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Bradford PSC, Karl Dallas, John Hamilton and Raise Your Banners

The folk musician Karl Dallas writes on Twitter:

Extraordinary Zionist virulence twds Raise Your Banners, Bradford, cos we’ve invited anti-Zionist Israeli jazzman Gilad Atzmon to play Fri.

Karl Dallas is leading a Political Songwriting workshop at Raise Your Banners. Dallas is an organiser of the Bradford PSC, dealing with media enquiries, and sends out emails on behalf of Bradford PSC, as well as being the Committee Chair of the Viva Palestina Bradford Group.

Engage reports that Raise Your Banners has issued a statement in support of their decision to host Gilad Atzmon, claiming he is not an antisemite. RYB state:

As we explained in our earlier statement in April, we do not believe the claims of anti-Semitism [against Atzmon] are justified. [...] In our film room we are showing Holocaust: a music memorial from Auschwitz. John Hamilton will be leading a workshop Songs to Counter the Zionist Bullies with Strawberry Thieves choir. We did not accept Gilad’s offer to present a workshop of his philosophical writing.

Why not accept Gilad’s offer, if you’re sure he’s not antisemitic? Why broadcast this fact?

John Hamilton is mentioned by Raise Your Banners.

Labour Councillor Mike Harris reported for Bob-from-Brockley on Holocaust Memorial Day:

At last Monday’s Council meeting, Councillors in the London Borough of Lewisham marked Holocaust Memorial Day (27 January) by inviting Rabbi Dr Amit of the Catford and Bromley Synagogue to address the Council. He lit a candle to commemorate all those who lost their lives in the Holocaust and other genocides. Following this the Council observed a minute’s silence. Rabbi Amit took time to ensure that he mentioned other faiths and emphasized that Holocaust Memorial Day marked the commemoration of the Holocaust and other contemporary genocides. He listed a series of genocides including the killings in Rwanda and the massacre of Muslims in Darfur. As he listed various genocides, John Hamilton the leader of Lewisham People Before Profit shouted at the Rabbi “Gaza”, as if the Rabbi ought to apologise himself for the events in Palestine. The Rabbi added, “Gaza”, and lit the candle. Hamilton obviously thought it appropriate to ask a Jew to apologise for the events in Israel – regardless of the fact that the Rabbi lives in the UK.

This is how Raise Your Banners advertises John Hamilton:

Led by John Hamilton and Strawberry Thieves. A workshop for people who want to sing songs in support of the Palestinians. Together with other Strawberry Thieves choir members we will sing through a few songs in 3 or 4 parts. We would be interested in songs other choirs or individuals sing on this subject. Either as an individual or from your any choir you belong to, bring any contribution(s) to the workshop theme and/or learn from Strawberry Thieves. John Hamilton and the choir have previously taught Auf den Strassen, a song in German with music by Eisler about reclaiming the streets from fascists in the 1930s. Music and midi files are available on the choir’s website for ‘Got To Bring the Wall Down ‘and ‘War Crimes’ and others.

Here is the are some lyrics from the song “War Crimes“:

War Crime! War Crime! Is it a war crime to kill 6 million Jews? YES!
But carpet bomb a German town or raze Hiroshima to the ground.
War crime? That’s not a war crime, for history and justice are made by those in power.

Will these war crimes ever stop?
Yes! But not while Israel exists as a state for the chosen few
where lives of Palestinian folk are worth much less than lives of Jews.

We learn from the Strawberry Thieves website, that 18th Dec 2010, they were:

Singing at Covent Garden for Palestine Solidarity Campaign – met 12 noon with members of Camden Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Sang for 30 minutes then moved to outside Ahava to sing outside this shop which sells “beauty” products made from mud from the Dead Sea in an illegal jewish settlement.

Gill Kaffash is the secretary of the Camden Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

Gill Kaffash is a supporter of Holocaust denial, and of the notorious Holocaust denier, Paul Eisen: who, in an article entitled “My Life as a Holocaust Denier”, thanks both Kaffash and Gilad Atzmon, for having “openly and repeatedly demonstrated their solidarity” with him.

Bob writes:

I think it is outrageous that Raise Your Banners has invited Gilad Atzmon to perform, not as a musician but as a political figure. They claim that they want to promote a “diversity of views”, but I notice that they have not this year or in any previous year invited White Power skinhead bands, for example, or Ulster Unionist pipe bands, or even Tory folk musicians. Would they invite homophobic and misogynistic rappers, for example, because they had also written excellent left-wing songs? Would they invite a fine socialist songwriter who had a track record of anti-black racism? It seems to me there are a number of ways we can take action.

He lists these ways here.

Karl Dallas and the RYB organisers appear to have great difficulty in understanding why many people are concerned about antisemitism at Raise Your Banners.