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Nuddering @NudderingNudnik
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Thread on Jews and Jazz:

Last night we went to a jazz gig by the truly wondrous @I_JeanToussaint
To be present whilst such astonishing musicians shared their mastery & exuberance could only be a huge positive, no?

Well, yes: unless you happen to be Jewish.
Last night’s gig was in Sheffield – at the Crucible Theatre – and was co-promoted by @SheffieldJazz

Earlier this year my wife contacted @SheffieldJazz to ask why they were promoting (another) gig by an outspoken inciter of anti-Jewish hatred (Gilad Atzmon).
She asked why in their publicity for the event they referred approvingly to Atzmon’s “political awakening”.

The reply was curt and dismissive and my wife was instructed “not to contact us again on this”.
When I challenged them via Twitter the organisers and committee members of @SheffieldJazz were no less dismissive and aggressive towards us. As members of a tiny & much abused ethnic minority we asking why @SheffieldJazz chose to defend & celebrate one of our tormentors.
As regular attendees at @SheffieldJazz gigs we suddenly heard a large door slamming shut in our (Jewish) faces. So, after some deliberation we decided to stop attending @SheffieldJazz gigs.

Last night we went back.
But what for everyone else there must surely have been an evening of sheer joy and vitality was for my wife and I sullied (only in part) by our experience.

As the @SheffieldJazz committee member introduced the gig and encouraged all present to support his organisation
& get involved , we wondered if that included us – the Jews who had been instructed “not to contact us again”?

On our journey home we reflected on whether this man was an alien who had landed in the milleu of @SheffieldJazz ?
Or whether he in fact was a fairly representative example of the demographic attending the packed gig. Educated, middle class, broadly leftish/liberal, (largely) white, non-Jewish. In the audience we waved to several people we know who work at one of the city’s 2 universities.
How many of the audience (a good number of whom will have attended Atzmon’s packed gigs in the city and witnessed his regular rants from the stage against all things Jewish/Zionist) shared the @SheffieldJazz committee’s desire that we “not contact them again on this matter”?
How many would have shrugged their shoulders at the awkwardness of all this or sensed that there might be Zionist skulduggery at work in my wife and I’s actions?
How many would have stood up with us and demanded to know why @SheffieldJazz was praising a notorious anti-Semite for his “political awakening”?
We guessed not very many.
And so our experience of the gig, glorious though it was, was not the same as the experience of the other members of the audience.

This jazz gig served to remind us that we are “different”. That we are on the outside.
That despite our efforts to withdraw a bit from the struggle against antisemitism for a month or so in order to focus on more positive elements of our (Jewish) lives, we cannot wholly live the experience what we want.
“So, what’s the news” our Jewish ancestors might say to us. “Toughen up, you babies.” And they’d have a point.

Only they lived their lives under no cloud of uncertainty. They knew exactly what they were and where they stood.
But us – we’ve lived our post-Shoah lives being told by the virtuous middle class Left that they will stand in front of us against all that nasty racism stuff and that we are on the inside of the “progressive circle”. And being complete and spoilt children, we believed them.
So when we are jolted out of our childish slumber it still comes as a shock.
And so our experience of last night’s jazz gig was of course simply our Jewish experience of a jazz gig. How could it be anything other than that? And we acknowledged this fact, held it and were kind of okay with it. This is how it is.
We are (Jewish) children, but we are slowly learning.

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