London’s Islington Council bans pro-Palestinian musician from performing in response to one ‘Israel’ flag waver.
By Gilad Atzmon
Britain’s Islington Council has decided to prevent me from performing with the Blockheads at our annual London Christmas concert on 21 December. This ludicrous decision by the council was in response to pressure from a single pro-Israel campaigner who said he would not attend the concert if I were to go on stage.
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The Blockheads have twice written to the council demanding that it reverse its decision. I have played with the Blockheads for 25 years, we’ve performed more than a thousand concerts, including at least two in Islington, without incident. I appealed to the council to reconsider, submitting two detailed letters that countered each claim made against me. In return the council shifted its claimed rationale for banning me and answered my appeals with a blitz of misquotes from my work and claims about me that were at best insulting and at worst slanderous, all of which were suspiciously similar to allegations made by Zionists.
Of course, I have never uttered nor been charged with hate speech. Despite my spotless record, Islington Council decided to ban me, in violation of my rights to free speech and to earn a living. Bearing in mind the bizarre reasoning the council used to ban me from playing the saxophone, I am left wondering if I may even use a public toilet in Islington Council-controlled territory or just drive through the borough on my way to a concert at the Vortex Jazz Club on the other side of town.
The war against me has clearly been stepped up: pro-Israel pressure groups have been hard at work trying to bankrupt me by preventing me from pursuing my music and literary careers. I guess that this means I must be doing something right!
However, this isn’t all bad news. In the course of this battle, the council managed to provide me with some precious materials. In the coming days we will examine them closely and see what they reveal about the level of Zionist occupation within British local authorities, in particular Islington Council.
When I landed in Britain in 1994, Britain was a wonderful, free and tolerant space. Sadly, Britain has gradually been reduced to an authoritarian society. As Jeremy Corbyn and his many supporters discovered, unless you adhere to certain pro-Israel politics, your right to speak your mind or even to make a living is endangered. I guess that Orwell’s 1984 was not just a work of fiction but a prophetic text and a prescient description of present-day England.