Posted by Gilad Atzmon
We, the undersigned, strongly protest the recent cancellation of the Royal Northern College of Music‘s concert featuring Gilad Atzmon & The Orient House Ensemble; one of the most successful and critically acclaimed jazz groups in Europe.
It is our understanding that due to pressure from the Zionist Lobby group, the North West Friends of Israel, the concert was cancelled due to a “safety” issue.
We… the musicians, artists, listeners, citizens of Britain and the world say:
- No to intimidation
- No to censorship
- No to political pressure
- And, that we all must protect the principles of a free society
If the Royal Northern College of Music is committed to keeping Britain a free country, let music and speech flow freely. We call upon the RNCM to immediately reschedule Gilad Atzmon & The Orient House Ensemble’s concert.
We ask the RNCM to not set a precedence in succumbing to pressure and bullying from external forces. Music is one of the few spaces where anything and everything is able to be expressed without the threat of censorship or intimidation.
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Gilad Atzmon is an Israeli-born British jazz saxophonist, novelist, political activist and writer.
Atzmon’s album Exile was BBC jazz album of the year in 2003. Playing over 100 dates a year, he has been called “surely the hardest-gigging man in British jazz.” His albums, of which he has recorded nine to date, often explore the music of the Middle East and political themes. He has described himself as a “devoted political artist.” He supports the Palestinian right of return and the one-state solution in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
His criticisms of Zionism, Jewish identity, and Judaism, as well as his controversial views on The Holocaust and Jewish history have led to allegations of antisemitism from both Zionists and anti-Zionists. A profile in The Guardian in 2009 which described Atzmon as “one of London’s finest saxophonists” stated: “It is Atzmon’s blunt anti-Zionism rather than his music that has given him an international profile, particularly in the Arab world, where his essays are widely read.”