Jewish News has today published this Exclusive
I blogged here about the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (22-26 November) which sanctioned Mark Lewis for standing up to neo-Nazis and for sending intemperate posts on Facebook while sedated with a very strong tranquilliser (Clonazepam).
On 13 December the SDT published the judgment. It includes the names of the Tribunal members. At the hearing I caught the name of the Chair, but not the names of the other two. The lay member was Mr Millius Palayiwa. His bio is in the SDT 2017 Annual Report (Lay members section, page 51):
It looked interesting so I googled to see if he had ever said anything about Israel or antisemitism.
I found a ten-year history of anti-Israel comments, including two that are antisemitic assessed against the widely accepted IHRA definition (accepted inter alia by the SDT).
1. Speech to RUSI, March 2009
2. ‘The Land Between’ – Reflections of An Ecumenical Group of Ministers – Tantur Ecumenical Institute, April/May 2015
The security fence is there to save life. Palayiwa’s comment displays a bias against Israel. ‘Iron Wall’ appears to be a reference to a frequently misinterpreted quote of Jabotinsky, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_Wall_(essay)
3. Worst of all …………………..
This is classic Holocaust Inversion … “How can the Jews act like the Nazis?”. No different to what the former MP David Ward said.
This shows a deep bias against Israel. There is no mention of Hamas terrorism or Palestinian violence.
Here Mr Palayiwa is expressing the desire for the State of Israel – with its intrinsic Jewish character – to disappear. Denying the Jewish people the right of self-determination is antisemitic, see IHRA definition of antisemitism.
Mr Palayiwa’s affiliation in the ‘Land Between’ document cited above is ‘The Fellowship of Reconciliation’. This organisation is a partner of Eyewitness Palestine formerly called Interfaith Peace-Builders.
Interfaith Peace-Builders partners with many anti-Israel organisations including some which advocate an Israel boycott.
1. The subject matter of the Mark Lewis case was antisemitism;
2. It was widely reported that Mark Lewis is a supporter of Israel and moreover that he was imminently relocating to Israel
So there is no question that Mr Palayiwa should have recused himself. It might be argued that he was only one of three in the Tribunal, but he is the only member who appears to have at least some experience in the area relevant to the case.
There cannot be a second hearing. ‘Double jeopardy’ is allowed in law, but only if there is new evidence.
The Tribunal verdict against Mark Lewis must be quashed.
Appendix: IHRA definition of antisemitism (the two relevant examples in bold)
“Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”
To guide IHRA in its work, the following examples may serve as illustrations:
Manifestations might include the targeting of the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity. However, criticism of Israel similar to that levelled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic. Antisemitism frequently charges Jews with conspiring to harm humanity, and it is often used to blame Jews for “why things go wrong.” It is expressed in speech, writing, visual forms and action, and employs sinister stereotypes and negative character traits.
Contemporary examples of antisemitism in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in the religious sphere could, taking into account the overall context, include, but are not limited to:
* Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion.
*Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.
*Accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, or even for acts committed by non-Jews.
*Denying the fact, scope, mechanisms (e.g. gas chambers) or intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people at the hands of National Socialist Germany and its supporters and accomplices during World War II (the Holocaust).
*Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.
*Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.
*Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.
*Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.
*Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis.
*Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
*Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.