An upcoming event for Israel-based readers

On February 10th CAMERA will be holding an English language event titled “British Antisemitism — It’s Personal: In Politics, On Campus, In Media” at Beit HaTfutsot (The Museum of the Jewish People) in Tel Aviv.

“A recent poll showed that an alarming 40 percent of British Jews would consider emigrating if Jeremy Corbyn became prime minister. However, the problem of antisemitism in the country is not limited to one party leader. What are the other factors that fuel antisemitism in the UK and make an increasing number of Jewish Britons feel unsafe?  What are the broader dynamics within British politics, on campuses and in the media that contribute to this toxic atmosphere and directly impact the professional and social lives of British Jews?” 

Panelists:

Mark Lewis, Leading Media Lawyer

Mandy Blumenthal, British Israel Activist

Hadar Sela, Managing Editor of CAMERA’s BBC Watch

Tamara Berens, UK Associate, CAMERA on Campus

Melanie Phillips, Author/Journalist

Moderated by Eylon Levy of i24 News

Additional details and registration here.

BBC Education ignores assault on free speech at UCL

As readers may be aware, a talk by an Israeli speaker at University College London (UCL) on October 27th, which was organised by CAMERA on Campus together with student groups from that university and King’s College London (KCL), was disrupted by anti-Israel activists. Members of the audience were intimidated and harassed and eventually had to be evacuated by the police.

“Police had to accompany Jewish students from a lecture hall at a London university after they were trapped by anti-Israel protesters. […]

Officers entered the room and carried out an evacuation of members of UCL’s Friends of Israel group amid chaotic scenes.

Demonstrators had entered the room to fly Palestinian flags and chant. The event was being live-streamed online and the disruption was clear on the video footage, with protesters banging on windows and screaming “Palestine! Palestine!”.”

A first-hand account of the incident can be found here. This latest pre-planned disruption aimed at closing down free speech for an Israeli speaker at a British university has been condemned by the Board of Deputies of British Jews and additional Jewish groups as well as by Sir Eric Pickles. The university has announced that it will carry out an inquiry into the incident.education-page

The incident of course received wide media coverage, including from many of the UK’s prominent outlets such as the Times, the Telegraph, the Daily Mail, the Independent, the Express, the Evening Standard and LBC.

However, members of the BBC’s funding public looking for that story on the corporation’s website – including the regional and ‘Education‘ pages – over the last four days would not have come across any coverage of the incident whatsoever.

Related Articles:

Big BBC yawn at anti-Israel incidents in UK universities

BBC News website buries Oxford University Labour Club story

Mainstreaming the Livingstone Formulation on BBC Radio 4

 

Weekend long read

1) This coming Sunday CAMERA on Campus’ annual student conference will open in Boston, US.

“Students are coming from as far away as England, Scotland, and Canada to attend our training program,” said Aviva Slomich, CAMERA’s international campus director. “This in itself shows that campus anti-Zionism is a global problem, affecting many students.”

Read more about the conference here.Weekend Read

2) At the Tower, Jamie Palmer returns to the issue of the British Labour party and its recent inquiry into antisemitsm within its ranks.

“The Chakrabarti Report was a missed opportunity, the importance of which extends far beyond the parlous state of the Labour Party or the wider British Left. Across Europe, Islamist assassins and vandals are targeting Jewish schools, businesses, museums, synagogues, cemeteries, and kosher food establishments. It has become a cliché that a wave of anti-Semitism is washing over Europe.

Some on the Left have taken notice. Four days after the murder of four Jewish hostages during the siege of the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket in Paris, France’s Socialist Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, described “the intolerable rise in acts of anti-Semitism in France” as a “symptom of a crisis of democracy [and] the French Republic.” But such urgent and necessary diagnoses from the political Left have been notable for their scarcity.”

3) At the Jerusalem Post, Seth Frantzman ponders the question of “Why Western leftists adore right-wing religious extremists abroad”.

“On a fairly consistent basis people in the West embrace values abroad that they shun at home. 

This is particularly odd and contradictory among those who self-identify as “Left” and “liberal” and then embrace movements, leaders, ideologies and religions that are manifestly illiberal and right- wing extremist abroad. For instance American philosopher and gender theorist Judith Butler said in 2006 that “understanding Hamas [and] Hezbollah as social movements that are progressive, that are on the left, that are part of the global left, is extremely important.””

4) At the Fathom Journal, Oxford academic Michael Yudkin discusses the academic boycott promoted by the BDS campaign.

“These days the phrase ‘academic boycott’ seems to have acquired a thoroughly restricted meaning. It has nothing to do with China, which has been in occupation of Tibet since 1949 and which routinely imprisons or ‘disappears’ human-rights lawyers; nothing to do with the US or the UK, which invaded Iraq in 2003 without the authorisation of the UN Security Council; and nothing to do with Russia, which seized 27,000 square kilometres of Ukrainian territory two years ago and has (with the enthusiastic support of Iran) been helping the government in Damascus to bomb Syrian civilians. Instead, ‘academic boycott’ is a term of art to describe a means of punishing Israeli academics for the actions of a government over which they have little or no power.”

5) An interesting paper titled “Understanding Iran’s Role in the Syrian Conflict” has been published by the RUSI.  

“Iran’s role in Syria is critical not only to the course of the latter’s five-year civil war, but also to longer-term developments in the wider region, not least because the country’s relations with key players, including Russia, Hizbullah, the Gulf States and the Syrian regime, will inevitably be affected by the outcome of the conflict.

The alliance between the Syrian regime and the Iranian leadership is, on the face of it, puzzling. The former is Arab, Alawite and secular, while Iran is Islamic, Shia and deeply religious. Nevertheless, since the civil war in Syria erupted in March 2011, Iran has been one of the key supporters of the regime of President Bashar Al-Assad, and has maintained significant influence over the evolution of the conflict.

This paper presents the findings of a project designed to establish a better understanding of Tehran’s ultimate ambitions in Syria, its relations with the other state and non-state actors involved in the conflict, and its influence on Damascus and the outcome of the civil war.”