Gilad Atzmon

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Gilad Atzmon
גלעד עצמון
Gilad Atzmon.jpg
Atzmon in concert, February 2007
Born Gilad Atzmon
(1963-06-09) 9 June 1963 (age 53)
Tel Aviv, Israel
Residence London, England
Citizenship British[1]
Formerly Israeli (renounced)[2]
Education Rubin Academy of Music, University of Essex
Occupation Musician, novelist
Known for Music, political activism

Gilad Atzmon (Hebrew: גלעד עצמון; born 9 June 1963) is a British jazz saxophonist, novelist, political activist and writer, originally from Israel.[2][3][4][5][6]

Atzmon's album Exile was BBC jazz album of the year in 2003.[7] Playing over 100 dates a year,[5] he has been called "surely the hardest-gigging man in British jazz."[8] His albums, of which he has recorded 15 as of 2016,[9] often explore the music of the Middle East and political themes. He has described himself as a "devoted political artist."[3]

His criticisms of Zionism, Jewish identity, and Judaism, as well as his controversial views on Holocaust denial and Jewish history, have led to allegations of antisemitism and racism[10][11] from both Zionists and leading anti-Zionists.

Early life[edit]

Atzmon was born in a secular Jewish family in Tel Aviv, and trained at the Rubin Academy of Music in Jerusalem.[12]

He first became interested in British jazz when he discovered some in a British record shop in Jerusalem in the 1970s. He initially was inspired by the work of Ronnie Scott and Tubby Hayes and regarded London as "the Mecca of Jazz."[7] He also was influenced to become a jazz musician by the work of Charlie Parker, in particular Charlie Parker with Strings recorded in 1949. Atzmon said of the album that he "loved the way the music is both beautiful and subversive – the way he basks in the strings but also fights against them."[5] He worked with top bands as a musical producer.[13]

In 1994,[14] Atzmon emigrated from Israel to London, where he attended the University of Essex[15] and earned a master's degree in Philosophy.[3]

He has lived there since then,[4] becoming a British citizen in 2002.[1] He renounced his Israeli citizenship[2] and defines himself as "a British, Hebrew Speaking Palestinian".[16]


While Atzmon's main instrument is the alto saxophone, he also plays soprano, tenor and baritone saxophones and clarinet, sol, zurna and flute.[12] Atzmon's jazz style has been described as bebop/hard bop, with forays into free jazz and swing, and seemingly inspired by John Coltrane and Miles Davis.[14] Atzmon sometimes plays the alto and soprano sax simultaneously.[14]

Atzmon's works have also explored the music of the Middle East, North Africa, and Eastern Europe.[17] Atzmon told The Guardian that he draws on Arabic music which he says cannot be notated like western music but must be internalised, which he calls "reverting to the primacy of the ear". Atzmon's musical method has been to play with notions of cultural identity, flirting with genres such as tango and klezmer as well as various Arabic, Balkan, Gypsy and Ladino folk forms. Atzmon's recordings deliberately differ from his live shows. "I don't think that anyone can sit in a house, at home, and listen to me play a full-on bebop solo. It's too intense. My albums need to be less manic."[5]

Collaborations and groups[edit]

Atzmon joined the veteran punk rock band Ian Dury and the Blockheads in 1998, and continued with the Blockheads after Dury's death.[18][19] He has recorded and performed with Shane McGowan, Robbie Williams, Sinéad O'Connor, Robert Wyatt and Paul McCartney.[12][17] He has recorded two albums with Robert Wyatt, who describes him as "one of the few musical geniuses I've ever met".[5]

Atzmon has collaborated, recorded and performed with musicians from all around the world, including the Palestinian singer, Reem Kelani, Tunisian singer and oud player Dhafer Youssef, violinist Marcel Mamaliga, accordion player Romano Viazzani, bassist Yaron Stavi, violinist and trumpet-violin player, Dumitru Ovidiu Fratila, and Guillermo Rozenthuler on vocals.[14] He played tenor saxophone and clarinet on one track, "Anisina", on the 2014 Pink Floyd album, The Endless River.

Atzmon founded the Orient House Ensemble band in London in 2000 with Asaf Sirkis on drums, Frank Harrison on piano and Oli Hayhurst on bass. In 2003 Yaron Stavi replaced Hayhurst. In 2009 Eddie Hick replaced Sirkis.[20][21] The group was named after Orient House, the former East Jerusalem headquarters of the Palestine Liberation Organization, later seized by the Israeli Defense Forces.[22][23] The band has recorded eight albums. Orient House announced a 40-date tour in 2010.[22][24]

Robert Wyatt, who has said that Atzmon combines "great artistry with a sense of the intrinsically non-racialist philosophy that's implicit in jazz,"[25] worked with Atzmon and others on his album Comicopera (2007).[26] Wyatt collaborated with Atzmon and Ros Stephens, as well as lyricist Alfreda Benge, on the album For the Ghosts Within (2010), released on Domino Records.[27][28]

Atzmon produced and arranged two albums for Sarah Gillespie Stalking Juliet (2009) and In The Current Climate (2011). Both albums were critically acclaimed.[29][30] He tours extensively as part of Sarah Gillespie's band, playing saxophone, clarinet and accordion.[31]

Atzmon is on the creative panel of the Global Music Foundation,[12] a non-profit organization formed in December 2004 which runs residential educational and performance workshops and events in different countries around the world.[32] and also offers personal workshops to students.[33] A musical transcription of ten saxophone solos by Atzmon was released in 2010.[34]

Jazz reviews and awards[edit]

Atzmon and his ensemble have received favorable reviews from the Financial Times, The Scotsman, Birmingham Post,[35] The Sunday Times and The Independent.[36] Reviews of his 2007 album Refuge included:

Manchester Evening News: "The individuality of the music is extraordinary. No one is more willing to serve his music with raw political passion, and that curious cantor-like tone on clarinet is immediately arresting, like Artie Shaw writhing in his death throes."[37]
EjazzNews: "For sheer improvisational fireworks, quirky humour and genre-defying invention, one will be hard-pressed to find a bandleader as unique as Gilad Atzmon." ("EjazzNews," September 2008)[38]
BBC: "...the OHE is finding its voice in an increasingly subtle blend of East and West, that’s brutal and beautiful."[39]

In February 2009 The Guardian jazz critic John Fordham reviewed Atzmon's newest album In loving memory of America which was described by Atzmon as "a memory of America I had cherished in my mind for many years". It includes five standards and six originals "inspired by the sumptuous harmonies and impassioned sax-playing of (Charlie) Parker's late-40s recordings with classical strings".[40] While music journalist John Lewis has praised much of Atzmon's work, he notes that "trenchant politics often sit uneasily alongside music, particularly when that music is instrumental". In a 2009 profile in The Guardian, Lewis criticized his 2006 comedy klezmer project, Artie Fishel and the Promised Band, as "a clumsy satire on what he regards as the artificial nature of Jewish identity politics."[5] While Lewis described Atzmon as "one of London's finest saxophonists", he observed that: "It is Atzmon's blunt anti-Zionism rather than his music that has given him an international profile, particularly in the Arab world, where his essays are widely read."[5]

Atzmon was the recipient of the HMV Top Dog Award at the Birmingham International Jazz Festival in 1996–98.[14] Gilad Atzmon's Exile was BBC jazz album of the year in 2003.[41]


Atzmon's political writings have been published in CounterPunch,[42] Al-Arab online,[43] Uruknet,[44] Middle East Online,[45] The Palestine Telegraph,[46] Aljazeera Magazine[47] and[48]

Atzmon has defined himself variously as a "secular Jew",[4] as being, like the Austrian philosopher Otto Weininger (a formative influence, whom Atzmon has described as being) a "proud self-hating Jew",[49][50] an "ex-Jew",[51] "a Jew who hates Judaism",[52][53] and "a Hebrew-speaking Palestinian".[4]

Atzmon told interviewer Theo Panayides: "I don't write about politics, I write about ethics. I write about Identity. I write a lot about the Jewish Question – because I was born in the Jew-land, and my whole process in maturing into an adult was involved with the realisation that my people are living on stolen land."[49] Atzmon has said that his experience in the military of "my people destroying other people left a big scar" and led to his decision that he was deluded about Zionism. He has condemned "Jewishness" as "very much a supremacist, racist tendency", but he has also stated that "I don't have anything against Jews in particular and you won't find that in my writings".[4] Regarding the one-state solution, Atzmon concedes that such a state probably would be controlled by Islamists, but says, "That's their business".[5]

Atzmon has compared the Jewish Ideology to that of the Nazis and has described Israel's policy toward the Palestinians as genocide.[54] David Hirst, in his 2003 book The Gun and the Olive Branch, quotes Atzmon as saying America was "about to lose its sovereignty...becoming a remote colony of an apparently far greater state, the Jewish state.”[55] In 2009, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan cited Atzmon's written comment "Israeli barbarity is far beyond even ordinary cruelty" during a debate with Israeli president Shimon Peres.[5]


Atzmon's A Guide to the Perplexed, published in 2001, is set in 2052 when Israel has been replaced by a Palestinian state. It largely reviews memoirs of the alienated Israeli Gunther Wunker's rise to fame as a "peepologist", or voyeur. The perplexed are defined as "the unthinking Chosen" who "cling to clods of earth that don't belong to them." The novel excoriates what it describes as the commercialization of the Holocaust and "argues that the Holocaust is invoked as a kind of reflexive propaganda designed to shield the Zionist state from responsibility for any transgression against Palestinians."[1]

Matthew J. Reisz, a reviewer for The Independent, wrote that "As a viciously black satire on Israeli life" the book "is grandiose, childish and nasty, but with just enough connection with reality to give it a certain unsettling power". Atzmon's novel, Reisz thought, "represents a completely false start".[56] Darren King in The Observer noted of this "provocative debut novel" that it is "odd to mix knob gags with highly serious assertions", but thought it works because "Atzmon writes with so much style and his gags are so hilarious".[57] According to Publishers Weekly, "his approach is so familiar that few readers will take the bait".[58]

Atzmon's second novel, My One and Only Love was published in 2005, and features as a protagonist a trumpeter who chooses to play only one note (extremely well) as well as a spy who uncovers Nazi war criminals and locks them inside double bass cases which then tour permanently in the protagonist's orchestra's luggage.[59] The book also is comedic take on "Zionist espionage and intrigue" which explores "the personal conflict between being true to one’s heart and being loyal to The Jews".[60]

The Wandering Who?[edit]

In 2011, Zero Books published Atzmon's book The Wandering Who? A Study of Jewish Identity Politics whose publisher states the book "examines Jewish identity politics and Jewish contemporary ideology using both popular culture and scholarly texts."[61]

According to Jean Bricmont in a preface he wrote for the French edition, La Parabole d’Esther, Atzmon starts by making three definitions of the word 'Jewish': (a) it may refer to adherents of Judaism, and he has no quarrel with them; (b) secondly, it may refer to ethnic Jews, and, likewise, he sees no problem in that; (c) thirdly, it can refer to a third category, those who, without being religious in particular place great emphasis on their Jewish “identity” as something more important than their basic membership in the human race.[62] Bricmont then adds that it is very easy to mount a case to 'prove' Atzmon is an anti-Semite by consistently construing his criticisms of (c) as though they were aimed as (a) or (b) or both.[62]

Five academics, a journalist and an author were quoted in blurbs in the front of the book. John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago wrote that "Gilad Atzmon has written a fascinating and provocative book on Jewish identity in the modern world" and that the book "should be widely read by Jews and non-Jews alike."

Richard Falk wrote it was "absorbing and moving" book that everyone who "care[s] about real peace" should "not only read, but reflect upon and discuss widely." James Petras wrote that the book is "a series of brilliant illuminations and critical reflections on Jewish ethnocentrism and the hypocrisy of those who speak in the name of universal values and act tribal" which "uncovers the links between Jewish identity politics in the Diaspora with their ardent support for the oppressive policies of the Israeli state." He also wrote that Atzmon "has the courage to...speak truth to the power of highly placed and affluent Zionists who shape the agendas of war and peace in the English-speaking world."[61][63] During an interview of Atzmon on his RT (formerly Russia Today) Sputnik television programme, British politician George Galloway said that he was "enthralled" by Atzmon's book.[64][65]

Ten authors, including Laurie Penny and Richard Seymour, all of whom have also been published by Zero Books, publicly condemned the publisher in an open letter for releasing the book.[66] They signed a statement arguing:

"The thrust of Atzmon's work is to normalise and legitimise anti-Semitism. We do not believe that Zero's decision to publish this book is malicious. Atzmon's ability to solicit endorsements from respectable figures such as Richard Falk and John Mearsheimer shows that he is adept at muddying the waters both on his own views and on the question of anti-Semitism. But at a time when dangerous forces are attempting to racialise political antagonisms, we think the decision is grossly mistaken."[67]

In The Atlantic, Jeffrey Goldberg quoted Atzmon as claiming that Jews 'specialize in the trafficking of body parts', referring to Atzmon's blog which cited an Israeli investigation into suspected trafficking of body parts.[68][69] Goldberg also referenced Atzmon's belief that there was a Jewish "persecution of Hitler”, summarizing thus a statement in Atzmon's blog.[70] and takes John Mearsheimer to task for, in Goldberg's view, "endorsing the writing of a man who espouses neo-Nazi views.”[71] Mearsheimer replied via his co-author professor Stephen Walt's blog that "There is no question that the book is provocative, both in terms of its central argument and the overly hot language that Atzmon sometimes uses. But it is also filled with interesting insights that make the reader think long and hard about an important subject. Of course, I do not agree with everything that he says in the book -- what blurber does?”[72]

Alan Dershowitz argues that Atzmon is an antisemite and criticizes Mearsheimer and Falk for recommending the book, and encouraging colleagues, students, and others to read and "reflect upon" Atzmon's views.[66] Dershowitz cites the following statement from Atzmon's blog

“With Fagin and Shylock in mind Israeli barbarism and organ trafficking seem to be just other events in an endless hellish continuum.”

to infer that Atzmon believes 'Jews are evil and a menace to humanity'.

He also asserts that Atzmon claims Jews seek to control the world and are a threat to the rest of humanity. Dershowitz writes that "Atzmon regularly urges his readers to doubt the Holocaust and to reject Jewish history", and quotes him as writing that "Jews are corrupt and responsible for ‘why’ they are ‘hated’, and Israel is worse than the Nazis."[66] Dershowitz says that "Even the most radical anti-Zionists in England have distanced themselves from Atzmon", such as the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. He writes that "hard-core neo-Nazis, racists, anti-Semites and Holocaust deniers” endorse Atzmon, including David Duke, Kevin B. MacDonald and Israel Shamir.

Dershowitz criticises other academics who have defended Atzmon, including Brian Leiter, William A. Cook, Oren Ben-Dor, and Makram Khoury-Machool. Dershowitz challenged Mearsheimer and Falk to a "public debate about why they have endorsed and said such positive things about so hateful and anti-Semitic a book by so bigoted and dishonest a writer."[66] Falk rejected Dershowitz's call to debate and wrote to The Daily Caller "I have a limited taste for the sort of defamatory polemics that the Dershowitz attack mounts ... [I]f the book is fairly read, and not denounced, it is concerned exclusively with 'Jewish identity', not with Jews, and explores this reality in a highly personal, passionate, provocative, and honest manner".[73]

Atzmon offered to debate Dershowitz "any time".[74] He called various criticisms "a typical Hasbara smear & intimidation campaign.”[75] Atzmon replied to the MacDonald review referenced by Dershowitz writing his own book "is a study of Jewish identity politics and Jewish culture, it is not concerned with Jewish ethnicity or racial origins."[76]


Allegations of antisemitism[edit]

Several of Atzmon's statements regarding Jews and Judaism have led to allegations of antisemitism. In 2004 the Board of Deputies of British Jews criticized Atzmon for saying, "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."[77] Atzmon responded in a letter to The Observer that "since Israel presents itself as the 'state of the Jewish people’ ... any form of anti-Jewish activity may be seen as political retaliation. This does not make it right."[78]

In a 2005 piece David Aaronovitch criticized Atzmon for writing in his essay "On Anti-Semitism"[79] that "We must begin to take the accusation that the Jewish people are trying to control the world very seriously" and "American Jewry makes any debate on whether the 'Protocols of the Elders of Zion' are an authentic document or rather a forged irrelevant. American Jews do control the world, by proxy. So far they are doing pretty well for themselves at least".[80] Aaronovitch criticized Atzmon for defending Israel Shamir, whom Atzmon defends as "a very civil and peaceful man and probably is the sharpest critical voice of 'Jewish power' and Zionist ideology"; circulating an essay by Paul Eisen defending Holocaust denier Ernst Zündel, and for supporting many aspects of Zündel's Holocaust denial theories.[80]

Atzmon has said he does not deny the Holocaust or the "Nazi Judeocide” but insists "that both the Holocaust and World War II should be treated as historical events rather than as religious myth. ... But then, even if we accept the Holocaust as the new Anglo-American liberal-democratic religion, we must allow people to be atheists.”[81] In a 2006 piece in The Guardian, David Hirsh cited Atzmon's "On Anti-Semitism" essay, and particularly its Jewish deicide claim that "the Jews were responsible for the killing of Jesus," as an example of Atzmon's "openly anti-Jewish rhetoric."[82] In response to a question about this quote from Lenni Brenner, Atzmon replied that he meant "I find it astonishing that people today happen to be offended by such accusations."[83]

In 2007 the Swedish Committee Against Anti-Semitism criticized the Swedish Social Democratic Party for inviting Atzmon to speak, saying he had worked to "legitimize the hatred of Jews.” The party defended its choice of speaker.[84] Nick Cohen, in a 2009 piece for The Observer, criticised Atzmon's declaration that "Jewish ideology is driving our planet into a catastrophe" and "the Jewish tribal mindset – left, centre and right – sets Jews aside of humanity".[85][86] In his blog for The Times, Oliver Kamm charges Atzmon with antisemitism for his article "Truth, History and Integrity",[87] in which Atzmon writes, "As it happened, it took me many years to understand that the Holocaust, the core belief of the contemporary Jewish faith, was not at all an historical narrative for historical narratives do not need the protection of the law and politicians. . . . It took me years to accept that the Holocaust narrative, in its current form, doesn’t make any historical sense."[88]

In a review of Howard Jacobson's 2010 Man Booker Prize-winning novel The Finkler Question, Edward Alexander writes, "the novel's Holocaust-denying Israeli yored drummer is in fact based upon one Gilad Atzmon, who is better known in England for endorsing the ideology of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and describing the burning of British synagogues as a 'rational act' in retaliation for Israeli actions."[89]

John Lewis wrote that some Palestinian activists see Atzmon's "anti-Jewish" rhetoric as "discrediting their cause".[5] In September 2011 trade unionist and blogger Andy Newman[90] writing for The Guardian also described his writing as "anti-Jewish hate-speech". In his view, Atzmon's political writing are "a wild conspiracy argument, dripping with contempt for Jews".[91] In a letter printed by the Guardian, Atzmon wrote that Newman had "misrepresented" his views and that "how to define a Jew is a loaded topic since Jews define themselves in many different ways, some contradictory, and use those definitions to try to achieve political aims."[92] The British Socialist Workers Party, which once regularly invited him to their annual Marxism event, now distances itself from Atzmon.[5]

In 2011, David Landy, an Irish academic and former chair of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign, wrote that Atzmon's words, "if not actually anti-Semitic, certainly border on it".[93] Ynetnews in August 2011 used Atzmon as an example of Jewish antisemitism: "Gilad Atzmon, an Israeli jazz musician, defines himself as anti-Jewish and sees the torching of synagogues as a rational move."[94]

In November 2011, Hope not Hate, a United Kingdom anti-fascist and anti-racist campaign group issued a call to cancel an Atzmon performance at the "Raise Your Banners" festival of political song, stating "Bradford TUC has long been at the fore of the anti-fascist movement in the area and it is in this tradition that we demand the withdrawal of Atzmon’s invitation".[95] Bradford's Trades Union Council condemned the appearance and the Board of Deputies of British Jews asked the Arts Council, which had funded the festival, to stop the performance.[96] The Arts Council refused the request. Gerry Sutcliffe, Labour MP for Bradford South, and the Right Reverend David Ison, then Dean of Bradford Cathedral also called for the festival to rescind their invitation to Atzmon.[97] The Raise Your Banners director said organisers did not believe the claims of antisemitism. Atzmon said the Trade Union Council's letter "stitched together” into one quote phrases from five separate paragraphs to make him look racist. He said he wanted an apology.[96]

A group of leading Palestinian activists issued a statement in March 2012 calling for "the disavowal of Atzmon by fellow Palestinian organizers, as well as Palestine solidarity activists, and allies of the Palestinian people". Describing him as a racist and antisemite, the statement affirmed that "we regard any attempt to link and adopt antisemitic or racist language, even if it is within a self-described anti-imperialist and anti-Zionist politics, as reaffirming and legitimizing Zionism." Signatories to the statement included Ali Abunimah, Naseer Aruri, Omar Barghouti, Nadia Hijab, Joseph Massad and several others.[11][98][99][100][101]

The Community Security Trust report on antisemitic discourse in the UK published in November 2012, but reviewing the previous year,describes Atzmon as increasingly regarded among anti-Zionists as an unwelcome antisemite:

Atzmon's analysis of Jewish history, identity and culture introduces an unusually explicit and quite new antisemitism into far left-wing politics. Leading Jewish anti-Zionist figures have denounced Atzmon as an antisemite. Most anti-Zionists have followed suit and now also condemn Atzmon, but some factional splits have occurred due to a minority of activists defending him.[102]

In Rewriting History: Holocaust Revisionism Today, a book-length assessment of the Holocaust denial movement published in December 2012 by Hope not Hate, Atzmon is listed among the "Who's who of Holocaust Revisionism":

For some time left-wing anti-Zionists defended Atzmon’s views, but since he embraced Holocaust Revisionism, publicised the work of outright Holocaust deniers and came out with other irrefutably antisemitic comments, his support base on the anti-Zionist left has waned. Nevertheless, there are still some left activists and academics who are prepared to defend him in spite of the evidence and have praised The Wandering Who?[103]

In the book's foreword, Nick Lowles writes: "Despite being Jewish himself, Atzmon has promoted Holocaust deniers and claims that the established history of the Holocaust is misleading. He attacks Jewish identity in a way that would clearly be recognised as racist if it were about any other minority identity and claims that people might think that Hitler was right about the Jews because of their behaviour today. He tells crude antisemitic jokes and mocks any concerns about antisemitism."[104]


Atzmon refers to charges of antisemitism as being a "common Zionist silencing apparatus."[105] He denies both that he is an antisemite and the very existence of antisemitism, stating that "'Anti-Semite' is an empty signifier, no one actually can be an Anti-Semite and this includes me of course. In short, you are either a racist which I am not or have an ideological disagreement with Zionism, which I have."[106] In 2009, Atzmon said "I've got nothing against the Semite people, I don't have anything against people — I'm anti-Jewish, not anti-Jews."[54] He added that "Stupidly we interpreted the Nazi defeat as a vindication of the Jewish ideology and the Jewish people", however, "in fact Jewish ideology and Nazi ideology were very similar."[54]

In April 2009, Atzmon debated David Aaronovitch and Nick Cohen on the topic of "Anti-Semitism – Alive and Well in Europe?" at the 2009 Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival. Atzmon wrote: "I was there to argue that antisemitism is a spin, it is a myth, I was there to deliver a very simple message: there is no such a thing as antisemitism."[107] "My plan was simply to read out what Atzmon had written, which I did", wrote Aaronovitch in The Jewish Chronicle. According to Aaronovitch, Atzmon "began by suggesting" Aaronovitch and Cohen, "as if it were (a) true and (b) a bad thing", had "learned our debating tactics 'in the synagogue'. From there it was downhill, mostly a diatribe about warmongers, in the course of which Atzmon said that he stood by every Judeophobic word of his that I'd read out."[108]

Atzmon has said his statements have lost him performance contracts, especially in the United States.[109] Atzmon has had conflicts with anti-Zionists who have attempted to stop his performances.[80][110]

Oren Ben-Dor wrote in 2008 "I am firmly convinced that these vulgar attempts at silencing of Gilad and other courageous voices offends against supremely thoughtful, compassionate and egalitarian intellectual endeavours."[111] Reviewer Chris Searle defended accusations against Atzmon's "crude anti-zionist rhetoric”, writing "No jazz musicians have done more to honour, publicise and spread solidarity with the struggle of the Palestinians than Atzmon and the Orient House Ensemble.”[112] John Mearsheimer has defended Atzmon, writing with regard to the charge that Atzmon is antisemitic, "to be perfectly clear, he has no animus toward Judaism as a religion or with individuals who are Jewish by birth. Rather, his target is the tribalism that he believes is common to most Jews, and I might add, to most other peoples as well. ... The more important and interesting issue is whether Atzmon is a self-hating Jew. Here the answer is unequivocally yes." Richard Falk described Atzmon "a de-Zionized patriot of humanity".[113] Norton Mezvinsky wrote that "Gilad Atzmon is a critical and committed secular humanist with firm views, who delights in being provocative."[114][115]


  • Songs of the Metropolis - Label: World Village — January 2013
  • The Tide Has Changed - Label: World Village — September 2010
  • "In loving memory of America" – Label: Enja – January 2009
  • Refuge – Label: Enja – October 2007
  • Artie Fishel and the Promised Band – Label: WMD – September 2006
  • MusiK – Label: Enja – October 2004 [1]
  • Exile – Label: Enja – March 2004
  • Nostalgico – Label: Enja – January 2001
  • Gilad Atzmon &The Orient House Ensemble – Label: Enja – 2000
  • Juizz Muzic- Label: FruitBeard – 1999
  • Take it or Leave It – Label: Face Jazz – 1997
  • Spiel- Both Sides – Label: MCI – 1995
  • Spiel Acid Jazz Band- Label: MCI – 1995
  • Spiel- Label: In Acoustic&H.M. Acoustica – 1993



  1. ^ a b c St. Clair, Jeffery (19 July 2003). "You Must Leave Home, Again: Gilad Atzmon's "A Guide to the Perplexed"". CounterPunch. Retrieved 28 October 2008. 
  2. ^ a b c Urbain, Olivier (2008). "Chapter 7, "Music as a Discourse of Resistance: The Case of Gilad Atzmon"". Music and Conflict Transformation: Harmonies and Dissonances in Geopolitics. I.B.Tauris. p. 93. ISBN 978-1-84511-528-9. 
  3. ^ a b c Stuart Nicholson "Cry freedom", The Spectator, 9 August 2003.
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  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k John Lewis "Manic beat preacher", The Guardian, 6 March 2009
  6. ^ Cook, Richard (2005). Richard Cook's Jazz Encyclopedia. London: Penguin Books. p. 23. ISBN 0-141-00646-3. 
  7. ^ a b Gilad Atzmon,How jazz got hot again, The Daily Telegraph, 13 October 2005.
  8. ^ John Bungey "Gilad Atzmon: In Loving Memory of America", The Times, 6 March 2009
  9. ^ Discography at Gilad Atzmon website.
  10. ^ GILAD ATZMON: Supporting Holocaust Deniers and spreading hatred of Jews, Hope not Hate website, 24 November 2011.
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  13. ^ Barnaby Smith, Sax With An Axe To Grind, London Tour Dates, 5 October 2007.
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  15. ^ University of Essex news release dated 14 December 2007 notes Atzmon is a "graduate",; accessed 27 February 2016.
  16. ^ Atzmon, Gilad (31 October 2014). "It is now official- I am featured on Pink Floyd's new album". Retrieved 13 December 2014. 
  17. ^ a b Atzmon, Gilad (2007). "GILAD ATZMON – MUSICIAN, COMPOSER, PRODUCER, EDUCATOR, WRITER". Gilad Atzmon. Retrieved 28 October 2008. 
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  20. ^ Orient House Ensemble description at Gilad Atzmon home page.
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  24. ^ John Fordham, Gilad Atzmon Orient House Ensemble - review, The Guardian, 5 October 2010.
  25. ^ Lester Paul "So who is top of the pops", The Guardian, 26 June 2010.
  26. ^ Chris Jones, A national treasure makes another peerless album, BBC, 5 October 2007.
  27. ^ Andy Gill, Album: Wyatt, Atzmon, Stephen, For The Ghosts Within (Domino), The Independent, 8 October 2011.
  28. ^ Alex Hudson, "Robert Wyatt Unveils New Collaborative Album", Exclaim!, 8 July 2010
  29. ^ John Fordham "Stalking Juliet review", The Guardian, 10 April 2009
  30. ^ "Current Climate Review", Mail on Sunday, January 2011.
  31. ^ "Robert Shaw, Guitarist Keeps Her Finger on the Pulse",, 6 January 2011.
  32. ^ "About GMF". Global Music Foundation. Retrieved 28 October 2008. 
  33. ^ Atzmon, Gilad (2007). "MUSIC EDUCATION". Gilad Atzmon. Retrieved 28 October 2008. 
  34. ^ Chris Gumbley, Gilad Uncovered: 10 Transcriptions, Gumbles Publications, 2010.
  35. ^ Bacon, Peter (24 January 2005). "Activist with quotes and plenty to say; Gilad Atzmon CBSO Centre". Birmingham Post. Retrieved 21 August 2016. 
  36. ^ Gilad Atzmon web site.
  37. ^ Alan Brownlee, Gilad Atzmon & The Orient House Ensemble – Refuge (Enja), Manchester Evening News, 30 August 2007.
  38. ^ John Stevenson, Gilad Atzmon liberates the Americans: Orient House Ensemble, Ronnie Scott’s London, 30 August 2008,, 1 September 2008.
  39. ^ Kathryn Shackleton, Gilad Atzmon & The Orient House Ensemble, Refuge, BBC, 1 October 2007.
  40. ^ John Fordham, "Gilad Atzmon: In Loving Memory of America", The Guardian, 27 February 2009.
  41. ^ Jazz winners span generations, BBC, 30 July 2003.
  42. ^ Examples of Gilad Atzmon in CounterPunch: Collective Self-Deception: The Most Common Mistakes of Israelis, 28 August 2003; The Left and Islam: Thinking Outside of the Secular Box, 10–12 July 2009.
  43. ^ Atzmon articles published by Al-Arab online include Welcome to the Jewish Comedy Club, 28 April 2010 and Not Much Time Remains for Israel- A Film Review, 5 May 2010.
  44. ^ Gilad Atzmon, Purim Special, From Esther to AIPAC, Uruknet, 3 March 2007.
  45. ^ Examples of Gilad Atzmon in Middle East Online: Vengeance, Barbarism and Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds, 22 September 2009; "Autumn in Shanghai", 20 October 2009.
  46. ^ Example of Gilad Atzmon in The Palestine Telegraph: Israeli Ideology and World Peace, 7 June 2010.
  47. ^ Examples of Gilad Atzmon in Aljazeera Magazine: Caught between sobbing and war chants, 30 July 2008; Deception, spin and lies, 22 October 2009.
  48. ^ Examples of Gilad Atzmon in include Beyond Comparison, 12 August 2006; "Planet Chomsky versus Dershowitz's Orbit", 24 May 2010.
  49. ^ a b Theo Panayides, 'Wandering jazz player,', Cyprus Mail, 21 February 2010: "My ethical duty is to say the things that I know and feel. I’m an artist. Do you know.. this is something I learned from Otto Weininger, the Austrian philosopher. He was a clever boy, killed himself when he was 21. ..He was definitely a proud self-hating Jew! I’m not a self-hating Jew: I’m a proud self-hating Jew! It’s a big difference… I celebrate my hatred towards everything I represent – or better to say [everything] I’m associated with".
  50. ^ Elgot, Jessica (22 September 2011). "Mearsheimer backs book by antisemite". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 3 January 2016. 
  51. ^ Gilad Atzmon, A New Jewish Goal, at his personal web site.
  52. ^ חלילי, יניב (9 November 2011). הפרוטוקולים של גלעד עצמון. Yediot Ahronot (in Hebrew). Retrieved 1 August 2013. דווקא בתור יהודי ששונא יהדות, אני שם את עצמי תחת זכוכית מגדלת ובוחן כל אספקט יהודי בתוכי. (As a Jew who hates Judaism, I put myself under a magnifying glass and examine every Jewish aspect in me). 
  53. ^ Halily, Yaniv (14 November 2011). "The protocols of Gilad Atzmon". Yediot Ahronot. Retrieved 1 August 2013. 
  54. ^ a b c Gibson, Martin. "No choice but to speak out — Israeli musician 'a proud self-hating Jew'", The Gisborne Herald, 23 January 2009.
  55. ^ David Hirst, The Gun and the Olive Branch: the roots of violence in the Middle East, Nation Books, 2003, p. 49
  56. ^ Reisz, Matthew J. (7 December 2002). "A Guide to the Perplexed, by Gilad Atzmon, trans. Philip Simpson". The Independent. Retrieved 21 August 2016. 
  57. ^ King, Darren (25 January 2003). "Mr. Peepology". The Observer. Retrieved 21 August 2016. 
  58. ^ "A Guide to the Perplexed", Publishers Weekly, 31 March 2003.
  59. ^ Sholto Byrnes. "Talking Jazz", The Independent, 25 March 2005
  60. ^ "Gilad Atzmon's Orient House Ensemble - The JunctionBBC book launch announcement", BBC Cambridgeshire, 3 June 2005.
  61. ^ a b Gilad Atzmon, "The Wandering Who? A Study of Jewish Identity Politics", Zero Books, 2011; ISBN 978-1-84694-875-6
  62. ^ a b Jean Bricmont,'In Defense of Gilad Atzmon By Jean Bricmont,' Counterpunch April 2012 print edition, cited on Atzmon's blog.
  63. ^ "Endorsements” of The Wandering Who from the book on Gilad Atzmon web site.
  64. ^ Dysch, Marcus (27 January 2015). "BBC attacked over 'provocative' George Galloway Question Time appearance". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 31 August 2016. 
  65. ^ Cohen, Ben (12 February 2015). "Anti-Zionist British Parliamentarian George Galloway Launches Legal Action Against Journalist's 'Antisemite' Tweet". The Algemeiner. Retrieved 31 August 2016. 
  66. ^ a b c d Alan Dershowitz, "Why are John Mearsheimer and Richard Falk Endorsing a Blatantly Anti-Semitic Book?", The New Republic, 4 November 2011.
  67. ^ "Zero Authors Statement on Gilad Atzmon". Lenin's Tomb. 26 September 2011. 
  68. ^ Atzmon, Gilad (18 April 2010). "Symbolic Identifiers and Jewish Stereotypes". With Fagin and Shylock in mind Israeli barbarism and organ trafficking seem to be just other events in an endless hellish continuum. 
  69. ^ Atzmon, Gilad (April 8, 2010). "The Shylocks meet the Fagins". Gilad Atzmon.  The citation is to Roffe-Ofir, Sharon (7 April 2010). "Reserve general suspected of organ trafficking". Ynet. 
  70. ^ Gilad Atzmon 'Judea declares War on Obama,':'Not many people are aware that in March 1933, long before Hitler became the undisputed leader of Germany and began restricting the rights of German Jews, the American Jewish Congress announced a massive protest at Madison Square Gardens and called for an American boycott of German goods. . .The Express said that Germany was "now confronted with an international boycott of its trade, its finances, and its London, New York, Paris and Warsaw, Jewish businessmen are united to go on an economic crusade." Jewish texts tend to glaze over the fact that Hitler's March 28, 1933, ordering a boycott against Jewish stores and goods, was an escalation in direct response to the declaration of war on Germany by the worldwide Jewish leadership. In a Jewish history book, you won’t read about ‘Judea’s declaration of war against Nazi Germany’. In Jewish history texts chronology always launches when Jewish suffering begins. Jewish history transcends itself beyond the notion of causality. It persuades us that persecution of Jews occurs out of nowhere.'
  71. ^ Jeffrey Goldberg, "John Mearsheimer Endorses a Hitler Apologist and Holocaust Revisionist", The Atlantic, 23 September 2011.
  72. ^ Stephen Walt, "Mearsheimer responds to Goldberg's latest smear", Foreign Policy, 26 September 2011.
  73. ^ "Princeton prof turns down Dershowitz challenge", The Daily Caller, 9 November 2011.
  74. ^ Gilad Atzmon at Gilad Atzmon website, Dershowitz’ Lies and Glitches, 9 November 2011 and "If Dershowitz Wants a Debate, I Will Meet Him Any Time", 23 October 2011.
  75. ^ Gilad Atzmon, Goldberg vs. Mearsheimer, Gilad Atzmon website, 25 September 2011.
  76. ^ Gilad Atzmon, "Supremacists on 'The Wandering Who'",, 7 October 2011.
  77. ^ Curtis, Polly. "SOAS faces action over alleged anti-semitism", The Guardian, 12 May 2004.
  78. ^ Gilad Atzmon, Letters to the Editor, The Observer, 4 April 2005.
  79. ^ Gilad Atzmon, On Anti-Semitism at the Wayback Machine (archived 13 February 2005)‹The template Wayback is being considered for merging.› , originally at his personal web site, 20 December 2003.
  80. ^ a b c David Aaronovitch "How did the far Left manage to slip into bed with the Jew-hating Right?" The Times, 28 June 2005.
  81. ^ "Beauty as a political weapon; Three in one: jazzman, writer and activist – A conversation with Gilad Atzmon". Archived from the original on 3 April 2008. 
  82. ^ Hirsh, David. Openly embracing prejudice, The Guardian, 30 November 2006. Hirsh also refers to the statement in "What charge?", "The Guardian", 3 April 2006.
  83. ^ "Are You a Christian?" "Do I Look Like the Pope?" – An Exchange Between Lenni Brenner & Gilad Atzmon, CounterPunch, 15 February 2007.
  84. ^ "Social Democrats invited known anti-Semite to seminar", The Local, 23 March 2007.
  85. ^ Nick Cohen "The unlikely friends of the Holocaust memorial killer", The Observer, 14 June 2009
  86. ^ The first quote is contained in Martin Gibson, "No choice but to speak out – Israeli musician 'a proud self-hating Jew'", originally published in Gisborn Herald, 23 January 2009, and the second in Gilad Atzmon, Anatomy of an Unresolved Conflict, published at PeacePalestine blog, 8 May 2008.
  87. ^ Oliver Kamm, An antisemite's progress, The Times, 26 March 2010.
  88. ^ Gilad Atzmon, Truth, History, and Integrity, at his personal website.
  89. ^ Edward Alexander, "Ashamed Jews: The Finkler Question, Scholars for Peace in the Middle East Reviews and Recommendations", December 2010.
  90. ^ Andy Newman profile on The Guardian website
  91. ^ Andy Newman "Gilad Atzmon, antisemitism and the left", The Guardian, 25 September 2011.
  92. ^ Gilad Atzmon Letter: Moral obligation and Jewish identity, The Guardian, 28 September 2011
  93. ^ Landy, David (2011). Jewish Identity and Palestinian Rights: Disapora Jewish Opposition to Israel. London: Zed Books. p. 167. ISBN 978-1-84813-926-8. 
  94. ^ "Jewish anti-Semites do exist". Ynetnews. 9 August 2011. 
  95. ^ Pull the Plug on Gilad Atzmon, Hope not Hate website, 21 November 2011.
  96. ^ a b Kathie Griffiths, "Calls for musician's show to be cancelled", Telegraph & Argus, 22 November 2011.
  97. ^ Simon Rocker, More calls for Gilad Atzmon concert ban, The Jewish Chronicle, 24 November 2011.
  98. ^ "Granting No Quarter: A Call for the Disavowal of the Racism and Antisemitism of Gilad Atzmon". US Palestinian Community Network. Retrieved 13 March 2012. 
  99. ^ "Palestinian activists disavow Israeli musician Atzmon". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. 14 March 2012. Retrieved 25 March 2012. 
  100. ^ "Palestinian writers, activists disavow racism, anti-Semitism of Gilad Atzmon". Electronic Intifada. 13 March 2012. Retrieved 25 March 2012. 
  101. ^ "Palestinian writers disavow Gilad Atzmon". Maan News Agency. 14 March 2012. Retrieved 25 March 2012. 
  102. ^ "Antisemitic Discourse in Britain in 2011" (PDF). Community Standard Trust. November 2012. p. 30. Retrieved 14 December 2012. 
  103. ^ "Rewriting History: Holocaust Revisionism Today" (PDF). Hope not Hate. December 2012. p. 83. Retrieved 14 December 2012. 
  104. ^ "Rewriting History: Holocaust Revisionism Today" (PDF). Hope not Hate. December 2012. p. 9. Retrieved 14 December 2012. 
  105. ^ Barnaby Smith, Sax With An Axe To Grind, Interview with Gilad Atzmon in London Tour Dates magazine, 5 October 2006
  106. ^ Gilad Atzmon, "1001 Lies About Gilad Atzmon", at his personal web site.
  107. ^ Gilad Atzmon, "Aaronovitch's Tantrum and the Demolition of Jewish Power", reprinted on, 7 April 2009.
  108. ^ Aaronovitch, David (23 April 2009). "Gilad Atzmon's discordant notes". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 8 September 2016. 
  109. ^ Karen Abi-Ezzi, "Music as a Discourse of Resistance: The Case of Gilad Atzmon”, Chapter 7 of Olivier Urbain, Editor, Music and conflict transformation: harmonies and dissonances in geopolitics, I.B. Tauris, 2008 p. 101.
  110. ^ Gilad Atzmon, "Gilad Atzmon: Lieberman and the Jewish Political Continuum", at Gilad Atzmon's web site, 10 October 2010.
  111. ^ Oren Ben-Dor, 'The Silencing of Gilad Atzmon', CounterPunch, 15 March 2008.
  112. ^ Chris Searle, Review of the book Jazz Jews by Mike Gerber, Morning Star, February 2010.
  113. ^ Stephen M. Walt,"Mearsheimer responds to Goldberg's latest smear", 26 September 2011 (posted on
  114. ^ Norton Mezvinsky, Gilad Atzmon and The Wandering Who?, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, May 2012.
  115. ^ Engaging Gilad Atzmon, video of Norton Mezvinsky interview with Gilad Atzmon, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, May 2012.

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