BY Ex-UCU member.
I am afraid that this reference to antisemitism and the Holocaust by the UCU which, in the words of David Hirsh,
focuses on things “a long time ago” not only ignores the antisemitism that is currently rife in its ranks but also acts as a means of legitimising it.
It is, in effect, nothing more than a fig leaf so that when anti-racists complain about contemporary antisemitism within its ranks they can point to this poster and claim that how can they, the UCU, be antisemitic when they have this poster about the Holocaust.
In many ways, this public relations exercise is similar to that adopted by the far-right in other parts of Europe. When asked if they deny the Holocaust, they now tend to say that it did happen and what a terrible thing it is. And, in so doing, they get a pass for the antisemitic bile (often, but not always in the guise of anti-zionism) that they still propagate.
Whilst of course not of the far-right (even if some of the “anti-Zionism” that its activist spout is of the same kind), the function of the new poster serves the same purpose. By recognising past antisemitism, they think they can get a pass for the present.
After all, if they were serious about combating antisemitism then they would begin to wonder on why so many members, many of whom are Jewish, have resigned over the recent boycott issue; why those opposing the boycott have been subject to abuse and bullying; why conspiracy theories about “Zionist Lobbies” and “Zionist power” are a constant topic of discussion; and so on and so forth.
Apart from the far right and other assorted groups, the idea that the Holocaust was a terrible and tragic thing is hardly controversial. More difficult is the recognition of contemporary antisemitism, the antisemitism that attaches itself to anti-Zionism that the UCU against which the UCU nor only fail to challenge, but which it regularly propagates.