Antisemitism

A Who’s Who of world politics

February 19, 2009

The main players at the first London Conference on Antisemitism read like a who’s who of world politics. There were a dozen ministers from different governments and different continents, the president of the Austrian parliament, the vice-president of the Bundestag, the state prosecutor for Argentina and British government ministers and MPs. The conference differed from previous such events because they were usually occasions for Jews to speak to Jews. In London, deliberately, the majority of the participants were non-Jews.

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Britain and Italy threaten to drop out of Durban II

By Leon Symons, February 19, 2009

Britain and Italy could join Canada and Israel in refusing to attend the Durban II Review Conference in April unless they receive cast-iron guarantees that it will not turn into an antisemitic, anti-Israel arena of hate.

The conference, to be held in Geneva, is a follow-up to the UN World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance held in Durban, South Africa, in 2001.

The Durban conference became notorious for its unbridled attacks on Israel, led by Iran and a number of other Arab states.

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Minister: ‘Israel anger has become attacks on Jews’

By Leon Symons, February 19, 2009

Foreign Office Minister Lord Malloch-Brown has condemned the targeting of Jews around the world as a direct result of Israel’s foreign policy.

In an exclusive interview with the JC while attending this week’s London Conference on Antisemitism, Lord Malloch-Brown — a critic of Israel’s recent action in Gaza — said: “I am intellectually dismayed at the conflation of the two issues. I lived in the United States for many years and I would not expect someone to throw a brick through my window because of the policies of the British government.

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Pioneering move to fight race hate

By Leon Symons, February 19, 2009

A landmark document designed to combat antisemitism in all parts of the world has been produced at the end of a unique conference.

The first London Conference on Antisemitism brought together 125 parliamentarians from 40 countries, alongside 80 experts in the field.

They spent two days closeted together — the week after the Community Security Trust confirmed that January was the worst month ever in Britain for antisemitic incidents, in the wake of Israel’s action in Gaza.

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Jacobson's filthy time

By Jonathan Kalmus, February 19, 2009

Howard Jacobson has told a Manchester audience how he felt “cleansed” to be the target of “antisemitic filth”.

Debating “Britishness and Literature” with fellow novelist Martin Amis at Manchester University, Mr Jacobson said: “One good sign we have in our society is that we have comedians. I don’t think you can live a decent life unless somewhere the whole idea of decency is being trashed.

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National's Hytner says no censorship

By Marcus Dysch, February 19, 2009

The director of the National Theatre has defended two plays which have drawn criticism for perceived antisemitic and racist undertones.

Nicholas Hytner said it was not the theatre’s role to censor the views of playwrights, and denied that flyers for one of the plays had accused Israel of “atrocities” during last month’s conflict in Gaza.

Burnt by the Sun is set in 1936 Soviet Russia ahead of Stalin’s great purges and follows a Red Army veteran’s life at his dacha outside Moscow.

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Boris declares war on racists in Gaza protests

By Ben Jaglom, February 18, 2009

Boris Johnson has condemned those who have used the Gaza conflict as a platform for antisemitism.

Addressing a dinner at Westminster Synagogue which raised £75,000, the London Mayor said: “I deplore efforts to import the bullying, hatred and divisiveness found in the Middle East to the streets of London”.

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Foreign Office man arrested over 'racism'

By Simon Rocker, February 12, 2009

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office remained tight-lipped this week after the arrest of a senior official for an alleged antisemitic outburst.

Rowan Laxton, head of its South Asia desk, reportedly shouted “F*** Jews, f*** Israelis”, after watching pictures of Israeli action in Gaza on TV last month. He allegedly made his outburst while exercising in the gym of the London Business School.

The diplomat denied making anti-Jewish remarks, according to the Daily Mail, which had reported the allegations.

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Hate incidents reach record level on eve of antisemitism conference

By Leon Symons, February 12, 2009

The annual Community Security Trust report reveals that January was the worst month ever for antisemitic incidents in Britain. The upsurge — linked to Israel’s Gaza incursion — followed falls in 2007 and 2008.

The total for 2008 was 541 incidents. The highest annual figure was 598 in 2006, the year of the Lebanon war.

Eighty-eight violent assaults were recorded, and 74 cases of damage to Jewish property.

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Turkey acts to stop wave of hate

By Sami Kohen, February 12, 2009

The Turkish government has launched a series of measures to combat the antisemitism that hit Turkey during Operation Cast Lead, and has started trying to mend severely strained ties with Israel.

Following strong condemnation of antisemitism by President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the State Religious Affairs Department instructed clerics in all mosques to refrain from delivering sermons that could provoke anti-Jewish feelings. During the Gaza crisis, mass demonstrations after Friday services had featured antisemitic elements.

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