Sean Wallis, UCL UCU, denies antisemitism in connecting Lehman Brothers bankruptcy to anti-boycott lawyers

Here on harry’s Place.

11 Responses to “Sean Wallis, UCL UCU, denies antisemitism in connecting Lehman Brothers bankruptcy to anti-boycott lawyers”

  1. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    This from Lucy Lips in the Harry’s Place article above: “but spreading antisemitic theories makes you a nazi.” Well, no, actually it doesn’t, Lucy. What it makes you is an antisemite. Antisemites don’t necessarily want to exterminate or even kill Jews, just discriminate against them. Bad, but not necessarily fatal (to Jews, that is).

    Nazis, however, want to kill, indeed exterminate, Jews: see “Mein Kampf”, the programme of the Nazi Party and the proceedings of the Wannsee Conference, passim.

  2. unseen Says:

    Brian, I think Lucy was trying to characterise Wallis’ claims.

  3. Saul Says:

    Do I detect the oncoming of yet another example of the “Livingstone Formulation”.

  4. zkharya Says:

    Far left meets far right. Despite Wallis’ Jewish grandparent(s), or “assomeoneofJewishdescent”.

  5. Bill Says:

    Once again, we’re in the magical world of antisemitism without antisemites. What a wonderful world that would be, since antisemitism (even masked as globalized or even regional “antizionism”) would die like the grass in my brownthumbed yard.

    Keep dreaming.

  6. modernityblog Says:

    The contribution from SO Muffin at HP is probably the best, partly in response to this nonsense:

    “TheIrie 3 June 2009, 9:05 am

    I’d like to see some evidence that he actually said it. As far as I can see all we have as a source is some anonymous blogger, and Wallis appears to deny having said it. Where’s the evidence?”

    SO Muffin wrote:

    “S.O.Muffin 3 June 2009, 10:28 pm

    Sorry to have come so late to this discussion: some of us academics are so idle that we mark exam scripts well into the night – now is my 15 mins break…

    If TheIrie is still online, can I have please a reaction to the following?

    1. There is no dispute that Sean Wallis said at an UCU fringe meeting that “the campaign to boycott Israeli academics had been threatened by lawyers backed by those with bank balances from Lehman Brothers that can’t be tracked down”. He doesn’t dispute this, nobody disputes this. Now, let us suppose that, in spirit of universal charity, we accept that he didn’t lift it from a neo-Nazi blog. Can you, please, TheIrie, explain what he has meant and whether there exists an interpretation, any interpretation, which makes it a benign statement?

    2. I understand, TheIrie, that you apply very high evidential standards to accusations of anti-Semitism originating in self-professed “Left wingers”, that you will not accept anything unless the accuser was there, presumably recorded everything, subjected it to voice analysis and has at least ten witnesses, all of them over 18 and of sound mind, to verify the accusation. Now, honestly, TheIrie, are you applying the same standards of evidence to other alleged statements of racism? Are you expressing equal worry that perchance Nick Griffin or Pat Buchanan or Geert Wielders or Avigdor Lieberman might be misquoted?

    3. Given that Sean Wallis said in public something that, in its obvious interpretation, appears to be anti-Semitic, would you agree that the burden of proof is on him to explain what he has meant and why it wasn’t anti-Semitic? Rolling the eyes innocently and self-proclaiming his immaculate anti-racist credentials is neither here nor there. If he really claim that there is an innocent interpretation, why didn’t he provide it? After all, it isn’t as if he never responded to the accusation!

    4. And finally, TheIrie… Would you agree (or perhaps not) that the only possible reaction to racism, no matter what its origin and its target, is zero tolerance?”

  7. Vanessa Freedman Says:

    At a general meeting of UCL UCU yesterday, at which over 60 members were present, we unanimously passed the resolution below.

    Vanessa Freedman
    Hebrew & Jewish Studies Librarian

    UCL UCU notes
    1. That a report has appeared in the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz alleging anti-semitism in comments made by UCL UCU branch secretary, Sean Wallis, in a personal capacity, at a fringe meeting at UCU Congress 2009.

    2. That UCU delegates voted en bloc in line with branch policy at UCU Congress, including in relation to our position on any putative Academic Boycott of Israeli Institutions.

    3. That unfounded allegations have the potential to intimidate and damage this union and its members.

    UCL UCU believes
    1. That anti-semitism, clearly defined as racism against Jews, must be opposed in exactly the same terms as any other racist ideology, namely, on the basis that an injury to one is an injury to all.

    2. That trade union and academic freedom entails the right of members to adopt contrary positions, and to debate international issues on their merits, free from threat of legal action or libel.

    3. That this particular allegation of anti-semitism is without foundation.

    UCL UCU affirms that Sean Wallis has an impeccable reputation not just as a trade union activist and democrat but also as a consistent opponent of racism in all of its forms, including opposition to anti-semitism.

    UCL UCU resolves
    1. To stand by our branch secretary and against any witch-hunt of him.

    2. To call on the National Executive Committee of UCU publicly to register its support for this union officer in all relevant publications, and to condemn the unfounded campaign being waged against him.

  8. modernityblog Says:

    Sadly Ms. Freedman, that motion does not address the substance of what Sean Wallis actually said and its connotations.

    I suggest that you and other UCU members at UCL read Muffin’s contribution above.

  9. Fascists, Ferrets and How To Stop The Far Right. « ModernityBlog Says:

    […] A fragmented British left, fighting like ferrets in a sack, a divided and rather weak antiracist movement, numerous smaller groupings politically compromised by either their rigid adherence to the discredited theories of long since dead Russians, or their willingness to host racists and indulge in borderline jokes. […]

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