New chair for anti-racist thinktank

By Leon Symons, March 19, 2009
Dr MacShane, new antisemitism head

Dr MacShane, new antisemitism head

Former Europe Minister Denis MacShane has been named as the new chairman of the European Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism.

Dr MacShane, Labour MP for Rotherham, was chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism. Dr Macshane takes over the post from founding chairman Stephen Pollard, now editor of the JC.

Dr MacShane said he was pleased to take up the post at a critical time when strategic thinking on antisemitism needs to be carried out. He said: “Unfortunately, antisemitism is back and it’s open season again on Jews and their affiliations at the hands of Islamist ideologues, state spokesmen, and the old right-wing extremists like British BNP leaders, whose brazen support for Holocaust denial is barely disguised.

“Nor is this an issue that concerns Jews alone. Antisemitism is an attack on democracy itself. For this reason, non-Jews are the ones who need to lead the charge against it.

“If we’re going to make any progress whatsoever, we need to understand that confronting antisemitism also means confronting racism and xenophobia,” said Dr MacShane.

Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith, who also served on the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry and recently joined the EISCA advisory board, welcomed Dr MacShane’s appointment.

“I look forward to working with Denis in this important endeavour, particularly when antisemitic incidents and discourse continue to rise at unacceptable rates,” said Mr Duncan Smith.

EISCA was established in 2007 as an independent think tank dedicated to examining the growth and development of antisemitism and to explore policy initiatives for challenging its ongoing re-emergence.

Last year EISCA was awarded a grant from the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) towards a study of antisemitic discourse, which will be published this spring.

Dr MacShane’s appointment comes alongside a broad range of additions to EISCA’s advisory board including Secretary of State for Scotland Jim Murphy, Baroness Prosser, Lord Dholakia, Foreign Policy Centre director Stephen Twigg, the Labour Party’s Progress magazine editor Jessica Asato, Sir Tim Sainsbury and Rokhsana Fiyaz, founding director of the Change Institute and a member of the government’s National Muslim Women’s Advisory Group.

Last updated: 1:21pm, March 19 2009