Phyllis Zimbler Miller
Writer of Nonfiction Holocaust Material to End Antisemitism

Co-Founder of ‘Mumford & Sons’ Discusses Antisemitism in Music Industry

Have you ever wondered why some musicians and bands announce tours that include Israel and then withdraw from the Israel concert dates? If you listen to the above NEVER AGAIN IS NOW podcast featuring Winston Marshall, co-founder of the band “Mumford & Sons,” you will hear a very clear explanation about the pressure BDS puts on musicians.

Don’t know who Winston Marshall is?

Winston Marshall is a British musician, songwriter, and podcaster. He was the former banjoist and lead guitarist of the British folk rock band Mumford & Sons. With Mumford & Sons he has won multiple awards, including a Grammy. He has been credited as the father of the nu-folk scene in Britain. He left the band after he started to openly express his opinion about current affairs in society. In his podcast Marshall Matters — for the renowned British political magazine The Spectator — he explores “the taboo and totemic issues within the creative industries in a series of interviews with artists, musicians, actors, comedians, and more.” See

Winston Marshall also discusses in this podcast about the obligation he feels to speak up against antisemitism and anti-Zionism. An obligation, I maintain, that we all have.

Here’s what I mean:

After Shabbat services recently I mentioned to a long-time friend that every day I read the antisemitism news from around the world. She asked why I would want to do that, apparently wondering why I would do something so depressing.

I explained that, as it is my personal mission to combat antisemitism at the grassroots level, I need to know what is happening at that level.

Only later did I think of something else I wished I would have said. And that is how important it is for all of us — Jews and non-Jews — to monitor antisemitism around the globe as a sharp indicator of the hatred that needs to be stopped before it is too late.

And what this requires at the very basic grassroots level is changing the narrative one person at a time.

In other words, facing directly the antisemitic tropes repeated in daily conversation by having calming responses that can lead to teachable moments.

Here are two examples sent to me by a colleague who admitted she didn’t know what to reply:

“An American man in Mexico said to me, ‘Sometimes I get to be the Jew at work. It’s fun.’ He then went on to say, ‘You know, I get to bargain the suppliers down to the cheapest price.'”

“At a Holocaust fundraiser concert two Asian men (with thick accents) sat at my table and asked if I was Jewish. When I replied yes, they said, ‘You Jews are very good at making money.’ And they meant it as the highest compliment.”

Both of the above antisemitic comments have the centuries-old trope of money-hungry Jews as the basis of the comment.

I don’t have the answer to the above statements, yet the response to the first one might be, “Why do you think it is Jews who like to bargain for the cheapest price? This is not a tenet of Judaism — and many people from around the world come from cultures where bargaining over prices is part of the expected culture.”

And in the second case, it is important even with a seeming compliment to educate about antisemitic-based tropes. Perhaps an answer would be: “Yes, some Jews are good at making money just as some other people from many different cultures are good at making money. On the other hand, there are many, many poor Jews around the world, and we support Jewish organizations who help to feed and clothe these poor Jews.”

The above two examples are the tip of the iceberg of the comments that we have to be prepared to respond to appropriately and utilize for teachable moments.

To get more ideas, see this report of my Kristallnacht informal discussion:

And listen to the above podcast with Winston Marshall — you will learn a great deal!

About the Author
Phyllis Zimbler Miller is a Los-Angeles based writer who is the co-author of the Jewish holiday book SEASONS FOR CELEBRATION, the founder of the nonfiction Holocaust theater project and the co-host of the NEVER AGAIN IS NOW podcast about antisemitism --
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