The UCU continues to equivocate over antisemitism

The University and College Union (UCU) voted to reject and indeed denounce the EUMC working definition of antisemitism back in 2011. Then in 2012 they produced a leaflet which seemed designed to fill the gap left by the spurned working definition. I described its many inadequacies here.

One of the major problems with this leaflet was its failure to engage with the way in which criticism of Israel or Zionism can be a vector for antisemitism. The new leaflet does make some acknowledgement of this phenomenon. For example it includes in its list of ‘discriminatory language or behaviour’:

Targeting Jews or Jewish organisations for anti-Israel protests. For example, a ‘Free Palestine’ slogan is legitimate political debate. Daubed on the wall of a synagogue, it is an antisemitic act.

This is a start. The UCU’s guidance would at least help people to identify a proposed ‘Gaza protest’ outside a synagogue in Cambridge as antisemitic.

But, as Ronnie Fraser points out here, this clause is unsatisfactory:

holding Jews collectively to blame, eg for the actions of the Israeli Government. Many Jews do not support the actions of the Government of Israel.

There was simply no need for that second sentence. Is it legitimate to hold some (non-Israeli ) Jews to blame for the actions of the Government of Israel? Just how critical does one have to be to pass this particular purity test?

Like its earlier incarnation this leaflet wastes a lot of space on generic gumf and bland platitudes. This is a pity, as two clauses in particular seem to need some further unpacking. The first is this:

Deliberate distortion, exaggeration or misrepresentation of religious concepts and teaching.

What exactly is being referred to here? Possibly the blood libel – if so, that could usefully have been spelled out. Or perhaps the authors had debates about shechita slaughter or circumcision in mind. It would have been helpful to say a bit more about these issues, and the very different motives which may drive critics of these practices.

This clause is also unhelpfully compressed:

Denial or trivialisation of the Holocaust; use of Holocaust imagery in describing Jews; accusing Jews of exaggerating the Holocaust.

The first and third elements are clear enough, but what is meant exactly by ‘use of Holocaust imagery in describing Jews’.? Does it only target taunts themed around the suffering of victims or does it also identify parallels between Jews/Israel and Nazis, correctly, as antisemitic?

According to Ronnie Fraser, a draft of this new leaflet included a fifth clause:

Judging Jews according to a different standard often manifests as explicit comparisons between what is perceived to be the collective action of Jews (usually the Israeli Government) and the action of Nazis.

I very much agree with him that this should have been left in. For, as it stands, this leaflet seems to avoid confronting key antizionist manifestations of antisemitism. Taunts about ‘Zionazis’ and elisions between Nazis and Israelis do indeed hold Jews to a different standard, and are often targeted (not that they are excusable in any context) even against people who are quite critical of Israel’s policies but who make a stand against disproportionate and distorted attacks on Israel.

Given that those responsible for drawing up the leaflet solicited views of UCU members and others, and seemed to spend several months mulling over responses, the ‘improvements’ which have been made are decidedly underwhelming.

42 Responses to “The UCU continues to equivocate over antisemitism”

  1. josephinebacon Says:

    When is the government going to act to implement all the laws this country has passed against racial hatred? UCU would be in the front line for a prosecution. And when are judges such as those who threw out the claim going to be removed from office? As an interpreter, I was actually a witness in a trial at which the judge insisted that no Jews should be among the jury. If that isn’t racial discrimination, I don’t what is.

  2. Carlo Says:

    Jews in general being blamed for for the actions of the Israeli government is simply the collateral damage in the verbal war about the Middle East. And Israeli prime ministers who pretend to speak for all Jews everywhere don’t exactly clarify matters.

    • Kluggian thought-experiments Says:

      ‘Jews in general being blamed for for the actions of the Israeli government is simply the collateral damage in the verbal war about the Middle East. And Israeli prime ministers who pretend to speak for all Jews everywhere don’t exactly clarify matters.’

      ‘Jews in general being blamed for antisemitism is simply the collateral damage in the verbal war about the Middle East. And diaspora Jews who pretend to speak for all Jews everywhere don’t exactly clarify matters.’

      ‘Jews in general being blamed for for the actions of the capitalist is simply the collateral damage in the verbal war about class exploitation. And Jewish capitalists who pretend to speak for all Jews everywhere don’t exactly clarify matters.’

      ‘Jews in general being blamed for for the actions of the socialist is simply the collateral damage in the verbal war about class exploitation. And Jewish socialists who pretend to speak for all Jews everywhere don’t exactly clarify matters.’

      ‘Jews in general being blamed as crucifiers of Christ is simply the collateral damage in the verbal war about the conflict between Judaism and Christianity. And rabbis who pretend to speak for all Jews everywhere don’t exactly clarify matters.’

      • Still a UCU member Says:

        As a trade union committed to anti-racism, isn’t the role of the UCU to disabuse people of racism, rather than perpetuate the myths that attach to it, including the justification fro racism that you have identified (Jews everywhere ‘being blamed’ as no more than ‘mere collateral damage’ of the conflict in the Middle East)?

    • zaccaerdydd Says:

      ‘ And Israeli prime ministers who pretend to speak for all Jews everywhere don’t exactly clarify matters.’

      They don’t exist. Antisemites invent them.

      • Carlo Says:

        Check out, for example, PM Netanyahu’s recent synagogue speech after he had invited himself to Paris.

        • zaccaerdydd Says:

          I have, and he was misrepresented. He said he was ‘a’ representative for Jews generally on the Paris memorial march (so far as I know, he was the only Jewish politico or national leader thereon), and represented Israel in both Paris and the US.

          This was twisted into a bogus quotation ‘I speak for all Jews everywhere’.

          I do not support Netanyahu, fervently hope for his losing the next election. But that does not drive me to twist his words to serve the interests of antisemitic creeps like you.

  3. Thanks from a friend Says:

    Hi Carlo,
    As an antisemite, I would like to thank you for your comments. For far too long, people have been trying to blame us – the antisemites – for our verbal attacks on Jews. Throughout this troubling period for us we have been saying again and again, that if it were not for the horrendous, immoral and, let’s be frank, inhuman acts of the Jewish state, then we would not need to be antisemitic or, indeed, antisemites. As you quite rightly say, as long as Israeli politicians ‘pretend’ to speak for all Jews and the Jewish people do not publicly and repeatedly disavow themselves from these comments, then, really, what do Jews in Britain, France, etc. expect? And, as an antisemite, it is good too that you recognise the fact that like me, you believe that once you scrape the thinnest layer of ‘political correctness’ away from non-Jewish people, their ‘true’ antisemitic selves will easily come to the surface. After all, as we antisemites have noted for years now, the Jews must have done something to have caused their mistreatment over the years (Spain – 15th century; Germany, 20th century, etc., etc.).
    I must say though that judging my your tone and the manner in which you have expressed your comments, it is highly unlikely that you are or consider yourself to be an antisemite. From my point of view that is a pity. However, it is good to know that, through comments such as yours, our views are becoming now part of mainstream opinion. For that, if nothing else, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
    (I would like to sign my name, but we all know what happens if we ever speak ill of the Jews; so I cannot share your bravery).

    • Carlo Says:

      Guilt by association with your convoluted straw-man anti-Semite? No thanks. You’re right, I don’t consider myself to be “a person hostile to or prejudiced against Jews”. But then you probably consider that definition to be out of date. You’re most likely a proponent of the “new” anti-Semitism that covers all critics of Israeli policy of whatever stripe. Handy that. One size fits all. The important thing is to stick a label on the critic and to avoid discussing issues like colonization, ethnic cleansing, occupation, and other breaches of international law.

      Of course Jews being blamed for the actions of a foreign government is unfair. But when representatives of Jewish institutions approve such actions it’s hardly surprising. And in today’s world, despite your obsession with the past, it has less to do with notions about the crucifixion of Jesus than with the impact of graphic images from Gaza.

      • Thanks from a friend Says:

        Hi Carlo,
        I am sorry you don’t see us sharing the same view of things.
        Our first point of agreement – at least tactically – is that wherever and whenever possible to immediately change the topic of conversation from the (always false) accusation against critics of Israel of antisemitism to the crimes of the Jewish people/state. This has the advantage of a constant reminder of what the Jews are really up to – as well as deflecting attention away from us.
        Secondly, I agree entirely with you that those who complain of antisemitism are doing nothing more that protecting the Jewish state from all and every criticism. After all, we know that Jews have adopted this tactic for decades. If one reads the leading lights on the true nature of Jewish power, a common theme is that Jews fly the ‘false flag’ of antisemitism to deflect all criticism of their brethren. I am sad to say this is the fate of those of us wishing to tell the truth about Jews. As you quite rightly say, the (eternal) claim that Jews shout ‘antisemitism’ whenever one of their number is in trouble is, indeed, a ‘straw man’ and is used for no other reason that to smear those of us (if I may) who want to highlight what can only be called the true nature of ‘Jewish duplicity’. It seems it is down to us to expose such scheming lies.
        So, despite our apparent differences you seem to think that Jews being blamed for the acts of other Jews is unfair (I do not). I am glad to note that we are at the very least, singing from the same hymm sheet – Antisemtism is nothing other than a clever lie to deflect attention from the reality of Jewish crimes; in this case, the crimes of the Jewish state.
        I note also our agreement in your comment with my belief that, ‘as long as Israeli politicians ‘pretend’ to speak for all Jews and the Jewish people [or ‘leaders’] do not publicly and repeatedly disavow themselves from these comments, then, really, what do Jews in Britain, France, etc. expect?
        Fraternally yours,
        a friend

      • zaccaerdydd Says:

        ‘But when representatives of Jewish institutions approve such actions it’s hardly surprising.’

        Such representatives rarely condone, affirm or approve this or that particular policy. They rarely do more than affirm Israel’s right to defend itself. The ideologues of UCU-SWP deny Israel even the right to do that.

        Therein is the problem.

        • Thanks from a friend Says:

          Hi Carlo,
          I am slightly confused here.
          You seem somewhat reticent about the agreement between what we antisemites have been saying for years about Jews and your own views. So let me spell out again the points of our agreement.

          1. ‘Jews in general being blamed for for the actions of the Israeli government is simply the collateral damage in the verbal war about the Middle East.’
          1a. We agree wholeheartedly that antisemitism is a response to the act of Israel; that Jews everywhere are to be blamed for the acts of other Jews (in this instance, the Jewish state). It is, as you say the ‘simply…….collateral damage.

          2. ‘You’re most likely a proponent of the “new” anti-Semitism that covers all critics of Israeli policy of whatever stripe. Handy that. One size fits all. The important thing is to stick a label on the critic and to avoid discussing issues like colonization, ethnic cleansing, occupation, and other breaches of international law.’
          2a. We agree, again, wholeheartedly that what you term the ‘new’ antisemitism (a distinction, that, to be fair, we do not make) is nothing other than an attempt to silence and censure critics of Jews (in this instance, Israel ) by falsely alleging that the critic is nothing other than an antisemite or is antisemitic; that Jews intentionally and with malice aforethought interpret and seek to make the rest of the world interpret perfectly rational criticism of Jews and the Jewish state as evidence of a deep-seated (almost pathological) hatred of Jews. That, in the words of one of our earliest theorists, ‘one cannot criticise the Jews without being called an ‘antisemite’ (this sentence was,I believe, written sometimes in the 1840’s in reference to the truth they were writing about the Jews with reference to both the Rothschilds and Marx (and their connection) and has been present in more or less all writings since that time – hence, our refusal to use the prefix ‘new’). The point being, of course, is that what you consider a new tactic of the Jews (to ‘cry wolf’) has, in fact, been a constant retorts of theirs for a very long time indeed.
          Implicit in this allegation, of course, is that the very words ‘antisemite’ and ‘antisemitic’ are, of all slanders, perhaps the most powerful in today’s world (the reason for this takes me in a direction that I am sure would be considered ‘offensive’ by many here).

          3 ‘that with the impact of graphic images from Gaza……………when representatives of Jewish institutions approve such actions [antisemitism is] hardly surprising.
          3a. Again we are in agreement. First, like you, we hold the Jews (in this instance, the Jewish state) responsible for the antisemitism that they bring upon themselves. Like you, we argue that, were the Jews not to act is such negative ways, then, indeed, the response of antisemitism would be unnecessary. Like you, we believe that were the Jews to act like decent human beings then, by definition, there would be no antisemitism. We are, as they say, reactive and not proactive. Second, that since we hold all Jews responsible for the acts of their fellow Jews we too demand that they publicly renounce what the Jewish state does. As we have agreed on before, unless they do so they remain co-responsible and a ‘legitimate target’ – along with the Jewish state – for ‘the impact of graphic images from Gaza’.

          Now it may be that you want nothing to do with antisemites such as myself (perhaps, you yourself are Jewish, or you feel obligated in someway to them), but, so far, nothing that you have said differs whatsoever from what we antisemites believe. There is not one of our leading lights (as I referred to them above) who has not argued precisely the same as you (with the exception that what you state is peculiar to the so-called ‘new’ antisemitism).

          Now, rather than merely insult me (for reasons that I think I understand) and to send me to websites that make one think of the ‘Wicker Man’, perhaps you could let me know in what ways I have misrepresented your position. Since you wish to disassociate yourself entirely from my views, it would seem to make sense for you to outline our differences. Indeed, far from indicating such differences, each of your comments seem to bring us closer together.

          (One final point, I can assure you I am no ‘straw-man’ antisemite as you put it; that the views both you and I have expressed are entirely in keeping with the canon of our thinking.)

      • zaccaerdydd Says:

        ‘Handy that. One size fits all. The important thing is to stick a label on the critic and to avoid discussing issues like colonization, ethnic cleansing, occupation, and other breaches of international law.’

        But that is exactly what you do with your un-nuanced and inaccurate reading of what, for the most part, the Jewish communal representatives you adduce actually say.

      • zaccaerdydd Says:

        ‘ You’re most likely a proponent of the “new” anti-Semitism that covers all critics of Israeli policy of whatever stripe. ‘

        ‘all critics’, really, Carlo? I think I see a new-antisemitism, but find fault especially with the West Bank policies of Likud.

        I see one form of this new-antisemitism in that it seeks to label all who see it as de facto proponents of all Israel’s most right wing policies, no matter how extreme.

        ‘Jews in general being blamed for for the actions of the Israeli government is simply the collateral damage in the verbal war about the Middle East.’

        ‘simply’, Carlo, really? No greater complexity, whatsoever? No iteration of the Jews as materialist persecutors of Christ and his Church as alien greedy, money lending persecuting exploiters of Christian poor as alien capitalist persecutory exploiters of gentile working classes as alien persecutory colonial exploiter of third world Palestinians?

        No iteration of ancient stereotypes, whatsoever?

        ‘And in today’s world, despite your obsession with the past, it has less to do with notions about the crucifixion of Jesus than with the impact of graphic images from Gaza.’

        ‘despite your obsession with the past’

        Dead give away, Carlo, about where you’re coming from: Zionists are allegedly fixated on the past in precisely the same way your predecessors used to say Jews were. And yet you defining Zionism and Israel supporters in precise the Catholic church defined both Jews and its heretical enemies: in their most extreme from possible.

        You’re a Jesuit, Carlo.

      • Jacob Arnon (@Jacob_Arnon) Says:

        “Of course Jews being blamed for the actions of a foreign government is unfair. But when representatives of Jewish institutions approve such actions it’s hardly surprising. And in today’s world, despite your obsession with the past, it has less to do with notions about the crucifixion of Jesus than with the impact of graphic images from Gaza.”

        Unfair? That’s a pretty mild rejection of murderous Jew hatred. Were the killers of the Jewish children in Toulouse “unfair?” What about the murder of the Jews in the Paris a few weeks ago?

        They too, or so their apologists claimed, were reacting against “a foreign government.”

        What if some in Japan decide to kill Iraqi or Syrian Sunni Muslims because of the murder of Japanese hostages by ISIS? Would you call that unfair? Wouldn’t you come up with a stronger term than unfair?

        What would happen if every group allied to governments who are thought to act brutally were targeted by so called human rights groups and started taking action against them from boycotts to murder? What If pro Russians attacked Ukrainians and vice-versa? What if pro-Tibetans attacked Chinese?

        That isn’t happening you say? Tant pire, Why not? Why is it only Jews who targeted?
        It’s hypocritical to treat Jews different from Muslims and it’s downright disgusting to blame Jews de hors Israel for perceived Israeli government injustices.

        Finally, there are dozens of government, Carlo, with worse human rights records why obsess over Israel and Jews, only?

        • Jacob Arnon (@Jacob_Arnon) Says:

          “Unfair? That’s a pretty mild rejection of murderous Jew hatred. Were the killers of the Jewish children in Toulouse “unfair?” What about the murder of the Jews in the Paris a few weeks ago?”

          “rejection” should read REACTION.and the determiner article “a” should be stricken.

        • Carlo Says:

          “Unfair” referred to anti-Jewish opinion. Obviously Jewish civilians in Europe are not responsible for the operations of the Israeli armed forces. Public opinion in Europe is not particularly unfavourable towards Jews. There is more organised hostility against new immigrants, Roma and Muslims.

          The acts of those who murdered Jews and non-Jews in Toulouse and Paris is of a different order. The killers were Muslims, had criminal records in France, combat experience or training in the Middle East and believed they were furthering a religious cause. To say so is not to condone their actions.

          Why Israel? Like other contributors here I have a “special relationship” with the place. Unlike them though I try not to take a purely ethnocentric view of it.

    • Brian Goldfarb Says:

      Couldn’t have put it better myself. Now there’s an ironist who can all of us a thing or two!

      • Brian Goldfarb Says:

        This comment was meant to come immediately after “Thanks from a friend”

        Made slightly more sense there.

        • Juggling Says:

          Carlo,
          Thank you for tarring everyone who disagrees with you ‘ethnocentrists’ (aka racists). I am glad, but surprised that you seem to know that anyone who criticises antisemitism is nothing other then a Jewish supremicist. I will leave the irony of the fact that someone who is claiming that antisemitism is a smear on all critics of Israel responds by an equally vacuous smear. It would appear, however, that nuance of thought is not something that comes easy to you.
          As to your comment on Islamophobia; of course, Muslims in the UK suffer from racism. Unfortunately, racism is not a zero sum game. More than one species of racism can exist at any given time. Indeed, as TellMAMA has recognised, the fight against Islamophobia is best fought in alliance with those who suffer other forms of racism (including antisemitism). Indeed, even the ADL – not the most of progressive groups – has also spoken out against Islamophobia recently in connection with a State Republican senator. Antisemitism and Islamophobia has two distinct sources. Anti-Muslim racism is currently of a populist kind (see the racist movements in Germany and groups like EDL, Britain First, etc). in the UK. Antisemitism, on the other hand, is in keeping with its more cerebral routes is not populist in form (see, for example, the anachronistic movement calling against the ‘Jewification’ of Stamford Hill’). Nonetheless, it manifests itself in assaults on Jews, their property and through abuse. Of course, if you feel that there is a threshold that needs to be passed before action is taken against antisemitism, or that, one should only deal with one form of discrimination at a time, then, that is up to you. As far as I am concerned that shows a complete ignorance of both how racism works and how to combat it.
          However, what I find most interesting is your agreement with those you smear as claiming all criticism of Israel as antisemitic. As you stated above, you see antisemitism as a ‘corollary’ of such criticism. I am somewhat surprised that you of all people, would argue as you do; that critics of Israel are really antisemitic; not because they want to be, but because antisemitism is ‘merely collateral damage’ (and not just ‘verbal’). In other words, you seem to agree with the most outlandish of claims that criticism of Israel is antisemitic. However, rather than blame the antisemite for their antisemitism you believe the Jews (i.e. Israel) brings it onto themselves; but, despite that, see antisemitism as inherent in criticism of Israel ‘simply collateral damage’ – but damage nonetheless. (Needless to say, I do not believe that criticism of Israel is antisemitic per se).
          So, on the one hand, you are claiming that antisemitism is a smear on critics of Israel made by ‘ethnocentrists’ and, on the other hand, you are also claiming that antisemitism is inherent within criticism of Israel.
          As I say, nuance of thought is not your strong point.

        • Wtf Says:

          ‘They were Muslims’. And, I believe that Hamas define themselves as ‘Muslim’; so working this through to its ‘logical’ conclusion, if one identifies with being a Muslim, one cannot be antisemitic. Next, you’ll be saying one can’t be a Christian antisemite,or a Buddhist Islamophobe. (I omit a Jewish racist, since that is how you see all of us who disagree with you on the question of antisemitism). I am afraid that your view of the ‘Other’ is, at the least patronising and, at worse, an inversion of the anti-Muslim racists themselves.
          Reading your comments, I wonder whether you ‘think’ these things all by yourself. If you do not, one can only wonder where you get this shit from.

      • Thanks from a friend Says:

        ‘Why Israel? Like other contributors here I have a “special relationship” with the place. Unlike them though I try not to take a purely ethnocentric view of it.’

        I could not have put it better myself. Not only do Jews have a ‘special relationship’ to their own people no matter where they may live, but they are loyal to a racist, exclusivist state (an attribute that, as we have been saying for years, is a characteristic of the Jew himself).

        I agree with you too that merely murdering Jews in the name of religion is, as you say, completely distinct from antisemitism. Although not a Christian myself – I speak as a human being here – I do appreciate the way the Jews turned what was only religious differences of the past and what was, in essence, nothing more than a critique of Judaism into the eternal cry of ‘antisemitism’ (forced conversions, blood libels, expulsion from Christian lands). It seems that whether one is talking about religion (let’s say, Christianity). or about politics one cannot escape being falsely labelled an antisemite. I must say that if I were a Christian, I too would defend my faith’s past record on the Jews in exactly the same way.

        Interestingly, as you probably know, the concept of ‘anti-Semitism’ emerged only in the 1880’s and dealt with Jews as a race. Those who defined it as such were at pains to stress its discontinuity with prior forms of criticisms of Jews (although others, notably the Jew, sought to show links between them; and we know why!). I agree also that what the Jew calls the ‘new’ antisemitism is likewise a form of criticism of Jews and Jewish racism that is entirely distinct from what you and I would call ‘classic’ anti-Semitism. I mean, can anyone here think of any point of continuation between what we know to be the truth of the Jew today that was not present in the 20th century? Again, the Jew always dredges out what he sees as his victimhood in the past (which, as you imply, at least prior to the late 19th century, was only a religious entanglement) and tries to apply it to anyone today who dare raise a voice against them. My respect for you grows with every comment.

        Really Carlo, I still do not understand why you do not admit that we share the same ideas (albeit with different values). Again, please do let me know, where you think we differ. I am genuinely interested.
        To recap;
        Jews being ‘antisemitism’on themselves (your quote by Netanyahu above)
        Antisemitism is now a thing of the past; but still they bleat on it as a smearing and a silencing tactic.
        Jews cry antisemitism to protect their Jewish brethren in their Jewish state.
        All Jews who raise antisemitism are, in effect, defending Jewish exclusivity.

        One thing I would like you to clarify is, if there is antisemitism relating to criticism of Israel (I believe you call it ‘merely collateral damage’, then, how can you claim that antisemitism is used as a false claim to silence others, etc? Or, do you mean simply that since the Jews create antisemitism, they are being dishonest in raising it and would be better to behave themselves like human beings; or are you saying, since it is not really that important (others suffer greater racism), then we should simply ignore it.
        Some clarification would be most helpful.

        • Carlo Says:

          Clarification, Tfaf? Come on now. What you’re really after is a phrase or two from which to extrapolate wildly and indulge your logorrhoea.

        • Jacob Arnon (@Jacob_Arnon) Says:

          The spirit of Eichmann lives in “thanks from a friend.”

          Interesting that contemporary Jew haters accuse Jews of turning them into Jew haters. But then, “Friend” is no different from the Spanish grand inquisitor.

          What they are after is to get “their Jew” to confess that the inquisitor is right. Friend is a friend only to those who confess that they merit the deformity of the “Friends” antisemitic hatred. This is what the inquisitors torture is all about.

          Confess, confess, confess…

        • Thanks from a friend Says:

          Again Carlo a refusal to answer. It really isn’t that hard.

          I have stated clearly from your own words that your view on antisemitism is, in you view, a weapon in the hands of Jews to smear and silence.
          I have stated clearly from your own words that, in your view, you think Jews (in this instance) is responsible for antisemitism.
          I have stated clearly from your own words a contradiction in your thought that, on the one hand you think Jews invent antisemitism but that Jews also are responsible for it, but even if the latter, it should not be combatted because other forms of racism take priority.
          I have stated clearly from your own words that you think all those who raise the question of antisemitism are nothing more than Jewish racists.
          I have state clearly that this way of explaining matters chimes with the tradition of antisemitism as it has developed over the decades.

          I have asked you on more occasion whether this view of the matter correctly reflects waht you are saying.
          I have asked you more than once.

          I am surprised that you have refused the opportunity to do so. After all, why would you want to be associated with such ideas considering they are and have been a staple of antisemitic thought for a while now.

          If I am so wrong then it should not be so difficult to refute what I have said (that what you say has no connection to antisemitism, or that I have misintepreted your words. It is not rocket science.

          (I assume that you will not avail yourself of this opportunity either, but yet another diversionary tactic – another website, another meaningless sentence’. Evidently you are not embarrassed to be part of a tradition that has no place in rational political discourse).

  4. Jacob Arnon (@Jacob_Arnon) Says:

    Problem is that Jew haters often identify a group of Jews as being responsible for hatred against all Jews: for communist antisemites and their fellow travelers it was the “Jew Banker;” for the anti-Communist and their fellows it was the “communist Jews.”

    For the Catholics in the 1920’s and 1930’s it was both the “communist and the capitalist Jews.”

    Jews will always be seen, by antisemites, as a coherent community even if they are the least coherent community in the world.

    The Israeli PM, btw, doesn’t even speak for all Israelis how can he speak for all Jews. It’s like saying that the Conservative British PM speaks for all Britons everywhere.

    The Israeli head of State who can be seen to speak for all Israelis (less so for all Jews) is the President who like the Queen of England holds a largely ceremonial position.

    P.S. Ultra Orthodox Jews don’t recognize the authority of the Jewish State hence no secular Jewish leader speaks for them.

  5. David Schraub Says:

    I always considered the Jewish/Nazi comparisons to be anti-Semitic because they attempt to leverage a group’s history of oppression against it. It’s akin to saying Black people who disagree with one’s preferred policies remain “on the plantation”. The claim gets its power precisely because of the historic marginalization of the group, and that’s per se anti-Semitic (or racist).

  6. Jacob Arnon (@Jacob_Arnon) Says:

    While the UCU equivocated:

    “German judge rules: Anti-Zionism is code for anti-Semitism
    Protester who chanted against Zionists during summer demonstration convicted of incitement against a minority; will appeal”

    http://www.timesofisrael.com/german-judge-rules-anti-zionism-is-code-for-anti-semitism/

    Seems ironic till you realize that antisemitism has taken refuge in many institutions of “higher learning.”

  7. s4r4hbrown Says:

    It occurred to me that these guidelines from UCU would at least enable the antisemitism of Bongani Masuku to be identified (I’m thinking of his burning of the Israeli flag outside a synagogue)

    http://blog.thecst.org.uk/?p=1012

    (The UCU’s hosting of Bongani Masuku was a key issue in the legal case against brought by Ronnie Fraser)

  8. Eric Says:

    Its odd and harmful that the definition of anti-semitism is controversial. If anti-semitism requires a phd to recognise and reems of “unpacked” examples then we might as well give up any hope of anyone paying attention to these definitions. Listing examples of anti-semitism is not the right way to go, just elaborate the general principles involved. Over at Jewdas they have nailed it nicely.
    http://jewdas.org/keeping-antisemitism-simple/

    • Brian Goldfarb Says:

      Sadly, jewdas and Baruch Trotsky overdoes the pitch. Thus, they/he does not have it “nailed nicely”. Take the following paragraph:

      “Not really. Israel is a state. You can’t really be racist against a state. There is no position on Israel that is per se antisemitic – although you can express views it in an racist way. Calling for the right of return for Palestinian refugees? Fine. Calling for Israel/Palestine to become a single state, with equality for all its citizens? No racism there. Calling for BDS? Lots of states are subject to some kind of sanctions, this is not normally described as racist. Calling Israel an apartheid state? People can debate whether or not the claim is fair but it’s hard to see how it can be antisemitic. But blaming policies of the Israel government on ‘The Jews’? Yep, that’s racist. Blaming them on ‘the Zionists’? I’m afraid that, most of the time, that’s racist too – ‘Zionist’ has long been a synonym for ‘Jew’ in much racist discourse.”

      Superficially, no better or worse than the rest…until we come to the second and the following 9 sentences, all of which are, once one starts to deconstruct them, less than “nailing it nicely”. Thus, the Palestinian “right of return” ignores the history of how the Palestinian “diaspora” came about…and what of the greater number of Jews from Arab lands even more obviously forcefully dispossessed and expelled (and, yes, Eric, I will expand on this and the other points below, if you so wish)? Calling for Israel/Palestine to become a single. binational state glosses over all sorts of consequences, not the least of which is the likely further diaspora of up to 6 million Jews, or worse.

      It gets no better as we go through BT’s list: BDS – maybe lots of states are subject to sanctions, but Israel appears to be the only one in which the consistent call is for Israeli universities and therefore academics to be barred from appearing overseas; I don’t see reports of people going into M&S (or Primark) and taking Made in China clothes off the racks and hurling them to the floor, etc, or demanding that Russian academics be barred from the UK…only Israelis it seems. And anyone who bothers to read the Rome Statute on Apartheid will know (unless they are blinkered and ideologically incapable of rational thought) will know that the term does not apply to israel or the West Bank – and you don’t need to take my word for it: read what F.W. de Klerk, the last “apartheid” President of South Africa has to say on the matter.

      All this implies that the very positions that Baruch Trosky claims aren’t antisemitic need to extremely carefully expanded to demonstarte that they are not, in fact, antisemitc – because they are being applied to Israel and only Israel.

      So, Eric, do you really think that article “nailed it nicely”? If so, please say why. Oh, and jewdas’s “about us” section didn’t make much sense as it stood, so I’d rather go by a closer textual analysis, as above, to show how, to put it politely, over-simplistic that article is.

      • Eric Says:

        The question is about anti-semitism, not about positions on Israel/Palestine which may be poorly justified. Poorly justified positions on Israel/Palestine may be indicative of some form of racism against Arabs or Jews but that question is of no use for defining such racism.

        • Brian Goldfarb Says:

          Eric, this is not an answer to the points I made (and offered to expand upon if asked), and you have merely mor or less repeated yourself. No, the jewdas article does not nail it, nicely or otherwise, because it is entirely possible to be racist (aka as antisemitism, in this case or islamaphobic, in the case of a Moslem state), as I say.

          I’m still waiting for a reasoned responded from you, which the above is not. We do expect debate, evidence and reasoning here at this website.

          Further, is it too much to expect a reasoned response to the link I posted below, or are you into pretending that that which you prefer wasn’t there is, in fact not there? Bit difficult when it actually is there. Apparently it is too much, and that’s not nice, even rude, Eric.

    • zaccaerdydd Says:

      How about a systemic, systematic or habitual injustice towards Jews, of whatever stripe or colour? That is my basic principle and definition. That would include any such systemic or systematic injustice towards the Jews of Israel, if that was the matter in hand..

  9. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    Eric, I think this article from The Gatestone Institute actually “nicely nails” certain issues on the 2014 summer fighting between Israel and Hamas and the resultsnt “independent” UNHRC investigation of the same: http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/5229/judge-mcgowan-davis-un

    What do you think of this article, Eric? Does it “nicely nail” the issues or not?

  10. Eric Says:

    Brian, I don’t understand your objection, you admit that eg BDS is not anti-Semitic, but rather someone supporting BDS might have to face questions about anti-semitism. That’s fine, so a discussion of BDS does not shed light on the definition of anti-semitism as BT states. Surely we are in agreement. Your opinion of Protective Edge isn’t relevent as far as I can see.

    • Brian Goldfarb Says:

      Eric, I’m beginning to suspect that you are deliberately misunderstanding me. I made it very clear that BDS directed at Israel clearly, at best, risks tipping over into antisemitism, and at worst actually is motivated by antisemitism. How so? By any objective (highlighted and underlined) criteria, Israel is plainly far from the worst offender against human rights, including those of the Palestinians. You don’t accept this? Fair enough, but then what is your evidence for this? What is your evidence that, for instance, Saudi Arabia has a better record on women’s rights than Israel (or, for that matter, any other country in the ME)?

      In fact, what you do is ignore everything I have said and merely repeat a generalised non-statement that says nothing. You have ignored my response to your citing of that jewdas article by pretending that I haven’t said anything. You ignore my link as though it doesn’t say important things about the nature of the UNHRC and how the investigation into 2014s Operation Protective Edge is already determined, and thus the comment in the jewdas article on Judge Richard Goldstone is outdated.

      This must raise serious issues about your motivation for your intervention here. Further failures to present arguments in support of your approach must push start to suggest that you might just be a troll.

      Is this a fair assessment? If not, why not?

      • Eric Says:

        All sorts of things might be anti-Semitic in certain contexts given certain motivations. The phrase “cheese on toast” might be anti-Semitic if someone gets the idea that it isn’t kosher and decides to taunt a Jew, “Cheese on toast! Cheese on toast!” But talking about cheese on toast will not help us understand what anti-semitism is.

        So yes I don’t think that there is any disagreement that singling out Israel for special treatment because of its Jewish character is anti-Semitic. That comes under generalisations about Jews. But talking about things that have the potential for someone to insinuate that they are singling out Israel because of its Jewish character does not get us anywhere regards a sensible definition.

        • Brian Goldfarb Says:

          Your reply actually says nothing, it is a null statement. It offers no argument, no evidence and is an effort to pretend that no-one else has said anything substantive.

          However, given that you say “I don’t think that there is any disagreement that singling out Israel for special treatment because of its Jewish character is anti-Semitic. That comes under generalisations about Jews”, you are actually agreeing with me that Baruch Trotsky on jewdas gets it wrong, because most of the examples he suggests are actually singling out Jews and Israel, and thus are (depending on the motives of the singler-out – and these are often detectable by context, such as, e.g., BDS) actually or (more often) actually antisemitic. So good for you for acknowledging where the logic leads and rowing back from what appeared to be your earlier position.

          Then, unhappily, you go on to say “But talking about things that have the potential for someone to insinuate that they are singling out Israel because of its Jewish character does not get us anywhere regards a sensible definition”, thus reverting to your original position, that, essentially, attacks on Israel, and only Israel, cannot be defined as antisemitic. Actually, where does it say that this has to be sensible? Almost by definition, racism of any stripe is far from sensible. If sensibility ruled the world, there would be no racism, etc.

          Come on, Eric, one or the other, not both.

  11. soupyone Says:

    I can’t speak for Brian, but I imagine, Eric, that he wants you to actually engage with the issues and his critique.

    Which is, under the circumstances, not an unreasonable expectation.

    • Eric Says:

      It looks to me as if Brian wants to turn the question of the nature of anti-semitism into a question about the human rights record of Israel. I’d rather explain why this is a bad idea than engage in a debate about Israel. Brian will have to discuss the Goldstone report somewhere else. Apart from anything I’m more interested in anti-racism than in Israel/Palestine.


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