Council bans Gilad Atzmon from performing with The Blockheads

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Council bans Gilad Atzmon from performing with The Blockheads

Islington authority confirms antisemitic Israeli-born artist will not be allowed to play following complaints from the community

Gilad Atzmon
Gilad Atzmon

Islington Council has banned antisemite Gilad Atzmon from performing with legendary band The Blockheads on Friday night, Jewish News can reveal.

The council confirmed that following a complaint from a member of the Jewish community, the controversial Israeli jazz musician would not be allowed to perform at the Council-owned Assembly Hall.

Atzmon’s past statements have included, “Jewish ideology is driving our planet into catastrophe” and “I’m not going to say whether it is right or not to burn down a synagogue, I can see that it is a rational act.” He has also argued that we should “take seriously” the idea that “Jews are trying to take over the world.”

In a statement, Islington Council said: “Under the 2010 Equality Act, the Council must, in exercise of its functions, have due regard to the need to foster good relations between different races and religions within the borough.

“The council took account of the fact that Mr Atzmon’s presence at the hall, and knowledge of his presence among residents of the borough, might harm such relationships, as well as the council’s duty to tackle prejudice and promote understanding within the borough.”

Welcoming the decision, Stephen Silverman, director of investigations and enforcement at Campaign Against Antisemitism, said: “Gilad Atzmon is a notorious antisemite who makes extensive and frequent use of social media to broadcast his hateful views about Jews to the public. Antisemites must be made to suffer the consequences of their racism.

“In banning Mr Atzmon from playing in its borough, Islington Council has taken a commendable stance that upholds the principle of zero tolerance for antisemitism, and shown admirable solidarity with the Jewish community.”

Earlier this year, Atzmon was successfully sued by Campaign Against Antisemitism chairman Gideon Falter, after the musician accused him of personally profiting from fabricating antisemitic incidents.

Atzmon has recorded and performed with numerous high-profile artists, including Sir Paul McCartney, Robbie Williams and Sinead O’Connor.

Mark Gallaher of The Blockheads told Jewish News the band was “outraged” at the ruling. “Everyone may not agree with Gilad but, in this country, he is supposed to have the right to air his opinions freely and encourage open discussion on matters that are important to him,” he added.

The Board of Deputies has welcomed the decision of Islington Council to ban Gilad Atzmon from playing with the Blockheads on council premises.

A spokesperson said: “We welcome this decision by Islington Council. We have been in contact with the council about Gilad Atzmon’s history and we believe this to be the right call.”

Atzmon has been approached for comment.

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