Mike Cushman analyses the unreasonable and unprecedented restrictions UCL have placed on what may be said at the launch of a new book on Chomsky’s work. They have extended the range of examples that they define as antisemitic even beyond the wide ranging and frequently criticised examples attached to the IHRA definition.
LATEST – ‘GUIDELINES’ HAVE GONE
We wrote to the head of UCL and received this response:
Thank you for taking the time to set our your concerns. The Provost has asked me to respond to you to let you know that, following discussions here and with the independent chair of the event, we have now agreed a way for the event to proceed without asking the speakers to sign up to the guidelines.
We have also heard that the requirement to submit the text of talks in advance has also been dropped.
Jonathan Ofir asks, “Why does Bill Maher get to run antisemitic ‘jokes’ with Bari Weiss, when Ilhan Omar can’t say a word about Israel?”
This article is republished from Mondoweiss by permission of the author
New York Times staff editor Bari Weiss is on a hell of a roll these days, having just published a book called “How to Fight anti-Semitism”. Weiss’s own paper, the New York Times, judges the book to be “a brave book”, because Weiss is ostensibly walking into perilous intellectual territory:
We are a group of Liberal Democrats proud of the recent growth in support for our party, but seriously concerned that our leaders’ repeated utterances about alleged antisemitism have not been based on sound evidence. We have tried to raise this issue with them and get it discussed within the party, but much to our disappointment, have encountered a total refusal, as if the topic were taboo. The experience has led us to publish this article.
There exists prejudice against Jews and other minorities in all corners of British society, but we have found no hard evidence behind repeated assertions (echoed by the Lib Dem leadership) that it is exceptional or rampant on the Labour left. Since 2017, some of us have been trying to get the leadership to discuss the issue properly, but without success. The experience motivated us to form this group, and write them an open letter in May, asking them to “tell the truth about alleged antisemitism”. Continue reading “Lib Dem members: party line on Labour anti-Semitism is ‘ill-judged and uncritical’”
Professor David Miller has written a twitter thread rebutting the false and malicious claims about him made by Daily Telegraph journalists. This was a flagrant attempt to undermine academic freedom in the context of discussing Palestine and Israel.
Mike Cushman looks at how the witch hunt against Chris Williamson is linked to WitchHunt. The film shows how slurs against principled supporters of Palestinian rights become solidified into ‘common sense’
Chris Knight writes about how the IHRA definition attempts to stop us learning from history.
[Editorial note: It is important to recognise that comparisons with Nazis need to be carefully considered and not used as a default term of abuse. It is also important to note that analogies are best drawn with pre-1939 Nazi oppression of Jews (and of course many others); not with the industrialised mass killings of the war time period with which there is no comparison.]
One of the more worrying aspects of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism is its suggestion that ‘drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis’ is necessarily anti-Semitic. It is true that, at times, such comparisons can be crude and ahistorical. But in many cases, even where we might dispute the conclusion, it seems far-fetched to attribute it to anti-Semitism.
Antony Lerman says “I warned that adopting the IHRA would shut down protest on Palestine – I’ve been proved right”
This article first appeared in the Independent and is reprinted by permission of the author
When cyclists signed up for this year’s Big Ride For Palestine, which raises funds for a charity aiding Palestinian children in Gaza, they were expecting to finish with a rally in a Tower Hamlets park. But the council took a secret decision to ban the rally using a false interpretation of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) controversial “working definition” of antisemitism.
They describe how the IHRA initially sought to combat racism against Jews and Holocaust denialism, but its definition of antisemitism serves as a tool for silencing criticism of Israel, making it harder to identify actual forms of anti-Jewish hatred.
There is a growing tendency among both Jews and non-Jews to label those with whom they have profound political differences, especially on the subject of Israel-Palestine, as antisemitic. The accusation is a severe one: in most countries in the West, antisemitism is considered a taboo, and the identification of a person or organization with antisemitism often renders them illegitimate in the public arena. Continue reading “Distorting the definition of antisemitism: silencing criticism of Israel”
Tower Hamlets Council banned the The Big Ride for Palestine from using its property for the end event to its ride on 27 July. A ride aimed at raising money for sports for girls and young women traumatised by attacks on Gaza as well as raising awareness about Palestine.
When the Government promoted adoption of the IHRA definition of Antisemitism we warned that not only was the definition poorly worded but that public bodies might make it even worse by going beyond its strict terms. Tower Hamlets have demonstrated that our concerns were fully justified and the IHRA definition is a threat to the free speech Britain prides itself on.
We warned that Councils would ignore the mildly limiting caveats in the definition that: ‘the following examples may serve as illustrations’; ‘manifestations might include’; ‘could, taking into account the overall context, include’. We feared that they would adopt a simple matching approach: matching a phrase, often taken out of context, to one of the eleven tendentious examples.
Jonathan Cook shows how silence from Western politicians and media embolden Israel. Recent silence demolitions in Sur Baher, killings on the Gaza border and clampdowns on critics of Israel illustrate the large and growing problem.
This article is reprinted from Mondoweiss by permission of the author
Recent events have shone a spotlight not only on how Israel is intensifying its abuse of Palestinians under its rule, but the utterly depraved complicity of western governments in its actions.
The arrival of Donald Trump in the White House two-and-a-half years ago has emboldened Israel as never before, leaving it free to unleash new waves of brutality in the occupied territories.
Western states have not only turned a blind eye to these outrages, but are actively assisting in silencing anyone who dares to speak out.
It is rapidly creating a vicious spiral: the more Israel violates international law, the more the West represses criticism, the more Israel luxuriates in its impunity.