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The Academic Friends of Israel

The Academic Friends of Israel

Vol.10 No1                                                                                   28 February 2011 

The view from Britain: more of the same on campus 

 

This issue of the digest in my view accurately reflects the current atmosphere on campus in Britain, in the media and levels of antisemitism. The news items concentrate on the ‘anti Israel’ activities that took place over the last two months at two of our universities, the London School of Economics and Edinburgh. This snapshot of events and incidents illustrates what Jewish students are exposed to in general on campus at Britain’s 120 Universities. Universities UK (UUK), the body which represents our universities, has produced a report this month on freedom of speech which sadly provides no real guidance for dealing with campus hate speech and extremism – something is wrong when the Israeli ambassador, Ron Proser, needed six vanloads of police and a dozen security officers to protect him when he spoke at Edinburgh University.  University Vice-Chancellors have always had the power to clamp down on hate speech and extremism on campus but over the last seven years many have ignored warnings from Jewish students after being asked to take action. I suspect they certainly would take prompt action if warned of possible trouble by anti-Muslim speakers.

 

Also published this month was the Community Security Trust (CST) antisemitic incidents report for 2010 which records the second-highest number of antisemitic incidents since 1984.The power of the media in Britain today is reflected by two articles which warn of the effect of the media on Jewish school pupils who routinely say things like ‘the Jews have no right to Israel because they stole the land from the Palestinians’. There is also an article about the TV drama ‘the Promise’ and two reports from Just Journalism. Finally the relationship of the British trade unions and the boycotts, divestment and sanctions movement is discussed in my new essay ‘the British Trade Union Movement, Israel and Boycotts’

 

Ronnie Fraser 

Director

The Academic Friends of Israel

 

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DIGEST CONTENTS

 

On Campus - LSE

 

Students at LSE shoot down academic boycott motion


LSE apologizes for map with no Israel  Israel and Palestinian

groups clash at LSELSE cancels controversial German banker

LSE suspends study program financed by Gaddafi’s son

 

On Campus -  Edinburgh

 

Edinburgh University to act after Israeli diplomat 'mob riot'Ron Prosor ignores silent Palestinian protest at Edinburgh University 

On Campus – Birmingham and Queen Mary College

Birmingham University probes speaker who compared Israel to Nazis

A Hizb ut-Tahrir front at Queen Mary 

On Campus – Universities UK report on freedom of speech  

Students attack 'weak' college hate reportMI5 identifies 39 campuses at risk from Islamists Contravene or intervene?

Guardian letter and an unbecoming headline

 The Media 

‘Our children are hostile to Israel’The oldest obsession  TV drama ‘The Promise’ has an anti Israel premise

The Palestine papers: Implications of the Guardian’s coverageThe media’s portrayal of Israel’s response to regional threats

What Ian McEwen really said 

 Other News 

CST Antisemitic Incidents Report 2010

Tower Hamlets council backs Israel boycott

Quakers consider Israel boycott 

Essay 

The British Trade Union Movement, Israel and Boycotts

 

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On Campus - LSE

Students at LSE shoot down academic boycott motion

A motion supporting an academic boycott of Israel was defeated at the London School of Economics (LSE). In a joint event hosted by LSE’s Israel and Palestine student union societies, the motion “This house believes in an academic boycott of Israel” was rejected by around 60 percent of students in a vote. Supporting the motion was Dr. John Chalcraft, a reader in history and politics of empire in LSE’s department of government. A vocal supporter of sanctions against Israel and of a blanket boycott of the Jewish state, Chalcraft describes Israel as a “heavily militarized, nuclear-armed, expansionist apartheid state with extensive illegal settlement, land seizure and wall-building activity.”…..

To read the full article:  http://www.jpost.com/International/Article.aspx?id=203765 

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LSE apologizes for map with no Israel  

A prestigious British university apologized on Thursday for using a map of the Middle East without Israel in an article in one of its publications.

The alumni magazine of the London School of Economics, LSE Connect, published a story about the school’s new Middle East research center with a map of the Middle East that had Beirut and the Gaza Strip but no Israel. In the article, it said that the creation of the center was made possible because of the support of two organizations from the United Arab Emirates. The Emirates Foundation for Philanthropy and the Aman Trust contributed £9.2 million…….

To read the full article:  http://www.jpost.com/International/Article.aspx?id=200968

 

For more information on The Middle East Centre at the London School of Economics and the involvement of Prof. Martha Mundy and Dr. John Chalcraft in the London School of Economics Middle East Centre, Student Rights has compiled the following report which can be found at:

http://www.studentrights.org.uk/cms/rc1/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/LSE-Middle-East-Centre.pdf

 

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Israel and Palestinian groups clash at LSE 

Tensions between the London School of Economics' Israel and Palestine societies have risen after a surge in anti-Israel activity on campus. The two student union societies were praised earlier this month for a joint debate on an academic boycott of Israel but since then, the Palestine Society has launched a campaign to boycott the Eden Springs water company and invited self-styled rabbi, Ahron Cohen of the anti-Zionist Neturei Karta group to speak to students. PalSoc president Zachariah Sammour said of Eden Springs: "We believe a progressive institution like LSE should not be conducting business with a company facilitating a state of affairs that is illegal and which poses a massive threat to world peace, namely the continued, illegal Israeli occupation.…… 

To read the full article:  http://www.thejc.com/node/44348

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LSE cancels controversial German banker

Fury from a range of student groups erupted as a German banker who has called Muslims ‘dunces’ and stated that Jews all ’share a certain gene’ – which has been interpreted as a racial slight based on a Jewish stereotype.  Threats of protests meant the event became unmanageable for the LSE who late yesterday evening informed the German Society as hosts, that they could no longer host the event on campus…….

To read the full article:  http://www.studentrights.org.uk/2011/02/lse-hosts-controversial-german-banker/ 

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LSE suspends study program financed by Gaddafi’s son

A prestigious London university announced this week that it has suspended a study program funded by a charity run by the son of Libyan leader Col. Muammar Gaddafi. The London School of Economics (LSE) said on Monday that it had reconsidered its links with Libya “as a matter of urgency,” and suspended a North African research program partly funded by Seif al-Islam Gaddafi following the recent violence in Libya.
“The School has had a number of links with Libya in recent years. In view of the highly distressing news from Libya over the weekend of 19-20 February, the School has reconsidered those links as a matter of urgency,” LSE said in a statement. The university said that in 2009 it accepted £1.5 million from the Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation, which is chaired by the younger Gaddafi, who is also a graduate of school…….

To read the full article:  http://www.jpost.com/International/Article.aspx?id=209449

For more information: 

The Guardian: Saif al-Islam Gaddafi: LSE-educated man the west can no longer deal withhttp://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/feb/21/saif-al-islam-gaddafi?INTCMP=SRCH 

BBC News night:  Gaddafi's son Saif's ties to LSE and Britainhttp://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/9407335.stm 

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On Campus -  Edinburgh

 

Edinburgh University to act after Israeli diplomat 'mob riot' 

A university has pledged to take action after the Israeli Foreign Ministry's most senior Muslim diplomat faced a student mob which shouted him down and called him a Nazi. Ishmael Khaldi had to be surrounded by security guards as he began to speak at Edinburgh University last week. Protesters marched towards him screaming "Viva, Viva Palestina" and "boycott Israel" as they unfurled Palestinian flags. At one stage the mic was ripped from his lectern and a demonstrator shouted: "We don't discuss with the Ku Klux Klan, why should we discuss with this thug?"……. 

To read the full article:  http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/44967/university-act-after-israeli-diplomat-mob-riot

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Ron Prosor ignores silent Palestinian protest at Edinburgh University   

Pro-Palestinian protesters taped their mouths and turned their backs on Israeli ambassador Ron Prosor as he spoke to students during a heavily policed lecture this week. Nine students, wearing red sweatshirts, stood up after Mr Prosor began his speech at Edinburgh University on Monday. One by one they called out the names of Palestinians whom they claimed had been killed by the IDF. Declaring that the Palestinians had been "silenced" by the Israeli government, they turned their backs on the ambassador. Some gaffer-taped their mouths shut. The group stood for five minutes before silently walking out of the hall.Mr Prosor spoke at the university's McEwan Hall less than three weeks after an address by Ishmael Khaldi, the Israeli Foreign Ministry's most senior Muslim diplomat, was hijacked during an appearance on the campus…… 

To read the full article:  http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/45714/ron-prosor-ignores-silent-palestinian-protest

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On Campus – Birmingham and Queen Mary College

 

Birmingham University probes speaker who compared Israel to Nazis

A British University is investigating the actions of a student society after it hosted an anti-Israel activist who compared Gaza to a concentration camp and Israel’s actions to Nazism at an International Holocaust Memorial Day event. American anti-war activist and Iraq war veteran Mike Prysner spoke to the Friends of Palestine Society at the University of Birmingham on January 26, the day it marked Holocaust Memorial Day, which is January 27, the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. In his talk, Prysner compared Gaza to a “concentration camp” and Israel’s actions during Operation Cast Lead to Nazism….. To read the full article:  http://www.jpost.com/JewishWorld/JewishNews/Article.aspx?id=207586

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A Hizb ut-Tahrir front at Queen Mary

In the week that an inquiry chaired by Malcolm Grant, Provost of UCL, alma mater of the undy-bomber, whitewashed the issue of radicalisation of university students, events in East London once again remind us of how universities are still failing to do their part to challenge Islamist extremism.On Thursday evening, Queen Mary’s (a college of the university of London) played host to a debate on the topic ‘Does Islam Oppress Women‘. This event was organised by the college’s ‘Ideological Society‘, which was highlighted in the Centre for Social Cohesion’s (CSC) report ‘Hizb ut-Tahrir: Ideology and Strategy’ as likely being a front for Hizb ut-Tahrir, the group that David Cameron promised, but failed, to ban. As it is officially recognised by the Queen Mary’s Union, the Ideological Society’s leaders will have access to union funds. Hizb ut-Tahrir organise events on campuses through front groups because the group is subject to the National Union of Students ‘no platform’ policy……

To read the full article:  http://hurryupharry.org/2011/02/20/a-hizb-front-at-queen-mary/ 

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On Campus – Universities UK report on freedom of speech  

 

Students attack 'weak' college hate report 

A report on tackling extremism and hate speakers at British university campuses has been widely criticised as weak and ineffectual. Universities UK, the umbrella group representing university heads, published its findings following a year-long investigation. It said it could find "no simple answers or absolute rules".  Freedom of speech on campus: rights and responsibilities in UK universities, sets out brief guidance on dealing with controversial speakers, protests, student societies and serious incidents on campus. But the report gives the green light to universities to continue inviting radical speakers by encouraging institutions to "engage" with them. 

Professor Malcolm Grant, who chaired the working group, said: "Views expressed within universities…may sometimes appear to be extreme or even offensive. However, unless views can be expressed they cannot also be challenged."

 Carly McKenzie, Union of Jewish Students campaigns director, said: "If UUK believe that checklists and flowcharts are the solution to campus hate speech and extremism, they clearly do not understand the severity of the problem."UUK have failed to provide any clear, practical guidance to the sector on the issue of hate speech and extremism on campus. The report provides no answers whatsoever, is disappointing and lacks the substance and conclusions that we had hoped to achieve." 

To read the full article:  

http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/45711/students-attack-weak-college-hate-report

To read the Universities UK report: Freedom of speech on campus rights and responsibilities in UK Universities

http://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/Publications/Documents/FreedomOfSpeechOnCampusRightsAndResponsibilitiesInUKuniversities.pdf  

MI5 identifies 39 campuses at risk from Islamists

MI5, the British security service, has identified 39 universities/higher education institutions as being ‘vulnerable to violent extremism’. Universities have been brief by JTAC, the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre and offered up to £10,000 in extra funding from government to tackle campus radicalisation –more than a dozen students from six universities have carried out terrorist attacks or been convicted of terrorism offences within the last ten years.  To ignore such a trend would be wholly irresponsible of government.

To find out more:

http://www.studentrights.org.uk/2010/12/mi5-identifies-39-campuses-risk-islamists/

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Contravene or intervene?

 

Freedom of speech is passionately defended in UK education, but when Islamic extremism and even terrorism have emanated from some of our campuses, should institutions step in? To what extent are British universities breeding grounds for Islamic radicalism? Can our institutions do more to control extremist activities on their campuses, and prevent extremist ideologies from spreading to students? Or is it simply not their responsibility to address the problem in the first place - and possibly even antithetical to their mission...

To read the full article:

http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?storycode=414746 

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Guardian letter and an unbecoming headline

 

The Guardian published on 24 February 2011 a lengthy letter jointly signed by CST, Board of Deputies and Union of Jewish Students. The paper was under no obligation to carry the letter, especially given its length, but regrettably was framed on the letters page in a disconcerting manner.  Put simply, the letter was riskily headlined and lumped in with a wholly unrelated letter from the Israeli Embassy…….The letter was in response to the Guardian’s  coverage of the report by Universities UK (Universities must engage and debate with extremists, report says,  which quotes an unnamed “source familiar with the report” as saying: “If someone is saying all Jews should perish, that’s inciting hatred; if someone is fundamentally opposed to Israeli foreign policy, that’s a view.” This seriously misrepresents Jewish concerns. Most cases occur in the huge space that lies between genocidal calls against Jews and opposition to Israeli policy……..

To read the full article:  http://thecst.org.uk/blog/?p=2343 

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The Media

 

‘Our children are hostile to Israel’

Manchester's communal leaders have raised concerns that the city's young Jews are becoming increasingly hostile to Israel. Zionist Central Council president David Berkley said parents must realise it is ever-more difficult for their children to appreciate Israel's case. He said: "My children have only lived with Israel the regional superpower, Israel the aggressor, the occupier and human rights abuser. It pollutes the consciousness of people, and our own children, if we are not careful."….. 

To read the full article:  

http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/45697/our-children-are-hostile-israel 

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The oldest obsession by Melanie Phillips

The tsunami of indoctrination in anti-Israel lies and bigotry by the British media and intelligentsia has reached such a pitch that, as blogger Edgar Davidson reports, it is now warping the minds of even pro-Israel Jews. He writes:My daughter, who goes to an orthodox Jewish school, tells me that, when the subject of Israel is discussed in their Jewish studies GCSE class, students routinely state things like ‘the Jews have no right to Israel because they stole the land from the Palestinians’. In making statements like that, those regular 15-16 year old Jewish kids, are simply repeating what they are told relentlessly in every part of the media…..

To read the full article:

http://www.spectator.co.uk/melaniephillips/6719200/the-oldest-obsession.thtml 

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 TV drama ‘The Promise’ has an anti Israel premise

A senior Israeli diplomat says that a drama series about British Mandate Palestine is the worst example of anti-Israel propaganda he has ever seen on television. The final episode of The Promise will be shown on Channel 4 on Sunday. Amir Ofek, press attaché at the Israeli embassy in London, said film-maker Peter Kosminsky's story had "created a new category of hostility towards Israel." Mr Ofek has viewed the full series and said it was "quite upsetting to see. In my 15-year career I have never seen anything like it in the western media. I'm aware of artistic freedom, but nevertheless I feel this is worse than anything I've seen."……. 

To read the full article:  

http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/45709/the-promise-has-anti-israel-premise

The first two episodes are available on YouTube:

Episode 1

http://www.youtube.com/verify_age?next_url=http%3A//www.youtube.com/watch%3Fv%3DtzjN-2HXvAM 

Episode2

http://www.youtube.com/verify_age?next_url=http%3A//www.youtube.com/watch%3Fv%3DRI5fi1mFQHY 

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The Palestine papers: Implications of the Guardian’s coverage 

Just journalism has analysed The Guardian’s coverage of leaked negotiating documents reveals hostility towards Palestinian concessions for peace. Its key findings are: 

·        The Guardian’s handling of the Palestine papers story demonstrated a preference for a hard line Palestinian stance over one of moderation, best illustrated by their call for Hamas to be brought into the diplomatic process and their hosting an opinion piece by the group calling for action.

·        The Guardian scandalised Palestinian negotiators’ acceptance that Palestinians would not be admitted en mass as part of a two-state solution.

·        The newspaper strongly implied that it does not accept Israel as a Jewish state and would maintain this position in the event of the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza………

To read the full article: 

 http://justjournalism.com/special-reports/the-palestine-papers-implications-of-the-guardians-coverage/

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The Media’s portrayal of Israel’s response to regional threats

Following a period of relative media quiet on Israel, when coverage of the Middle East shifted its focus from Egypt to Bahrain, Yemen and Libya, Israel returned to the headlines today following Iran’s planned attempt to send warships through the Suez Canal. The media produced varied portrayals of Israel’s reaction to the Iranian move, with some characterising Israel as having legitimate concerns, and others casting Israel in an aggressive light. In general, there was a failure to report increased tensions yesterday between Israel and Hezbollah, including Hassan Nasrallah’s threat to attack and occupy northern Israel……

To read the full article: 

 http://justjournalism.com/media-analysis/portrayal-of-israel%e2%80%99s-response-to-regional-threats/

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What Ian McEwen really said

Once Ian McEwen accepted the invitation to go to Israel to accept the Jerusalem Prize many groups and individuals, in different terms, with varying degrees of civility urged him not to accept this prize. Was Ian McEwan's Jerusalem Prize acceptance speech on Sunday an unqualified attack on the country, as presented by many UK publications? Judge for yourself …… 

To read the full article: 

 http://www.thejc.com/news/world-news/45692/what-ian-mcewan-really-said 

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Other News

 

CST Antisemitic Incidents Report 2010

The report shows that CST recorded 639 antisemitic incidents across the UK last year, the second-highest annual total since CST began recording antisemitic incidents in 1984. This is 31% down on 2009, which was to be expected as 2009 saw a record high number of incidents due to antisemitic reactions to the Gaza conflict. However, it is 17% more than the 2008 figure of 546 antisemitic incidents, and continues the decade-long trend of rising antisemitic incident levels.In addition to the 639 antisemitic incidents, CST received reports of a further 372 incidents that, on investigation, did not appear to be antisemitic and so were not included in the annual total. These 372 non-antisemitic incidents mainly consisted of criminal activity affecting Jewish people or property, suspicious behaviour at Jewish locations and anti-Israel activity that was not antisemitic. 

Since the year 2000, we have seen a significant increase in antisemitic incident levels, triggered by repeated antisemitic reactions to events in and around Israel and the Middle East. In 2010, however, there was no comparable ‘trigger event’, but CST still recorded the second-highest number of antisemitic incidents since we began this work in 1984. How to explain this...

To read the full article:  http://thecst.org.uk/blog/?p=2302 

To read the CST Antisemitic Incidents Report 2010:

 http://www.thecst.org.uk/docs/Incidents%20Report%202010.pdf 

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Tower Hamlets council backs Israel boycott 

The East London council of Tower Hamlets has voted to "do everything in its power" to support a boycott of "the pariah state" of Israel. Councilors also called for a review of the borough's £15 million contract with multinational Veolia for waste collection because of the company's work in Israel. But a council spokesman said that any decision to cut ties with Veolia would rest with Mayor Lutfur Rahman or his cabinet….. 

To read the full article: 

 http://www.thejc.com/community/community-life/44974/tower-hamlets-council-backs-israel-boycott

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Quakers consider Israel boycott

British Quakers are considering "all options" after a debate on boycotting Israeli settlement goods. Marigold Bentley, assistant general secretary of Quaker Peace and Social Witness said all boycotts and campaigns were currently being considered. Quakers in Ramallah have called for the organisation to commit to boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel, at the national "Meeting for Sufferings" last week with 150 British Quaker representatives…… 

To read the full article:  

http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/45383/quakers-consider-israel-boycott

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Essay 

 

The British Trade Union Movement, Israel and Boycotts by Ronnie Fraser

 ·        Over the past thirty years the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and member unions have regularly adopted resolutions containing anti-Israeli and pro-Palestinian rhetoric. A whole generation of British left-wing trade union activists has been raised on a diet of conference motions whose only mention of Israel is in connection with its “brutality” and “oppression” of the Palestinian people. The current political position held by the leaders of Britain’s working class reflects a historical bias and amnesia concerning the state of Israel.

·        At its 2010 Congress the TUC decided to strengthen ties with the Palestine Solidarity Committee (PSC) and reinforce its BDS campaign against Israel. One outcome is that the TUC, which once encouraged peace and reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians, can no longer be considered a friend of Israel’s trade union movement, the Histadrut.

·        The majority of the motions on Palestine that are submitted to annual union conferences in the UK tend not to represent the views of the general membership, but instead the political positions of the activists who are usually socialist and left-wing ideologues. This left-wing minority has made sure that in 2011 most of the major trade unions and the TUC have resolutions on their books supporting the BDS campaign against Israel as well as being affiliated to the PSC.

·        It is not clear whether the TUC will be as actively anti-Israeli as its PSC colleagues want it to be, especially in the current economic climate. The labor movement’s priority for the foreseeable future is to concentrate on trying to save jobs and pensions especially in the UK public sector. Much will also depend on developments in the Middle East, and particularly the Israeli-Palestinian dynamics…….

To read the full article:

http://www.jcpa.org/JCPA/Templates/ShowPage.asp DRIT=3&DBID=1&LNGID=1&TMID=111&FID=624&PID=0&IID=6082&TTL=The_British_Trade_Union_Movement,_Israel,_and_Boycotts

Patron: The Chief Rabbi, Sir Jonathan Sacks

Advisory Board: 

Dr Manfred Gerstenfeld - Chairman of the Board of Fellows, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

Vivian Wineman - President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews

Amir Lev

John D A Levy - Director of the Academic Study Group on Israel and the Middle East

Andrew R. Marks, M.D. - Columbia University, USA

Professor Leslie Wagner CBE

Rt Hon Lord Young of Graffham

The Academic Friends of Israel Ltd is limited by guarantee and registered in England No 5297417.