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May 29, 2016 6:23 am

British Antisemitism on Campus, in Politics, in Unions, Among Teachers, Among Students

avatar by Anne Klausner

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Malia Bouattia at the 2016 NUS conference. Photo: NUS UK.

Malia Bouattia at the 2016 NUS conference. Photo: NUS UK.

Over the past several months, antisemitism on British campuses has become thoroughly entangled with the antisemitism in the Labour Party, as signified by the widely reported February resignation of the non-Jewish student chairman of the Oxford University Labour Club in protest.

The problem was only exacerbated by the election of Malia Bouattia as the new president of the National Union of Students (NUS), who has a very questionable record on antisemitism and support for terrorism. As reported by The Times of Israel:

The new leader of Britain’s National Union of Students, who two years ago spoke out passionately in support of violent Palestinian “resistance,” insisted it should not be considered terrorism and criticized the notion that “Palestine” could be freed by nonviolent action alone, has penned an op-ed in which she claimed she is not a racist or an anti-Semite, but made no effort to address her defense of Palestinian violence.

For Jewish students in particular, it is significant to note that Bouattia’s election has spurred an energetic campaign by student unions across Britain to disaffiliate from the NUS. These include student unions from the universities of Newcastle, Lincoln and more. According to Student Rights:

These results are a damning indictment of NUS President-elect, Malia Bouattia, whose campaign last month was marred by allegations of antisemitism. There has been a sizeable backlash to Bouattia’s victory, with students’ unions at Oxford, Cambridge, Hull and Warwick universities set to hold referenda on disaffiliation this month.

Meanwhile, Student Rights understands that at least 15 other votes are planned at universities across the country.

Sadly, however, even these referenda and resolutions on disaffiliation from the NUS do not necessarily signify a decrease in antisemitism on campus. At Cambridge, for example, the referendum failed this week, as it did earlier at Warwick University. Adam Crafton at The Tab met Sophie Jackson, a Jewish student at Warwick, and asked her if the Jewish students had campaigned strongly enough and protested against antisemitism. He was shocked by her answer and slammed the NUS in his damning report entitled, “With a track record this appalling, how can anyone trust the NUS to tackle antisemitism?”:

Sophie’s reply shocked me. “We have a very small Jewish community here at Warwick and frankly we have enough issues,” she explained. “There was a risk to politicising ourselves. There have been issues with people writing antisemitic comments in library books, to give one example.”

“As a community, we felt it safer to avoid Malia and the antisemitism accusations because we didn’t think it would be well-received. Some of the Warwick Student Union’s sabbatical officers and our NUS delegates had voted for her at national conference and we just felt we would be shot down if we alleged Malia’s comments were antisemitic. We also had the instance of Aysegul Gurbuz here, the 20-year-old Labour Councillor who was standing for the SU’s Ethnic Minority Officer and has previously tweeted that Adolf Hitler is ‘the greatest man in history‘. So you can see why we are wary.”

So, there we have it. In 2016, Jewish students at red brick universities are reluctant to highlight anti-Semitism for fear of retribution.

Crafton goes on to further investigate antisemitism in the NUS further, speaking to Jewish students around the country:

… Sadly, a damning picture has emerged of an organisation that is rotten to the core and in urgent need of a shock to its system.

Certainly, on the issue of antisemitism, the problems of the NUS are revealed to run far deeper than Malia.

… The NUS is the organisation where Jewish students are the only minority group not to be represented by any liberation campaigns.

… The NUS is the organisation whose conference cheered with howls of delight as a woman from Chester University spoke against the Commemoration of Holocaust Memorial Day …

The NUS is the organisation who, when stating the “liberation case” for remaining affiliated to the body on their website last week, failed to mention the words Judaism, Jewish or antisemitism even once.

His article goes on to list the many reasons why the NUS can’t be trusted to police itself when it comes to antisemitism, despite its self-serving claims.

Lest you think that it’s only the student unions that have an antisemitism problem, David Collier informs us that antisemitism and terrorism are supported by the National Union of Teachers (NUT):

The first story to tell is that I had trouble getting in to an event and was eventually evicted. …  I was a Jew who was simply thrown of the NUT HQ …

The event itself was organised by PSC, but according to the website, it was “supported by the NUT” and the venue was Hamilton House, the Headquarters of the National Union of Teachers, near Euston in London.

Collier goes to list at length the many and various lies, propaganda and sheer slander of Israel he heard during the program, which make for sickening reading. He concludes:

So I say to the NUT directly. On Saturday 14th May, I was thrown out of your HQ.  I was thrown out shortly after hearing antisemitic, terrorist supporting garbage loudly applauded inside your headquarters. I deserve both a response and an apology.

The British Left, including British academia, needs to take a long hard look at itself and its relationship with the Jews.

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  • enufizenuf

    The British are a bunch of nasty little dirty mice who deserve their upcoming civil war – which they would lose except for American intervention.
    Jews would be better off getting the hell out of there
    to let the Brits stew in their own juices.

  • I’m an American Jew who lived in England for a few years. My kids went to an American-style international school. They experienced all kinds of ridiculous anti-Semitism from English teachers and English and European students. Absolutely none from any of the American students or principal. That’s why we left.

    The world has shown that envy is the strongest driver of hate. The English hate above all, people who do well. There are so many prominent English Jews – this is what is behind this.

  • Charlene

    Horrible, sickening and depressing frankly. To think that those who are at universities and those we deem professional and educated i.e. teachers and who are given the job of educating and guiding young children it becomes even more odious that they hold such evil Nazi dogmas. Words are beyond conveying the magnitude of the problem. In the second world war the UK and USA fought against fascism however today they would stand with and fight with fascists, how utterly sad that in a few generations such a moral inversion has taken place. Certainly it can be claimed that those who support the BDS etc movements should get their heads out of their anuses and look at ISIS and be very afraid of the march of the caliphate in waiting. I wonder how many History graduates can see the political and spiritual significance of having a Muslim mayor of London, it does not bode well in these days which are akin with the rise of the Nazis in the 1930,s.

  • nat cheiman

    Europe & UK are going to be Islamic in due course. This is a portent of things to come

  • Yeshayahu

    Not only “The British Left, including British academia, needs to take a long hard look at itself and its relationship with the Jews.” – the Jews, especially British Jews in this context, need to take a long hard look at themselves and their relationship with the British Left.
    The acts of the Labor government under Clement Atlee are a disgrace to Britain’s history:
    The British navy went to great effort tocapture the Jewish victims of the Mass-Murder called “the Holocaust”. Britain interned them in camps in terrible sanitary inhumane conditions in Cyprus.
    The Labor government developed and armed the Arab Legion – which was known to be preparing, together with the other Arab states, to attack the Jewish communities in Palestine. The Arab Legion was headed and commanded by Lieutenant-General Sir John Bagot Glubb, KCB, CMG, DSO, OBE – look at all the decorations he received – led and trained Transjordan’s Arab Legion between 1939 and 1956 – in other words, he – this British general – commanded one of the Arab armies which attacked Israel.
    When Israel was led by left wing governments, these acts of the Labor party were ignored. For a few years Britain sold Chieftain tanks to Israel, but when war loomed, Britain refused to sell spare parts Israel needed for the British tanks.

    The Left cannot save Britain from surrender to Radical Islam. If Islam takes over, it will of course be Radical Murderous Islam, and of course Jews will be the first to be lynched.

  • Real Right Winger (rrw)

    Anne – good article, however, I believe you stopped short.
    There was just a case that a young girl won a speech contents by slamming Israel, telling Lies and all the usual nonsense. This is not in the Academia – rather in a run of the mill high school in the UK. In other words, how can we expect the academia to be ‘ok’ if the problem is engraved into youngsters hearts at an earlier age ? Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to be a British/left/academia problem, but more global. Besides seeing this trend in the British Labor Party and the UK academia, it is also apparent in the USA, the rest of Europe and even in Israel itself.
    I don’t have a solution myself – but a good step in the right direction, would be for the Israel government to get its act together, and stop the infighting, and start working to get Israel’s point of view out there and back into common mainstream thinking.

    • I absolutely agree with you RRW. The Israeli government has been negligent to an almost criminal degree in the way it has ignored not only BDS, but anti-Israel propaganda in general. It has under-funded Israeli hasbara efforts and is davka closing missions and consulates around the world. This when Bibi is PM. Bibi was the very eloquent ambassador to the UN and was the silver-tongued Foreign Minister all those years ago. How could he neglect such an important sector davka while PM? Incomprehensible.

  • stevenl

    …. otherwise everything is fine for the British Jews.
    I would suggest to the Jews anywhere in the world to reconsider their affiliation with anything left or even right!
    They should belong to a centrist party.

  • Sherlock Holmes aka J A Feld

    When I began teaching in London about 40 years ago, I joined the National Union of Teachers, one of 3 or 4 teachers unions. When I needed help it was made clear that I chose to work in a single sex, religious independent school with traditional values aka Yesody Hatorah Boys School. The NUT made it clear they did not support teachers in single-sex, indepedent, traditional religious foundations, although they accepted my annual membership fee. It looks like the Peoples Republic of the NUT has not changed much. At the Govt level there is total rejection of BDS in British universities. Don’t judge Britain by the ‘loony’ Left, the usual suspects — Guardian, Independent, BBC, Red Ken . . . .