Earlier this month the Campaign Against Antisemitism contacted me about a film they have made. They gave me seven days to respond to multiple questions about matters dating back to 2002 and 2010. Initially I took the view that their attacks on my character did not deserve a response. However, now that the attacks are in circulation, I want to put my response on record.
All my life I have used the platform my career has given me to support causes I believe in. I passionately believe in Universal Human Rights. I have always worked to make the world a better, more just and more equitable place for all my brothers and sisters, all over the world, irrespective of their ethnicity, religion or nationality, from indigenous peoples threatened by the US oil industry to Iranian women protesting for their rights.
That is why I am active in the non-violent protest movement against the Israeli government’s illegal occupation of Palestine and its egregious treatment of Palestinians.
Those who wish to conflate that position with antisemitism do a great disservice to us all.
People need to know about the CAA, the organisation that made this film. Following complaints to the Charity Commission the CAA is facing scrutiny. Its core purpose is waging partisan political campaigns against critics of the state of Israel. So I knew their questions were not asked in good faith.
Truth is, I’m frequently mouthy and prone to irreverence, I can’t recall what I said 13 or more years ago. I’ve worked closely for many years with many Jewish people, musicians and others. If I have upset the two individuals who appear in the film I’m sorry for that. But I can say with certainty that I am not, and have never been, an antisemite – as anyone who really knows me will testify. I know the Jewish people to be a diverse, interesting, and complicated bunch, just like the rest of humanity. Many are allies in the fight for equality and justice, in Israel, Palestine and around the world.
The film totally distorts and misrepresents my views about the Israeli state and its political ideology, Zionism. It relies on a definition of antisemitism that sees criticising Israel as inherently antisemitic and assumes that Zionism is an essential element in Jewish identity. These opinions, clearly shared by the presenter and the two interviewees, are widely contested by many, including many Jewish people.
The CAA film manipulates footage and quotations to serve its agenda and is seriously misleading in many respects. What it says about my latest tour, This Is Not A Drill, repeats a series of falsehoods that have already been debunked, many times, not just by me, but in the German courts, after attempts were made to have my show banned there. The offensive words I referenced in quotes in an email 13 years ago, were my brainstorming ideas on how to make the evils and horrors of fascism and extremism apparent and shocking to a generation that may not fully appreciate the ever-present threat. They are not the manifestation of any underlying bigotry as the film suggests. Quite the opposite. I have been trying to expose the evils of fascism ever since learning of my father’s death fighting fascists in World War II.
In summary, the film is a flimsy, unapologetic piece of propaganda that indiscriminately mixes things I’m alleged to have said or done at different times and in different contexts, in an effort to portray me as an antisemite, without any foundation in fact.