Dear Professor Black
In September I wrote about how the London Borough of Brent had adopted a version of the IHRA Definition of Antisemitism which the Councillors had twisted into meaninglessness.
Now the London School of Economics (LSE) has done much the same thing. Following the appearance of Richard Falk there last March (invited by Professor Kaldor), there was a long campaign (waged eg by alumni – me included) to ensure that never again would an antisemite be given a platform at LSE. Board of Deputies President Jonathan Arkush even “strongly advised Jewish students to study elsewhere”.
Now you have sent out the following letter:
Consider what it says. Among the examples which form part of the IHRA Definition
are the following:
- Claiming there is a world Jewish conspiracy;
- Denying the Holocaust;
- Calling Israel a racist state;
- Comparing actions of Jews to those of the Nazis.
So Professor Black – According to LSE, it is not antisemitic to say there is a world Jewish conspiracy ‘unless there is additional evidence to suggest antisemitic intent’; not antisemitic to deny the Holocaust ‘unless there is additional evidence to suggest antisemitic intent’; not antisemitic to call Israel a racist state ‘unless there is additional evidence to suggest antisemitic intent’; not antisemitic to compare the actions of Jews to Nazis ‘unless there is additional evidence to suggest antisemitic intent’.
This is absurdly circular. It says that an action is antisemitic only if it’s antisemitic. And precisely how are you going to determine ‘if there is antisemitic intent‘? By a vote of all the faculty?
But it’s worse than that. It’s a kick in the teeth to the Jewish community.
I don’t care how many “Jewish staff and students at LSE” you have consulted, Professor Black. Imagine if LSE said that calling a person of colour a ‘ni**er’ is only racist if there is racist intent! Or that ripping the headscarf off the head of a Muslim woman is only Islamophobic if there is Islamophobic intent!
“We would never do that!” I hear you say, Professor Black
So why are Jews any different?
After reading the transcript of Baroness Amos’ testimony to the UK Parliament’s Human Rights Committee (for its Inquiry into Freedom of Speech at Universities), I submitted the following evidence to the Committee …..
In her oral evidence to the Committee Baroness Amos said that she does not feel that reports about SOAS being antisemitic are fair. They are perfectly fair. SOAS is institutionally antisemitic. See my blogs here here and here.
Hardly surprising that a handful of ‘events about Palestine’ have been ‘disrupted’. They were antisemitic. For example, the Centennial SOAS Lecture given by Rajeh Shehadi. He demonised Israel continually for an hour. He unremittingly distorted the facts. He blamed Israel for murders which were KNOWN to have been committed by Arabs. He unceasingly suggested parallels of Israel with Apartheid. He said Israel kills people ‘they don’t like’. He lied that Israel insists that children with cancer in Gaza have to be accompanied by someone over 55 before they can leave for treatment. The Lecture reeked of antisemitism. Calling Israel an Apartheid State is antisemitic (claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour).
Baroness Amos mentioned the visit by Israel Ambassador Mark Regev (April 2017) in support of her claim that SOAS is NOT antisemitic. What she failed to say was (i) this was the first visit by an Israel Ambassador for 12 years and (ii) that no SOAS academic (including her) was willing to chair the meeting (a Chair had to be recruited from another London University). What she also failed to say was that she was perfectly willing to chair the Shehadi meeting and at the end she sang his praises despite (?because of?) his stream of invective against Israel, which included antisemitism.
So bad are things at SOAS – and so cowed are the few Jewish students – that even the Israel Society has been taken over by anti-Zionists. Its title is now a misnomer – it should be called the anti-Israel Society.
Repeated complaints to SOAS have got nowhere. Jonathan Arkush, the President of the Board of Deputies, said that his meeting with Baroness Amos in 2017 was “the least satisfactory meeting I have held in eight years with something like 30 vice-chancellors”.
‘Free speech’ must be subject to the normal constraints regarding for example incitement to hatred. In view of the fact that they allow a University to be institutionally antisemitic with apparent impunity, the constraints urgently need revisiting.
Extracts from Baroness Amos’ testimony
In the previous blog on this site I reported on how Glyn Secker (Secretary of Jewish Voice for Labour) and Mike Cushman (Chair, Free Speech on Israel) fomented antisemitism at a Muslim rally in London on Saturday (6 January 2018; meeting hosted by Sultan Bahu Centre, Alum Rock, Birmingham).
Some of the speeches at that rally were in Urdu. One can be heard in this video (captured by Campaign4Truth). The speaker (the name is indistinct, it’s ‘Professor Ekramul ….’ possibly ‘Haque’) is introduced at 8:38, he begins speaking at 9:15 and it runs to 10:59.
Here is a rough translation of what he said (thanks to Shadman Zaman for translating):
“Judaism was supposed to be the religion to claim justice in the world. But they didn’t do that. But they incited violence and unrest. In places where there was only peace, they only created violence. They have forgotten their own history. Now they do not even realise what kind of torture they are doing to the Palestinians. They are raping Palestinian women. They are killing Palestinian children in front of their mothers. And now they’re doing the biggest injustice. Jerusalem which is the right of Palestinians. Baytul Muqaddas (‘Holy place’, the phrase for the Temple Mount) which is the right of Palestinians, now they are taking it over. They must realise that now the Muslim world is very anxious. Once the Muslim world becomes united, the Jews will have no place to go. So the Jews had better realise their mistakes.”
Lies and open Jew hatred in front of the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square, London. Inciting hatred on the part of the approximately 300 Muslims listening (they had travelled from the West Midlands and the North for the rally). With many children present.
Children at the rally
How can this medieval antisemitism be allowed on the streets of London?
Glyn Secker is Secretary of Jewish Voice for Labour, a tiny group of outlier Jews. They are Labour members who demonise Israel and believe that most allegations of antisemitism regarding other Labour members are fabrications designed to undermine Jeremy Corbyn. Secker has called Israel a “terror state”. He has said “It has become a pariah country internationally. Israel doesn’t know how to make peace, it only knows how to make wars.” He wrote a gushing review of ‘State of Terror’ (‘this seminal work’ ….’Violence to the Palestinians, modelled on the antisemitic pogroms in eastern Europe’), a book which David Collier and I have shown (in a 22,000 word deconstruction) to be a deeply antisemitic fraud.
Yesterday (6 January 2018) Glyn Secker spoke at a rally in Grosvenor Square. It was a rally of members of mosques from West Midlands and the North to protest about the move of the US Embassy to Jerusalem. Around 500 were there, including several children. A video of some of the speeches including Secker’s is here (video from Campaign 4Truth). A dangerous myth regularly spread by Middle East extremists is that Israel is about to attack the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. Of course it is a lie – the Temple Mount and access to the Mosques has been more open and secure since 1967 than it ever was under Jordanian occupation (except it’s hardly open for Jews …). Despicably, Secker fuels these lies. Listen at -56:04: “Trump’s announcement gave the green light to the total annexation of Jerusalem, the expulsion of all Palestinians and is a direct threat to Al Aqsa itself.”
As if that was not bad enough, at -53.43 we see Secker describe Ahed Tamimi – charged with assaulting an IDF soldier – as a “Joan of Arc”! And incredibly at -52.17 he says that the Board of Deputies of British Jews “host the neofascist EDL on demonstrations”. A vile defamatory lie. Uttered to 500 mosque members and their children.
Secker’s speech is a graphic illustration of how the leadership of Jewish Voice for Labour denigrates the vast majority of Jews – either by stoking up antisemitism or by saying that Jews are lying when they detect antisemitism.
There’s no difference.
Addendum – More comments in speeches yesterday: