The Coordination Forum for Countering Antisemitism

Jewish novelist blames ‘climate of fear’ in UK for cancelled talks

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Richard Zimler questions if increasing antisemitism means Jewish artists are being denied work.

A bestselling novelist says he has been dropped from two literary events in the UK in recent weeks because he is Jewish.

Richard Zimler, author of the celebrated 1996 novel The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon, said two cultural event coordinators had terminated negotiations on publicising his new novel because they feared a backlash from anti-Israel campaigners. Zimler has no connections with or family in Israel.

The author’s personal publicist, who asked not to be named, confirmed that two organisations had pulled out of initially enthusiastic discussions about events with Zimler, whose latest book The Gospel According to Lazarus was published in April. They feared his Jewishness would alienate Palestinian sympathisers among their clientele and could result in protests, the publicist said.

Zimler was “deeply shocked and upset” at the change of heart, saying he could hardly speak after being told. He is now questioning whether an “atmosphere of fear” and increasing antisemitism means that Jewish artists and professionals are being denied work.