Here’s David Aaronvitch on a meeting I attended at the Oxford Literary Festival at Christ Church college but haven’t found an outlet to write about. It was extraordinary. A demented demagogue preaching an updated version of Nazism to the genteel literary folk of Oxford; half the audience scandalised and the other half muttering that he had a point of view.
Here’s a story in which I take no pleasure. Some time ago, I was asked to participate in a “debate” on antisemitism at a respectable literary festival. The other speakers were to be Denis MacShane MP and the radical Israeli historian, Ilan Pappe. Though the debate’s topic was unclear, with a book due to be published on conspiracy theories, I happily agreed.
Two weeks before the event, I was called by the organisers to be told two things: first that Mr Pappe had had to withdraw and second that they had invited Gilad Atzmon, the Israeli musician, to take his place. Atzmon, for those who don’t know, is a man who spends his evenings playing the saxophone and his days on the computer, variously churning out Judeophobic nonsense and indulging in extensive pseudonymous self-promotion.
In essence, his stock argument is that Jews are responsible for their own historic misfortunes due to their tribalism and aggression. He then serves this stuff up larded with post-modernist gobbledegook borrowed from his incomprehensible, academic mother.