Is it time to forge legal interventions against antisemitism?


By Winston Pickett
January 31, 2011
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By Winston Pickett

This is an expanded version of the op ed that ran on p. 24 of the JC of 28 January 2011

Reports about antisemitism in the UK are reminiscent of a certain vertigo that used to throw Bill Clinton's first presidential campaign into a state of heightened anticipation. Betsy Wright, Clinton's acerbic advisor and veteran lobbyist, dubbed it waiting for the next 'bimbo eruption.'

What derails the Jewish enterprise in this country may not be as titillating. It is, however, equally vexing. Witness last month's front page story in the Jewish Chronicle about a dyspeptic Palestinian speaker at an esteemed British university mouthing antisemitic obscenities, spurring communal leaders to devise an effective response – and leaving readers to wonder how to curb such antisemitic eruptions in the future.

Police are now investigating allegations of antisemitism at the London School of Economics allegations of antisemitism at the London School of Economics after 30 Jewish students walked out in protest at a lecture by Abdel Bari Atwan, editor-in-chief of London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper, speaking on "How Much influence does the Zionist lobby exert in the US and the UK?"

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Small wonder the British Jewish community's anxiety level has been ratcheted up several notches. In recent weeks various think-tank reports show that phenomena like Atwan's characterization at LSE of a malevolent "Jewish lobby" and his veiled accusations that Jewish students were collectively responsible for "bombing Gaza" are not only part of an ongoing effluvium of anti-Jewish, anti-Israel invective in academia, but an integral component of a campaign most notably on UK campuses.

Indeed in a new report by the Reut Institute, a Tel Aviv-based strategic think tank, Britain is identified as a "hub" of global deligitimization efforts that unite Middle East resistance networks with allies on the liberal-left in Europe. No sooner had British Jews digested that discomfiting thesis when the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs published "Mapping the Organizational Sources of the Global Deligitimization Campaign against Israel in the UK", charging the British academy with having become a key "mainstreaming agent" in the international effort to deny Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state. Their method: routinely offering platforms to Islamist ideologues who demonise and vilify Israel under the banner of academic freedom.

It's hardly surprising. In 2006 the Report of the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry Into Antisemitism flagged UK campuses as antisemtic hot spots, while in 2008 the Center for Social Cohesion published "Islam on Campus", which painted an equally troubling picture of the deep ideological roots of anti-Israel activity. Such investigations dovetailed with evidence gathered for more than 20 years by the Community Security Trust in its annual antisemitic incidents reports and more recently, CST's new studies of antisemitic discourse.

In response, CST commissioned a legal team headed by Anthony Julius to compile a Student's Guide to Antisemitism on Campus and to make it available to Jewish societies and activists throughout the UK. Reacting to the Atwan affair, the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the Jewish Leadership Council and the CST mounted a united complaint to Universities UK as well as Education Minister David Willetts, both of whom have promised to respond.

But are such interventions enough? The Reut Institute and the JCPA reports show that underlying the current hate on campus is an amply funded, coherently organized and multilayered campaign with front and behind-the-scenes efforts. Stemming the tide requires an equally sophisticated approach. And here, British Jews may want to take a page from the American Jewish community's playbook and seriously consider legal intervention.

In the U.S., for example, at the end of the last Congress legislation was introduced to protect Jews – as well as Sikhs, Muslims and other minorities – from discrimination at federally funded secular institutions. The bill, co-sponsored by the Zionist Organization of America and written by Kenneth Marcus, legal scholar and former director at the Office for Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Education who directs the San Francisco-based Institute for Jewish & Community Research, is part of a two-pronged strategy to strengthen existing civil rights legislation in a way that will protect Jewish students from antisemitic harassment on campus.

Would such a strategy work in the UK? While the judicial systems of the two countries pose serious challenges in terms of jurisprudence, according to Senior Law Lecturer Lesley Klaff of Sheffield Hallam University the opportunities are ripe. In a forthcoming article in the Journal for the Study of AntisemitismJournal for the Study of Antisemitism, Klaff argues that legal remedies for antisemtic hate speech on British campuses are already in place thanks to the new Equality Act which consolidates previous anti-discrimination legislation, imposes an "affirmative equality duty" on all universities from April 2011 and proscribes antisemitic hate speech on campus on the grounds that it constitutes "hostile environment harassment" for Jewish students.

"It's high time we used the laws at our disposal to mount an effective fight-back strategy against campus antisemitism," said Klaff.

In so doing, perhaps young Jews at British universities will finally have recourse to redressing the next antisemtic eruptions on campus.

COMMENTS

Jonathan Hoffman

Tue, 02/01/2011 - 08:01

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3 points

Of course the law should be used. The Public Order Act is there to be used as well. The CPS has been far too reluctant to prosecute. I have made at least six complaints to police, none of which has been prosecuted. The PCAS recommended that a Report be written about why the CPS has been so reluctant to prosecute.

What has been published?

Nada, nichts, nothing...

If it was Muslims under attack you can bet the government and CPS would have taken the threats seriously.


Yoni1

Tue, 02/01/2011 - 10:51

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-1 points

And what about Manchester? And Soas?

I have no hesitation in calling the CPS antisemitic for refusing to take action under existing legislation. In fact, I would say that senior CPS officers who refuse to take action are committing criminal offences when the legislation is quite clear that they should.


Yoni1

Tue, 02/01/2011 - 12:34

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0 points

Interesting that once again, some antisemitic scum has marked my post down.


AlistairClark

Thu, 02/03/2011 - 04:05

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0 points

Mr Hoffman,Sir.Would it be possible for you to share some examples,I'd like to hear of your complaints to the CPS and their excuses?


AlistairClark

Thu, 02/03/2011 - 04:32

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0 points

Yoni 1. Its not the wisest of comments you make.You call people and scum for disagreeing with you .Its important to call true anti-Semites out,its not a good idea to cheapen anti-Semitism ,its dangerous too.


jose (not verified)

Thu, 02/03/2011 - 06:12

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1 point

On the other hand, what do you want to call antisemites? "Nice Gentiles"?


jose (not verified)

Thu, 02/03/2011 - 06:15

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1 point

Jonathan Hoffman

Thu, 02/03/2011 - 07:42

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0 points

http://www.thejc.com/blogpost/from-warsaw-ghetto-gaza-strip-event-held-g...

Here is one example. You cannot 'complain to the CPS'. You take the case to the Police and then the CPS decides whether to prosecute.


Yoni1

Thu, 02/03/2011 - 09:02

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-1 points

"Its not the wisest of comments you make.You call people and scum for disagreeing with you .Its important to call true anti-Semites out,its not a good idea to cheapen anti-Semitism ,its dangerous too."

I call antisemites 'scum', yes, and I will continue to do so.
I see that you are one of those idiots who always whines: "But this is not BIG antisemitism, it's only LITTLE antisemitism, so we mustn't call it that".
Speaking out against antisemitism is not 'cheapening' it. What a silly comment that is.


AlistairClark

Thu, 02/03/2011 - 14:11

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2 points

Yoni I agree call out anti Semites even if there's only a tiny whiff of it.How do you know that you were voted down by anti-Semites ? I worry that calling people out who are not anti Semites threatens the fight against anti-Semitism .What is wrong with that ?


mattpryor

Thu, 02/03/2011 - 14:24

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0 points

It only "cheapens" it for anti-Semites, and for them it never had any meaning anyway.

People who do NOT hate Jews would not be obsessively posting anti-Israel propaganda on a Jewish website or making enemies of people that speak up for Israel. And we have quite of few of them to deal with here.

People that do NOT hate Jews would give Israelis the benefit of the doubt and listen to what they have to say instead of dismissing every thought or feeling as "Zionist propaganda" and plotting their downfall.

People that do NOT hate Jews would not be assisting those that are determined to unleash an apocalypse on the Jews of Israel.


Yoni1

Thu, 02/03/2011 - 14:27

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-3 points

"How do you know that you were voted down by anti-Semites ? I worry that calling people out who are not anti Semites threatens the fight against anti-Semitism .What is wrong with that ?"

You are a bit confused, aren't you?
The only people who could possibly mark down posts opposing antisemitism would be antisemites.


zair (not verified)

Thu, 02/03/2011 - 15:21

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-1 points

matt@13.24, hope your not in the legal profession.

Let me tell you why I post here. This is a public forum where pretty much anyone can view comments. I can not just walk on by while extreme and rejectionist views are put forward by some of the posters here. I would do the same in any public forum.


mattpryor

Thu, 02/03/2011 - 15:41

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2 points

There are no extreme or rejectionist views here, liar. You know this. You know that people that post here are neither extreme nor rejectionist.

Why do you defame us?

Why do you make us your enemy, when we are not?


mattpryor

Thu, 02/03/2011 - 15:55

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1 point

Reply to me, THINK Zair, don't just mark down my post and go off and sulk. Explain yourself. Why do you come here? Why do you attack us? Why do you go out of your way to piss people off?


Joe Millis

Thu, 02/03/2011 - 17:32

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0 points

Matt, forget Zair for a moment. Perhaps the question could be: why do so few people post here?
As for there not being other rejectionist or extremist views here, I beg to differ.


mattpryor

Thu, 02/03/2011 - 17:45

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1 point

I don't think you have any idea what "rejectionist" or "extremist" means Joe Millis.

Consider the following statements:

- Muslims have no right to live in Israel and should be kicked out
- Jews have no right to live in Judea and Samaria and should be kicked out.

NOBODY here would agree with the first statement, or if they did they'd keep it quiet. Plenty of people agree with the second, including our friend zair. I find both equally offensive, extremist and rejectionist. Yet the second statement is considered okay, in fact it guides British foreign policy. Why?


mattpryor

Thu, 02/03/2011 - 17:49

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1 point

And by the way, the second statement is also considered the "moderate" view.

I mean seriously, WTF? How can you be okay with that?


Yoni1

Thu, 02/03/2011 - 17:56

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0 points

Oh, there are plenty of extremist views here - from antisemites, although most of them are too cowardly to post, and all of them are morons.

For examle, this

"The only people who could possibly mark down posts opposing antisemitism would be antisemites"

was marked down by at least 4 utter assholes. They are extremists, whether of the antisemitic or moronic kind - and probably both, in each case.


jose (not verified)

Thu, 02/03/2011 - 18:00

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2 points

Milligramsam, there are extremist people here: Hater zair has expressed very clearly his racist views on these blogs many times. simonsam, Myopic Iris are paranoids who see a Posner or a JoseAnth everywhere. Walinuts is totally... nuts and full of hate.

You have a big choice. And you're lucky: there will be a big sell out! So you can have three for the price of two.


Yoni1

Thu, 02/03/2011 - 18:10

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1 point

Tonight we'll have, on British TV, some chinless idiot sounding off about Jews living in J&S. The Sunday Times, increasingly antisemitic over the past 5 years, has already decided that they live there 'in breach of international law'. If you asked the halfwitted hack who wrote this to quote and construe the exact 'law' they are in breach off, I bet 100 to 1 that he'll rant about the poor 'Palestinian homeland' being 'colonised by Joos ... oops ... Israelis ... oops ... Zionists', but of course his 2-figure IQ will not be up to the task of looking into this properly.


AlistairClark

Thu, 02/03/2011 - 18:19

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-3 points

Let me see, Yoni. You just called our CPS anti Semitic. You are saying the crown hates jews ,highly unlikely.Brits are proud or their institutions,could this be a reason why you were voted down?


mattpryor

Thu, 02/03/2011 - 18:25

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1 point

Alistair, there is a holy war being waged against Jews. Christians and atheists will be next, along with Muslims of the "wrong kind".

The CPS, the government, the courts, through inaction and silence are enabling it in this country. The individuals concerned may not be anti-Semitic, but the organisations sure as hell deserve to be called it. Maybe that'll wake them up out of their denial and stir some action.

You need to get angry about this, before it affects you and yours.


Melvyn Kohn

Thu, 02/03/2011 - 19:28

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1 point

Anti semitism will be used more and more as bankers rip off the world; they need it to difuse anger. The more we expose government abuse and point the finger at the real culprits the better off we are. For instance, there is little talk about how much the illegal drug trade has done to the world economy. Now drug dealers have clout and are a force behind governments.
Then there is the amount of money we waste on ungodly entertainment. Total idiots live like kings because they once warbled a tune on American Idol. The economy is not their fault, but I include that to show the flow of money is not into the hands of ZOG.
And if the world were run by ZOG, it would not be buying Arab oil. Allow me to criticise Israel for not developing more energy - the sun in the Negeb could power thousands of steam towers at little cost, but I think there is so far only one. Many complains about us as a greedy lot, but ignore the filthy rich oil barons in the Middle East who commit horrible crimes and live sick depraved lives.
All these groups benefit from anti semitism, and the last may well be funding it as a smoke screen. Blame the Jews...then run away with the money.


jose (not verified)

Thu, 02/03/2011 - 19:53

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3 points

Anti semitism will be used more and more as bankers rip off the world; they need it to difuse anger

I don't remember reading something as stupid in the last years.
Now Kohn, remember that Jewish bankers were victims of ultra-left nuts antisemitism.


amber

Thu, 02/03/2011 - 19:56

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0 points

Alistair, I can tell you from personal experience that the CPs couldn't care less about incitement against Jews.

It is a shameful situation.


amber

Thu, 02/03/2011 - 19:59

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0 points

No zair, you post here because you are obsessed with hating the Jewish state. Every single post of yours is an attack on Israel - a country that can do no right for you. That isn't debate - it's bigotry.

Also, when there have been clear instances of antisemitismn these blogs, you have stayed silent. Wonder why that is.


Yoni1

Thu, 02/03/2011 - 20:02

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-1 points

Oh, dear.
The CPS is not 'the Crown'. The CPS is a group of lawyers.
If they refuse to implement the law and take legal action against antisemites, they are being antisemitic, yes.


jose (not verified)

Thu, 02/03/2011 - 20:07

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-1 points

Now drug dealers have clout and are a force behind governments.

Thank the coca producers in Bolivia, Kohn!

Allow me to criticise Israel for not developing more energy - the sun in the Negeb could power thousands of steam towers at little cost, but I think there is so far only one.

Well idiots can criticise Israel for whatever they believe true and is not.
First steam towers would not be of any use in the Negev. Second, sun-powered electrictity costs more than oil-powered electricity even in Israel and with Israeli technology, one of the most advanced. Sun-powered electricity is not useful for oil-powered cars although that will change soon.
So it maybe a short-sighted choice, but yet the economical one and Israel has not too much money to spend, thanks to its blood-thirsty neigbours. Nuclear electricity would be a better option, but impossible regarding the situation.


jose (not verified)

Thu, 02/03/2011 - 20:09

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-1 points

If they refuse to implement the law and take legal action against antisemites, they are being antisemitic, yes.

Cowards?


AlistairClark

Thu, 02/03/2011 - 20:58

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0 points

I thought he was talking about the crown prosecution service ,Matt.


AlistairClark

Thu, 02/03/2011 - 21:00

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0 points

Sorry, Jose not Matt


jandrsimonson (not verified)

Thu, 02/03/2011 - 21:05

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0 points

What possible use could there be for a tree if there wasn't an anti semite hiding behind it ?


jose (not verified)

Thu, 02/03/2011 - 21:25

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0 points

What possible use could there be for a tree if there wasn't an anti semite hiding behind it ?

According to the HAMAS, your model of democratic organisation, that is for hiding Jews.


jose (not verified)

Thu, 02/03/2011 - 21:28

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0 points

Sorry, Jose not Matt

Well, being antisemite is one thing, being coward is another.
I think most political parties are afraid of the antisemitic vote, those who vote against those who will not support the islamist countries in their antisemitic fight against Israel.
I call this cowardice, not antisemitism.

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