The Academic Friends of Israel
28 March 2013
A personal statement by Ronnie Fraser, Director of the Academic Friends of Israelin response to the judgement in the legal proceedings Fraser vs UCU.
I am naturally disappointed by the decision of the Employment Tribunal to dismiss my claim of harassment against the University and College Union (UCU). I am however very grateful that the hearing provided us with the opportunity to raise and discuss in great detail the issues of discrimination and antisemitism which are so important to Anglo Jewry.
I believe that the many witnesses we called were able to provide evidence to the tribunal of an intolerable atmosphere over a number of years and that the UCU did nothing to stop these institutionally anti-Semitic acts taking place. Having read the judgment there are two points which greatly concern me. The first is "a belief in the Zionist project or an attachment to Israel cannot amount to a protected characteristic. It is not intrinsically a part of Jewishness..." (para 150). For the court to say that as Jews we do not have an attachment to Israel is disappointing considering we have been yearning for Israel for 2000 years and it has been in our prayers all that time. The second point highlighted the need for Anglo-Jewry to urgently adopt and publicise its own definition of antisemitsm.
As a member of the Board of Deputies I intend to campaign for us as a community to accept a definition of Jewishness which includes a connection with Israel and the adoption of a definition of anti-Semitism.
I would like to thank my wife, my family, my witnesses, and all those who supported my action both from within the Jewish community and elsewhere for their incredible support and understanding over the last two years.
I would also like to thank my solicitor Anthony Julius and all the staff of Mishcon De Reya for all their magnificent work and support.
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Note: The Employment Tribunal judgment can be found here; http://www.judiciary.gov.uk/media/judgments/2013/fraser-uni-college-union