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The Academic Friends of Israel

The Academic Friends of Israel

 

Vol 7 No 12                                                                                      27 August 2008

Dear Colleagues

 

The AFI Digest returns after our summer break with a selection of press releases and articles which were published during the holiday period.

1. UCU posts link to anti-Semitic article
2. Anti-Semitism among Palestinian Authority Academics
3.Just Journalism analysis of the British media
4.Islam on Campus: A survey of UK Muslim student opinions
5.Israeli and Palestinian Trade Unions Reach Historic Agreement
6.The Community Security Trust releases half-year figures for antisemitic incidents in UK
7. Talking to Terrorists: The Myths, Misconceptions and Misapplication of the Northern Ireland Peace Process


Ronnie Fraser

Director

Academic Friends of Israel

 

1. UCU posts link to anti-Semitic article


Jenna Delich a member of the Higher Education Union the UCU earlier this month posted a link on the union's activists list to an anti-Semitic article on the Web site of former Klu Klux Klan leader David Duke in support of a colleague who backs the boycott call.
 
The message read:
 "John, in support to your link this may be a long but also an interesting reading: www.davidduke.com/general/humanitarian-disaster-595.html.  No comment necessary. The facts are speaking for themselves, Jenna."

The article, "Racism, not Defence, at the Heart of Israeli Politics," is an attack on the "Israeli oligarchs" and her posting was circulated to the 700 members of the union's activists list. 

There have been complaints in the past to UCU about racism on its activist list and the UCU has dismissed them all as baseless. Jenna Delich was the subject of one of the complaints regarding a series of vicious emails she had posted on the list. That complaint too was also dismissed.

Harry's Place, the website which published the fact that the University and College Union (UCU) had circulated an antisemitic link from David Duke's website is currently offline. Its web service provider has been threatened with a libel suit and it has responded by suspending Harry's Place.  In the meantime you can read Harry’s Place posting at:  http://jennadelich.blogspot.com/

You can read more about how the suspension came about at: http://www.engageonline.org.uk/blog/article.php?id=2064  

The Jerusalem Post has the story here:
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1219572133936&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull  

Jenna Delich appears to have been suspended from the list as Matt Waddup the senior member of staff who is responsible for moderating the list, has today said he has suspended her list membership indefinitely.

You can read his email at: http://www.engageonline.org.uk/blog/article.php?id=2065  

David Hirsh, UCU member and editor of the Engage website, who was excluded earlier this year from the list made a formal complaint to the UCU concerning his exclusion from the activists' list and institutional antisemitism within the union. The UCU decided that "David Hirsh's complaints are unfounded and should be dismissed". His exclusion was made permanent.

The full text of his complaint has been posted at http://www.engageonline.org.uk/blog/article.php?id=2066  

2. Anti-Semitism among Palestinian Authority Academics
by Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook

One of the primary objectives of the Palestinian Authority (PA) after its establishment in 1994 was to delegitimise Israel. These efforts were evident throughout Palestinian society and involved various channels including television, schoolbooks, and culture. The delegitimisation of Israel incorporated various hate messages, especially the denial of Israel's right to exist.

The academic community was likewise recruited to this undertaking. Professors, religious academics, teachers, and schoolbook authors are all participating in this hate promotion. Certain academics are chosen by the PA to indoctrinate the people using such public venues as PA TV and, particularly, educational broadcasting.

In 1998, PA historians held a conference in which they devised a policy of historical revisionism. The developing PA educational system would not aim to teach historical truth but rather to convey a political history aimed at denying Israel's right to exist in the Land of Israel.

Palestinian academics, recognizing the futility of attempting to erase the documented history of the Jews, instead adopted a different solution of literally stealing the identity of the Jews by identifying ancient Hebrews as both Arabs and Muslims and denying their connection to today's Jews of the state of Israel.

Another component of the negation of Jewish history is the denial of modern Jewish experience-including the horrors of the Holocaust.
Many PA academics have gone beyond the theoretical "struggle." They teach that the killing of Jews by Muslims is a precondition of world redemption. Because Jews are inherently evil and an existential danger, their annihilation is justified self-defence, a service to humanity, and an enactment of God's will.

To read the full essay
http://www.jcpa.org/JCPA/Templates/ShowPage.asp?DRIT=3&DBID=1&LNGID=1&TMID=111&FID=624&PID=0&IID=2205&TTL=AntiSemitism_among_Palestinian_Authority_Academics   
 
3. Just Journalism analysis of the British media

Just Journalism aims to promote accurate and responsible reporting about Israel in the British media. They believe that core journalistic principles are regularly being compromised, and that reporting is often far from impartial, accurate or balanced. This makes it harder for viewers and readers to develop an educated and informed opinion of Israel and the Middle East. Just Journalism’s mission is to heighten awareness of the fundamental journalistic principles underlying the media’s responsibility to the public in this area.

In May 2008, Israel celebrated 60 years of independence since its inception in 1948. Just Journalism carried out a thematic and statistical analysis of coverage of this event in the UK media, during April and May 2008

A number of themes emerged from the coverage; the key theme to emerge from the UK media coverage was that Israel does not seek peace.

Eighty-three per cent of all press coverage which took a position on the issue contained the message that Israel does not seek peace.
Seventeen per cent of all press coverage which took a position on Israel’s stance on peace contained the message that Israel seeks peace.

Only 16% of articles conveyed that Israel is a homeland for the Jews.

Just Journalism found that across all the coverage as a whole, the strongest theme to emerge was that Israel was created at the expense of the Palestinians. While Israel’s anniversary celebrations received extensive coverage, this was generally offset by reporting on what the Palestinians call the “Nakba” or catastrophe…….
To read the full report: http://www.justjournalism.com/plugins/p1999_media_special_articles/pdf/1504_Israel60Booklet_05.pdf  

To read Just Journalism's analysis of the volume, scope and positioning of Israel-related coverage in the UK media from April to June 2008 go to: http://www.justjournalism.com/plugins/p1999_media_special_articles/pdf/Article_30.07.08_03.pdf  
 
4. Islam on Campus: A survey of UK student opinions by John Thorne and Hannah Stuart for the Centre for Social Cohesion

Islam on Campus is a survey of Muslim student opinion in the UK, based on a YouGov poll of 1400 students. The report examines students’ attitudes on key issues including religious tolerance, gender equality and integration. While the majority of Muslim students’ support secularism and democratic values, are tolerant towards other groups and reject violence in the name of their faith. The researchers found:

Killing in the name of religion:
 - Just under a third of Muslim students polled (32%) said killing in the name of religion can be justified – the majority of these said killing could be justified if the religion was under attack, and 4% of all respondents supported killing in order to promote and preserve that religion.
- 60% of active members of campus Islamic societies said killing in the name of religion can be justified. By contrast, only 2% of non-Muslims agreed.

Views on women:
 - Almost a quarter (24%) of Muslim student respondents do not feel that men and women are fully equal in the eyes of Allah.
Support for Sharia law in the UK and a worldwide Caliphate:
- Two fifths (40%) of Muslim students polled supported the introduction of Sharia into British law for Muslims.
- A third (33%) of Muslim students polled supported the introduction of a worldwide Caliphate based on Sharia law. A majority (58%) of active members of campus Islamic Societies supported this idea.

Attitudes towards Jews:
- Almost one in fifteen (7%) Muslim students polled said they had not very much or no respect at all for Jews. Four out of five (79%) Muslim students polled, however, said they respected Jews

Isolation on Campus:
 - 8% of Muslim students agree that “Most of my friends at university are Muslim because I have more in common with them than I do with non-Muslims”. However, this rises to 25% when active members of campus Islamic Societies are asked.
 - 40% of Muslims said that they thought that it was unacceptable for Muslim men and women to mix freely.
To read the executive summary go to: http://www.socialcohesion.co.uk/pdf/IslamonCampusExecutiveSummary.pdf 


The full report (126 pages) is available on their website www.socialcohesion.co.uk  

5. Israeli and Palestinian Trade Unions Reach Historic Agreement

The Israeli trade union organisation the Histadrut and the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU), both of which are affiliated to the ITUC, signed a landmark agreement to protect the rights of Palestinian workers employed by Israeli employers, and to base future relations on negotiations, dialogue and joint initiatives to advance “fraternity and coexistence between the two peoples.” The current agreement draws on the terms of an initial 1995 agreement, which it had not been possible to fully implement in the intervening years.

The key features of the agreement include the reimbursement by Histadrut to the PGFTU of the outstanding balance of union and legal representation fees paid since 1993 by Palestinians working for Israeli employers. The reimbursement is based on a detailed year-by-year analysis of the fees paid by Palestinian workers, taking into account funds previously transferred to the PGFTU. The PGFTU will have sole discretion as to how the funds will be spent, in line with its Constitution……
The full press release can be found at:
 http://www.ituc-csi.org/spip.php?article2334 


 
6. The Community Security Trust releases half-year figures for antisemitic incidents in UK

CST has recorded 266 antisemitic incidents in the first six months of 2008, a 9 per cent rise from the 244 incidents recorded in the same period last year. This rise is based in smaller Jewish communities beyond the main centres of London and Manchester, and may reflect improved reporting from those areas. There is also a significant increase in the number of reported incidents involving students, both on and off campus.

The number of violent antisemitic assaults has fallen by 24 per cent compared to the first six months of 2007, from 54 to 42 incidents. 2007 had seen the highest ever total of violent assaults since CST began recording antisemitic incidents in 1984. The number of incidents of Abusive Behaviour, which includes verbal abuse, hate mail and antisemitic graffiti on non-Jewish property, rose in the first half of the year by 21 per cent, from 137 to 166 incidents.

There were 49 incidents reported to CST that involved Jewish students, student bodies or academics, almost double the 26 incidents of this type reported to CST in the same period last year. Of these incidents, 31 were on campus and 18 were off campus.
The number of incidents reported in London and Manchester was similar to last year. However there has been a significant increase in incidents reported from smaller Jewish communities beyond the main urban areas. This is partly explained by CST’s efforts to improve contact with smaller Jewish communities and goes some way to explain the overall rise in incidents.

The incidents were in the following categories:
• 42 Assaults, none of which were serious enough to be categorised as Extreme Violence
• 31 incidents of Damage and Desecration of Jewish property
• 16 Threats
• 166 incidents of Abusive Behaviour
• 11 incidents of mass produced antisemitic Literature
In addition a further 158 potential incidents were reported to CST that, on investigation did not appear to be antisemitic and are not included in these figures.

The full report can be found at http://www.thecst.org.uk/docs/Incidents_Report_sixmonths.pdf  

7. Talking to Terrorists: The Myths, Misconceptions and Misapplication of the Northern Ireland Peace Process
By John Bew and Martyn Frampton

It has become fashionable to look to the lessons of the peace process in Northern Ireland as holding insights for other areas of conflict in the world. However, this has been done in an uncritical way, often more focused on contemporary agendas than on the core realities unique to the region, which do not necessarily translate elsewhere.

By the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Republic of Ireland had become a force for stability and peace in Northern Ireland and worked in close cooperation with the British government in the search for a settlement. The same cannot be said of Israel’s neighbors. On the contrary, Iran and Syria continue to support Hamas and encourage its violent campaign, offering it arms, funding, training, and sanctuary.

The aims of the IRA posed no existential threat to the British. This is not the case where Israel and Hamas are concerned, however. The objectives of Hamas require the destruction of the State of Israel. Moreover, whereas the political goals of the IRA were confined locally to the future of the island of Ireland, Hamas, by its own admission, is part of a global Islamist movement, known as the Muslim Brotherhood. Thus, diplomatic engagement with Hamas has broader international implications……

To read the full essay:
http://www.jcpa.org/JCPA/Templates/ShowPage.asp?DRIT=2&DBID=1&LNGID=1&TMID=111&FID=443&PID=0&IID=2336&TTL=Talking_to_Terrorists:_The_Myths,_Misconceptions  

Patron:
The Chief Rabbi, Sir Jonathan Sacks

Advisory Board: 
Dr Manfred Gerstenfeld - Chairman of the Board of Fellows, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
Henry Grunwald Q.C. - 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
Dr Robin Stamler
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