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?