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November 8, 2016 3:00 am

Watchdog: London University Lecture Equating Nazism, Zionism Highlights School’s ‘Poor Record’ in Cracking Down on Antisemitism

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Thomas Suarez speaking at the SOAS. Photo: CAA.

Thomas Suarez speaking at the SOAS. Photo: CAA.

A lecture last week at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London highlights the school’s poor record when it comes to cracking down on Jew-hatred, a British watchdog group told The Algemeiner on Monday.

A spokesperson for the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) — which filed an official complaint with SOAS Director Baroness Amos about a lecture delivered Thursday by author Thomas Suarez — said that not only were antisemitic comments made during the talk, but they were left unchallenged by the SOAS Palestine Society, the group that hosted the event.

According to the CAA complaint — obtained by The Algemeiner — Suarez told attendees that “Zionism was a parallel movement to Nazism,” and claimed, “Israel can hold Jewish identity ransom,” as Zionists have “conspired to try and increase antisemitism in order to force Jews to Palestine.”

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He went on:

Israel has one of the largest militaries, but its most powerful weapon, the weapon without which all of its others would be impotent, is its narrative, its creation of its autobiography. This narrative does not merely put a pretty gloss on this reality, as all nations have their narratives, it actually turns the truth upside down. And this complete arsenal in this narrative is embodied in a three-word bullet. That bullet is a three-word phrase: “The Jewish state.” This is a unique phenomenon in the world. No other nation has such a device as this. Israel does not use Judaism as a national religion. In fact, I may be wrong, but as far as I am aware, Judaism is not a national faith of Israel. Rather, crammed into those three words are all of Jewry, Judaism, Jewish history, culture, persecution, and most cynical and exploitative of all, the Holocaust. This three-word phrase expropriates all of these into a human shield.

“SOAS is already often referred to as the ‘School of Antisemitism,’ as it repeatedly and severely violates the International Definition of Antisemitism and many of its own policies on ethics, diversity, tolerance and free speech,” the CAA spokesman told The Algemeiner. “But Suarez’s rhetoric will serve to intimidate Jewish students even further.”

The watchdog group called on Baroness Amos to investigate the role of the SOAS Palestine Society and the Student Union “in organizing and supervising the lecture, and pursue disciplinary proceedings against any students who broke SOAS’s rules, as well as passing evidence to the police where you believe that crimes have been committed.”

“Baroness Amos, Jewish students are currently feeling threatened and isolated…SOAS has the opportunity and obligation to show in the firmest possible manner that those who engage in antisemitism at the School will suffer dire consequences for their actions, and that those who belittle or tolerate antisemitism will similarly be shown no quarter,” the CAA complaint stated.

This is not the first time that SOAS has come under fire. In October, as The Algemeiner reported, the head of an international network of scholars slammed the SOAS for accusing the Jewish state of “arbitrarily” barring one of its lecturers — a virulent anti-Zionist — from entering the country.

In June, as The Algemeiner reported, a British academic said that Jewish and pro-Israel students at SOAS are “bludgeoned into the acceptance of Islamo-Marxist political orthodoxy,” and have become a persecuted minority.

In response to The Algemeiner‘s request for comment, an SOAS spokesperson stated:

A wide range of opinions and views are expressed at events held at SOAS and it does not mean that the school endorses or supports the views. In relation to the event referred to, this was not a SOAS-organized or -run event. It was organized by a student society, which operates under auspices of the Students Union —  a separately constituted body from the school itself. We are looking into the letter of complaint sent to us by the Campaign Against Antisemitism, and will respond to it.

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