Eretz Israel is our unforgettable historic homeland...The Jews who will it shall achieve their State...And whatever we attempt there for our own benefit will redound mightily and beneficially to the good of all mankind. (Theodor Herzl, DerJudenstaat, 1896)

We offer peace and amity to all the neighbouring states and their peoples, and invite them to cooperate with the independent Jewish nation for the common good of all. The State of Israel is ready to contribute its full share to the peaceful progress and development of the Middle East.
(From Proclamation of the State of Israel, 5 Iyar 5708; 14 May 1948)

With a liberal democratic political system operating under the rule of law, a flourishing market economy producing technological innovation to the benefit of the wider world, and a population as educated and cultured as anywhere in Europe or North America, Israel is a normal Western country with a right to be treated as such in the community of nations.... For the global jihad, Israel may be the first objective. But it will not be the last. (Friends of Israel Initiative)

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

"We Cannot Continue To Participate In A Union Which Legitimises Antisemitism": Challenging Britain's University and College Union


Following the vote by the University and College Union (UCU) at its recent annual conference to reject the European Union's working definition of antisemitism, the Jewish Chronicle (24 June) quoted Professor David-Hillel Ruben of Birkbeck College, London University, formerly director of the London School of Jewish Studies, thus:
"As a lifelong socialist and a member of the AUT [Association of University Teachers]/UCU for almost 42 years, I could not have imagined that anything could have made me resign from thye union.  I have grown accustomed to the UCU's annual adoption of illegal Israel boycott motions.  But my imagination was obviously limited.
It is increasingly difficult to find anyone in the union with any serious ties to the Jewish community and committed to its welfare.  
I can no longer allow my dues to support a union that is institutionally racist and that has demonstrated its antisemitism so repeatedly and unashamedly."
Another resignee, Dr Ariel Hessayon, of Goldsmiths College, London University, stated:
"Based on my professional expertise, I have no doubt that the politically motivated rejection of the EUMC working definition has antisemitic implications.
Accordingly, I cannot in good conscience remain a member of a union that countenances the antics of such extremists; fanatics who seem at best oblivious and at worst disdainful of the consequences of their single-minded obsession: Israel."
Now, four Scottish academics, including Professor Gillian Raab of the University of St Andrews, and Ephraim Borowski, the former president of the Glasgow Association of University Teachers, have quit the UCU, telling it, inter alia:
'As officers and members of the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities, we take no position on Israel. Our role, and democratic remit, is to represent the interests of Jewish people in Scotland. We have grave concerns in this respect. The racist propaganda brought in the wake of the Middle East crisis has exposed Jewish people in Scotland and the UK to a wave of hostility. From a recent survey, more than half the Jews witnessing antisemitic incidents attribute those incidents to anti-Israeli sentiment. This is the situation you are feeding.
.... Your resolution gives licence to racists.
UCU continues to claim, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that it remains opposed to racism. Congress chose to ignore what they were told in the debate: Ronnie Fraser said: “I, a Jewish member of this union, am telling you, that I feel an antisemitic mood in this union and even in this room. I would feel your refusal to engage with the EUMC definition of antisemitism, if you pass this motion, as a racist act.” By the Macpherson test [Sir William Macpherson 's 1999 report inquiring into the murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence recommended the following definition of a racist incident: "A racist incident is an incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person"], you had a duty to listen. You did not listen. This is a racist policy.
We cannot continue to participate in a union which legitimises antisemitism.' http://engageonline.wordpress.com/2011/07/05/four-ucu-members-resign-from-the-union-in-scotland/

Government minister Eric Pickles, in condemning the UCU's vote, also notes its rejection in 2006 of the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism's findings, and its invitation in 2011 to South African trade unionist Bongani Masuku - who had called for Jews in South Africa to be stripped of their citizenship – to address it.

Wrote Pickles:
"Seen in this context, the latest resolution is in fact sending out a chilling message. It says that Jewish academics and students who perceive that they are being harassed or bullied should understand that they will be held to a different standard. It says that they should expect to be fair game for invective, and learn to live with feeling more vulnerable.
Little wonder that the Union has already seen many members of the Jewish faith, other faiths and none vote with their feet and leave." http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/50996/eric-pickles-ucu-sending-jews-chilling-message
And Ronnie Fraser, chairman of the Academic Friends of Israel, has foreshadowed legal proceedings against the UCU. His lawyer has informed Ms Hunt:
'This indecent, discreditable resolution was passed in active disregard of the feelings of Jewish members - a disregard amounting to a kind of inflamed contempt for all Jews other than that minority among them ready to abet a degraded and obsessive "anti-Zionist" activism' .... In simple terms, the UCU is not a place that is hospitable to Jews. This is not just a violation of equality legislation, it is also a scandal." http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/51087/academic-suing-university-and-college-union-over-antisemitism-vote
Be sure to read Ronnie Fraser's touching, heartfelt speech to the UCU conference, where it was met with "stony silence": http://engageonline.wordpress.com/2011/05/31/ronnie-frasers-speech-to-ucu-congress/

Here's a video clip of the UCU's Conference in 2007, which shows all too clearly the fanatical hatred for Israel that's rife among certain activists:


If you're a glutton for punishment you can seek out videos featuring Brighton academic Dr Tom Hickey, a BDS and UCU heavyweight, who talks about the "extirpation of a whole people" through its "erasure from history" at the hands of Israel.  It was he who chaired the talk by Bongani Masuko in 2009 at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS): http://www.thejc.com/blogpost/antisemitic-meeting-soas.
(For the UCU and Masuko see http://engageonline.wordpress.com/2009/12/04/hate-speech-ruling-against-bongani-masuku/ )

Ninety minutes of loathsome invective against Zionism and Israel at Goldsmiths College, London, earlier this year are captured on the following video.  Speakers include BDS champion Mike Cushman (of Jewish origin), an academic at the London School of Economics; he explains "We pick on Israel because Israel demands to be picked on" and that all Israeli goods, not just settlement goods, should be boycotted. (Warning: after watching Cushman's speech, which comes directly after the opening one by Laura Hartley, you may feel like bathing in Dettol):
This video, dating to 2007, featuring Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, captures the very essence of the double standards inherent in the campus war against Israel:

4 comments:

  1. Good for those who FINALLY are starting to take a stand. (Because, in my book: not to take a stand IS taking a stand). But I wonder how late it is this time round? Remember from the start to the finish it took the Nazis a mere 12 Years!!!!

    PS: I couldn't watch more than a few seconds of the vermin vomitting (in the two videos). No amount of dettol could desinfect the contamination! GAK!

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  2. One speaker reminds me of the athiest Jews in the East End who held entertainments on Yom Kippur to mock their coreligionists...

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  3. It is to be hoped that there will be an Exodus of non-Jews from the UCU. Anyone who truly believes in academic freedom should leave regardless of any personal opinions about Israel.

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  4. David Hirsh's Engage blog has many pertinent posts, including one that asks what the "grownups" - as opposed to the anti-Zionist activists - in the union intend to do now that Ronnie Fraser is suing it.

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