I have devoted many posts to the rising antisemitism in Britain, and particularly in the Labour Party, so it is both a relief and a pleasure to note the change in atmosphere since Theresa May became Prime Minister after the Brexit vote.
In an extremely welcome move, the Union of Jewish Students voted by a landslide against a BDS-supporting candidate, Eran Cohen, to head the UJS. How this person had the chutzpah to even stand for a pro-Israel organization is bad enough. But how did the UJS allow him to stand for election? Luckily the Jewish students had more sense than their leaders, and Cohen lost by a landslide as Israellycool reports:
Millennial voters across Britain elected Josh Holt as head of the national Jewish student union on Sunday, defeating four other candidates including Israeli-born pro-BDS activist Eran Cohen.
A statement by the UJS said Holt won 682 of 1049 votes cast.
“Holt has decisively won the election to become the next UJS president,” a statement issued by the organization said.
What this Ha’aretz report fails to mention (and you can speculate as to why) is that Cohen received only 89 votes! Or 8.5% of the vote (as opposed to Josh Holt’s 65%). Which also means the third candidate received 278 or 26.5%.
Thank goodness for common sense! Unfortunately that does not apply to Manchester University’s student union which adopted a BDS resolution. However, with the formal adoption of the Working Definition of Antisemitism (see below) let’s see how far they get with that.
Probably the most important event for British Jewry, as I mentioned, was the adoption of the official Working Definition of Antisemitism, which Mrs. May announced this week:
The Government is to formally adopt an internationally-recognised definition of anti-Semitism that highlights modern expressions of hate, Theresa May has announced.
The prime minister revealed that Britain will become one of the first countries to individually adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition when she addresses 800 guests at Conservative Friends of Israel’s annual lunch in central London.
May told guests, including several members of the cabinet and hundreds of parliamentarians, that her aim for Britain is to be the same as Israel in guaranteeing the rights of people of all religions, races and sexualities – enabling all to flourish.
“It is unacceptable that there is anti-Semitism in this country,” she will say. “It is even worse that incidents are reportedly on the rise. As a government we are making a real difference and adopting this measure is a ground-breaking step.
”It means there will be one definition of anti-Semitism – in essence, language or behaviour that displays hatred towards Jews because they are Jews – and anyone guilty of that will be called out on it.”
The definition – adopted earlier this year by the IHRA which is made up of 31 member countries – states: “Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”
The IHRA highlights a number of contemporary examples that could constitute anti-Semitism including denying the Holocaust, drawing parallels between Israeli policy and the Nazis and accusing Jews of being more loyal to Israel than their home country.
Criticism of Israel similar to any other country cannot be regarded as anti-Semitic, it states.
The announcement was greeted warmly by all sectors of the Jewish community amid hopes that other European countries will adopt the same definition.
Talking about Theresa May’s incredible speech, the Israeli political commentator and Middle East expert Dr. Guy Bechor, at his (Hebrew) Facebook post (via Zvi) commented: (my free translation):
The mainstream establishment ignored this: The British PM, Theresa May, in a tremendous pro-Israel speech, said “Apologize for the Balfour Declaration?”. The reverse is true. “We will mark the 100th anniversary of the Declaration with pride”. “This is one of the most important letters in history”. She gushed with praise of Israel. Even on the subject of building in Judea and Samaria she took a softened stance. It is important to watch this speech and to understand how the establishment has fooled us.
Watch Theresa May as she addresses the Conservative Friends of Israel group.
Kol Hakavod Mrs. May! From us here in Israel we say a hearty thank you!
It’s good to know that Britain is in a safe pair of hands for the moment.