Live blogging from UCU Congress: the EUMC Working Definition

1439.  Congress is discussing rule changes for the union.

1440.  The motion we’re here for is the following, proposed by the National Executive Committee of the union:

70 EUMC working definition of anti-semitism – National Executive Committee

Congress notes with concern that the so-called ‘EUMC working definition of antisemitism’, while not adopted by the EU or the UK government and having no official status, is being used by bodies such as the NUS and local student unions in relation to activities on campus.

Congress believes that the EUMC definition confuses criticism of Israeli government policy and actions with genuine antisemitism, and is being used to silence debate about Israel and Palestine on campus.

Congress resolves:

  1. that UCU will make no use of the EUMC definition (e.g. in educating members or dealing with internal complaints)
  2. that UCU will dissociate itself from the EUMC definition in any public discussion on the matter in which UCU is involved
  3. that UCU will campaign for open debate on campus concerning Israel’s past history and current policy, while continuing to combat all forms of racial or religious discrimination

1443. proposal to change the rules to allow Conference Business Committee to co-opt members between Congresses

1445.  Business of the equality committee.  Chair of the committee to move.

1448. Marion Hersh argues for Motion 66, which says that the union should be in favour of institutions carrying out equality impact assessments.  This means that things such as cuts imposed by universities shouldn’t impact on one ‘equality’ group more than another.

But there is no call that the union itself should undergo an equality impact assessment about how its policies on Israel impacts on minorities within the union.

1458.  Motion 67.  From Black members standing commitee.  Another motion about impact assessment.  remitted.

1500.  Motion 68.  Every branch should have a properly resourced Equalities Officer.

1503.  Motion 69. “defend multiculturalism”.  conratulate UAF for its opposition to the EDl.  Work with UAF and Hope Not Hate against fascism.  Defend the values of multiculturalism.

1504.  The atmosphere in conference is calm, quiet relaxed.  Nobody is cheering or booing.  Just doing business in a normal kind of way.    See if the atmosphere changes for motion 70 on the EUMC defiinition?

1505.  Ammendment: give United Against Fascism (UAF) £1000.

1509.  another speech about how the EDL’s “flash mob” tactics make it necessary for the union to give £1000 to UAF.

1511.  vote on the motion.  Surprisingly, Sally Hunt is on the platform.

1512.  Sue Blackwell to propose the motion against the EUMC.  definition adopted by NUS, parliamentary inquiry, US State Department.  In Jan 2010 Denis Mcshane tried to have Azzam Tammimi banned from speaking.  [Tammimi is Hamas’s guy in London – DH]  Blackwell goes on,McShane argued that an external speaker should be rejected if they have a history of antisemitic language in line with the EUMC…”   EUMC comes from the American Jewish Committee, European Jewish Congress, self confessed lobby groups for Israel.  Ken Stern, author of EUMC is deeply concerned about “politically based antisemitism” otherwise known as antizionism which treats Israel as the classic Jew….  antisemites seek to qualify israel from membership of the community of nations.”  In other words, if you are for a boycott, you are an antisemite.  These influences are evidenced by American spellings in the document.  Definition is not fit for finding Real antisemitism but is ideal for those who want to blur boundaries between antisemitism and antizionism.

1515.  Mike Cushman, LSE.  Opponents of this motion have been filling the internet with insults against this union.  Lets see how EUMC definition is used.

One example:  a member wrote “no compromise with Zionists or university closures”.  Claimed to be antisemitic.  Linking the international with the local is part of our politics.  Not racist.  By making Israel a special case the proponents of EUMC are being antisemitic.

Cushman goes on: David Hirsh that “expert” on antisemitism says “Israel murders children is antisemitic”   Not its not, its pro children.  Antisemitism must never never  be normalized.  Puts jews at risk  Crying wolf puts the sheep and the shepherd at hazard.

Support this motion because the EUMC definition is dangerous to Jews.

1517.   Ronnie Fraser (I had this text already):

I, a Jewish member of this union, am telling you, that I feel an antisemitic mood in this union and even in this room.

I would feel your refusal to engage with the EUMC definition of antisemitism, if you pass this motion, as a racist act.

Many Jews have resigned from this union citing their experience of antisemitsim.   Only yesterday a delegate here said ‘they are an expansionist people”. It is difficult to think that the people in question are anything other than the Jews.

You may disagree with me.

You may disagree with all the other Jewish members who have said similar things.

You may think we are mistaken but you have a duty to listen seriously.

Instead of being listened to, I am routinely told that anyone who raises the issue of antisemitism is doing so in bad faith.

Congress, Imagine how it feels when you say that you are experiencing racism, and your union responds: stop lying, stop trying to play the antisemitism card.

You, a group of mainly white, non-Jewish trade unionists, do not the right to tell me, a Jew, what feels like antisemitism and what does not.

Macpherson tells us that when somebody says they have been a victim of racism, then institutions should begin by believing them. This motion mandates the union to do the opposite.

Until this union takes complaints of antisemitsim seriously the UCU will continue to be labelled as an institutionally antisemitic organisation.

It’s true that anti-Zionist Jews may perceive things differently.  But the overwhelming majority of Jews feel that there is something wrong in this union. They understand that it is legitimate to criticise Israel in a way that is, quoting from the definition, “similar to that levelled to any other country’ but they make a distinction between criticism and the kind of demonisation that is considered acceptable in this union

Ronnie met with stoney silence.

1519.  Speech against.  Pete Radcliffe, (AWL).  No definition of any form of racism can prevent misuse.  each time an accusation of racism is made it should be assessed by the specifics.

The fact that defs may have been misused is no argument that they are wrong.

What does it say?

Look at what is written.

The most controversial is where it says those who claim that the existence of the israeli state are antisemitic.  Consider the peaceniks and the Israeli peace movement.  The def says that to call such people racist – because they are Israelis – is antisemitic.  They are Israelis who aren’t racist.

Congress we should be endorsing this definition, not condemning it.

We are going to have a general secretary election.  We need to take care.  OUr union is never more in the public eye.  do we want to make this a bit issue?

[Link to Pete’s whole speech is here:]

Des Freedman, Goldsmiths.  “As a Jewish member of this union I urge you to support.”

By conflating justificed criticism of Israel with antisemitism it restricts our ability to make justified criticism.

One example:  the NEC of NUS recently passed a motion calling for freedom for Palestine.  The reaction by the outgoing president was to promise to campaign against it and referred to it as a form of hate speech.  The point of something like that which was much debated, reflecting on the events for example in gAza, over a thousand people who were killed – adopting the EUMC definition unnecessarily curtails our ability to intervene, to call for justice, to call for freedom for Palestinians.

We shouled be firm in opposition to a-s.  EUMC prevents us from doing that.  I urge support.

1526.  Another speech.  This union should not be challenging antisemitism by rejecting a definition.  We should propose our own definition if we want to speak on this.

EUMC does not use the definition.

1527.  Sean Wallis.  Definitions include things and exclude things.  Read the definition and you’ll see how we need to be clear.  My branch defines antisemitism as a form of racism and so we oppose it.  The only way of doing this concretely is in concrete circumstances.  This elaborate extensive definition is unhelpful.    I was libelled 2 years ago.  There are people in this room who participated in this libel.  As a jew I find it offensive that the term antisemitism should be used in this way.  Throw it out .  It is not a definition. It is not working.

[ I think Sean Wallis means us:  – DH]

Ronnie Fraser point of information.

The EUMC definition itself.  It is used by law enforcement authorities throughout the world for guidance to recognise antisemitic statements and acts.  It is recommended to be used in academic and the unions by the Parliamentary Conference of 2009.

Sue Blackwell:  I think Ronnie just made a speech in favour of the m0tion – that’s why we should be worried about it.

EUMC has been replaced.  successor organisation have no plans for any further development of it.  the latest publication doesn’t mention the definition.  They’ve dumped it because it is not fit for purpose.

Whether we need an alternative definition.  I recommend Brian Klug’s “hostility towards Jews as Jews”.

Quoting richard Kuper: the strong fight back by israel and its supporters has been sometimes crude… the EUMC has been effective.  inadequate, yet it is increasingly presented as THE definition of antisemitism, it cannot bear this weight.

The vote was overwhelmingly carried.  4 people, I think, voted against.

After the vote, Ronnie was very upset.  “I feel physically sick and so upset because of their racism,” he told me.  He was close to tears.


[Link to Pete Radcliffe’s whole speech is here:]

53 Responses to “Live blogging from UCU Congress: the EUMC Working Definition”

  1. Absolute Observer Says:

    “Sue Blackwell: I think Ronnie just made a speech in favour of the m0tion – that’s why we should be worried about it.”

    Says it all about the context of the motion as well as the motion itself.

  2. Ex-UCU Says:

    How does quoting something actually said by someone constitute libel?

    • Arieh Says:

      This is the UCU definition of antisemitism.

      Quoting Sean Wallis was “Libel” because he didn’t mean what he said as racist, not because he didn’t say it.

      Bongani Masuku also didn’t deny saying what he said about Jews and Zionists, he simply said that the comments make racist comments because he said they weren’t racist.

      In UCU, you’re only an antisemite if you say you are.

  3. Sarah AB Says:

    That’s awful, both the result, and the report of the debate/atmosphere.

    • James Mendelsohn Says:

      Yep. Saddest thing is that it is no great surprise and that even now, if every Jewish member of UCU was to resign, it would do nothing to bring the UCU leadership to their senses.

  4. Fair Play Campaign Group » Blog Archive » Fair Play reacts to the UCU motion on antisemitism Says:

    […] For a live report of UCU’s vote on redefining antisemitism, see ENGAGE. […]

  5. Absolute Observer Says:

    “Whether we need an alternative definition. I recommend Brian Klug’s “hostility towards Jews as Jews”.”

    This from a person who having linked to an antisemitic website only took it down when a “Jewish friend” noticed the site’s antisemitism.

    In the light of that fact, it seems to me that Blackwell is the last person at Congress to be giving advice on what definition of antisemitism is or is not.

    It would also seem that Blackwell thinks it ok for the UCU to ask people to speak if they have a history of antisemitic language in line with the EUMC. Would that include people held culpable by HR bodies? Or those of its own members who peddle antisemitic material?

    Indeed, Blackwell’s speech was outrageous. She looked to who had supported the EUMC definition – US pro-Israel advocacy groups – and, without any consideration of its content (other than its US spelling) – deemed it illegitimate. (She did the same with Ronnie Fraser, noting that one should support the motion because RF was opposing it.)

    At least one thing is clear, the level of debate of those supporting the motion was on a par with the substance of the motion itself.

  6. Tony Greenstein Says:

    This is the best news for a long time. Congratulations are in order. Now instead of accusing everyone who supports the Palestiniains of ‘anti-Semitism’ and thereby giving a boost to the real anti-Semites like Gilad Atzmon and co. we will be able to sort out the wheat from the Zionist chaff.

    Ironically the EUMC Definition, coming as it did from the AJC, was itself anti-Semitic, in suggestion that to deny ‘the Jewish people their right to self-determination’ was anti-semitic. Only Zionists and anti-Semites pretend that Jews from India to Argentina to France comprise one people i.e. race.

    And why is drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis anti-semitic? Israeli leaders and Zionists do it with monotonous regularity or is it only allowed for racists to make the comparison? Didn’t eg Matan Vilnai, deputy Defence Minister promise a ‘little Shoah’ not long before the slaughter of 1,400 people in Gaza?

    I agree that ‘holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.’ But this has never been applied to Zionists and the Board of Deputies who continually proclaim that the Jewish community in Britain is behind Israeli war crimes.

    well done to Sue Blackwell, Tom Hickey et al.

    • conchovor Says:

      ‘And why is drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis anti-semitic?’

      The EUMC definition doesn’t say it is, necessarily. It says it +may+ be.

      ‘But this has never been applied to Zionists and the Board of Deputies who continually proclaim that the Jewish community in Britain is behind Israeli war crimes.’

      The BoD began the 20th century by being very anti-Zionist. They were originally much closer to the views of such as yourself. In that respect, Tony, you are very conservative and very establishment. That changed because the BoD began to actually represent the views of those it represented, not marginals such as yourself.

      Conversely, UCU NEC doesn’t seem much interested in the majority Jewish view as to what antisemitism consists in, preferring the rather marginal views of not especially Jewish Jews such as yourself. Or completely non-Jewish non-Jews like Sue Blackwell.

      Which is, again, an anomalous state of affairs.

    • Talhe Says:

      OK Mr. Greenstein, I’d like to ask a few questions. Assume that Zionism, is defined as Jewish self-determination and not the offal that’s been prescribed to it by various. Let’s assume that it’s comparative to other kinds of self-determination. What would you say about someone who’s completely against self-determination for Jews, and Jews alone?

      I’m not sure how calling Jews/Israeli’s by the most antisemitic/Judeophobic mass murderers in history, can’t be construed as anything but motivated by hatred, cruel mockery, or abusing the memory of the Shoah. (As a side note, I’m generally against using analogies, and against doing comparisons to things like the Holocaust and genocide in general).

      As a PS, Shoah means ‘disaster’ in Hebrew. It was crass of Mr. Vilnai to use that word, but unless there’s another word for diaster in Hebrew, I’m not sure what else he was supposed to do besides make up a new word, or better yet, not say that phrase at all.

    • modernityblog Says:

      Forgive me if I don’t take Tony Greenstein’s word on this matter.

      In my experience, he’s intellectually not much up to the job of spotting certain types of racism, this was indicated by his own use of the racist term “Uncle Tom” with reference to Barak Obama.

      “By contrast Obama is what used to be know of as an Uncle Tom.”

      I have no doubt that Tony Greenstein has done sterling work physically opposing neofascists & racists, but on these matters his own subjectivity come to the fore, and he lacks the requisite perceptiveness to see the issues with any clarity.

    • Thomas Venner Says:

      A few points, Mr Greenstein:

      1 – Nobody, with the exception of a few crazies on the Israeli far right, accuses “anyone who supports the Palestinians” of anti-Semitism. Unless you’ve been spending a lot of time hanging around Avigdor Liebermann and co., I don’t see how you can seriously believe this bizarre myth. I fully support the Palestinians’ right to statehood and self-determination. So do most of the people I know. So, as well, do most Israelis. What isn’t so popular is the so-called “one-state solution”, which is less about freedom and self-determination for Palestine than it is about the elimination of Israel.

      2 – Is it really appropriate to be referring to “Zionists” as “chaff”? There are few more dehumanising terms you could have used, as this implies that the people who you define as “Zionists” are nothing more than a waste product, to be “sifted out”. At the very least, it implies that they are an inferior class of being to yourselves. I would hope that you didn’t mean it like that, and assume that it just came out wrong, but somehow I think that would be extremely naive.

      3 – The term “people” is not the same as “race”. As a group of people with a shared culture and history, Jews do constitute a “people”, though they comprise different ethnic groups. The diverse, dispersed populations of the Jewish people also have a shared history of persecution. Self-determination as a nation in their own right was the only option left that would prevent that, short of converting to other religions and voluntarily obliterating their own culture through total subsumption. Also, if “Zionists” believed in the concept of Jews being a “race”, as you assert, then why would converts to Judaism be given the same automatic right to immigration into Israel as members of Jewish families that had been established for centuries? If they considered Jews to be a genetically-determined “race”, rather than a culture, surely they would not consider converts to be truly Jewish.

      4 – The exact quote from Matan Vilnai, translated is “The more Qassam fire intensifies and the rockets reach a longer range, they (the Palestinians) will bring upon themselves a bigger shoah because we will use all our might to defend ourselves” – the word “shoah” is Hebrew for “disaster”, as you should know, and is not exclusively used to refer to the Holocaust. It’s pretty clear that this is a warning of the disaster that a full-scale war between Israel and Gaza would be (the disaster which of course actually came to pass in the end), though I suppose you can interpret this as a threat of genocide if you like. You’ll just have to find some way of arguing that the Israelis are not especially competent at carrying out such threats, seeing as most of the population of Gaza is still there, despite the fact that, if the Israeli government wanted to, they have the military capability to raze Gaza to the ground and exterminate every living thing in it within the space of a single afternoon.

      Finally, to finish off with, the Zionist Federation, the CST and the Board of Deputies of British Jews, which I suppose when put together become the closest thing we have to a real-life “Zionist lobby”, haven’t even put the news of this motion being passed on their respective websites yet. I’ve just had a look at their news sections. The ZF had some kind of conference on May 12th. The Board of Deputies has a brief article on Sir Sigmund Sternberg’s 90th birthday. The CST’s blog posted an article related to this motion about ten days ago. Out of the three of these, the CST is the only one that suggests anything to do with anti-Semitism at UCU – the other two don’t seem that bothered. They certainly don’t seem to be slinging around false accusations of anti-Semitism at all and any critics of the occupation, the settlers, Netanyahu’s choice of tie etc.

      However powerful and well-organised the Zionist lobby is, it obviously isn’t quite powerful or well-organised enough to be able to keep its websites up to date. The nefarious power of the lobby being brought to bear against UCU’s boycott motion has so far manifested itself in the form of an open letter to the Jewish Chronicle.

      I’m sure you feel very proud. Personally, I’d find beating a much weaker opponent to be a hollow victory.

      But that’s just me. What do I know – I’m just one of the “chaff”, after all.

    • Fran Says:

      “we will be able to sort out the wheat from the Zionist chaff.”

      So supporting the right of Jewish people to self-determination in their ancient homeland (Zionism) is rubbish (chaff) eh?

      Why isn’t it racist to smear Jewish national aspirations whilst at the same time championing Palestinian nationalism?

    • Stephen Duke Says:

      Tony why are you using the word shoah with a capital letter? There are no capital letters in Hebrew. Everyone knows that the Hebrew word shoah means “disaster” the word “hashoah” is used to denote the Holocaust. The use of the prefix “ha” (the definite article) informs us that we are referring to a specific disaster.

      You are in good company though, abusing the Hebrew language to bash Jews is a well-worn tactic of antisemites through the ages. I shall call you Matthew from now on…

  7. conchovor Says:

    Sean Wallace is Jewish? Didn’t he have a Jewish grandfather, or something?

    ‘Ironically the EUMC Definition, coming as it did from the AJC, was itself anti-Semitic, in suggestion that to deny ‘the Jewish people their right to self-determination’ was anti-semitic.

    But it doesn’t say that, Tony. It says it +could+ be.

    ‘Only Zionists and anti-Semites pretend that Jews from India to Argentina to France comprise one people i.e. race.’

    One could say something similar about the Irish or any other ethno-national diaspora.

    And ‘people’ does not necessarily mean ‘race’.

    Only for racists, perhaps?

    Also ‘a people’ does not necessarily mean ‘one i.e. homogenous or united people’.

    It’s odd you said ‘one people’ when you could have said ‘a people’.

    ‘A people’ need not necessarily be united or homogeneous i.e. ‘one people’.

    In any case, the EUMC definition says nothing about denying Jews are a ‘one people’.

    It seems to me your and UCU NEC’s approach is based on inaccurately defining the EUMC definition, using the narrowest possible interpretation of it, actually.

    Which is odd, and interesting.

  8. Ignorance is bliss Says:

    Tony’s comments show precisely the antisemitism of UCU.
    95% of UK Jews identify with Israel in some way or another.
    That means 95% of UK would fall under the appellation “Zionists”
    Tony’ comment that “who cares if Zionists leave the Union” emphasises the indirect discrimination against Jews within UCU policy.
    This is the case regardless of whether a few Jews do or do not remain in the Union.

    To put the matter in clearer terms, by celebrating the exclusion of Zionists from the Union, Tony is celebrating the exclusion of the vast majority of Jews from the union since the vast majority of Jews, in connecting with Israel – even down to thinking its existence is legitimate – are “Zionists”.

    Hence the UCU’s and Tony’s slippage between Jews and Zionists, antisemitism and anti-Zionism.

    • Bill Says:

      I particularly liked the wheat form the chaff line. We will have good Jews. And .. Zionists who will of course be defined by good people like Greenstein, Blackwell and BMJ letter writer Hickey who honestly can’t see how “that,” “”that,” and certainly not “that” happened (and don’t even think of bringing “that” up!).

      This is an engraved invitation to test the waters to see how far exclusionary and discriminatory language can go with no benchmark (or one so high up that will be perceived as unattainable by “good UCU members”) and likely no Reasonable Person Test.

      And there will be plenty of “that.” Or just one single case – wrapped up in a lawsuit that cannot be redefined away in UCU’s self-inflicted bubble. ‘Cause everyone else is going to make use of the EUCM guidelines, or RPT. UCU will get a black eye. And they will sit there with a steak over it wondering how that happened?

  9. Fair Play Campaign Group » Blog Archive » The UCU antisemitism motion Says:

    […] proposed by the Union’s own National Executive Committee and passed by a huge majority. See Engage’s live blog of the […]

  10. Questions For Tony Greenstein Says:

    “Can Tony Greenstein tell us a bit more about the “physical confrontation” he admitted – in a letter to the Jewish Chronicle – that he was involved in?

    Can Tony Greenstein also tell us a bit more about why – as he admitted in that same letter – David Aaronovitch, the then President of the National Union of Students, had him banned from attending the NUS conference? [1]

    Can Tony Greenstein tell us why Vicky Phillips, as President of the National Union of Students, urged people in 1985 to write to Anti-Fascist Action expressing concern about Greenstein’s involvement in its steering committee, “because I think it brings the whole organization into disrepute”? [2]

    Tony Greenstein was on the founding editorial committee of, and went on to become the editor for, a magazine entitled RETURN that was banned in 1990 by the National Union of Students by its then President Maeve Sherlock, in a decision actively supported by Steven Twigg, the next President of NUS (who went on to become a Labour Party Member of Parliament) and other leading NUS members, including its Womens’ Officer. Maeve Sherlock specifically ruled that RETURN was “anti-Semitic.” [3]

    Can Tony Greenstein tell us why, if he is an anti-racist, so many people have labelled either him, or organizations or journals he has been associated with, as antisemitic?

    Can Tony Greenstein explain a little more about why he has referred to Alfred Lilienthal as a “reputable historian,” despite the fact that, as Greenstein admits, Lilienthal has questioned the authenticity of The Diary of Anne Frank, and in 1980 Lilienthal was one of the first signatories to a petition supporting the known Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson? [4]

    Would Greenstein like to comment on the following quote from Lilienthal?

    However much the essence of Judaism may have remained as distinct as ever from Zionism, the nationalist shadow has so overtaken the religious substance that virtually all Jews have, in practice, become Israelists, if not Zionists. Many who mistrust the Zionist connotation can still have their cake and eat it, through Israelism. [5]

    Checking the Lilienthal book directly, we can see the following…
    Page 481:
    With the announcement of a new series of children’s books to be written by Wiesenthal for Raintree Publishers in Milwaukee, the very young were not to be given fairy tales – or were they? – but recitals of the Wiesenthal adventures in tracking down war criminals. The first was to deal with his search for the Gestapo police officer in occupied Holland who arrested Anne Frank, the overpublicized teenager whose diary (in twenty-six editions) told of Jewish persecution in Holland under the Nazis, but the veracity of whose saga has since come under serious question.

    The footnote on page 849 reads:
    Bestseller The Diary of Anne Frank, translated into many languages and printed in multifold editions, may be a fraud. It was sold as the actual diary of a young Jewish girl who died in a Nazi concentration camp after two years of abuse and horror. Any informed literary inspection of this book would have shown that it could not possibly have been the work of a teenager. Writer Meyer Levin won a suit in the New York Supreme Court against Otto Frank, Anne’s father, for $50,000 as an “honorarium for his work” on the diary. [6]

    Would Greenstein like to comment as to why, as reported in the Jewish Chronicle, “Tony Greenstein… was busy at NUS conference distributing BAZO material” – an organization, the article goes on to say, with links to “the National Union of Iraqi Students, an organisation banned by NUS for its attacks on students”? [7]
    Can Tony Greenstein tell us more as to why, after he spoke at a motion at Sussex University Students Union in 1982, Nigel Savage, the Vice President of that Union at the time, admitted that it led to “a number of Jewish students coming to my office to protest or confess to being scared”? [8]
    Can Tony Greenstein tell us why BAZO – an organization he was closely associated with – published an advert in The Guardian on November 4, 1977 and included names such as Harvey Minsky and David Tomlinson, amongst others who denied signing in support? This led to The Guardian printing an apology. [9]
    Can Tony Greenstein comment on the following. At one BAZO meeting, trade unionist speaker Joseph Monaghan asked:
    Why did the Jews not bomb the ovens at Auschwitz and so stop the killings in the last war? With all the money they have, they could have got an air force. The Holocaust – the killing of six million Jews in Europe – was done by Nazis working with the Jews. [10]

    Can Tony Greenstein comment on why Dr. George Mitchell, the President of BAZO, attended a Jewish Society meeting at Strathclyde University, took photographs of those present and threatened to send the pictures to
    Beirut? [11]
    Can Tony Greenstein comment on why NUS publicly condemned a BAZO leaflet entitled Against Zionism as antisemitic, and why its conference noted that BAZO literature was not dissimilar to that of the fascist National Front and therefore called upon NUS to ban BAZO activities “from its base in Strathclyde Union and any other campus in the United Kingdom”? Given that Tony Greenstein calls himself an anti-fascist, can he also comment on why he was distributing BAZO material at the NUS conference? [12]
    Can Tony Greenstein comment on why the same literature that was distributed by BAZO was also advertised by the neo-Nazi British Movement? [13]
    Can Tony Greenstein explain why BAZO booked a stall at the NUS conference in Spring 1981 under a false name and was subsequently ordered to take the stall down? Can Greenstein explain why, at that conference, BAZO were advertising that they were selling Lilienthal’s book – a book by an author who questioned the authenticity of The Diary of Anne Frank, who had signed a petition supporting a known Holocaust denier, and who was promoted by the National Front – a book that the then President of NUS called “antisemitic,” warning delegates: “I don’t want to see this book at conference”? Can Greenstein also comment on why the NUS executive put out a statement at that conference, saying that “the actions of BAZO help antisemites in their activities,” and went on to add: “We are not willing to allow BAZO to have stalls at our conferences, or publicise their material through our publications”? [14]
    Jewish students may join their Jewish Society for all manner of reasons – religious, cultural or social – but why did RETURN magazine hold the Union of Jewish Students in complete contempt, calling them, in an editorial, “a wing of Israel’s propaganda network”? And why did Tony Greenstein argue that UJS “act as paid and unpaid informers for Mossad”? [15]
    Can Tony Greenstein explain what he meant when he wrote: “Never, not once, have I experienced anti-Semitism at the University of Sussex”? [16] His use of a double negative is perplexing. Surely what he meant to say was that he has been the main cause of antisemitism at the University of Sussex?
    Can Tony Greenstein explain to us why he opposed Holocaust Memorial Day and went so far as to call it “obscene”? [17] Tony Greenstein should be ashamed of himself for this – but it seems he has no shame.
    Why did Tony Greenstein say that the opinions held by the late Chaim Bermant “almost cost him his job” at the Jewish Chronicle when this was false? [18] Does Tony Greenstein just make up information to suit his views?
    Can Tony Greenstein explain why he was full of praise for Israel Shahak, calling him “one of the few lights in a sea of darkness,” despite the fact that Shahak once wrote: “These ‘Holocaust memories’ are a fake” – which gave great delight to neo-Nazis and Holocaust deniers? Indeed, giving further comfort to the far-right fringe were other comments that Shahak made – such as that the Nazi Nuremberg laws were “infinitely more moderate than the ‘Gentile’ regulations in Talmudic Law.” But then again, as Paul Bogdanor shows, Shahak in his book Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years just made up incidents and got Talmudic law completely wrong. Shahak even went so far as to accuse religious Jews of Devil-worship, writing that when they wash their hands, they are “worshipping Satan.” According to Shahak, Judaism itself is “dominated by profit seeking.” It is absolutely astonishing that Greenstein can praise such a man. [19]
    Can Tony Greenstein explain why gave his support to the IRA and their terrorist techniques with his statement: “The attack on Thatcher by the IRA was obviously legitimate. She was a military target”? It is no surprise that the Times columnist Oliver Kamm referred to Greenstein as “a political crank of the first order.” [20]
    Can Tony Greenstein explain why he made the following ludicrous statement: “why, then, were the Taliban armed, trained and even created by the US?” [21] The statement is patently bizarre and a typical Greenstein lie. It wasn’t the Taliban, but the Islamic regime it overthrew that was backed by the US! For Greenstein’s information: the Taliban overthrew the mujahideen faction backed by US against the Soviets – Jamiat-e-Islami, led by Burhanuddin Rabbani.
    As recently as 2002, Tony Greenstein described himself as “a student of Zionist history.” [22] Can he please explain why he gets so many facts wrong and distorts so many others?
    Can Greenstein, or any of us for that matter, be at all surprised that Daniel Randall and Sacha Ismail ended an article about him with the words: “To rephrase Mark Twain’s old adage: there are lies, damn lies – and then there’s Tony Greenstein”? [23]

    [1] Letter, Jewish Chronicle, July 24, 1981.
    [2] Simon Rocker, “Phillips Waves the Flag,” Jewish Chronicle, December 26, 1986.
    [3] Unsigned Editorial, “NUS Attack on Freedom of Speech,” RETURN, No. 2, March 1990, pp. 4-5; Unsigned Editorial, “More Hypocrisy,” RETURN, No. 4, September 1990.
    [4] Werner Cohn, Partners in Hate: Noam Chomsky and the Holocaust Deniers (Cambridge, MA: Avukah Press, 1995), p55.
    [5] As reported by Inquiry magazine in November 1985, in a review of Lilienthal’s book.
    [6] Alfred Lilienthal, The Zionist Connection II: What Price Peace? (New Brunwick, NJ: North American, Inc, 1982), pp481, 849n71.
    [7] Jenni Frazer, “On Campus,” Jewish Chronicle, January 2, 1981.
    [8] Quoted by Jenni Frazer, “Students Being Intimidated,” Jewish Chronicle, October 22, 1982.
    [9] “Guardian Apology For BAZO Advert,” Jewish Chronicle, November 11, 1977.
    [10] “Little Southern Comfort,” Jewish Chronicle, March 23, 1979.
    [11] “BAZO Leader to Appeal,” Jewish Chronicle, August 24, 1979.
    [12] Jenni Frazer, “UJS Learns to Push and Pull,” Jewish Chronicle, January 2, 1981.
    [13] “Stuermer, British Style,” Jewish Chronicle, April 3, 1981.
    [14] “Students Ban BAZO,” Jewish Chronicle, April 10, 1981.
    [15] Editorial, “Lies, Damn Lies and the UJS,” RETURN, No. 3, June 1990; Tony Greenstein, “The Fossilisation of Identity,” RETURN, No. 4, September, 1990.
    [16] Letter, The Argus, September 27, 2005.
    [17] Letter, The Observer, February 6, 2000.
    [18] Obituary Letters, The Guardian, January 28 & 29, 1998.
    [19] Obituary Letters, The Guardian, July 24, 2001; Jason Maoz, The Wicked Son, The Jewish Press, September 19, 2001; Paul Bogdanor, “Chomsky’s Ayatollahs,” in Edward Alexander and Paul Bogdanor, eds., The Jewish Divide Over Israel (Transaction Publishers, 2006), pp115-34.
    [20] Letter, The Independent, October 10, 2002; comments by Tony Greenstein and Oliver Kamm on Harry’s Place.
    [21] Letter, The Argus, November 16, 2001.
    [22] Letter, The Argus, August 6, 2002.
    [23] Daniel Randall and Sacha Ismail, Lies, Damn Lies and Tony Greenstein, What Next?, No. 30, 2005.”

  11. UCU Redefines Anti-Semitism to Shield UCU « Says:

    […] and a torrent of resignations by Jewish academics.Just kidding! Actually, they just decided to redefine the meaning of anti-Semitism itself, rejecting the commonly held EUMC definition (which affirms the possibility — though, of […]

  12. conchovor Says:

    Point of information.

    Sue Blackwell said ‘EUMC has been replaced. successor organisation have no plans for any further development of it. the latest publication doesn’t mention the definition. They’ve dumped it because it is not fit for purpose’.

    But that is not true. The successor to EUMC, FRA, still has the definition on its website:

    Click to access AS-WorkingDefinition-draft.pdf

    • Brian Goldfarb Says:

      In other words, Sue Blackwell believes what she wants to believe, not what is actually true. “Her mind is made up; don’t confuse her with the facts”.

  13. More Antisemitism from Britain | Anne's Opinions Says:

    […] the sad confirmation that the UCU had indeed voted on and passed the motion reached us from Engage Online who live-blogged the entire session (h/t Harry’s […]

  14. Alex Says:

    Just out of curiosity if anyone knows, what were the proportion of “as-a-Jew” anti-zionists to Jewish zionists attending / speaking – does anyone know?

    • David Hirsh Says:

      There was one Jewish Zionist able and willing to speak “as a Jew”. His name is Ronnie Fraser. He’s brave.

      Des Freedman, Mike Cushman and Sean Wallis (!!) spoke “asa Jew” for changing the definition of antisemitism.

      There was another guy I didn’t know in the other debate – “David” – who said that the settlers want to occupy from the Nile to the Euphrates and that “this is an expansionist people”. I think he was an asaJew.

      But apart from Ronnie this year, there are no Jews left who are willing or able to oppose the boycott and/or the antisemitism. asaJew or not.

      See this from 2009:

      • Bill Says:

        “There was another guy I didn’t know in the other debate – “David” – who said that the settlers want to occupy from the Nile to the Euphrates and that “this is an expansionist people”. I think he was an asaJew.”

        I don’t care if Spinioza said that, “as a Jew”. How is that statement NOT antisemitic? It plays on the worst, not to mention broadly false, Jewish/Zionist caricature to dishonestly justify discriminating against a religious and national origin demographic. Try the Cinderella Test on that gem with any other underrepresented group with an equivalent “argument” and see how far you get. If it’s said in the workplace to leverage discrimination or “exclusion,” or “self-selection,” it definitely falls in the H/D spectrum. You don’t have to go through any workforce or administrative training to know that. It should be bloody intuitive. And with any other group it is.

        Great going, UCU! You tossed officially antisemitism out of reach and caught it mid-air in a single meeting. Now if you could only focus that energy and can-do attitude towards being a credible negotiating unit!

      • skidmarx Says:

        His name is Ronnie Fraser. He’s brave.
        and clairvoyant:
        Ronnie Fraser (I had this text already):

        I, a Jewish member of this union, am telling you, that I feel an antisemitic mood in this union and even in this room.
        He could feel the anti-semitic mood that was going to be in the room when he wrote his pre-prepared text? With psychic powers like that to expose anti-semitism, the Working Definition is surely superfluous.

        • David Hirsh Says:

          skidmarx, you are every bit as disgusting as your name.

          Ronnie has sat in NATFHE conferences every year until 2006, when NATFHE passed a boycott motion.

          He has sat in UCU Congresses ever year since 2007.

          He didn’t go to Harrogate until sunday because, being an orthodox Jew, he was excluded from attending on Saturday. He sat through the meeting on Sunday, during which Congress decided to “circulate the PACBI call” to boycott Israel and no other country. He felt the antisemitic mood of Congress. I felt it too.

          Ronnie wrote his speech at lunchtime on Monday. He knew all too well that there was an antisemitic mood in the room. He gave me a copy of his short speech (2 minutes) after lunch on Monday. Ronnie knew what was coming.

          What was coming, skidmarx, was a whole hall full of people like you.

          People who could listen to a person saying that he feels he is are being victimised in a racist way, and who could then turn round and say: “liar”.

          People who live in a pre-Macphearson age. People who think an institution ought to assume that somebody who says they are being treated in a racist way is making it up. Crying rape. playing the antisemitism card.

          The little antisemite thinks he’s clever, right? He’s discovered an “error” in the Zionist plot. He’s found that Ronnie wrote his speech before he gave it. He thinks this brings the whole edifice of Zionist dishonesty down.

          You disgust me skidmarx.

        • modernityblog Says:

          Dear Engage admin, I appreciate that you wish a wide range of views, but could you avoid posting from Skidmarx.

          He has a particular taste in racist reading material and should be no platformed, without a moment’s hesitation.

          I don’t say this lightly, but you can decide based on the evidence, if he really is against anti-Jewish racism or a purveyor of it, I know where I stand:

        • conchovor Says:

          That is a highly paranoid reading, Skidmarx (which I think you got from JSF or Greenstein’s blog, where I saw it first), all too often a feature of sundry psychoses with regard to Jews.

          With the exercise of a little wisdom and intelligence, you might benefit from some self-examination in the matter.

          ‘With psychic powers like that to expose anti-semitism’

          That is disgusting, S.

  15. Fair Play Campaign Group » Blog Archive » Throwing the bathroom out with the bathwater Says:

    […] then, is the evidence for such a claim? The example cited in the debate at UCU Congresswas that the recent ‘Freedom for Palestine’ motion adopted by NUS had been objected to on the […]

  16. The CST » Blog Archive » Throwing the bathroom out with the bathwater Says:

    […] then, is the evidence for such a claim? The example cited in the debate at UCU Congress was that the recent ‘Freedom for Palestine’ motion adopted by NUS had been objected to on the […]

  17. Dave Rich Says:

    Tony Greenstein’s blog has a permanent link to the Palestine Telegraph website. Palestine Telegraph has previously published Holocaust Denial articles, a video by David Duke, an interview with Frederick Toben and numerous articles containing antisemitic conspiracy theories. Despite all this, Greenstein has never removed the link from his blog. This tells you all you need to know about Greenstein’s supposed opposition to antisemitism.

  18. UCU, Racism And Malice. « ModernityBlog Says:

    […] a comment » I want to post on the truly appalling events at yesterday’s UCU congress, but time is short and others express themselves much better than I could: “Quite simply, the […]

  19. anneinpt Says:

    I blogged about the UCU vote on my own blog post yesterday (with a h/t to Engage amongst others – you can see my trackback in the comments above) and astonishingly, I received a comment from Sue Blackwell (fairly factual if sarcastic) and one from a Willem Meijs (who turns out to be married to her). Meijs’s comment just repeats the same stuff over again – that they reject the EUMC working definition, and why can’t they define antsemitism as they wish? I answered him back of course (adequately I hope) but he makes a circular argument. You’re welcome to come over and read their comments.

  20. Bill Says:

    I’m not sure what good it would do other than validate their feelings of being laid into by a Lobby and having their academic freedom to deny academic freedom to Jews and only Jews that don’t agree with them.

    She’s been here before ages ago. I just don’t see the point, it’s like arguing with a brick wall. She will wring her hands in a public statement about how put off she was when a student gave her a copy of an historically acknowledged antisemetic track (I believe it was the protocols). But she continues to disconnect antisemetic acts and her and her colleagues incandescent rhetoric – I mean why did they give it to her and not the engineering prof across campus, I mean they thought she’d be receptive to it, right? She will say they should also boycott China or other regimes when asked (or backed against a wall) but there is no follow through on her part, it’s just Israel 24/7. (Now that’s a step up from Hickey’s special pleading to justify discriminating against Jews as Jews using Jewish stereotypes that evolved from centuries of anti-Jewish discrimination – but no followup = no credibility.) And of course she and her colleagues have gotten legal advice and ignored it, pretending that they can operate in their own bubble – I believe that’s whistling in the dark.

    The Delich Link didn’t slow them down. The language and implication of the BMJ plea didn’t even register with them. They’ve brought in people accused by their countries human rights judiciaries of being antisemitic and have continued to staggered drunkenly forward. Now apparently someone successfully used the EUMC working definition and guess what? They want to remove it from the acceptable use with no alternative ready to go and I suspect they’ll table any reasonable set of criteria in favor of a pedestal definition that they “know” their members won’t violate (and of course they will find a way as they always do). And that’s if they ever try to address it.

    They aren’t going to see reason. They are going to dismiss any argument against it as the influence of the Lobby. If there is legal advice, they will and have ignored it. I’m afraid even a hard lawsuit against a UCU member or the UCU itself won’t make them see reality. They’re playing chicken with a brick wall and they just hit the gas saying that the wall does not exist.

    Sorry to be a fatalist but the Delich BMJ and Masuku examples have pretty much put these guys out of the spectrum of Reasonable Persons as far as I’m concerned.

  21. Absolute Observer Says:

    But Bill, didn’t you know that linking to former-KKK websites and asking people culpable of hate-speech against Jews to talk at UCU sponsored events is “really” nothing more than criticism of Israel?

    • Bill Says:

      And you know AO, I just might have to eat some humble pie. Because the KKK is now protesting the Westboro Baptist Church. I kid thee not. Clearly I misjudged them, and the UCU.

  22. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    I assume that the “we” that is the Engage community, subscribing to the Engage mission statement, now accept, if we hadn’t already, that the UCU National Executive is determined to destroy the UCU in order to prove their political incorruptibility. They have gone way beyond satirising Brecht’s call (after the failed East German uprising of 1953) for the Party to dissolve the people and elect another.

    It is irrelevant to them whether Jews remain in the union, whether non-Jews opposed to their destructive policies on antisemitism and Israel, at the cost of pay and conditions, let alone credibility, continue to pay their dues. They have forgotten the vital Blakean line, necessary for the left to overcome, for the fighters to recall that “You are many and they are few”. They prefer to be few, right, destroyed and history.

    It’s just a crying shame that the rest of us (including the majority of the UCU membership) can’t just tiptoe away and leave them to it,because while they’re flaming and burning, they are also destroying the futures of academics who ahve put their faith and their money into the UCU to defend them.

    The only consolation we have, if it _is_ a consolation, is that UK law will prove a who;e lot stronger than their stupidity.

  23. David Kessler Says:

    Reading this reminded me of my sister’s student days at UCL when they tried to ban the Jewish Society on the grounds that it was “Zionist.” Apparently, when they say they want to be free to hold a serious debate on Israel and Zionism, they mean one side of the debate on Israel and Zionism. The truth of the matter is that by and large the anti-Zionists don’t want a debate; they want sound-bites. Its is by the use of sound-bites that all manner of anti-Israel myths have been created. See for example the Advertising Standards Authority handling of a complaint claiming that the Western Wall is not part of Israel.

    • Bill Says:

      Reading this reminded me of my sister’s student days at UCL when they tried to ban the Jewish Society on the grounds that it was “Zionist.”

      Like when Zionist Cemeteries get vandalized. But in this case, was this just a reactionary move to equate Jews and Zionists, or was it something that worries me more in this matter. Was it a fishing expedition to get the Jewish Society (“and only the ‘Jewish’ Society”) to come out one way or another on the I-word and reward/punish them accordingly? At this point the boycoteer wing of the community is bringing out their as-a-Jews to come out in favor of the boycott and praising them. I suspect that they will not be targets of UCU-member-inspired discrimination and harassment. Those who are opposed to the boycott will be targets. Those who are coy, will be shown the choice. That’s not only an open violation of HR best practices, but also against the law, not matter what bubble the overgrown teenagers in the boycott clique insist.

  24. Absolute Observer Says:

    The argument for the banning of Jewish societies was not because they were “Jewish” but because they made reference to Israel in their constitutions.

    For a Jewish society not to be banned they would have to have erased all and any links to Israel that expressed some sort of connection or some sort of support.

    And, following Klug’s reasoning, since they were not “intentional” (delusional) antisemites (which they probably weren’t), and no matter how much Jews in the UK “smelt “antisemitism” such actions cannot be “really” antisemitic, but just another example of legitimate “hostility to Israel”.

    So, we need to forget about the direct and indirect effects the incidents had on Jews, we must forget that of all student societies, only “Jewish societies” were targeted for banning on the basis that only Israel was worthy of such actions. None of that matters.

    What matters is that those calling for such bans were not antisemites and so, no matter what they said about Israel, no matter what they said about Jews in relation to Israel, nothing they said or did, none of the effects, direct or indirect can be classed as “antisemitic”, no matter how much it smelt of “common or garden, classic antisemitism”.

    A better way to explain Klug’s thesis comes from an old UK show called “Auf wediersen, Pet”.

    In one episode there was a discussion of the fact that to one’s own nose, one’s own shit doesn’t smell, but stinks to other people’s noses.

    Klug writes from the perspective of those who having emptied their bowels and can smell nothing, complain when other people recognise it for precisely what it is,

  25. UCU, A Political Vacuum And Racism. « ModernityBlog Says:

    […] the UCU’s NEC brought forth a motion disregarding the EUMC’s working definition on antisemitism they seemed to think nothing would occur. That no one would respond. That people would not notice […]

  26. Eduard Giffinger Says:

    Ich bin gegn den Boykott isaelischer Akademiker

  27. The tipping point for UCU -David Hirsh « Engage – the anti-racist campaign against antisemitism Says:

    […] institutional antisemitism and it gives examples: annual boycott resolutions against only Israel; the conduct of these debates; the moderating of the activist list and the penalising of anti-boycott activists; the failure to […]

  28. Another day, another Jew leaves the UCU | Parsnip Swords Says:

    […] the Israel campaigning took an avid turn, most recently Motion 70 – UCU’s move to smooth the way for antisemitic discourse about Israel – a load of people with Jewish names have resigned, along with others who care about […]

  29. Times Higher Education on UCU « Soupy One Says:

    […] anything it understates the nature of the problems in UCU. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. Leave a Comment […]

  30. The Internationalist Cover for Anti-Semitism Says:

    […] May, David Hirsch offered this account of a Jewish UCU member’s statement during the debate that led to repudiation of the “working […]

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