The London Declaration on Combating Antisemitism

This is the declaration which emerged from the The London Conference on Combatting Antisemitism, hosted by the Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism and the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/corporate/pdf/1151284.pdf

Preamble

We, Representatives of our respective Parliaments from across the world, convening in London for the founding Conference and Summit of the Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism, draw the democratic world’s attention to the resurgence of antisemitism as a potent
force in politics, international affairs and society.

We note the dramatic increase in recorded antisemitic hate crimes and attacks targeting Jewish persons and property, and Jewish religious, educational and communal institutions.

We are alarmed at the resurrection of the old language of prejudice and its modern manifestations – in rhetoric and political action – against Jews, Jewish belief and practice and the State of Israel.

We are alarmed by Government-backed antisemitism in general, and state-backed genocidal antisemitism, in particular.

We, as Parliamentarians, affirm our commitment to a comprehensive programme of action to meet this challenge.

We call upon national governments, parliaments, international institutions, political and civic leaders, NGOs, and civil society to affirm democratic and human values, build societies based on respect and citizenship and combat any manifestations of antisemitism and discrimination.

We today in London resolve that;

Challenging Antisemitism

1. Parliamentarians shall expose, challenge, and isolate political actors who engage in hate against Jews and target the State of Israel as a Jewish collectivity;

2. Parliamentarians should speak out against antisemitism and discrimination directed against any minority, and guard against equivocation, hesitation and justification in the face of expressions of hatred;

3. Governments must challenge any foreign leader, politician or public figure who denies, denigrates or trivialises the Holocaust and must encourage civil society to be vigilant to this phenomenon and to openly condemn it;

4. Parliamentarians should campaign for their Government to uphold international commitments on combating antisemitism – including the OSCE Berlin Declaration and its eight main principles;

5. The UN should reaffirm its call for every member state to commit itself to the principles laid out in the Holocaust Remembrance initiative including specific and targeted policies to eradicate Holocaust denial and trivialisation;

6. Governments and the UN should resolve that never again will the institutions of the international community and the dialogue of nation states be abused to try to establish any legitimacy for antisemitism, including the singling out of Israel for discriminatory treatment in the international arena, and we will never witness – or be party to – another gathering like Durban in 2001;

7. The OSCE should encourage its member states to fulfil their commitments under the 2004 Berlin Declaration and to fully utilise programmes to combat antisemitism including the Law Enforcement programme LEOP;

8. The European Union, inter-state institutions and multilateral fora and religious communities must make a concerted effort to combat antisemitism and lead their member states to adopt proven and best practice methods of countering antisemitism;

9. Leaders of all religious faiths should be called upon to use all the means possible to combat antisemitism and all types of discriminatory hostilities among believers and society at large;

10. The EU Council of Ministers should convene a session on combating antisemitism relying on the outcomes of the London Conference on Combating Antisemitism and using the London Declaration as a basis.

Prohibitions

11. Governments should take appropriate and necessary action to prevent the broadcast of explicitly antisemitic programmes on satellite television channels, and to apply pressure on the host broadcast nation to take action to prevent the transmission of explicitly antisemitic programmes;

12. Governments should fully reaffirm and actively uphold the Genocide Convention, recognising that where there is incitement to genocide signatories automatically have an obligation to act. This may include sanctions against countries involved in or threatening to commit genocide or referral of the matter to the UN Security Council or initiate an interstate complaint at the International Court of Justice;

13. Parliamentarians should legislate effective Hate Crime legislation recognising “hate aggravated crimes” and, where consistent with local legal standards, “incitement to hatred” offences and empower law enforcement agencies to convict;

14. Governments that are signatories to the Hate Speech Protocol of the Council of Europe ‘Convention on Cybercrime’ (and the ‘Additional Protocol to the Convention on cybercrime, concerning the criminalisation of acts of a racist and xenophobic nature committed through computer systems’) should enact domestic enabling legislation;

Identifying the threat

15. Parliamentarians should return to their legislature, Parliament or Assembly and establish inquiry scrutiny panels that are tasked with determining the existing nature and state of antisemitism in their countries and developing recommendations for government and civil society action;

16. Parliamentarians should engage with their governments in order to measure the effectiveness of existing policies and mechanisms in place and to recommend proven and best practice methods of countering antisemitism;

17. Governments should ensure they have publicly accessible incident reporting systems, and that statistics collected on antisemitism should be the subject of regular review and action by government and state prosecutors and that an adequate legislative framework is in place to tackle hate crime.

18. Governments must expand the use of the EUMC ‘working definition’ of antisemitism to inform policy of national and international organisations and as a basis for training material for use by Criminal Justice Agencies;

19. Police services should record allegations of hate crimes and incidents – including antisemitism – as routine part of reporting crimes;

20. The OSCE should work with member states to seek consistent data collection systems for antisemitism and hate crime.

Education, awareness and training

21. Governments should train Police, prosecutors and judges comprehensively. The training is essential if perpetrators of antisemitic hate crime are to be successfully apprehended, prosecuted, convicted and sentenced. The OSCE’s Law enforcement Programme LEOP is a model initiative consisting of an international cadre of expert police officers training police in several countries;

22. Governments should develop teaching materials on the subjects of the Holocaust, racism, antisemitism and discrimination which are incorporated into the national school curriculum. All teaching materials ought to be based on values of comprehensiveness, inclusiveness, acceptance and respect and should be designed to assist students to recognise and counter
antisemitism and all forms of hate speech;

23. The OSCE should encourage their member states to fulfill their commitments under the 2004 Berlin Declaration and to fully utilise programmes to combat antisemitism including the Law Enforcement programme LEOP;

24. Governments should include a comprehensive training programme across the Criminal Justice System using programmes such as the LEOP programme;

25. Education Authorities should ensure that freedom of speech is upheld within the law and to protect students and staff from illegal antisemitic discourse and a hostile environment in whatever form it takes including calls for boycotts;

Community Support

26. The Criminal Justice System should publicly notify local communities when antisemitic hate crimes are prosecuted by the courts to build community confidence in reporting and pursuing convictions through the Criminal Justice system;

27. Parliamentarians should engage with civil society institutions and leading NGOs to create partnerships that bring about change locally, domestically and globally, and support efforts that encourage Holocaust education, inter-religious dialogue and cultural exchange;

Media and the Internet

28. Governments should acknowledge the challenge and opportunity of the growing new forms of communication;

29. Media Regulatory Bodies should utilise the EUMC ‘Working Definition of antisemitism’ to inform media standards;

30. Governments should take appropriate and necessary action to prevent the broadcast of antisemitic programmes on satellite television channels, and to apply pressure on the host broadcast nation to take action to prevent the transmission of antisemitic programmes;

31. The OSCE should seek ways to coordinate the response of member states to combat the use of the internet to promote incitement to hatred;

32. Law enforcement authorities should use domestic “hate crime”, “incitement to hatred” and other legislation as well as other means to mitigate and, where permissible, to prosecute “Hate on the Internet” where racist and antisemitic content is hosted, published and written;

33. An international task force of Internet specialists comprised of parliamentarians and experts should be established to create common metrics to measure antisemitism and other manifestations of hate online and to develop policy recommendations and practical instruments for Governments and international frameworks to tackle these problems.

Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism

34. Participants will endeavour to maintain contact with fellow delegates through working group framework; communicating successes or requesting further support where required;

35. Delegates should reconvene for the next ICCA Conference in Canada in 2010, become an active member of the Inter-parliamentary Coalition and promote and prioritise the London Declaration on Combating Antisemitism.

Lancaster House, 17 February 2009

http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/corporate/pdf/1151284.pdf

Mike Cushman’s ‘Protocols’ Moment

Mike Cushman

Mike Cushman

Although Mike Cushman is the leader of the movement in the University and College Union to exclude people who work at Israeli universities from UK campuses, he has always denied being antisemitic. Indeed, he speaks often “as a Jew”.

Now Cushman has approvingly posted an old antisemitic article from The Palestine Chronicle on the “Just Peace UK” website.

The article about “Zionist” influence begins by listing the number of “Jews” who sit in the British Houses of Parliament.

It goes on to construct a story to demonstrate how Tony Blair required Jewish “Zionist” money to run the New Labour project after he had cut Labour’s reliance on trade union funding.

The article is available on The Palestinian Chronicle website here. Cushman posted it here: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/JustPeaceUK/message/25717.

A pattern is beginning to emerge with Mike Cushman.

Cushman is the man who leapt to the defence of the UCU member who advised union colleagues to read a piece of conspiracy theory on former KKK leader David Duke’s website.

Cushman is also the man who came up with the following stereotype about Jews and their relationship to universities:

“Universities are to Israel what the springboks were to South Africa: the symbol of their national identity.”

He is the man who was feted by the Iranian state propaganda machine.

He is the man who wrote a fawning account of his recent trip to Hamas-ruled Gaza.

But surely now that he has posted an antisemitic article on a Palestine solidarity website, his reputation in the union will be in tatters and he will be forced to resign from his leadership position in BRICUP?

No. I don’t suppose it will make any difference at all.

Portrait of a campus anti-Zionist twinning

My UCU branch has decided that acknowledging antisemitism on British campuses doesn’t strengthen its twinning with a Palestinian university.

Last week, at a relatively well-attended meeting, my branch Executive seconded a motion to support a twinning with a Palestinian university, building on existing Student Union work. A  few of us decided to propose an additional note about “the increase in antisemitic atmosphere on British campuses associated with Israel’s conflicts”. We are all broadly supportive of the twinning but conscious that in our institution it has been a vehicle for intensifying calls for the ostracisation and dissolution of Israel. Our intervention was fairly puny and didn’t say what needed to be said about this twinning – in retrospect since it was almost certain to fall we should have made more amendments. Five of the student twinning organisers had taken a break from their occupation of our administration building to attend the meeting and were lined up at the front. The chair (who is also the branch Secretary and an Israel boycotter) interrupted me hastily as I began to explain the problems with the current twinning. He then told the branch that acknowledging antisemitism on British campuses wouldn’t strengthen the motion and that they should reject our note. They duly voted against it. Some of us went on to vote for the twinning motion anyway.

The report of the meeting was circulated the next day made no mention of this discussion. On the branch site:

“We acknowledge that the actions of the Israeli state (such as the invasion of Gaza) could lead to an increased climate of anti-Semitism”.

For how much longer is my union going to push this fallacy that Israel is primarily responsible for British antisemitism? Where is its sense of responsibility to Jewish members? For years it’s been blatantly obvious that antisemitism lodges in the language and practice of prevalent forms of Palestine solidarity activism, and that this morphs with alarming ease into familiar allegations of Jewish conspiracy and dual loyalty. To pass over this so lightly is a shocking failure for a trade union which calls itself anti-racist.

“However, it should also be pointed out that anti-Semitism is a separate issue than support for twinning with a Palestinian university and these issues should not be conflated.”

I argue here that our twinning harbours and promulgates antisemitic ways of thinking about Israel, that this is long-standing and ongoing, and that my branch has voted to go along with it.

The twinning is an ongoing project (‘campaign’) in the Student Union. In 2006 students here began seeking a Palestinian twin. They hoped to link with An Najah, famous for the Sbarro suicide bomb art installation. I understand that An Najah was much admired and received far more invitations than it could handle. Goldsmiths’ overtures came to nothing and consequently the organisers linked with a place which had been overlooked so far (this in itself is reassuring) – Al Quds Open University, a distance learning institution with branches in the UAE and Saudi. Al Quds don’t need much from us. They hope that people will visit and report back, and they also propose post-graduate scholarships. Who wouldn’t support this? But as well as being a project to extend solidarity and material support to occupied Palestinians, the twinning is also a campaign about something else.

At Goldsmiths Debating Society last week, a twinning coordinator told the floor that Ismail Haniyeh, leader of Hamas, “wasn’t antisemitic at all, actually”. But Haniyeh leads a Jew-hating organisation whose charter confirms the validity of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. If he’s not antisemitic, then nobody is.

On the twinning Facebook group, the front page for a while declared that the campaign was “under surreptitious attack from three very vocal Zionists”. ‘Zionist’ is used to mean ‘dissenter’, so perhaps one of them was me. At any rate, my posting rights were suddenly withdrawn after I criticised the aggressive anti-Zionist nature of an event I went to and warned that it would alienate Jews from becoming involved in the twinning. The correspondence that followed was grim, summarised by the coordinator’s “it doesnt alienate jewish students, just maybe zionists. and i’m not in the business of catering to racists”, and on Hamas: “it’s simply they are the palestinian resistance”. Simple is right. My ideas weren’t welcome but I was invited, or rather challenged, to donate my money instead. Not to them, I decided.

So when my local UCU Executive decided to give the twinning £200 of our subs, I notified the branch secretary of my experiences. I got a bland reply with no reassurance and certainly no undertakings. I sent a few polite messages to twinning coordinators asking to be reinstated. Some time later I found myself slung out altogether. By then I no longer wanted to get back in.

The same coordinator is an administrator of the ‘I Support the University Occupations in Solidarity with Gaza’ group on Facebook. She permitted an article containing the following to remain conspicuously for weeks – it was still there when she turned up at my union meeting last week and it took a letter from J-Soc to get it removed:

“The Jews are so dominant, I had to scour the trades to come up with six Gentiles in high positions at entertainment companies. When I called them to talk about their incredible advancement, five of them refused to talk to me, apparently out of fear of insulting Jews. The sixth, AMC President Charlie Collier, turned out to be Jewish.”

It was a satirical piece about Jewish Power from the LA Times, but it had been reposted unsatirically under a thread titled “Boycotting Hollywood”. There was no mention of Israelis or Zionists at all, just Jews.

The anti-Zionism of our twinning tends to antisemitism because it is avidly and viscerally anti-Israel rather than soberly critical of Jewish nationalism and prepared to engage with its origins and argue alternatives. This selective blindness and its corollary, antisemitism minimisation, is characteristic of the SWP and RESPECT, with whom a number, if not most, of the twinning organisers have affinity. Indeed every Palestinian speaker at twinning events is flanked by somebody with SWP-compatible views on Israel, insulting our intelligence with hollow ideology, mendacious analogy and vacuous code words – Zionist, colonialist, imperialist, apartheid, Nazi. There are no speakers who diverge from these eccentric and limited politics. You’re not supposed to think, you’re supposed to swallow the ideologies of John Rose, Sabby Sagall, Suzanne Weiss.

Suzanne Weiss (who never went near the Warsaw Ghetto, contrary to explicit statements on her publicity) was invited by the twinning campaign to tell a packed theatre that Jewish people are naturally hated, we should think of Gaza as a latter day Warsaw Ghetto, Israel as apartheid and Israelis as Nazis. This perverted set of equivalences paved the way for the assertion that Israelis intend to enact a holocaust on the Palestinians, and effortlessly on to demanding that we boycott Israel and work to end its existence.  David Hirsh and I explain how Suzanne Weiss’ analysis promotes antisemitism. And yet she was invited, warmly endorsed and funded by the Student Union. At the vigil afterwards (later talked of as a march)  another coordinator informed me that the twinning was completely free of antisemitism and we were all welcome at the meetings. Given what had gone before, the former statement cancelled out the latter.

The Student Union is split by the twinning. Many students recognise it as anti-Israel activism cynically posing as concern for Palestinians, the work of a small, but loud, voice in the SU. There is also widespread disapproval at the way it was pushed through on an Executive rather than membership vote. The most recent challenge to the current status quo, which proposed a three-way including Israel, fell by only two votes. There are likely to be further challenges, although not to the existing links with Al Quds – these are generally recognised as positive.

It’s hard to know what to make of the fact that my UCU branch finds antisemitism cosmically unimportant. How could a motion in support of twinning be weakened by an additional acknowledgement that antisemitism is on the rise? Perhaps it’s because this ostensibly peaceful twinning is in fact so hate-inspiring that, having harried Jews into defending Israel, it then treats them as proxy Israelis, Zionists and therefore fascists. The bottom line seems to be that if you support or defend Israel it doesn’t matter whether you also support Palestinians – you are going to have a credibility problem when you try to voice concerns about antisemitism. Quite possibly, your comrades believe that antisemitism is your fault and your problem.

Anyone tempted to write me off as a sly and bloodstained Zionist waving my antisemitism shroud to divert attention from Israel as it finishes off the Palestinians should ask themselves, what does she want? I support links with Palestinians, oppose the settlements, and if at any time in the future Israelis and Palestinians feel secure enough about each other to melt their borders, fine. But what seems to be much more immediately my business – because it’s something uncontained which affects where I live and work – is that things are going in the wrong direction for Jews here at the moment.

As I said at the meeting, I want a better twinning. Last week I was at an unedifying talk about what British Jews should do about Gaza. I went because my friend was an invited speaker. Afterwards he rounded up a small group of us with whom he was friendly and took us back to his home. The way it ended up, Palestinians, peace activists, former IDF soldiers, one or maybe two refuseniks, a person who found it very hard to be around to former IDF soldiers, an Israeli peace activist who was converted to boycotting, and an activist against British antisemitism talked and listened together, asked questions, disagreed, drew lines, talked sharply, reached agreements, put some things to one side. As David Hirsh puts it, they were reshaping the broad narratives of Israeli and Palestinian so that they were compatible with each other. This is a requirement of coexistence. The reason that group of people could come together is the kind of atmosphere my friend created – one in which Israelis and Palestinians, in Britain as equals, can grope towards the mutual understanding and trust which is so badly needed whether you support two states, one state or none.

And our twinning? Worlds away.

Update: LSE and others.

Call for Papers for the European Sociological Association Conference – Research Network on Ethnic Relations, Racism and Antisemitism

RN31 – Ethnic Relations, Racism and Antisemitism

Coordinators

Chairs:  Claudine Attias-Donfut  and  Robert Fine

Co-chairs: Veronique Atglas and  David Hirsh,

Board members: Katya Gibel, Nicole Lapierre, Alain Rozenkier, Catherine Silver


Call for papers for the Research Network 31 on Ethnic Relations, Racism and Antisemitism for the ESA Lisbon Conference.

The 9th Conference of the European Sociological Association will be held in Lisbon 2nd-5th September 2009. The ESA Network on Ethnic Relations, Racism and Antisemitism invites submissions of papers.

We will hold sessions that focus on theoretical and empirical aspects of research on racism and antisemitism. The general theme of the ESA conference as a whole is “European Society or European Societies? http://www.esa9thconference.com/

Our sessions will, broadly speaking, attempt to contribute to the questions raised by this general theme.

This conference will be an opportunity to analyse the impact of recent events both in Europe and the Middle East on racism and antisemitism in European countries. For example, does the current economic and financial crisis have an effect on these phenomena? Is there is trend to accept openly racist political parties into the mainstream political dialogue in European countries? Are events in the Middle East, and especially Israel’s military action in Gaza, giving rise to antisemitic reactions in Europe? What is the significance of Obama’s election in the US for the battle against racism and antisemitism in Europe? This conference is also an opportunity to address the specific question the conference theme raises: are there different forms of racism and antisemitism in different European societies or are these phenomena basically cross-European or even global in character? Are there some aspects of social policies and social structures that influence the strength and shape of racism and antisemitism in different European societies?

The RN 31 is calling for papers which fit broadly into the following thematic areas:

  • European racism and antisemitism: common trends and variations
  • Global and local aspects of racism and anti-Semitism
  • Racism against ethnic and religious minorities
  • Migration and racism
  • Colonial legacy and racism
  • Racism and antisemitism at schools, at place of work, etc.
  • Racism and antisemitism within international relations
  • Transformations of racism and anti-Semitism
  • The role of the media, intellectuals and opinion-makers in the production of racism and anti-Semitism
  • Socio-psychological aspects of racism and anti-Semitism
  • Sources of racism and antisemitism in statehood and political community
  • Conceptualisations and measures of racism and anti-Semitism
  • Strategies for combating racism and anti-Semitism
  • The collective memory of the Holocaust in European society

These thematic areas are illustrative. We invite all of you who are engaged in this kind of research and scholarship to submit papers to the Research Network to share ideas, experiences and findings.

Abstracts should be submitted electronically on the Conference website (http://www.esa9thconference.com/) and sent to the Network Co-ordinators: claudine.attias-donfut@cnav.fr and Robert.fine@warwick.ac.uk

Important Dates

  • 26 February 2009 – Deadline for abstracts submission (online submission form)
  • 26 March 2009 – Notification of acceptance of abstracts by RN/RS coordinators
  • 15 May 2009 – Early bird registration
  • 15 July 2009 – Deadline for sending full written papers to RN/RS and to the Local Organising Committee (Full papers which are not submitted until this date will not be considered for publication)

Please share this call with colleagues of yours who might be interested in contributing.

Click here for the European Sociological Association website

What you can do to help in the next few hours – Iranian trade unionists on trial

Message from Eric Lee of LabourStart:

I need your help in the next few hours.

We’ve received a report from the IUF that on Sunday, 22 February, there is going to be a court hearing in Iran at which the fate of five jailed trade union leaders may be decided.

Those men have been charged with “acting against national security” and face potentially long prison sentences.  Their only crime was to do their job as trade unionists.

We have only a few hours to flood the Iranian government with messages of protest from around the world.

Please take a moment and send off your message — click here to do so.

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