March 17, 2019
by Devon Nola
In the last week, we saw yet another organised smear campaign of hate and slander orchestrated by Jewish interest groups and Labour Partyaffiliates wielded against Internationally acclaimed Jazz musician, Gilad Atzmon.
A protest was planned for Atzmon’s concert at The Vortex Jazz Club after numerous emails from local Labour Council members and members of these groups demanded the cancellation of the gig fell on deaf ears. They claimed Atzmon plays Nazi-apologist Jazz. Personally, I’m not familiar with the genre. The chief organiser was Jewdas, a group that qualifies itself as “Radical Jewish Voices”. The four co-sponsors were Momentum, an alleged grassroots collective, Socialists Against Antisemitism, whose name is self-explanatory if not contradictory, London Young Labour and the Jewish Labour Movement.
What is most interesting is this event was supported and promoted by journalist for the Guardian Owen Jones. It’s always shocking when a journalist supports any sort of censorship. Jones posted the event on his Facebook page and within two days managed to rack up over 350 comments telling him what a huge mistake he was making, the accusations against Atzmon were false and totally absurd, and might he provide some proof to substantiate the claims. Many came from avid readers and supporters of Jones’s regular commentary but were aghast at his support of preventing a respected musician from earning a living and they expressed this in no uncertain terms.
When Jones finally did respond, it was to attach a hit piece that came from an ultra-Zionist website full of misquotes, quotes out of context and even completely fabricated quotes. Rather than sifting through Atzmon’s prolific body of written work to decipher if the accusations against him were legitimate, Jones instead chose this piecemeal missive full of lies.
Realising, at that point, Jones hadn’t actually read anything by Atzmon, I attached a copy of a page from Atzmon’s book, The Wandering Who? I assumed once he read Atzmon’s thoughts, directly, versus some bastardised fictional version, he would realise his error in judgement and deliver a swift apology. This is what an honest journalist, a person with integrity would do. Astonishingly, Owen Jones chose a different path. He didn’t admit to his mistake (giving him the benefit of the doubt, here), but rather removed the entire thread, or shall I say, the evidence. This was a calculated, conscious decision by Jones, suggesting he was fully aware of the deceit being peddled in both the protest he was supporting and the piece he scrounged up to defend it. This isn’t the behaviour one expects from a journalist. It’s typically something one finds in a sleazy tabloid writer whose articles are printed next to ads for miracle serums to cure baldness or penis enlargement.
Some time ago, Atzmon coined the phrase “The Guardian of Judea” for the well-known paper. Witnessing one of their journalists engaged in such a slanderous campaign, where completely unfounded accusations of anti-Semitism, Nazi apologist and holocaust-denier are being lobbed at an innocent man like tennis balls on the final Sunday of Wimbledon, I’m inclined to think this is yet one more astute observation by the legendary saxophonist.
*Devon Nola is a political and social justice activist.