Glasgow University criticised over 2017 ‘Zionist lobbyists’ paper

Essay focuses on what it claims is Israel’s policy to ‘sponsor and resource the growth of grassroots advocacy in the UK’


A paper published by the University of Glasgow claims Israel is sponsoring a network of advocacy groups in a bid to shape public opinion of the Jewish state in the UK.

The piece appeared in an issue of the Scottish university’s peer-reviewed postgraduate journal, esharp, in 2017.

Pro-Israel activist David Collier, who is mentioned several times, said the piece was “laden with conspiracy, antisemitism and errors” in a lengthy response published Friday. 

He added that it “should be hung on the walls at Glasgow university as a reminder of the shame that they ever allowed this to be published.”

The paper claimed to demonstrate “the outworking of Israel’s policy since 2000 to sponsor and resource the growth of grassroots advocacy in the UK, and to coordinate a hegemonic discourse across a range of social platforms.”

It sought to show “how Zionist organizations in the UK are engaged in a determined strategy to reinforce from below the British government’s long-standing support for Israel, dating back to the Balfour Declaration of 1917.”

The paper also highlighted the 2017 Al Jazeera documentary ‘The Lobby’ and claimed it showed Israeli embassy official Shai Masot  “mobilizing behind-the-scenes support for Israel through his close involvement with Zionist lobbyists amongst the political elite, and covertly fostering the spread of pro-Israel advocacy groups at the grassroots level of British society”.

A Bicom poll of British attitudes to Israel, published last year, found fewer than half opposed boycotts of the country.

A University of Glasgow spokesperson said: “We have been made aware of concerns raised around an article published more than three years ago, written by a postgraduate student from outwith the University of Glasgow and peer-reviewed by postgraduates drawn from various UK universities. 

“The University of Glasgow is committed to supporting academic freedom and promoting equality and diversity across campus. As part of that commitment, we have recently agreed to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance working definition of antisemitism. The University takes a zero-tolerance approach to antisemitism and hate speech of any kind.” 

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