UK university won't take action over anti-Semitic comments

“Hitler was right” and “anti-Semitism doesn’t exist,” jazz musician tells audience of 30 at school event, according to 'Jewish Chronicle.'

November 15, 2011 03:59
2 minute read.
University of Exeter

University of Exeter_311. (photo credit: Wikicommons)


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LONDON – The University of Exeter will not be taking any further action following a student event last week in which the speaker claimed that “Hitler was right.”

On Tuesday evening, jazz musician Gilad Atzmon, who has been called an anti-Semite and Holocaust denier, spoke at an event hosted by the university’s Palestine Society.

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“Hitler was right” and “anti-Semitism doesn’t exist,” Atzmon told an audience of 30, according to London newspaper the Jewish Chronicle.

A spokesman told The Jerusalem Post on Monday that the university will not be launching an investigation or taking the matter further.

“We are happy with the way the student union has dealt with the situation,” the spokesman said.

The student union is independent to the university.

Prominent anti-Israel activists Dr. Ilan Pappe and Dr. Ghada Karmi both lecture at the University of Exeter, which is in Devon in southwest England.

Atzmon’s remarks prompted many students to walk out of the talk.

Nick Davis, president of the university’s student union, the Students’ Guild, said that while Aztmon’s speech was “clearly provocative,” they were taken out of context.

Davis also said the student union “ensured a large staff and security presence at Gilad Atzmon’s talk to ensure quick and effective shutdown in the event that our equal opportunities policy was breached.

“Atzmon’s speech was clearly provocative, but when his comments were contextualized they did not breach our policy. We are working closely with the Jewish Society to discuss their concerns,” he said.

London based campus-extremism watch group Student Rights said it would follow up with the school.

“We’ll be taking up this issue with the university,” Raheem Kassam, director of Student Rights, said. “Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism is increasingly accepted as ‘normal,’ and students and academics alike must fight tooth and nail to put the proponents of such ideas back in the holes they crawled out of.”

Atzmon is regularly accused of being anti-Semitic and a Holocaust denier. He recently caused controversy with a new book, The Wandering Who?, which comes with a chapter titled “Swindler’s List.”

Mark Gardner, an expert in anti-Semitic incidents in the UK, said the book represents “utterly contemporary cultural racism.”

““Atzmon attacks what he calls ‘Jewishness’ because he claims that it is ‘supremacist’. He says that ‘the Jews who ultimately contributed to humanity hated themselves’ and claims revisionists are the only proper Holocaust researchers” Gardner said.

He added, "His new book is probably the most insidiously anti-Semitic publication of recent years, and his presence on campus and elsewhere is simply appalling.”

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