Nick Lowles' blog

Clarifying the story: a statement from the Dean of Bradford

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Sunday, 27 November 2011, 09:08

There have been a lot of claims and counter-claims about the position of the Dean of Bradford in the Atzmon affair so I thought it was best to ask the Dean himself to make the last word. This is a statement he sent me last night and I hope it clarifies his position and answers those people, for their own political reasons, who have accused me of lying and falsifying documents:

Statement from the Dean of Bradford 26 November 2011:

"Mr Gilad Atzmon has posted a statement of mine on his website ( which he has used to accuse Mr Nick Lowles of falsifying documents and spreading lies. I do not support this accusation.

I want to make it clear that I do not regard Mr Lowles as a liar or someone who has falsified documents, and I apologise if in any way this impression has been given by me. I did not in my initial statement quoted on Mr Lowles' blog make a public call for Mr Atzmon's concert to be cancelled, and it was on this basis that I disagreed with the headline over my statement. However, I had indicated elsewhere in a mail seen by Mr Lowles that cancellation would be preferred, since (as I note in my statement quoted by Mr Atzmon) I would have had to have withdrawn the concert if it had been due to happen on church premises due to the controversy involved, and it is this indication which led Mr Lowles to write the headline as he did; although it did not represent my intention it was not an unreasonable action for him to take, and he was engaged in interpretation not falsification.

Mr Atzmon and his supporters believe in his sincerity, and those opposed to him do not. Assessing what Mr Atzmon actually believes is not easy owing to the contested nature of the evidence. What is uncontrovertible is the fact that a lot of people believe that he behaves in a way which is anti-Semitic, flirting with Holocaust denial, and racist: and this behaviour has caused a wide variety of groups to distance themselves from him. As a cathedral we believe in truth, peace and justice for Palestinians and Israelis, of whatever faith (or none); and we will continue to hold to that often uncomfortable position - a position which makes it impossible for us to offer a platform to Mr Atzmon."

 Posted: 27 Nov 2011 | There are 5 comments


Comment 1 | From: Evelyn | Date: 27 November 2011, 13:52

Did your campaign succeed? Did Gilad Atzmon play at the concert? Please let us know.

Comment 2 | From: Goodwin Sands | Date: 27 November 2011, 16:35

A quite reasonable position, I think, and a welcome clarification.

Comment 3 | From: levi9909 | Date: 27 November 2011, 22:12

It seems to me that many of the opponents of Atzmon have so much form for bad faith allegations of antisemitism, it is no wonder the Dean is confused. But I don't see how it can be a reasonable position for him to say, "Mr Atzmon and his supporters believe in his sincerity, and those opposed to him do not." How does he know what people believe? All he can honestly say is what people claim or claim to believe.

Comment 4 | From: Richard | Date: 28 November 2011, 06:43

A pathetic statement. The Dean clearly changed his position on Atzmon. Nick was entitled to write what he did. And note how this man can't even accept that Atzmon is a racist. The only reason for that can be that the Dean partly shares Atzmons views. The Vicar of Bray is reborn

Comment 5 | From: Hasan Prishtina | Date: 30 November 2011, 01:41

The Dean has worded his statement very carefully to avoid additional embarrassment to the cathedral during what must have been a very trying ordeal. However much one wishes that the Dean had come off the fence, the real focus for criticism in this affair should lie elsewhere. What is clear is that Mr Atzmon misrepresented the words of the Dean and that he and his supporters have acted in bad faith towards him, Bradford Cathedral and, it appears, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. As for his attacks on Nick and Hope Not Hate, prima facie there seem to be good grounds for taking action against Mr Atzmon for libel. While there are considerable costs in time, money and stress involved in such a course, the benefits of exposing Mr Atzmon's actions and stated beliefs in the cold light of a courtroom might have the same salutary effect as they had with David Irving.

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