they hide behind Jewish Music.
BTW Antisemite Atzmon made a living for years from Klezmer music.... before he got famous for being Antisemite and then someone put attention to his Jazz music.

Anonymous said...

Edgar, as an observer to all this, I just don't understand why you feel the need to harass these people: surely its not in the larger jewish cultural interest to bring these minority elements to a platform of promotion. As far as everywhere else I've read, it was a good day celebrating Jewish culture at large. Why bring this to the public's attention? and why give Gilad Atzmon the promotion that you are providing if you are that offended by him?

An idiot is born somewhere in the world every minute, the real trick is not to be one, oneself. A sense of proportion is necessary and i trust that if you have Israel's interests as a genuine concern you won't use your blog as a tool for bringing down Jewish culture in the main by highlighting 1or 2 individuals.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous
If you don't see the need , perhaps you are part of the problem . Edgar has painstakingly explained the disgust he felt when hearing the name Atzmon mentioned at Klezmer in the park last Sunday . The fact Atzmon was not appearing but simply a recording of his music does not lessen the impact .
As has already been said , Atzmon is an antisemite and holocaust denier . He associates with the same and has a
Website devoted to the promotion of these views .
It is unthinkable and unpardonable that JMI would have been unaware of this and allowed his music to be aired .
Until recently it was hotly debated whether to allow Wagner s music to be played in Israel . Wagner has been dead many years and yet here we have the obscenity of a Jewish organisation allowing the music of an individual whose pronouncements if anything go beyond that of anything Wagner said or wrote obviously pre dating the Holocaust .
JMI is just another of these ' right on luvvie ' Jewish orgs like the promoters of Jewish book week and the rest of the Not in our name Jews who stand four square with the iIsrael haters and deniers . Organisations such as the antisemitic PSC who have attempted a purge on a few of their high profile Jew haters and left the lesser known ones in place . Atzmon was too much to stand and to damaging to the cause for even their hate filled cause .
It would not surprise me in the least to find more than a few full on Jewish Israel haters involved with JMI including the mad and bad Deborah Fink .
This is how they work . The vast majority of Jewish people there would have been similarly disgusted had they been aware that the music of a vile antisemite was being played .
Pity you don't see it the same way



Anonymous said...

As for not bringing down Jewish culture , it brings itself down by associating with just one antisemite .
Our cultured elite do it time and again with their pronouncements on Israel , all the time attempting to distance themselves and demonstrate just what well adjusted and assimilated good Jews they are to the baying crowd .
Similar I would imagine to the good Jews of Weimar Germany who thought that the Jew hatred was reserved for the untermenschen of Polish Jewry .
They were wrong and in its own way so are these '├╝ber Jews of Klezmer in the Park

jack said...

The First Anonymous is the typical Jewish Liberal (Lefty) Idiot.
When a animal walks like a duck and sounds like a duck its a duck.....
This organization distinguished itself from Israel pronouncing loud and clear that don't want any Israeli Donation.....
well..... this is NOT a politically issue.
Then they play Atzmon music in the event and play stupid as they are not aware regarding Atzmon political and anti-Semite view.....
and then invite Anti Israel well known Rosenberg to lead an event......
So give me a break.
You represent the Weimar Jews, those who thought that if they will lick the non Jews A** they are part of them.
Well learn some history, maybe you will get some brain.

jack said...

Great Edgar I have seen the the JC wrote about the issue.....
Its time to expose thier real face.

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