The Academic Friends of Israel

28 February 2008  


Dear Colleagues  

This edition of the digest starts with positive stories about students at Oxford and LSE and for a change, Trade Unions. The students at Oxford are to be congratulated for their efforts but there is a need for a regular series of campus events to be organised to counter anti-Israel propaganda.

The worry is that the current generation of students are being brought up on a diet of “Israel is an apartheid state” and “Israel is a Nazi state” and will know no better unless efforts are made to educate them about Israel.  Their University life will effect how they behave in 25 years time when they are in power and make the decisions or play a leading role in the media. I suspect that many of the current decision makers at the Guardian and the BBC were at University during the “Zionism is racism” era and we know all how they report on Israel.   

There are also details of a conference to be held in London next week as well as several articles including David Hirsh’s analysis of  the worst ever edition of the Guardian newspaper and one about the dangers of social networking sites such as “Facebook” which are being manipulated by the enemies of Israel.  Also included are the 2007 CST report on Antisemitic Incidents in the UK, facts and figures about the rockets that are being fired on Southern Israel from Gaza and an appeal for help from the London-based Commission for Looted Art in Europe who are seeking heirs of 115 former residents of Nuremberg and Franconia.  

At long last our website has been updated and it now contains copies of the current and previous digests as well as documents relating to the academic boycott of Israel - check it out.

Ronnie Fraser


Academic Friends of Israel 

1. Joint Trade Union Liaison Committee meets in Tel Aviv

2. Israel apartheid week and the Oxford University Israeli Cultural     Society

3. LSE student union in new drive to encourage divestment from Israel

4. The 21 February 2008 Edition of the Guardian: the worst ever?

5. Facing up to the 'Facebook' dilemma

6. The real motive of the boycotters

7. Rockets from Gaza: Facts and Figures

8. Israel and the Great Powers 1948-2008, Conference at SOAS

9. Seeking heirs of 115 former residents of Nuremberg and Franconia    

10. The Community Security Trust (CST), Report on Antisemitic Incidents for 2007  


1. Joint Trade Union Liaison Committee meets in Tel Aviv

The last 12 months have been full of stories about the Trade Unions wanting to boycott Israel; here is a Trade Union story with a difference, this time the participants want to improve life for both Israelis and Palestinians.The third meeting of the Joint Liaison Committee set up by the International Transport Federation, the Histadrut and the Palestinian Transport Workers' Unions at their meeting in Cyprus in August 2007 took place in Tel Aviv on 6-7 February 2008. At the meeting, presentations and suggestions were made regarding a helpline project for Palestinian transportation workers designed to improve the passage of professional drivers at checkpoints and road blocks in the West Bank. The ITF and the two unions agreed that this is a vital project which will be of benefit to both Israeli and Palestinian transport workers. 

To read the full press release: 

2. Israel apartheid week and the Oxford University Israeli Cultural Society 

The fourth annual Israeli Apartheid Week took place in 25 cities from 3-19 February 2008. Events were held in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, the United States and South Africa. This years campaign focused on the 60th anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel, what the organisers call the “Nakba” and demanded the ending of the occupation, the return of all Arab lands and the right of return for Palestinian refugees or in effect the dismantling of the State of Israel.  

In Britain events took place at the following Universities and colleges; Manchester, Nottingham, Cardiff , Exeter, Sussex LSE, Leeds,  UCL , Edinburgh,  Liverpool,  Bradford,  Staffordshire , Manchester Metropolitan , King's , Cambridge and Oxford. There is however a positive story about Oxford where students are planning their own response to Israeli Apartheid Week. The newly founded Oxford University Israeli Cultural Society are planning to hold their festival in May to coincide with Israel's 60th anniversary, to present Israeli cultural life, including literature, music and food.

You can read more about their efforts and Oxford apartheid week at: 

A false prospectus on campus

Andre Oboler

15 February 2008  

In the UK this week, anti-racists were hard at work. It was "anti-apartheid week", billed as "the biggest Anti-Apartheid campus protest since the fall of apartheid South Africa". Those anti-racists campaigners with their eyes open were out to stop it. A typical South African who suffered under apartheid, or indeed an anti-apartheid campaigner, may well feel confused. Apartheid is, after all, an evil, and anti-apartheid must by this logic be good. This "anti-apartheid" week, however, was no more than the latest attempt to demonise and delegitimise Israel, the Jewish state……..

To read the full article:

Barbara Kay on Israeli Apartheid Week 

14 February 2008

In her Feb. 12 Globe and Mail column, Margaret Wente leads off with a sympathetic salute to University of Toronto president, David Naylor, who admits that “this isn’t his favourite time of year.” Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW), which just withdrew its troops after its annual invasion of his campus, is he says, “the consistently worst week of a president’s life.”

I can sympathize somewhat as well. Dr. Naylor, like all university presidents these days, is a magnet attracting angry filings from students, community leaders and disgruntled high-flying donors, who are disgusted by the obsessive anti-Zionist vitriol being pumped across the campus like a week-long oil spill on a Caribbean beach……

To read the full article: 

3. LSE student union in new drive to encourage divestment from Israel

Simon Rocker

22 February 2008 

Members of the Jewish and Israel Societies at the London School of Economics boycotted a student-union meeting last week which voted to campaign for divestment from Israel. Three weeks ago, a motion branding Israel as an “apartheid” state was defeated by just seven votes at the union, but pro-Israel campaigners decided not to contest the latest attack on the Jewish state. Instead, they switched from politics to charity and raised £1,100 for Save A Child’s Heart, an Israeli medical campaign that organises vital cardiac treatment for children across the world………… 

To read the full article: 

4. The 21 February 2008 Edition of the Guardian: the worst ever?      

David Hirsh.

The headline story in the 21 February edition of the Guardian used the language and the images of antisemitic conspiracy theory. The headline was  ‘Labour kept criticism of Israel secret.” The gist of the exclusive story was that a civil servant had written the word “Israel” in the margin of a draft document about Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction. The word “Israel” was removed before the document was made public.  David Hirsch has written an excellent analysis of the article titled “The 21 February 2008 Edition of the Guardian: the worst ever?

It can be found at: 

5. Facing up to the 'Facebook' dilemma    

Andre Obler    

 5 February 2008  

Facebook is being manipulated by enemies of Israel to push the message that Israel is not a country. And efforts to "de-list" the Jewish state from the Facebook country grouping are afloat despite the fact that there are 33,855 Israeli Facebook members. Anti-Israel "virtual vandalism" struck last week when pro-Israel sites were hacked into. The vandals replaced the site image with the Palestinian flag and site descriptions with anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist diatribes. These rants were taken directly from the Israel is "not a country" Facebook group…….. 

To read the full article: 

6. The real motive of the boycotters    

David Toube    

21 February 2008 

Perhaps it is global warming, but hasn’t the Boycott Israel season started unnaturally early this year? A few weeks after rejecting a boycott resolution, the students’ union of the London School of Economics has managed to push through a motion which calls on the university and the National Union of Students to divest from Israel. Then, last weekend, the Green Party followed suit with its own strikingly similar motion. Both resolutions follow the familiar model established by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign.Indeed, the Green Party motion specifically commits the party to support that movement….. 

To read the full article:

7. Rockets from Gaza: Facts and Figures 

If the current rate of fire continues, by the end of 2008, over 4,500 rockets and mortar shells will have been fired by Palestinian terrorist organisations based in Gaza. Since 2001 rocket and mortar shell fire has been directly responsible for the deaths of 24 Israelis and the wounding of 620. This statistic does not take into account the massive psychological cost borne by the 190,000 Israelis who live within striking range. With a population almost ten times that of Israel, the corresponding UK figures would be 240 killed and 6,200 wounded in a city the size of Newcastle………. 

To read the full article: 

8. Israel and the Great Powers 1948-2008One day Conference at SOAS Centre for Jewish Studies

Organised by the Centre for Jewish Studies at SOAS, the Centre for Israeli Studies, UCL, Centre for the Study of European Politics and Society and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in association with the Israel-Diaspora Trust

Wednesday 5 March

9.30 am - 5.00 pm

Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre, SOAS, University of London
Israel in a Global Context
David Newman, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Israel and the Imperial Powers
BRITAIN: Neill Lochery, University College, University of London, Great Britain
FRANCE: Francois Lafon, l'université Paris-I-Panthéon-Sorbonne, France

Israel and the Superpowers
USA: Abraham Ben-Zvi, University of Haifa, Israel
USSR: Robert O. Freedman, John Hopkins University, USA

Israel and the Emerging Powers
INDIA: P.R. Kumaraswamy, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India
CHINA: Yitzhak Shichor, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

Please contact Dr Colin Shindler at SOAS to formally register for the conference.

Places are limited. No admission charge.

9. Seeking heirs of 115 former residents of Nuremberg and Franconia  

We have been asked to circulate the following from The London-based Commission for Looted Art in Europe.  As someone who lost Grandparents in the Holocaust I feel it is important that as many people as possible be made aware of this notice.   

The Nuremberg Municipal Library has in its collection c 10,000 confiscated books illegally taken from Jews and other victims of Nazi persecution.  The Library has been carrying out provenance research and has so far identified 115 Jewish former owners whom it wishes to trace.   The 115 former owners were residents of Nuremberg and Franconia and the Library has compiled a list including their names, addresses and occupations. 

The London-based Commission for Looted Art in Europe and its sister organisation, the Central Registry of Information on Looted Cultural Property 1933-1945, have published the list of former owners on their website and will provide free assistance and guidance to any heirs and descendants to enable restitution. 

All details are on the webpage above.  They can be contacted as below: 

Jennifer Anderson/Anne Webber
Commission for Looted Art in Europe
76 Gloucester PlaceLondon W1U 6HJ

T: +44 (0)20 7487 3401

F: +44 (0)20 7487 4211


10. The Community Security Trust (CST), Report on Antisemitic Incidents for 2007 

The Community Security Trust (CST) has issued its Report on Antisemitic Incidents for 2007 which show that 2007 with 547 recorded incidents was the second highest number on record since 1984. However, this fall is not large enough to alter the long-term trend of rising antisemitic incidents in Britain since the late 1990s. In 59 incidents the victims were Jewish students, academics or other student bodies. This is a 228 per cent rise from 2006, probably because of increased reporting by students to CST. Out of 59 incidents, 31 took place on campus and 28 off campus. Six incidents occurred in the direct context of student political campaigning…….. 

To read the full report:   



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.