In my previous post I questioned whether David Cameron’s resignation was a sign of more bad things to come or was it genuinely a case of lack of time. My instinct suggests the first option, and now there is more proof, if any was needed, that antisemitism is becoming more acceptable in “polite society” in Britain.
The University and College Union (the UCU) is in their own words “the largest trade union and professional association for academics, lecturers, trainers, researchers and academic-related staff working in further and higher education throughout the UK”. I first heard of the intention of the UCU to reject the EUMC working definition of antisemitism and, in true Orwellian fashion, redefine it according to their own abysmally low standards, via Normblog.
The UCU wants to dump the EUMC definition of anti-Semitism, which says (among other things) that the use of double standards to criticize Israel, and the use of mendacious, dehumanizing, or stereotypical charges against Jews as a collective, including but not limited to stereotypes such as the myth of Jewish power in controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions, could be anti-Semitic, as could the drawing of comparisons between contemporary Israeli policy and that of the Nazis.
Now there are three, and only three, possibilities with respect to anti-Semitism for allegations such as are mentioned in the EU definition. The first possibility is that all such allegations against Jews are invariably anti-Semitic. The second possibility is that all such allegations may be anti-Semitic – i.e. sometimes they are, and sometimes they aren’t. The third possibility is that such allegations are never anti-Semitic. The EUMC account of anti-Semitism goes for the second possibility: such charges may be anti-Semitic (or they may not, depending on context). That’s what the UCU Executive wants to deny.
So what is it that the UCU Executive believes about such allegations? We can be sure that it doesn’t accept the first possibility, that such allegations are bound to be anti-Semitic. If it believed that, it would be calling for the EU definition of anti-Semitism to be strengthened, not abandoned, and it would (assuming that it objects to anti-Semitism) be disciplining any pro-boycott activists who made allegations of that kind. Nor does the Union accept the second possibility: this is exactly what it’s seeking to reject in Motion 70 at the forthcoming Congress. So we’re left with the third possibility, that such allegations are never anti-Semitic, that they just can’t be. This is what the UCU executive appears to believe. And in fact we’ve got good reason to think that that is indeed what they believe, since a year or two back it declared that criticism of Israel can’t be anti-Semitic.
Here we have the academic union wanting to declare that presenting Jews as malignant forces of sinister power, controlling the media and the economy and the government, can’t be anti-Semitic.
Here is the text of Motion 70.
“Congress notes with concern that the so-called ‘EUMC working definition of antisemitism’, while not adopted by the EU or the UK government and having no official status, is being used by bodies such as the NUS and local student unions in relation to activities on campus.
Congress believes that the EUMC definition confuses criticism of Israeli government policy and actions with genuine antisemitism, and is being used to silence debate about Israel and Palestine on campus.
- that UCU will make no use of the EUMC definition (e.g. in educating members or dealing with internal complaints)
- that UCU will dissociate itself from the EUMC definition in any public discussion on the matter in which UCU is involved
- that UCU will campaign for open debate on campus concerning Israel’s past history and current policy, while continuing to combat all forms of racial or religious discrimination”
Below is part of the live-blogging from the Engage Online article.
Sue Blackwell, who proposes the infamous motion, is an anti-Israel pro-Palestinian activists who never wastes an opportunity to vilify Israel. Mike Cushman is another “as-a-Jew” – an anti-Israel Jew who uses his Jewishness as a cover for his antisemitism.
1512. Sue Blackwell to propose the motion against the EUMC. definition adopted by NUS, parliamentary inquiry, US State Department. In Jan 2010 Denis Mcshane tried to have Azzam Tammimi banned from speaking. [Tammimi is Hamas’s guy in London – DH] Blackwell goes on,McShane argued that an external speaker should be rejected if they have a history of antisemitic language in line with the EUMC…” EUMC comes from the American Jewish Committee, European Jewish Congress, self confessed lobby groups for Israel. Ken Stern, author of EUMC is deeply concerned about “politically based antisemitism” otherwise known as antizionism which treats Israel as the classic Jew…. antisemites seek to qualify israel from membership of the community of nations.” In other words, if you are for a boycott, you are an antisemite. These influences are evidenced by American spellings in the document. Definition is not fit for finding Real antisemitism but is ideal for those who want to blur boundaries between antisemitism and antizionism.
1515. Mike Cushman, LSE. Opponents of this motion have been filling the internet with insults against this union. Lets see how EUMC definition is used.
One example: a member wrote “no compromise with Zionists or university closures”. Claimed to be antisemitic. Linking the international with the local is part of our politics. Not racist. By making Israel a special case the proponents of EUMC are being antisemitic.
Cushman goes on: David Hirsh that “expert” on antisemitism says “Israel murders children is antisemitic” Not its not, its pro children. Antisemitism must never never be normalized. Puts jews at risk Crying wolf puts the sheep and the shepherd at hazard.
Support this motion because the EUMC definition is dangerous to Jews.
1517. Ronnie Fraser (I had this text already):
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.
Many Jews have resigned from this union citing their experience of antisemitsim. Only yesterday a delegate here said ‘they are an expansionist people”. It is difficult to think that the people in question are anything other than the Jews.
You may disagree with me.
You may disagree with all the other Jewish members who have said similar things.
You may think we are mistaken but you have a duty to listen seriously.
Instead of being listened to, I am routinely told that anyone who raises the issue of antisemitism is doing so in bad faith.
Congress, Imagine how it feels when you say that you are experiencing racism, and your union responds: stop lying, stop trying to play the antisemitism card.
You, a group of mainly white, non-Jewish trade unionists, do not the right to tell me, a Jew, what feels like antisemitism and what does not.
Macpherson tells us that when somebody says they have been a victim of racism, then institutions should begin by believing them. This motion mandates the union to do the opposite.
Until this union takes complaints of antisemitsim seriously the UCU will continue to be labelled as an institutionally antisemitic organisation.
It’s true that anti-Zionist Jews may perceive things differently. But the overwhelming majority of Jews feel that there is something wrong in this union. They understand that it is legitimate to criticise Israel in a way that is, quoting from the definition, “similar to that levelled to any other country’ but they make a distinction between criticism and the kind of demonisation that is considered acceptable in this union
Ronnie met with stoney silence.
I recommend you read the rest – keeping a sick-bag handy. The Orwellian Newspeak aspect of this motion and vote is absolutely breath-taking, in its arrogance, its racism and its chutzpah. Interestingly enough, the UCU website has no mention of the motion or the vote as of today, a day after the motion was passed. The only item I could find was a live-tweeting of the events which you can read here, if you have the stomach. Perhaps they are embarrassed? One can hope…
Melanie Phillips weighs in, in her wonderful outspoken way, on both David Cameron’s resignation from the JNF and the UCU vote on antisemitism, tying them all together.
It is beyond distressing that, instead of fighting the anti-Israel and Judeophobic bigotry now poisoning British public life, the Cameron government is instead giving it further legs, and providing respectable cover for such bigotry and its denial. With academia in the forefront of the demonisation of Israel, the academics’ University and College Union has now rejected the EU definition of antisemitism — on the grounds that this incorporates the demonisation of Israel. Thus in true Orwellian mode, the UCU has redefined language itself in order to insulate itself against accusations of Judeophobia arising from its obsessional hatred of Israel. And to do so, it has thus effectively said that no hostility towards Israel can ever be anti-Jew.
Whatever casuistry these people employ to sanitise the fact that they are singling out Israel for a campaign of demonisation and delegitimisation, double standards, falsehoods and fabrications, blood libels and conspiracy theories which just happen to replicate exactly the unique tropes of Jew-hatred down through the centuries, the undeniable fact remains that they are currently promoting the cause of racist ethnic cleansers and genocidal Jew-haters. They are endorsing aggressors against their victims, reversing truth and lies, tearing up law and justice and turning history upside down.
And the British Prime Minister has now joined them.