The Jewish Leadership Council has published two responses which it has received relating to the letter it sent to Sally Hunt concerning antisemitism in the UCU.
The Chair of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission has responded. Click here for a pdf of Trevor phillips’ letter.
He says that he is “surprised” that UCU had brought the motion on the definition of antisemitism “without consulting the EHRC” at all.
He expects UCU’s National Executive Committee to discuss the motion with the EHRC as Britain’s National Human Rights Institution, even if it passes
EHRC stands by the MacPhearson Report, which requires organisations to start from the perception of the victim. Trevor Phillips says:
“..if the object of harrasment or attack regards her treatment as being anti-semitic, even if the perpetrator maintains that their action is politically motivated, the presumption is that the victim’s perception is what defines the incident”.
On the issue of reporting incidents – both for students on campus and academics inside UCU – he says: “Nothing should be able to prevent Jewish students (or any other group, for that matter) being able to complain of harrasment, racism or anti-semitism”
He suggests that there could be legal problems under Human Rights and Equality law if the motion is fully enacted.
The General Secretary of UCU has responded. Click here for a pdf of Sally Hunt’s response.
1. UCU opposes antisemitism and there will probably be some sort of statement to this effect at Congress.
2. UCU still endorses the MacPhearson definition of racism
3. She specifically asks for a meeting to discuss how UCU should define antisemitism.
4. The letter ignores any references to antisemitism within UCU itself.
David Hirsh writes:
What Sally Hunt seems to be doing is continuing the compromise with the boycotters in the union which she has been relying upon for some years now.
She allows antisemitic debates at Congress and she allows antisemitic motions to be passed by Congress. She allows the SWP and the boycotters to whip up the Jew-baiting atmosphere within the Union. She protects them from any charges of antisemitism. She does not speak up against antisemitism.
Her price is that none of this nonsense is ever implemented, so the union doesn’t get sued. She doesn’t want trouble from the TUC or from Trevor Philips or from the courts.
The leadership has not allowed the union to adopt a policy of boycott. But the price has been a slow but relentless gain for the politics of BDS and the denial of antisemitism which comes with it, in the union.
Sally Hunt will be up for re-election during the next year. She is afraid that the beast she has been feeding for the last five years will eat her too. And it might. The SWP controlled Broad left faction may well stand a candidate against her.
Expect Sally Hunt to look for the support of people who oppose antisemitism in the union.