Antisemitic meeting at SOAS (JC Blog 13 December 2009)

To mark 15 years of blogging and during the quieter summer break I am republishing some of my blogs which were inadvertently deleted.

On 4 December Bricup held a meeting at SOAS. There were around 300 there. The Chair was Tom Hickey(UCU, UCU NEC, BRICUP). Other speakers are listed here:
[Link no longer current]

There were many antisemitic statements about Israel as an apartheid state.

The video of the Q+A is here. At 4:50 I ask why UCU had invited a speaker (Bongani Masuku of COSATU) who had been found guilty of hate speech by the South African Human Rights Commission. I read out the last paragraph of the HRC finding. I was shouted down but managed to ask the question. When I had finished asking the question Hickey said that no-one should answer my question – not in the lecture theatre and not on the Panel. It is all in the video on YouTube.

The rest of the meeting is on videos, click on the above link

The BBC published the following report on Friday:

Footage has emerged of a man being told he is “not welcome” after revealing his Jewish name at a School of Oriental and African Studies debate on Palestine. The film shows Jonathan Hoffman ask why Soas university allowed a man condemned as an anti-Semite by the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHR) to talk. Upon revealing his name there are boos and shouts of “Jewish!” Anti-racism campaigners called it “chilling”. A spokesman for the London university said nobody broke hate speech rules. The event, entitled The Case for Sanctions and Boycott [of the nation of Israel] was organised by the School of Oriental and African Studies’ [Soas] Palestinian Society. They invited South African trade unionist Bongani Masuku to speak. The SAHR has condemned Mr Masuku for “hate speech”, saying his comments “are of an extreme nature that imply the Jewish community are to be despised, scorned and ridiculed”. The film, posted on YouTube, shows Mr Hoffman ask: “Why does the University and College Union (UCU) invite somebody who practises hate speech?” Once boos have subsided the chairman of the debate, Tom Hickey, of the UCU, directs the speakers to “ignore” the question. Mr Hoffman has described himself as “cross” after the “anti-Semitic” meeting. The name Hoffman is of German-Jewish origin. Raheem Kassam, of student anti-racism campaigners Student Rights, said: “The overpowering racist jeering as displayed by some audience members at the event is a stark and chilling revelation of what can happen when extremism is allowed to take root in universities. “This man was first shouted down, then ignored by the event chair and panellists. “Why? From what we hear shouted when he is speaking, because he is, ‘Jewish’, and ‘not welcome here’.”

After intensive lobbying the BBC changed the story:

They dropped the reference to ‘”..shouts of “Jewish” “

I have now listened again (from 4.50). I say “I didn’t interrupt you, why do you interrupt me?” Then immediately there is indeed an audible jeer of “Jew—ish!”.

I will be taking this further. Zero Tolerance to Antisemitism.


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