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Friday, 15 May 2009

Medical Aid for Palestinians & Rebuffing Gilad Atmon


On 4th May, a group of us wrote to Steven James, CEO of Medical Aid for Palestinians.

MAP, formed in 1984, has a reputation second to none when it comes to support for the health and welfare of Palestinians living under occupation. It was for that reason that we were concerned to see that Gilad Atzmon and his anti-Semitic clique, Michelle Renouf et al., were advertising a benefit concert in aid of Medical Aid for Palestine (we assume the wrong name was accidental rather than a sub-text for another conspiracy theory).


Knowing Atzmon and his ego, there was no doubt that Atzmon was seeking to use MAP, just as he has the Palestinian cause in general, in the service of his own ego and career. The occasional benefit he has done in aid of MAP has one primary purpose - to enhance his own reputation. Indeed this is a common feature of Atzmon – supporting charitable events in aid of Palestine whilst opposing political campaigns such as the Boycott of Israeli Universities.

We received a letter by way of response on 6th May from Stephen James which makes it clear that the organisation of the benefit had nothing to do with MAP and that they are regularly the beneficiaries of external fund-raising events. What makes this letter somewhat strange is that on April 30th, in an e-mail to one of the signatories who had written to him
personally, Steven James stated that:

A couple of months ago we were made aware that there are serious objections by some members of the London Palestine community to an individual named Gilad Atzmon. Atzmon is one of the musicians that has performed in these events. We take the substance of these concerns seriously…. For your information, we will be closing this loophole following this event.’ Equally instructive was his frank admission that he hoped the write would ‘appreciate the difficult situation we have been placed in

And indeed we do understand the difficulty situation that Atzmon and his crew have contrived to put MAP in, which is why I have hesitated about putting this article up. However the Atzmonites, who managed to get hold of a copy of the original letter to signatories, had no such qualms. They plastered it all over their so-called 'think tank'. Hence why Atzmon’s anti-Semitic supporters like Paul de Rooij and miscellaneous holocaust deniers like Jeffrey Blankfort have been e-mailing me like made venting their spleen.
Clearly they are worried that their time is up and that only anti-Semitic sites like The Radical Press and Redress will publish their rubbish.


Tony Greenstein

Letter to Medical Aid for Palestine

Steven James
Chief Executive Officer
Medical Aid for Palestinians
33a Islington Park Street
London N1 1QB

Monday 4th May 2009

Dear Steven,

Re: Gilad Atzmon Gig – Thursday April 30th

We write as both supporters of the Palestinians and opponents of Zionism. We all admire and respect the work Medical Aid for Palestine which has done so much to ease the suffering of the Palestinians at the hands of the Israeli state.

We therefore understand your need to put on fundraising and benefit concerts. However it is with regret that we have to write to you about the Gilad Atzmon gig at the Concert 606 Club this Thursday 30th April in support of MAP.

Accusations of anti-Semitism, or in the case of Jewish opponents of Zionism ‘self-hatred’ are the standard fare of supporters of the Israeli state. We therefore do not use the term lightly when we say that Gilad Atzmon is without doubt anti-Semitic. We don’t doubt that Atzmon supports the Palestinians, but he blames their plight not on Zionism but on Jews per se.

If we were to document each and every anti-Semitic comment by Atzmon it would fill a large book. But the following comments should stand as an example of what we say. In his essay ‘on anti-Semitism’ he wrote that:

‘we must begin to take the accusation that the Jewish people are trying to control the world very seriously…. I would suggest that perhaps we should face it once and for all: the Jews were responsible for the killing of Jesus who, by the way, was himself a Palestinian Jew.’

In another essay, ‘the Jew-spot’ he writes that:

‘The J’s are the ultimate chameleons, they can be whatever they like as long as it serves as some expedient. As soon as you criticise their expansionist militant national beliefs (Zionism) you hurt them as a race (Semites).’

In one of a number of articles on the economic crisis Atzmon spoke, in relation to an article in the Observer by John Reynolds, of the need for ‘spiritual dejudification’ of the City of London. After the threat of a libel action, Atzmon apologised.

The dispossession of the Palestinians and the theft of their land can be directly traced back to the rise of anti-Semitism in Eastern Europe at the end of the 19th Century. Throughout its history Zionism and anti-Semitism have been like Siamese twins. The idea that anti-Semitism offers any benefits or advantages to Palestinians today is absurd.

The association between Medical Aid for Palestine and Gilad Atzmon, whilst it may bring some short-term financial advantages can only damage you in the long-term. We are not asking that you cancel the gig on Thursday as clearly that is impracticable. However we would seriously ask you to consider not having Gilad Atzmon to play in fundraisers for MAP again. We are sure there must be anti-racist musicians of greater renown who would be willing to host a concern in aid of MAP.

With best wishes,

Tony Greenstein & 33 others

From: Steven James
Sent: Thursday, April 30, 2009 10:36 AM
Subject: Jazz Concert

Thank you very much for your email below and for bringing to our attention your concern about the forthcoming Jazz Concert.

Firstly, let me say that this is not an event organized by MAP. While we directly organize several fundraising events, there are a number of events which are organised by individuals and groups independently of MAP, to fundraise on our behalf. Sometimes we are contacted by the organizers, and at that point we choose whether to involve – this could be by sending a speaker (if requested) or MAP materials.

Sarah Gillespie is one such organizer. Gillespie has twice organised jazz concerts to fundraise for MAP, and these have been held at the 606 Club in London .

A couple of months ago we were made aware that there are serious objections by some members of the London Palestine community to an individual named Gilad Atzmon. Atzmon is one of the musicians that has performed in these events. We take the substance of these concerns seriously…. For your information, we will be closing this loophole following this event.

Most recently, we were contacted by Sarah Gillespie, who has again organised a fundraising concert for MAP - with Atzmon appearing alongside other performers such as Nigel Kennedy. We were contacted only once all the publicity for the event (which had been prepared by Sarah) had been distributed – as with some other events being planned externally, we were not consulted but informed. We have since had discussions with Sarah Gillespie and have raised our concerns. The only option at that stage would have been to ask that MAP be removed from the event. Given the wide publicity already distributed, and that members of the public had already purchased tickets based on the fact that the proceeds were in aid of MAP, we decided that this would be more publicly damaging.

I trust you will appreciate the difficult situation we have been placed in.

Thanking you for your support in this matter and for your support of the work of MAP .

Kind regards,

Steve


Steven James
Chief Executive Officer
Medical Aid for Palestinians
33a Islington Park Street London N1 1QB
T: +44 (0)20 7226 4114
M: +44 (0) 7500 772861 F: +44 (0)20 7226 0880

Wednesday 6th May 2009

Dear Tony,

Thank you for your email and letter, and the concerns you have raised, the substance of which we take seriously.

Firstly, let me reassure you that we were not involved in the organisation of the concert you refer to, nor in the creation of the materials which were used to publicise the event. Rather it was organized by Sarah Gillespie and featured a number of well known artists, among them Nigel Kennedy, who has long been a supporter of MAP and all we stand for. Furthermore, any donations made at the concert have been given by individuals attending the event in aid of needy Palestinians in Gaza.

We regularly receive donations from externally run events which are not organized by ourselves - ranging from cake stalls and marathon runs to cycle rides across Europe.


In this regard, and as a UK Charity governed by the Charity Commission rules and regulations, we ensure that we abide by their guidelines at all times. Therefore, we confine ourselves to the provision of medical and humanitarian aid to Palestinians, especially those living under occupation, displacement or as refugees; save to campaign for the right to health for all Palestinians as prescribed by International Humanitarian Law.

Hopefully, this email puts your mind at ease as to MAP’s position on this matter, and I agree with you that entering into a public debate on this would only serve to harm the cause of the Palestinians.

As you will know the situation in Gaza three months on since the end of the incursion is still critical, and it is essential we all focus on helping the people of Gaza to recover and repair their minds and bodies and homes as quickly as possible. At present we are undertaking more than 12 key projects in Gaza to help with the recovery, covering disability, burns, nutrition and hygiene, psycho-social support and maternal and child health.

We look forward to your continued support at this difficult time.

Yours sincerely,

Steve James

Steven James
Chief Executive Officer
Medical Aid for Palestinians
33a Islington Park Street
London N1 1QB
T: +44 (0)20 7226 4114
M: +44 (0) 7500 772861
F: +44 (0)20 7226 0880
steven.james@map-uk.org


Friday 8th May 2009

Dear Steven,

Thank you for your e-mail of 6th May 2009 in response to the letter from 34 people, which I sent you on 4th May, protesting against any association between Medical Aid for the Palestinians and Gilad Atzmon.

No one is suggesting that MAP was involved in the organisation of the 30th April concert at the 606 club. This was clearly organised by Sarah Gillespie, a close friend and associate of Gilad Atzmon. I also accept that MAP, like many charities, regularly benefits from externally run events which are organised by others. That is how it should be.

Nor is anyone suggesting that you should breach the guidelines of the Charity Commission by taking an overtly political stance on issues to do with Palestine, although the Charity Commissioners themselves seem to have no problem with overtly Zionist charities such as the Jewish National Fund.

No one who signed the letter to you disputes the excellent and wonderful work you do to support the Palestinians and relieve their suffering, in particular given the plight of the people of Gaza at this time. There is no question that any of the signatories will withdraw support from MAP on account of the Atzmon issue. However a number of questions remain unresolved by your e-mail response.

The question is whether or not MAP should be taking money from someone who is not only widely recognised as anti-Semitic, as the original letter clearly demonstrated, but who openly consorts with and supports holocaust deniers. Atzmon himself has openly questioned whether the Nazi holocaust took place and has never failed to give support to those who are open holocaust deniers. Indeed Atzmon himself has been widely reported as having stated, in Germany of all places, that the holocaust was a ‘complete forgery, initiated by Americans and Zionists". http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=38848&sectionid=351020604

The problem is, as you recognised in your e-mail of 30th April, that you have no control over events which are being organised in your name. The poster which was used to advertise the concert, (see below) led me and others to believe that it was an officially organised MAP event. The picture itself is entitled ‘MAP flyer’.

In your letter to xxx, which was somewhat more candid than your response to the joint letter, you stated that you were made aware of ‘serious objections’ by some members of the London Palestine community to Atzmon and that you took such concerns seriously. Mention of these concerns was omitted from your e-mail of 6th May and I therefore have to ask you why, in the space of a week, they seem to have disappeared?

You also expressed your concern at a situation in which Atzmon and friends are raising funds in the name of MAP, and in the process using MAP as a cover for their own racist political agenda. It was, you said, a ‘loophole’ which you would be closing. Can I therefore ask you if this is still your position because the impression given by Ms Gillespie and other members of the Atzmon fan club is the complete opposite? To quote Ms Gillespie, ‘MAP catagoricaly denies any sympathetic reaction to Greenstein and has repeatedly enthused on the extent to which they appreciate our work and loved the evening.’ http://palestinethinktank.com/2009/05/05/sarah-gillespie-on-the-concert-for-medical-aid-in-palestine-30th-april-2009/ Is this statement true?

You will be aware that supporters of Israel’s attack on Gaza, and Zionists more generally, have repeatedly used the accusation of ‘anti-Semitism’ as a stick with which to beat their opponents. It is therefore incumbent upon us to ensure that genuine anti-Semites are not allowed to use the Palestinian cause for their own nefarious purposes.

You also stated in your e-mail to me that ‘entering into a public debate on this would only serve to harm the cause of the Palestinians.’ That is why we have not publicised the letter which we sent to you. Unfortunately when gathering signatures, the letter appears to have been sent to a supporter of Atzmon. The result of this has been that this matter has now been publicised on the Palestine Think Tank web site, co-edited by Gilad Atzmon and Mary Rizzo, in an article by the said Ms Gillespie. The fact that they have deliberately publicised something which we had kept under wraps clearly demonstrates that their concern is not so much support for MAP but their own anti-Semitic political agenda. I have personally been bombarded with abuse by these self-same holocaust deniers and anti-Semites but that is par for the course.

The issue is therefore now in the public domain and I would urge that you and the Trustees of MAP make it clear that you have no connection with Atzmon, Gillespie etc. and that you aren’t willing to have your reputation tarnished by these fringe anti-semites on account of the funds they raise. In short that the cause of Palestine is not for sale.

My own union, UNISON, recently donated £10,000 to MAP and local branches probably gave the same, if not more, again. UNISON, like other trade unions, has a strong policy of opposition to racism, including anti-Semitism, and it could cause incalculable political damage if you were allow this matter to remain unresolved. For example, the article by Gillespie cited above has a comment by Mary Rizzo citing the Redress site. This site was taken off the Scottish UNISON web site last year because of an article questioning the holocaust by the said Gilad Atzon.

Kind regards.


Tony Greenstein

14 comments:

Kenneth L said...

Let's please see the names of the 34 people Tony. I think we ought to know who signs petitions like this and I am certain that they would stand by their views if they sign a petition to complain about a public figure and a charity organization accepting funds and promotion from them.

Tony Greenstein said...

It was never intended that the letter and names be published, hence why the names are not being disclosed. However you can be sure it contains the great and good among Palestinian supporters. And you'll be happy to know that I signed it!!

Kenneth L said...

I don't think that is quite fair, Tony. If you are using a public venue like this to accuse someone of being a racist or a Holocaust Denier, then those who are saying this should have absolutely the courage to be public about it as well. Anything less than this is just very dirty insinuation, and this is not an intelligent way to act.

Why don't you ask them to come public with is or was that a condition that they would accuse people of things all behind closed doors? Please let us know, because I personally do not trust anyone or anything who is unwilling to put a name and family name on something of the sort.

joe90 kane said...

Who is this Kenneth Lthat he wants to know the identities of honest decent people of conscience, but prefers not to divulge his own identity any?

TG, I notice Kenneth L isn't too bothered about about engaging in the substance of your claims and arguments in your emails and letters to MAP. Another 'free mind for a free palestine' it seems.

Top stuff TG.


If it wasn't so serious and important, the antics of the celebrity antisemitic philosopher-clown would be hilarious entertainment all by itself.

Knowing Atzmon and his ego, there was no doubt that Atzmon was seeking to use MAP, just as he has the Palestinian cause in general, in the service of his own ego and career. The occasional benefit he has done in aid of MAP has one primary purpose - to enhance his own reputation. Indeed this is a common feature of Atzmon – supporting charitable events in aid of Palestine whilst opposing political campaigns such as the Boycott of Israeli Universities.- Well said.
This antisemtic parasite is the mirror image of the holocaust industry, exploiting the pain and suffering of Palestinians as a vehicle for his own self-interests and racist agenda. It doesn't stand a second's worth of scrutiny when properly exposed to public debate. Hence the reason him and his fellow racist rootless cosmopolitans are part of no political organisations are not endorsed by any either.

All that's left to them is individuals stunts; claims that they are popular; that they are 'outstanding perosnalities' (don't laugh, it's a true claim I kid you not folks); and using cheap sources of electronic communication available to anyone to try to give the impression that somehow they make a difference.

Anyway,
take care and just to say your blog articles are the best.

joe

ps
Westminster Benefits Thieves - We're Closing In -
DWP
Department for Workhouses for the Poor

Tony Greenstein said...

The letter to MAP does not accuse Atzmon of being a holocaust denier. I have made that accusation and the article is on this blog among others.

If signatories don't wish their names to be public, for whatever reason, then that should be respected. Atzmon has in any case been accused by so many people of anti-semitism and the record is so clear, and the letter itself gives examples, that it is a matter of public record. If Atzmon wants to take issue with the substantive accusation then let him do so.

thanks Joe for the comments. We do our best!

Rachel said...

I've lost the plot. Is Nigel Kennedy a Holocaust denier as well? Or is it just Atzmon and Sarah Gillespie. What about the others? The owner of that club is Jewish, my friend met him. I'm shocked he lets these racists get away with it.

Tony Greenstein said...

Have you lost the plot Rachel? Have you lost the plot Rachel? Probably, but then your friend Atzmon lost it years ago.

You have though made an invaluable point. Nothing serves the interests of holocaust deniers like Gillespie and Atzmon better than associating with people like Nigel Kennedy who are not.

Which is another reason that MAP should keep its distance.

Kenneth L said...

I don't quite understand why Joe90 kane thinks that I have to give justifications or put my resume up here for asking why a letter that accuses people of heinous thought crimes should be public with this kind of thing since they did sign such a document. It is actually something that is only to be considered correct. If Tony has published information about this letter, and its content, then it stands to reason that we also expect him to be public about the signatories, otherwise we can believe or imagine anyone we wish at all. The alternative is to ask the M A P to state the signatories, because as it stands, people have been accused of things and this sort of action should never be anonymous.

I will reveal my family name if and when I accuse someone of something, until then, Mr. Kane, you have no right to ask it and your hostility to me is questionable and inappropriate!

joe90 kane said...

The letter to MAP does not accuse Atzmon of being a holocaust denier.- Of course Atzmon ,Rizzo and rest of these psuedo-intellectual windbags aren't holocaust deniers - like Hitler and David Irving, they're actually holocaust justifiers.

Atzmon and his empty ballooning ego, in an article he tried to infect 'IndyMedia UK' with, stated that the victims of the Nazis were responsible in some way, for the crimes carried out against them -
...the Jewish state and the sons of Israel are at least as unpopular in the Middle East as their grandparents were in Europe just six decades ago.http://www.gilad.co.uk/html%20files/saying%20NO.htm

Worshippers of Hitler and the Nazis, such as David Irving, are in full agreement with the likes of Atzmon in his claim about the culpability for WWII and its crimes -
David Irving: Jews should ask themselves why they are hatedHaaretz
23 Dec 2006


And in a speech delivered on the 30th January 1939 Hitler declared that the Jews would be responsible for and held accountable for any coming war. Jews would only have themselve to blame for any retribution visited upon them because of their supposed crimes against the glorious Third Reich -
Hitler's speech to the Reichstag of January 30, 1939
- The Holocust History Project


It is easy to go further and say that, if only Jews had been eliminated, then their would have been no World War II at all. Indeed, this was a claim Hitler made in his Mein Kampf regarding the reasons for the outbreak of World War I, and how it could have been avoided. By the judicious elimination of ten or fifteen thousand Jews, WWI need not have happened.

I have been on Mary Rizzo's antisemtic PeacePalestine blog when a character called 'Rowan Berekeley' did indeed make such a claim about the origins, not only of WWI and WWI, but also of any forthcoming World War III. Mary Rizzo didn't seem to mind Palestinians being connected with such obviously Anti-Palestinian pro-zionist pro-Israeli propaganda. Indeed, she also defends Atzmon's claims about the unpopularity of the victims of the Nazis, by using pro-zionist propaganda historians employed by Yad Vashim to defend such an assertion.

So, as the Jews were in some way responsible for what happened to them in WWII, so Atzmon and his fellow brianless acolytes claim Jews (being a 'zionist' means exactly the same as being 'Jewish' according to Atzmon) are also responsible for the current global credit crunch. After all, Jews control world capitalism and its their control of world institutions and events which leads to so much strife and hence the reason Jews are so unpopular.

Sorry to go on, but I just want to prove to Rachel how deep the antisemitism in Atzmon and his fawningly thick followers actually runs.

all the best TGB.

ps
I see Atzmon is deploying what I like to call the 'Richard Wagner Defence' - he is unable to answer the arguments of his opponents about his obvious racism so he opts instead to claim he is 'talented' and those whose arguments he is unable to refute aren't. Yawn.

Atzmon's followers are also refering to something called 'judeo-narcissism' which is so obviously racist and a jew-baiting tactic.
It is zionism, and racism like this that perpetuates zionism, that is the problem.

pps
Hitler after the WWII broke out often attributed his 30th January speech to the date that the war actually started

Kenneth L said...

Mr. Kane, It is amazing what a windbag you seem to be! And all because I do not give you my family name? Are you always that aggressive?

I still would like to know how any decent person can accuse someone else of terrible things and then be shy about saying the same thing in public. It is simply a low way of dealing with others and it is particularly odd in politics. Could it be they are not convinced, could it be they have something to hide or that they would like to keep their feet in two boots? It reeks of the sort of thing that my flats do to get the prostitute out of the building. They signed a letter that accuses her of bringing people into the building and when the lady asked to see the letter (which I did not and never would sign, because people can't be handled like they are always up to our judgement as if we are put on Earth to judge them) not a soul in the building would admit they signed it!

At least tell my why these persons will not admit that they participated in this kind of attack against others. There is no reasoning given for it, and that is really quite odd!

joe90 kane said...

Anonymous Kenneth L says -
I will reveal my family name if and when I accuse someone of something, until then, Mr. Kane, you have no right to ask it and your hostility to me is questionable and inappropriate!- Whilst demanding others be open and honest in the public arena, Kenneth L takes umbrage at being asked to live up to his own principles.

After all, how difficult it must be to make one's identity known compared to posting comments whining and complaining about wanting to stay anonymous, whilst demanding of others that their identities be made public.

Mind you, I do think Kennneth L is criticing others for their anonymity, and is also making accusations that their claims about Atzmon are 'henious thought crimes'- so can we have a bit more detail about you your identity Kenneth L?

And maybe Kenneth L could even try substantiating his accusation that Atzmon is being accused of 'henius thought crimes'?

tony greenstein said...

Kenneth L is wrong on every count. Most if not all the people who signed the letter have criticised Atzmon for anti-Semitism.

I don't know what terrible things Atzmon has been accused of. Certainly being accused of anti-Semitism isn't, to him, terrible since he denies there's any such thing anyway.

People may have many reasons for not wanting to be named publicly criticising MAP, not least because the letter was not intended to be public in the first place. It is a matter of judgement and nothing to do with criticising in private but not standing by that criticism publicly.

Kenneth L said...

Mr. Kane, sounds very much like you simply can't understand the difference between someone writing a formal letter of complaint where they accuse people of things that are wrong or no-good and someone writing a comment to a blog saying that the question of accountability in signing such a letter is a matter of course and not a luxury, as if telling you that my family name is Levin will be of any kind of importance, which it really isn't at all. No matter, it's up to Mr. Kane to attack other people because they ask a fully legitimate question.

I would say, and insist upon it, that anyone signing a letter or a statement declaring things against someone else has to be accountable for it and knows that these are the rules of society. If they want to hide, how much does it say about them? I think it says all that anyone would need to know, that they either don't stand by what they claim or that they are afraid of their opinions being made public and therefore should never sign any such thing!

Of the two, one is essential.

Medical Aid said...

Great article.