It is time for YOU to read the EUMC Working Definition of Antisemitism

Go on, read it.  It is here

The EUMC definition says it may, in some contexts, be antisemitic to accuse Jews of being more loyal to Israel than to their union; to say Israel is a racist endeavour; to apply double standards; to boycott Israelis but not others for the same violations; to say that Israeli policy is like Nazi policy; to hold Jews collectively responsible for the actions of Israel.  All of these things have been going on a lot inside the academic unions for the last eight years.  Instead of addressing the antisemitic culture, the leadership of the union now proposes to alter the definition of antisemitism.  The union wants to carry on treating ‘Zionists’ as disloyal; singling out Israel and only Israel for boycott; holding Israeli universities responsible for their government; allowing ‘Zionist’ union members to be denounced as Nazis or supporters of apartheid.

The precise form that bullying typically takes within UCU is that people who complain about antisemitism are accused of doing so in bad faith in a dishonest attempt to outlaw criticism of Israel.  The antisemitism isn’t seen, isn’t acknowledged, the accuser is accused; and Israel is blamed for the unseen and unacknowledged antisemitism.

The new motion makes this form of bullying into official union policy.  Even though the definition says that ‘criticism of Israel similar to that levelled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic’, the new motion declares that the definition outlaws criticism and is intended to silence debate.

UCU will now oppose all bigotry except for one particular category: racism which can be said to resemble criticism of Israel.  UCU will oppose racist and religious antisemitism, but political antisemitism will be protected under the new policy.

Israel murders children?  Not antisemitic.  Israel controls US foreign policy?  Not antisemitic.  Magen David = Swastika stuck on your office door?  Not antisemitic.  Jews invent antisemitism to de-legitimise criticism of Israel?  Not antisemitic.  Host a man found guilty of hate speech by the South African Human Rights commission?  Not antisemitic.  Exclude nobody but Israelis from the global academic community?  Not antisemitic.

It is clear now how antisemitism against Israelis far away, in the form of a boycott campaign, also threatens ‘zionists’ within the union.  We have learnt that the boycott campaign brings antisemitism with it into any organisation which treats it as one side in a legitimate debate. UCU have understood it too, now.  The only thing left for them, now, is to change the defiinition of antisemitism so that they fall outside of it.

People  ought to be clear: they ought to specify precisely what it is they want to say and to do which would be defined as antisemitic by the EUMC definition.  Then we will understand why they want so much to dump it.

9 Responses to “It is time for YOU to read the EUMC Working Definition of Antisemitism”

  1. Bill Says:

    Unfortunately I’ve heard “Special Pleading” on all of the items listed in the second set of example bullets — and a few in the first set. We’ve commented on them here. And once again, you can swap out all references to Jews and Israel and slide in those of most any other protected classification — and the glass slipper still can be worn. That’s what makes their actions here so transparent, and how it won’t be allowed to fly as a credible excuse if there is a conflict between a union member and his or her institution, faculty, investigator, staffer or student be they within or outside of the UCU penumbra.

  2. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    Actually, David, I think you’ve got it wrong: I don’t think it’s time for US to read the EUMC Working Definition, but the members of the UCU National Executive, the General Secretary, and all those delegates to Congress who voted for the Resolution dismissing the definition. WE already know what it says and what it means and how it should be interpreted. THEY don’t.

    In an ideal world, all the above should be sat down, firmly, in an appropriately sized room and be made to listen to someone explain _exactly_ what the working definition says and _exactly_ how it can and can’t be interpreted. Then that someone (a High Court Judge, possibly? A Supreme Court Justice – not one of the “Jewish” ones, _they’re_ biased [the UCU says so] – perchance?) should invite comments, and have the power to stop any one individual and demand _evidence_ of their assertions. And to keep stopping them until either they _do_ produce the evidence or they admit themselves defeated by the intellectual process involved.

    It’s the lack of evidence and the lack of clout to make these people put up or shut up (they really do have no shame, and all of them academics, too) that creates the situation we find ourselves in.

    Bill has it just right: it’s only when they hit the brick wall of the law and the courts, and find that they are far from being the irresistible object they believe themselves to be and that the legal system actually is the immovable object that they will discover the real position they are in. And it will be between a rock and a hard place, with them as the eminently crushable object.

    I care less about the cost to them, it’s the membership who will really pay the price as the union crashes in flames. It’s only the managers who will be warming themselves by the fire.

    What’s that phrase of Bill’s (apologies if the terms are inverted)? Too dumb to learn, too smart to study.

    • Thomas Venner Says:

      “WE already know what it says and what it means and how it should be interpreted. THEY don’t.”

      Actually, I think a lot of them know exactly what it says, what it means and how it should be interpreted. That’s precisely why they feel so threatened by it.

    • Bill Says:

      (yup, it’s “too smart to study…” , s’okay though)

      I also went back into my wayback machine and recall that the same language regarding “loyalties” (just as one of the more creepingly toxic examples) has indeed been leveraged against Latinos (Mexican-Americans on the right, Cubans on the left) and of course the stuff about the global caliphate against Muslims. And of course there are other examples of swapping the other bullet points. And in their respective bubbles, their users insist that their case is special. And in each case, BS has been called on it. The UCU is in good company, if you can call it that, but on the wrong side.

  3. Alex Says:

    “it’s the membership who will really pay the price as the union crashes in flames”

    Would it be so terrible if it did and something better emerged in its place? As an ex-member, I would get a union I could join.

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

    […] members are leaving in disgust. UCU’s actions have been shown to be intellectually untenable and reprehensible in the extreme. Trade unionism and UCU has been brought into disrepute by UCU’s institutionalised […]

  5. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    “There have also been calls for a formal investigation by the Equality and Human Rights Commission into the decision.” Missed this one earlier. Mod Blog has it in one of the links in his article just above, which is to the Jewish Chronicle online. It’s in the link in the sentence reproduced here: “UCU members are leaving in disgust.” and the words “in disgust” are the highlighted link there.

    Should the Commission take action and investigate, I suspect (hope) that there could be only one outcome: condemnation. This might, indeed, open the door to other groups to take action. What the NEC should fear is the call by the Board of Deputies to Vice-Chancellors to de-recognise the union. There will be plenty of university managers just itching for a genuine reason to de-recognise the UCU. Potentially, UCU has just handed them a live grenade: flouting of the Race relations Laws. And the NEC (and perhaps delegates to Congress) might just be held personally liable.

    Now _that_ would be poetic justice!

  6. David Kessler Says:

    The link to the PDf doesn’t seem to work. I tried many times but it produced a blank screen.

  7. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    David, try this:

    Click to access AS-WorkingDefinition-draft.pdf

    That _should_ get you there.

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