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Gilad Atzmon concert in Manchester cancelled after protests

    A concert by antisemitic jazz musician Gilad Atzmon has been cancelled following protests from the Jewish community.

    Mr Atzmon, an Israeli who has challenged Holocaust denial legislation and whose book The Wandering Who about Jewish identity was widely condemned as racist, had been scheduled to play at Manchester’s Royal Northern College of Music on Thursday.

    However, after a campaign by North West Friends of Israel (NWFoI), the college decided on Monday night to scrap the performance.

    In a statement, the college wrote: “Over the past few days the RNCM has received a significant amount of negative correspondence relating to the booking of Gilad Atzmon and the Orient House Ensemble on Thursday 5 March.

    “After careful consideration, and to ensure the safety of all involved, the RNCM decided to withdraw the concert.

    “This decision was taken and actioned prior to the launch of an associated petition and in no way reflects any political view of the college.”

    Mr Atzmon said the cancellation was “stupid and dangerous” and threatened legal action. It is the second time in recent weeks he has had a show pulled. In January Nottingham’s Bonington Theatre cancelled a performance after 13 complaints were made.

    Anthony Dennison, co-chair of NWFoI, said the rapid response to its campaign proved how powerful local activist groups like his could be.

    “What the Royal Northern College of Music saw was a groundswell of opinion from the Jewish community about how offensive the message this man has was.

    “We said this was a call to action, and asked people to call the RNCM as well as writing to them, and that’s obviously been taken up by them. Individuals in our group wrote, emailed and tweeted to the RNCM, so they got quite a lot of communication on it from a variety of people in our group.

    “They responded very quickly and very positively, which is refreshing. It shows that grassroots groups can really make a difference.”

    Mr Atzmon tweeted that the college had “bowed to ultra Zionist pressure,” adding through his website that “they (NWFoI) have produced a pile of lies about my work and my writing.

    “They suggested that my concerts were ‘fostering antisemitism’ which is obviously a complete lie in fact not once has anyone logged a complaint about my concerts or my talks.

    “This morning I referred this issue to my legal team. I also learned that very soon a petition will be launched denouncing the RNCM and calling on them to put this matter right.”

    The musician is scheduled to perform in Birmingham, London, Leicester and Swansea, before taking his tour on to Germany.

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