Campaign Against Antisemitism has lodged a formal complaint with the Charity Commission and written to donors to the Reading International Solidarity Centre after it hosted a launch for antisemite Gilad Atzmon’s new book, Being in Time — A Post-Political Manifesto. Organised by Reading Friends of Palestine, the event was part of the Reading International Festival and took place yesterday evening.
Campaign Against Antisemitism had already written to the Reading International Solidarity Centre to alert them that Gilad Atzmon is a notorious antisemite who has, for a number of years, used social media as a vehicle to harass and bait Jewish people.
The Centre responded by blocking us on Twitter and apparently upgrading the event to the largest room in the building.
In March this year, Mr Atzmon attended a talk at the London School of Economics with Richard Falk, the discredited and disgraced fringe antisemitic conspiracy theorist and the former UN envoy, where he reportedly told those around him that “the Jews were expelled from Germany for misbehaving.” Stunned audience members asked him to repeat what he had said and he did. Mr Atzmon also was heard recommending the works of disgraced historian David Irving, who in 2000 was proven in court to be an antisemite, a Holocaust denier and an admirer of Hitler. It is also reported that Mr Atzmon later said, “Jews are always expelled for a reason.”
In December 2014, he told a Jewish Twitter user, “I am not a Jew any more. I indeed despise the Jew in me (whatever is left). I absolutely detest the Jew in you.”
Another of his books, The Wandering Who, was described in 2011 as “quite probably the most antisemitic book published in this country in recent years.”
He has stated that Jews were responsible for their persecution by the Nazis, Jews should apologise for making gentiles hate them, burning synagogues is “a rational act”, Jews are trying to control the world, Jews are harming the planet, Jews caused the credit crunch, and Israel is worse than Nazi Germany. He has also trivialised the scale and impact of the Holocaust.
The International Definition of Antisemitism, adopted by the British government, states, among other things, that the following are antisemitic:
- Making mendacious, dehumanising, demonising, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.
- Denying the fact, scope, mechanisms (e.g. gas chambers) or intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people at the hands of National Socialist Germany and its supporters and accomplices during World War II (the Holocaust).
- Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
In March 2012, a collective of Palestinian writers and activists disavowed Mr Atzmon for his attacks on Jews and Judaism, as well as his denial of the Holocaust.
You may wish to make your own complaints to the Charity Commission, as well as the Reading International Solidarity Centre’s donors, Reading Borough Council, the Earley Charity, the European Union, the Naturesave Trust, Food 4 Families and the Big Lottery Fund.