Added by David Hirsh on August 22, 2008 03:40:50 PM.
Yesterday Jenna Delich, a UCU member, wrote the following message on the activist list in order to support a colleague who was arguing in favour of a boycott of Israeli academics:
In support to your link this may be a long but also an interesting reading:
No comment necessary. The facts are speaking for themselves.
The website to which she links is the website of David Duke, who is a well known right wing antisemite and a former leader of the Klu Klux Klan.
Jenna Delich’s emails on the activist list have already been subject to two formal complaints to the union. The UCU process judged that the evidence was not persuasive. Now the UCU is circulating links to David Duke’s website on behalf of Delich.
Antisemitism within the UCU started to become a serious problem when people in the union began to support the campaign to exclude Israelis from British universities as a protest against Israeli human rights abuses. This campaign has dominated academic union Congresses in 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008.
It is an antisemitic campaign. There is no proposal to boycott any academics from any country other than Israel. It seeks to exclude a significant proportion of the world’s Jewish academics. It treats Israel as though it was a unique evil in the world and as though it was an illegitimate state.
Predictably the campaign for this antisemitic exclusion creates an antisemitic atmosphere within the union. The boycotters maintain that anyone who raises the issue of antisemitism does so in bad faith in order illegitimately to protect Israel from boycott, so the standard way of relating to Jews within the union is to treat them as though they are conspiratorial and dishonest.
The email list within the union which links about 700 activists. Any union member may subscribe and the activist list is administrated and monitored by the union. You can see the kinds of things which pass for comradely and antiracist debate on the list by following this link. Antisemitism is routinely tolerated on the activist list when it is expressed in the language of hostility to Israel. Only a small group of Jews and antiracists have been standing up against this culture on the list. Some have been excluded from the list on trumped up charges. Others have been driven off the list by continual accusations of bad faith. Others have left the union because they cannot bear to pay their dues to what they consider to be an antisemitic organization.
People associated with Engage made a number of formal complaints to the union about what was happening on the activist list. Some made complaints about the rhetoric of particular activists. Some made complaints about institutional antisemitism more generally. No complaint was upheld by the union. The General Secretary and the member of staff responsible for the activist list have been found to have acted entirely responsibly and the union inquiries did not find that an antisemitic atmosphere had developed.
One of the formal complaints was made against Jenna Delich for the way in which she wrote about ‘Zionists’ in the union. This formal complaint was judged by the union to be unfounded and no action was taken against her.
The UCU, Great Britain’s University Academics Union makes the claim that there is no anti-Semitism behind their campaign to exclude Israeli academics from the country. They say these boycotts are directed only against Israel, rather than generally against Jews. But given the history of the attacks on Israel and the oppressiveness and aggressiveness of other countries in the Middle East and elsewhere, boycotting Israel indicates that they have a moral blindness for which it is hard to find any explanation other than anti-Semitism. And if to prove the point, they are now using David Duke’s Website to support their hateful position.