Steve Clark’s Election Address

Dr Steve Clark from Nottingham Trent, one of the ten people standing for the UCU NEC, makes the following observation in his election address:

I am not a member of any political party/grouping and am concerned that perennial effort (and union funds) expended debating political fringe issues (like the proposed Israel boycotts) saps time, energy and resources from the real issues of membership concern.

Hat Tip to Sarah Annes Brown.

UCU Elections.

Engage supporters have been emailing Engage with regard to the forthcoming UCU elections.

Broadly there are two factions within UCU.  One, is ‘UCU left’ which is dominated by the Socialist Workers Party.  UCU left has consistently supported candidates who support the exclusion of intellectuals who work in Israel from British universities.

The other faction is a soft-left faction which has, by and large, opposed the boycott, although it has been ineffective in opposing it and it has been ineffective in standing up to antisemitism in the union. Their letter is below :

Dear all,

We are writing to you about the current round of UCU elections. We would encourage you to take the time to vote as those elected will be responsible for determining the direction of the union in what is certain to be a difficult period.

Attached below is a list which we hope you take into consideration when voting. We believe that those listed will work to ensure that the union focuses on a core, trade union agenda in a non-sectarian manner. All are standing on their own platform with no pre-selection or manifesto screening.

With funding cuts and job threats, we believe the union must take practical measures to protect members. Employers will, of course, seek to exploit the situation to hold pay levels down and we must be prepared to take all reasonable and possible measures to protect the interests of members. Equally, however, we must not allow ourselves to be provoked into ill considered, knee jerk reactions on pay. Indeed, given the severity of the threatened cuts, we must seek to put ourselves at the head of the widest possible coalition to defend FE and HE. This will, necessarily, involve a willingness to work with all stakeholders – with universities and colleges as well as with our more traditional allies in the student movement, professional bodies and other trade unions. UCU should throw down a challenge to VCs and principals to follow our lead in a joint endeavour to fight the cuts and defend education.

This year, there is an election for the Vice-President (Further Education) and all members, FE and HE, are entitled to vote in this election. The winner of this election will become overall President in two years. Thus, we would particularly encourage members in higher education to vote in this election, even though it appears as an FE election. We strongly recommend voting for KATHY TAYLOR. Kathy has much experience in FE and has also sought to understand the culture and context of industrial relations in Higher Education and supported those of us in HE where possible. In addition, Kathy has shown an acute understanding of the wide variety of members in UCU- FE academic staff, HE academic staff, Academic-related staff, women- as well as understanding the needs of those in each of England, Scotland, Wales and N. Ireland.

We hope you find this of assistance

Alan Carr- Open University, National
Treasurer UCU

John McCormack, Northland College,
NEC (FE)

Joanna DeGroot- University of York and
NEC(HE)

Anne Bainbridge – Bishop Auckland
College Branch Secretary (FE)

Roger Brooks, President Liverpool UCU
and NEC

Angela Roger- University of Dundee,
UCU Scotland Honorary Secretary and
NEC(HE)

Simon Renton- UCL and NEC (HE)

David Limb, North Western Regional
College UCU, N. Ireland Region
Secretary, NEC(FE)

Roger Walters, President Open University
UCU and NEC (HE)

Tricia Gott- Bradford College Branch
Secretary, NEC

Jimmy Donaghey- Queen’s University
Belfast and NEC(HE)

Pauline Collins- Open University,
NEC(HE)

Terry McKnight- University of Ulster and
NEC(HE)

Cath Hepburn – Sunderland College and
Northern Region FE Committee
Secretary (FE)

David Branson – Middlesbrough College
and Northern Region FE Committee
Chair (FE)

Roger Undy, President Oxford UCU

Ian Cusack – Tyne Metropolitan College
Branch Secretary(FE)
Joe Gluza, Treasurer Cambridge UCU and
NEC

Jonathan Spink – South Tyneside College
Branch Secretary (FE)

Dave Guppy, UCL UCU and NEC(HE)
Mavis Taggert – Northumberland College
Branch Secretary (FE)

Steve Clark, Nottingham Trent UCU,
NEC(HE)

John Perry St. Austell College NEC FE
member for the South (FE)

Steve Snowball – Branch Secretary
Newcastle University, (HE)

Angi Lamb, LA President Edinburgh
UCU(HE)

Philip Burgess, University of Dundee and
NEC(HE)

Bob Langridge, Oxford Brookes Branch
Secretary (HE)

Recommendations

Note: in most constituencies there are fewer recommended candidates than seats available- this reflects that it is important to maximise the vote for the candidates listed. Feel free to continue preferences to as many as you see fit. In most elections, there is no advice on ordering candidates but it is important members extend their preferences to all the candidates listed below.

In the VP (Further education) and the HE/FE Women’s seats, all members may vote and we would strongly encourage you to vote even if the election is in the other sector

Vice-President who is a member of the further education sector

Kathy Taylor (Newcastle College)

Geographically-elected members of the National Executive Committee (NEC)

North East, further education sector (two members to be elected)

David O’Toole (Newcastle College)

North East, higher education sector (three members to be elected)

Dr Joanna de Groot (University of York)

London and the East, higher education sector (four members to be elected)

Simon Renton (University College London)

Dr Steve Sangwine (University of Essex)

4 UK-elected members of the National Executive Committee (NEC)

John McCormack (Newcastle College)

UK-elected members, higher education (seven members to be elected)

Roger Brooks (University of Liverpool)

Dr Steve Clark (Nottingham Trent University)

Angi Lamb (University of Edinburgh)

Bob Langridge (Oxford Brookes University)

Bethan Norfor (Open University)

Gordon Watson (University of Strathclyde)

Representatives of women members from the further education sector (two members to
be elected)

Mrs B Monica Goligher (Belfast Metropolitan College) #1

Sheila Smith (Birmingham Metropolitan College) #2

We recommend giving first preferences to B Monica Goligher and second preferences to
Sheila Smith

Representatives of women members from the higher education sector (three members
to be elected)

Pauline Collins (Open University)

Ann Blair (University of Leeds)

Casual UK –Elected member of the NEC (Higher Education)

Dave Guppy (University College London)

The Past Didn’t Go Anywhere: Making Resistance to Antisemitism Part of All of Our Movements

Download the pamphlet by April Rosenblum Here.

Once you get past :

From one side, progressive and radical activists and scholars are being attacked
by organized campaigns to brand us antisemites. In particular, it’s virtually impossible
to speak out critically about Israel without being charged with antisemitism.

It’s worth reading.

Hat Tip to Gil.

T. West’s Youtube channel and Jenny Tonge

This is a guest post by Joseph Weissman

So Jenny Tonge has been sacked by Nick Clegg from her post as Liberal Democrat health spokesperson in the Lords, after she said that claims of Israeli organ harvesting in Haiti should be investigated. Nick Clegg claims that Tonge’s comments were not anti-Semitic. Yet the source of her claim, YouTube user T. West, gives one reason to think otherwise.

Tonge called for an investigation following this article published in the deeply-conspiratorial Palestine Telegraph, which claimed:

On January 20, Lebanon’s Al-Manar TV reported on the mission, citing a damning You Tube video posted by an American named T. West from a group called AfriSynergy Productions. “The video presents something to think about while exploiting the horrible tragedy that has befallen Haiti where Israeli occupation soldiers are engaged in organ trafficking.”

A ‘damning You Tube video’? This seems unlikely, given T. West’s track-record as a rather biased source. T. West is profiled in Heeb Magazine defending Jenny Tonge, asserting that “”Those who hold political office are especially vulnerable to the well funded and connected Zionist organizations.”

What else has T. West posted on Youtube?

Here is T. West on the Underpants Bomber Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab was doing the bidding of Israeli Mossad operating within Yemen agents pretending to be Al Qaeda.

“He also has no idea of who his handlers were. He was thinking that it was Al Qaeda. The Mossad operates within Yemen, and they pretend to be Al Qaeda, and they trick these young men into thinking they are Al Qaeda. They make them believe they are taking orders from Al Qaeda when in fact it is the Mossad and other Western intelligence, such as the CIA or the British in one. This is a situation that is happening. The American people have been deceived.”

T. West has also published this claim on YouTube:

In 1991, it was the ADL President Abraham Foxman who challenged me when I indicated it appears HIV/Aids is a race-specific weapon” targeted exclusively at African peoples. Later it emerged that up to 30 percent of Ashkenazim are immune to HIV/Aids. What was Foxman trying to hide by not wanting me to inform and educate people about this?

T. West on Jewish identity:

“Since the civil rights movement, African-Americans have often relied on relations with the Ashkenazim and the Sephardim popularly known as Jews.”

T. West has also posted a clip from CNN about Yousef al-Khatab and Younes Abdullah Mohammed: two Islamist hate preachers who consider Bin Laden as their role model. He labels his video with this question:

“Why Are They Encouraging Violence, Do They Serve Zionist Interests”

There are further examples of such rhetoric on T.West’s Youtube channel.

Before she called for an investigation into claims of Israeli organ harvesting in Haiti, why didn’t Tonge investigate the source of such claims herself for a couple of hours? She would have quickly discovered the anti-Semitic videos of the Youtube poster who began these postings. By Jenny Tonge’s logic, we would also have to investigate whether Mossad was controlling Al Qaeda on the basis of T. West’s allegations.

Tonge is no stranger to controversy on this issue, having previously said that she would consider becoming a suicide bomber herself if she were Palestinian, and has stated that Jewish people should be ashamed of themselves for not doing more to protest against Israel’s ‘not kosher’ behaviour.

You would have thought this latest episode would be the end of people taking her seriously on Israel/Palestine. Yet Tonge is still set appear in Parliament at a Labour Friends of Palestine event on March 1 alongside Lord Ahmed and MPs Gerald Kaufman and Jeremy Corbyn. Tonge is also a patron of the ecumenical Christian anti-Israel boycotters the Friends of Sabeel UK, alongside Ibrahim Hewitt, who is now arguing that Tonge’s sacking is down to ‘the Israeli lobby’. The antisemitism implicit in such a claim is chilling.

So despite Jenny Tonge’s track record, she is afforded legitimacy by political and religious groups with heavy biases against Israel.

At the very least, Friends of Sabeel UK and Labour Friends of Palestine should reconsider their alliance with Jenny Tonge.

Israel and Iran – How Will It End?

Politically they’re at daggers drawn, each declaring the other enemy number one. Could there be a diplomatic way out of a stand-off that threatens the entire Middle East? Is all-out war inevitable – or could these two ancient nations, and vibrant cultures, one day even find a way to make peace?

Opinion Soup will be joined by Emanuele Ottolenghi, author of Under a Mushroom Cloud: Europe, Iran and the Bomb, Professor Ali Ansari, director of the Institute for Iranian Studies at St. Andrews University, Hagai M Segal, award-winning lecturer and consultant on Middle Eastern affairs, and Azadeh Moaveni, author of Lipstick Jihad. Chaired by Jonathan Freedland.

Date
Time

Venue

Price

To book

Monday 22nd February
8pm
Hampstead Town Hall,
213 Haverstock Hill,
London NW3 4QB
£10 in advance,
£12 on the door
Click here to book online

The Abraham Fund responds to Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister, Danny Ayalon

The Abraham Fund have issued a statement on Ayalon’s recent interview touting a population swap.

“Israel’s Arab citizens are an integral part of Israeli society. Their citizenship is unconditional.
The Abraham Fund is calling upon Israeli Jewish and Arab leaders to acknowledge this fact and dedicate their strength and skills to promote the objective of a shared society based on equality and mutual respect.

The Abraham Fund Initiatives works towards integration and equality among Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel.”

Stand up for NIF, stand up for Israeli democracy

A guest post by Progressive Zionist.

A smear campaign was launched last week against leading Israeli social justice organisation, the New Israel Fund. In what Meretz MK Haim Oron, described as a “show trial,” NIF has been blasted for apparently being the “life-force” behind the UN’s Goldstone Report on Operation Cast Lead and the delegitimisation of Israel in the international court of opinion.

But this campaign to discredit NIF and its grantee organisations amounts to nothing less than an attack on freedom of speech.

So what did NIF do wrong?

On 29 January 2010, Israeli tabloid Ma’ariv published the findings of a report by right-wing student group, Im Tirtzu, claiming that over 90% of allegations against the IDF in the Goldstone report came from 16 NIF-funded Israeli NGOs. The following day Im Tirtzu organised a demonstration outside the Jerusalem home of NIF president, Prof Naomi Hazan (pictured), with dozens of activists dressed as Hamas terrorists, as well as running an advert in the Jerusalem Post depicting a demonic Prof Hazan wearing a horn.

It didn’t take long for Im Tirtzu’s “research” to be debunked and dismembered. Anshel Pfeffer did a good job in Ha’aretz:

What is being said here? Im Tirzu is not claiming that any of the information supplied by these organizations was false. It is simply questioning the very legitimacy of free speech in Israel.

In support of Israeli democracy

NIF is a philanthropic organisation that funds over 300 organisations working to make Israel a better country, in line with the vision of its founding fathers. NIF grantees pursue social justice, civil and human rights, religious pluralism and safeguarding the environment.

One need not agree with every position of every organisation that NIF funds, which range from Breaking the Silence and B’tselem to Friends of the Earth Middle East and the Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel. But supporters of democracy should stand up for the New Israel Fund – and many already have, including journalists from Ma’ariv itself.

Ori Nir from Americans for Peace Now said it succinctly:

The New Israel Fund is an asset to Israel‘s democracy, as are its grantee organizations. Attempts to silence them should not be tolerated by the Israeli public and by friends of a free and democratic Israel worldwide.“

But this sorry episode has left me with a feeling of déjà vu.

One thing that struck me is how many NIF grantees would find themselves boycotted by anti-Israel activists here in the UK. For instance, Israeli groups that promote cooperation between Jews and Arabs.

There’s an uneasy parallel between the recent McCarthyist attacks on NIF and the British Left-Islamist coalition’s campaign to silence and boycott those who fail to tow their party line of an Israel-free Middle East. It seems that the two sides have more in common that they would like to admit.

See also my Greens Engage post, New Israel Fund needs international solidarity; Jews outside Israel need theirs.

A smear campaign was launched last week against leading Israeli social justice organisation, the New Israel Fund. In what Meretz MK Haim Oron, described as a “show trial,” NIF has been blasted for apparently being the “life-force” behind the UN’s Goldstone Report on Operation Cast Lead and the delegitimisation of Israel in the international court of opinion.

But this campaign to discredit NIF and its grantee organisations amounts to nothing less than an attack on freedom of speech.

So what did NIF do wrong?

On 29 January 2010, Israeli tabloid Ma’ariv published the findings of a report by right-wing student group, Im Tirtzu, claiming that over 90% of allegations against the IDF in the Goldstone report came from 16 NIF-funded Israeli NGOs. The following day Im Tirtzu organised a demonstration outside the Jerusalem home of NIF president, Prof Naomi Hazan (pictured), with dozens of activists dressed as Hamas terrorists, as well as running an advert in the Jerusalem Post depicting a demonic Prof Hazan wearing a horn.

It didn’t take long for Im Tirtzu’s “research” to be debunked and dismembered. Anshel Pfeffer did a good job in Ha’aretz:

What is being said here? Im Tirzu is not claiming that any of the information supplied by these organizations was false. It is simply questioning the very legitimacy of free speech in Israel.

In support of Israeli democracy

NIF is a philanthropic organisation that funds over 300 organisations working to make Israel a better country, in line with the vision of its founding fathers. NIF grantees pursue social justice, civil and human rights, religious pluralism and safeguarding the environment.

One need not agree with every position of every organisation that NIF funds, which range from Breaking the Silence and B’tselem to Friends of the Earth Middle East and the Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel. But supporters of democracy should stand up for the New Israel Fund – and many already have, including journalists from Ma’ariv itself.

Ori Nir from Americans for Peace Now said it succintly:

The New Israel Fund is an asset to Israel‘s democracy, as are its grantee organizations. Attempts to silence them should not be tolerated by the Israeli public and by friends of a free and democratic Israel worldwide.“

But this sorry episode has left me with a feeling of déjà vu.

One thing that struck me is how many NIF grantees would find themselves boycotted by anti-Israel activists here in the UK. For instance, Israeli groups that promote cooperation between Jews and Arabs.

There’s an uneasy parallel between the recent McCarthyist attacks on NIF and the British Left-Islamist coalition’s campaign to silence and boycott those who fail to tow their party line of an Israel-free Middle East. It seems that the two sides have more in common that they would like to admit.

:: New Israel Fund UK on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/#!/newisraelfunduk?ref=ts

:: New Israel Fund (Israel website) http://www.nif.org/

:: coteret.com Hebrew news from the Israel media in English

:: Prof Naomi Hazan sacked by Jerusalem Post. http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1147998.html

Moishe Postone on the apparent emancipatory power of antisemitism

In this recent interview of Moishe Postone by Martin Thomas (of the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty), Postone outlines different forms of anti-Zionism which have converged into a general indignation aimed at Jews and which, for those seeking Israel’s abolition, have become programmatic. He observes that global capitalist power is mis-recognised as the Jews, and consequently the Jews easily become the target of those whom capitalism has failed. Antisemitism today is unlike other forms of racism because it attributes to Jews enormous and mysterious power, and so can seem both progressive and anti-imperialist.

And the left? For many, antipathy to the USA blunts their critical gaze, apologises for Stalin, and allies with political Islamists such as Hamas and Hesbollah.

“Racism is rarely a danger for the left. The left has to be careful not to be racist, but it isn’t an ongoing danger because racism doesn’t have the apparent emancipatory dimension of anti-semitism.”

Read it all.

Polish city displays two faces to its few Jews

In Torun there are hardly any Jews, and yet a Franciscan monk with a vision of dialogue founded a Higher School of Hebrew Philology. Across the river, the Catholic Maryja radio station broadcasts antisemitic poison and is criticised by the Pope. The Forward.

New CST figures out for antisemitism in Britain

This piece, by Mark Gardner, Communications Director of the CST, is published on comment is free.

CST (Community Security Trust) monitors antisemitism on behalf of the British Jewish community. One of our most important roles is the recording of antisemitic incidents, reported to us by British Jews and others.

In recent weeks, CST’s staff have undergone intense training from the Home Office’s Victim Support Unit, to ensure that our service as first responders to antisemitic hate crime victims is as good as it can be. The training used real case studies, making some of the intricacies of victims’ lives and traumas harrowing for us to hear. It served as a profound reminder that a real person is behind every report and statistic we deal with, and that each victim’s reactions depend upon their own histories, personalities and environments. The experts stressed that our obligation is to listen properly and make constructive suggestions, but not to tell victims how they should actually feel about what they have suffered.

We can apply this learning in a more general sense to the many challenging questions that arise from today’s report from CST regarding antisemitic incident levels in the UK. CST recorded over 900 such incidents across Britain during 2009: an increase of 55% from the previous worst year on record, 2006. On both occasions, Jews in Britain and elsewhere around the world suffered a wave of antisemitic attacks, triggered by reactions to conflicts involving Israel.

Whatever you think of Israeli politics, attacking local Jews out of anger at Israel is racism. Most Jews support Israel at a basic, emotional level, although many do not. And among Jews who support Israel in a general sense, there is a vast range of opinions on every political issue or government policy. To treat every Jewish person, or synagogue, or organisation as personifying whatever you despise about Israel is to apply the racist idea of collective guilt.

Historically, antisemites have always sought to justify their behaviour on some premise or other. The rest of society can react to this in various ways: to condemn, to turn a blind eye, or to approve and encourage. Presently, far too many anti-racists fail to condemn. Indeed, the attitude displayed by some to Jewish concerns about antisemitism seems to tally with the description of institutional racism in the Macpherson report:

“The collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture or ethnic origin which can be seen or detected in processes; attitudes and behaviour which amount to discrimination through unwitting prejudice, ignorance, thoughtlessness and racist stereotyping which disadvantages minority ethnic people.”

Anti-racists must condemn anti-Jewish racism as readily as they would any other type of racism. Anything less and they risk fostering the notion, seductive for a dangerous minority, that antisemitism in the name of anti-Israel hatred is somehow a legitimate form of political protest. On previous occasions when we have tried to discuss the issue of antisemitism on this forum, we have been accused of various things. First, that we are part of some global conspiracy to shut down criticism of Israel. Second, that the figures are fake and exaggerated. Third, that even though the figures are lies, they paradoxically prove that the escalation in antisemitic incidents is the fault of Israel and the fault of Jewish representative bodies. Indeed, the fault of everybody but antisemites.

In reply, I could offer numerous facts about how CST’s statistics and individual reports (minus identifying details of victims) are discussed in detail with academics, criminologists, police analysts, civil servants, ministers and others. I could go through CST’s work with the Association of Chief Police Officers in developing the third party reporting system for victims of hate crime throughout the UK. I could cite how we have worked with Christians, Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs to help them set up similar groups to our own. To those with an open mind, I would simply ask that you take the time to read CST’s report, available at CST’s website. This explains the statistics, provides case studies and also shows the standards by which we deem something to be antisemitic rather than anti-Israel, or criminal but not racist. Anybody who reads the full report will find a complex and nuanced picture of hate crimes against British Jews.

One particular drawback of discussing antisemitism is that it risks causing some Jewish people to be afraid to lead the life that they would otherwise choose. Ignoring the problem, however, will not make it go away. Furthermore, understanding and explaining the problem are the cornerstones upon which Jews and others can build strategies and partnerships to combat it.

CST provides many physical and political responses to antisemitism. For example, we have installed shatterproof window film at hundreds of Jewish sites across the country. Consequently, in January 2009, when arsonists tried to burn down a London synagogue in the middle of the night, they were unable to break a window and gain access to the inside of the building, and the damage caused was limited to the outside of the door.

It is, however, important that CST’s security measures are augmented by the actions and behaviour of others. Within the Jewish community, we should take care not to allow antisemitism to dominate us. This fightback can begin by opposing antisemitism when it occurs, while consciously appreciating and seizing the vast range of religious, cultural, charitable and political options that exist for the expression of Jewish life and identity in Britain today. Do this, and we will see that not only is antisemitism well worth opposing wherever it rears its ugly head, but also that it most certainly does not define the average day in the life of British Jews.

Beyond the Jewish community, politicians, police and prosecutors are increasingly alive to the problem and what it says about the state of Britain today. It is time that those parts of the liberal left that have previously ignored or downplayed the growing problem of antisemitism fulfil their anti-racist credentials and listen to the experiences of an increasing number of British Jews.

This piece, by Mark Gardner, Communications Director of the CST, is published on comment is free.

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