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.
"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-messageAnd 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-voteBe 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: