A cautionary tale

We went to a lecture at AACI Netanya by Dr. Ronnie Fraser, a mathematics teacher in London who has been very active against the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement and in the Union movement and he was talking about “British public opinion: its perception of Israel.”

Ronnie Fraser described an almost desperate situation regarding the generally negative perception of Israel throughout British public opinion.   This is largely a result of constant liberal media bias against Israel and in favor of the Palestinians.   On college campuses Israel has been demonized and is regarded as an apartheid, child-killing entity that does not have the moral right to exist, and the transition from anti-Israel to anti-Semitic is not even noticed and is acceptable to most people now.   Ronnie was very concerned by the transition of the Union movement in Britain into an active anti-Israel and anti-Semitic environment.  This was partly because the Palestine Solidarity Committee (PSC) has become part of the Union movement and effectively determines its programs related to the Middle East.

When Ronnie found the situation in his own Union, the UCU (University College Union), too overtly anti-Semitic, causing many Jews to leave the Union, he sued them.  But, right up front the judge stated that he would not rule on the issue of anti-Semitism, so how could they get a fair trial.  In fact Ronnie’s case was rejected and he and his lawyer were forced to settle out of court with the Union.  Nevertheless, the case has had a dampening effect on the excesses of the Unions, that went from 4-5 anti-Israel resolutions per annual meeting, down to 1-2.  So the message got around, consistently being anti-Israel amounts to being anti-Semitic.

The main problem is that the British Government refuses to define anti-Semitism, and in fact the massive Report of the All-Party Parliamentary Committee on Anti-Semitism, defined it as whatever the victim says it is, which is not legally viable.  Also, the Board of Deputies of British Jews, refuses to issue a definition of anti-Semitism and in fact will tell anyone who asks that there is no problem in Britain for Jews today.  So they are burying their heads in the sand, as usual.   Although the BDS movement has had many actual set-backs, the degree of activity and the numbers of people involved, as judged from their Facebook pages, etc. indicates that they have ca. 100 times more active members than the pro-Israel grass-roots campaigns that have arisen to oppose them.  UK Lawyers for Israel and other groups are having an effect, but overall the situation is desperate and very depressing.  Anti-Semitism is alive and well and flourishing in Britain today under the guise of anti-Israelism.


3 thoughts on “A cautionary tale

  1. In my British world, we have had hardly any anti-semitism. The two synagogues in Southend are checked on regularly by the police and, apart from a couple of incidents at the orthodox synagogue, there has been no problems. Maybe we live a sheltered life but, as I say, we are OK and still love where we live.


  2. Anti-Zion became anti-Israel became antisemitism. It has where I live, anyway. My friend gets shouted at, mocked, spat at, even forced out of a coffeeshop once. Usually rational people, in response to B.B.C. and Guardian coverage of the crisis last year, asked me “Are you ashamed to know her?” Those whose fathers were growing up as the continent vowed “Never again”. / But changing the law is not the way forward; limiting freedom of expression will result in bad faith, and in a shaky alliance between antisemitism and freedom-lovers.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s