Tribunal had same attitude as UCU

November 24, 2016 22:57

The Tribunal found against Ronnie Fraser on everything: on technicalities, legal argument, issues of substance and of fact.

It found everything significant that the UCU said in its defence persuasive and nothing said by Mr Fraser or any of his witnesses about antisemitism to be of any value.

Mr Fraser said there was a culture in the union in which antisemitism was tolerated, and his witnesses provided hundreds of examples to prove the claim. But the tribunal did not accept that even one of the many stories that it was told was a genuine indicator of antisemitism.

Of course, every racist claims that anti-racists disregard their right to free speech. And sometimes the tribunal appeared to veer towards the view that those who complain of antisemitism are simply over-sensitive and lacking in objective judgment.

But the central findings, that this is politics dressed up as litigation, and that this is an attempt to disallow free criticism, are allegations of Jewish bad faith.

The fact that the tribunal believed that Jews were crying antisemitism explains the unusually intemperate and emotional language it employed in its dismissive judgment.

Anybody who has been following the story within the union will be aware that the response of the tribunal was the same as the response Jews faced within the union.

The tribunal backs the union’s way of thinking about antisemitism completely. The experience of going to the tribunal, it turns out, is more of the same experience about which Fraser appealed to the tribunal in the first place.

The UCU, and now the tribunal too, have judged that nothing that ever happened in the union was antisemitic. Neither in intent nor in effect.

We live in a time and place where it is possible for a union and a tribunal to fail to see antisemitism, even when it is shown to them in detail and even when its significance is explained to them by experts.

The tribunal said that Mr Fraser was a campaigner and so, like a rugby player who chooses to play, must “accept his fair share of minor injuries”.

The days are long gone when a tribunal could say this to a woman who is harassed at work after she chooses to wear a tight skirt or after she chooses to campaign for women’s rights. But a Jew who is a “friend of Israel” or who fights against antisemitism gets what’s coming to them.

November 24, 2016 22:57

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