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        1. Statement by David Hirsh to the new ‘SOAS Charter on Racism, Antisemitism and All Forms of Cultural, Ethnic and Religious Chauvinism’ which appears to have been published in response to questions about institutional antisemitism at SOAS

          This statement is available on a pdf, please follow this link to download.

          SOAS received a complaint from a Jewish student that it had a toxic antisemitic environment. SOAS did not investigate the claim, and when the student appealed, SOAS was told to investigate it by its own appeals panel. SOAS paid the student £15,000 in compensation apparently for the harms that he had alleged, but it still refused to investigate whether his claim was true or not, and therefore whether he had in fact suffered those harms, or not.

          Now SOAS has been asked whether it has a toxic antisemitic culture but it cannot answer that question because it has not carried out an inquiry. The specifics of the inquiry that it should have carried out were detailed and agreed unanimously by its own appeals panel. [See below]*

          Instead of finding out whether it has an antisemitic culture, SOAS has now published a new policy which states that it abhors ‘all forms of chauvinism and discrimination’ and that it stands ‘against antisemitism and all other forms of cultural, ethnic and religious chauvinism’.

          Writing a new policy on antisemitism does not tell SOAS whether it is, or is not, a hostile environment for Jews. First it must determine what the situation actually is, only then can it write policy to address the problem, if there is a problem.

          It is not appropriate to respond to a specific claim about institutional antisemitism, with policy referring to ‘all forms of’ chauvinism, discrimination, and other forms of cultural, ethnic and religious chauvinism. SOAS needs to address the specifics of the claim relating to antisemitism.

          SOAS ought to have understood that the ‘antisemitism and all other forms of racism’ formula, which is familiar from its routine deployment by the Corbyn led Labour Party, would ring alarm bells in the Jewish community. It was a formulation which always accompanied angry but meaningless denials of the specific charges of antisemitism.

          Antisemitism is not a form of ‘cultural, ethnic and religious chauvinism’.

          The new policy says:

          Political advocacy may use the legitimate demands of… calls against antisemitism… to deflect from critical academic and political scrutiny…. Religious fundamentalists may equate religion and state, and demand not only acquiescence from all those within their nations who oppose their agendas but also silence others including scholars and journalists who subject their actions and words to critical reflection and scrutiny. Ethnic and racial chauvinists across the world act in a similar manner to shield themselves from criticism.

          Insofar as this new policy is a response to the claim that there is a toxic antisemitic environment at SOAS, this part of it could all too easily be read as the standard antisemitic denial and counter-accusation that I have name the Livingstone Formulation. This is a standard response specifically at SOAS, frequently deployed both by staff and by students there. In the context of this specific claim, that there is a toxic antisemitic environment at SOAS, this response could all too easily be interpreted as an accusation made against the student who made the claim, that he did so dishonestly, in the course of pro-Israel political advocacy, in the hope of shielding Israel from criticism, and not because he believed it to be true. If the policy is interpreted in this way it could constitute a serious violation of the Macpherson principle. It could also be a violation of the Principle’s re-statement specifically relating to antisemitism, in the EHRC report on Labour antisemitism. The EHRC report singled out this kind of treatment of people who say they have experienced antisemitism as one of the key ‘types of antisemitic conduct that amounted to unlawful harassment’:

          Labour Party agents denied antisemitism in the Party and made comments dismissing complaints as ‘smears’ and ‘fake’. This conduct may target Jewish members as deliberately making up antisemitism complaints to undermine the Labour Party, and ignores legitimate and genuine complaints of antisemitism in the party.

          While it is possible that an inquiry might, in the end, have determined that the claim of antisemitism was indeed made in bad faith and for political reasons, this is not possible in this case, since there was no inquiry.


          * The appeals panel unanimously agreed to specify that SOAS should carry out its investigation into the claim that it has a toxic antisemitic environment in the following ways:

          4. This Stage 2 Appeals Panel understands the term ‘toxic, antisemitic environment’ to refer to ‘institutional antisemitism’. The Macpherson Report gives the following definition of ‘institutional racism’ which should function as a model for ‘Institutional Antisemitism’:

          6.34 ‘Institutional Racism’ consists of the collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture or ethnic origin. It can be seen or detected in processes, attitudes and behaviour which amount to discrimination through unwitting prejudice, ignorance, thoughtlessness, and racist stereotyping which disadvantage minority ethnic people.

          The new Stage 1 Investigation should also draw upon the Equality Act (2010) and the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Definition of Antisemitism for its understanding of ‘toxic, antisemitic environment’ and ‘institutional antisemitism’. [If the appeals panel had sat after the EHRC report into Labour antisemitism, it might have included that document also in this list.]

          5 This Stage 2 Appeals Panel recommends that the new Stage 1 Investigation should be carried out by a panel of three people.

          6 To decide whether there was a ‘toxic, antisemitic environment’ at SOAS and/or its Student Union, an external process is required because it would not be appropriate for SOAS or its Student Union to investigate their own cultures. The members of the new Stage 1 Panel should not be associated with SOAS or with its Student Union.

          7 Following the Macpherson principle, the members of the new Stage 1 Panel should all be people who can command the confidence of the Jewish community and its leading institutions. They should be selected in consultation with the Union of Jewish Students and with the Government’s Independent Antisemitism Advisor.

          8 This Stage 2 Appeals Panel recommends that the new Stage 1 Panel should include an academic who is familiar with the academic research and debates on contemporary antisemitism and it should include somebody of stature and experience in public life who would add to the public confidence in the process.

          12 SOAS and its Student Union may, at this stage, decide to come to a settlement with Noah but if they do, they should still go ahead with an independent investigation, as defined in this finding, of the key issues at stake in this case.

          The appeals panel were also specific about the following:

          11 SOAS, in consultation with the new Stage 1 Investigation, may decide that this new investigation into an alleged ‘toxic, antisemitic environment’ at SOAS and/or the Student Union should not limit itself to the precise time frame of Xxxxxxx’s attendance but should come to a judgement about the issue to the present day.

          Video of the Daniel Chernilo event about “Chile’s Corbyn”, Daniel Jadue

          The morning after the day before: Antisemitic candidate Daniel Jadue is defeated in Chile’s primaries

          This report is written by Daniel Chernilo, who is speaking in an online event on Wednesday 21 July in English about Jadue’s candidature and the left wing antisemitism that he embodies. Please follow this link to register for a free ticket: Chile’s Corbyn? Daniel Jadue and left antisemitism.

          Jews in Chile have been worried over the past few months. For the first time ever, there was an openly antisemitic candidate positioning himself as a serious contender in this year’s Presidential election.

          Communist party member Daniel Jadue, who was running as part of a braoder left wing coalition, has made a career out of making antisemitic remarks. The rhetoric is poisonous and familiar: Jews are Zionists, right-wing and dishonest. In this narrative, Zionism is a particularly perfidious ideology, Israel has no right to exist as a Jewish state and accusations of antisemitism against Jadue are made in bad faith in an effort to de-legitimise his radicalism and his ‘criticism of Israel’.

          One of his special favourite defences against the charge of antisemitism is that he is a grandson of Palestinians, and so is himself a ‘Semite’. This defence takes away from Jews even the ability to name the hatred which would exclude them from membership the community of decent people.

          Jadue was widely expected to win the primary, but he lost it against his only rival. Gabriel Boric, a 35-year-old MP from the southern region of Magallanes, beat Jadue 60-40 and will now compete in November, hopefully as the only presidential candidate of a united left. Boric’s gentle manners, self-critical attitude and positive vision for the future contrasted heavily with Jadue’s bad temper and authoritarianism.

          Boric’s victory has produced a huge sigh of relief for most Jews. They may or may not vote for him, but a much greater danger has been averted for the moment. Many hope that because Jadue’s antisemitism was so mainstream and so clear, people will have learnt to recognise it and to avert the danger in the future. Chile, and in particular the Chilean left, may have learnt from the experience, and from the discussions and debates which they have been through, to eradicate the insidious presence of antisemitic rhetoric.

          This report is written by Daniel Chernilo, who is speaking in an online event on Wednesday 21 July in English about Jadue’s candidature and the left wing antisemitism that he embodies. Please follow this link to register for a free ticket: Chile’s Corbyn? Daniel Jadue and left antisemitism.

          Event Wed 21 July: Chile’s Corbyn? Daniel Jadue and left antisemitism – Daniel Chernilo

          Chile’s Corbyn?

          It’s a free online event, but we ask people to register: For details and to register, follow this link

          Chile is experiencing its own Corbyn moment. Daniel Jadue, the leader of the Chilean Communist Party, is a serious candidate for President.

          Progressive Chileans who oppose antisemitism are warning of the danger of Daniel Jadue. The leader of the Chilean Communist Party embraces a similar left antisemitism to that of the Jeremy Corbyn movement, which rose, and then fell, on the British left.

          In a radio interview, Jadue said that some of the “alternative media in the country are being bought by the Zionist community of Chile.”

          And, as we have come to expect, he has supporters who are ready to accuse the Jewish Community in Chile of inventing antisemitism in a bad faith attempt to silence his ‘criticism of Israel’ and to sabotage him:

          Daniel Chernilo will tell the story of Jadue’s campaign for President, and of the antisemitic support that he is galvanizing.

          Daniel is Professor of Sociology at Universidad Adolfo Ibá?ez in Chile and of Social and Political Thought at Loughborough University. He writes on nationalism, cosmopolitanism and social and political theory. His latest book, ‘Debating Humanity: Towards a Philosophical Sociology’ was published by CUP in 2017. He has just finished, together with another former student of Robert Fine, translating Robert’s ‘Political Investigations’ into Spanish.

          
		Chile's Corbyn? Daniel Jadue and left antisemitism - Daniel Chernilo image
          Daniel Chernilo

          It’s a free online event, but we ask people to register: For details and to register, follow this link

          For Daniel’s piece about Daniel Jadue’s candidacy, follow this link

          The New Chile Deserves Better Than the Antisemitic Daniel Jadue

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          Chile is experiencing its own Corbyn moment. Daniel Jadue, the leader of the Chilean Communist Party, is a serious candidate for President. In a radio interview, he said some of the “alternative media in the country are being bought by the Zionist community of Chile.”

          This piece, by Tammy Benquis, Marcelo Carvallo, Daniel Chernilo, Mijal Fliman and Jonathan Nowogrodski, is from Ha’aretz

          Despite the bad faith insinuations, progressive Chilean Jews like us can’t support Daniel Jadue’s presidential bid. Not because he is a communist, but because he is an unrepentant antisemite

          These are exciting times in Chile. For the first time in our history, a new constitution will be drafted by a convention

          that is not only fully democratic, but has gender parity and representation for indigenous peoples. 

          A further boost to Chilean democracy is the presidential election due to be held in November. As in any election, debate is fierce. So much so that it has reached Haaretz, a newspaper based 15,000 kms away from Chile. As politically engaged Jews, we would like to contribute to that debate about the left in Chile, and about the suitability of the Communist Party’s candidate for the presidency, Daniel Jadue.

          Let us start with simple facts. As we write, there are at least three left-wing candidates. Many Chilean Jews, like us, support the candidacies not only of Daniel Jadue but also of Gabriel Boric and Paula Narváez. The reasons behind supporting one or another candidacy are those of normal everyday national politics. 

          The argument that Jadue is the only genuine left-wing candidate, the assumption of a recent Haaretz op-ed, flies in the face of the concrete evidence of policy proposals by the other two candidates. More gravely, it neglects the views of a huge group of Chileans who want change, but are doing so by supporting other movements, parties and candidates.

          It has also been argued that when people raise criticisms against Jadue, they do so because he is a member of the Communist Party (Chile’s Jewish Leaders Are Using Antisemitism to Bash a pro-Palestinian Leftist. Again).

          We are under no illusions that in this country there is still a significant anti-communist culture, originating in the opposition to and brutal repression of left-wing parties during the Pinochet era and before, and that they will try any trick in the book to derail Jadue’s candidacy. 

          But there are also those who have long respected and, indeed, admired the contribution that Communist parties have made to Chile and Latin America more broadly. They are able to critically assess Communist candidates, based on their virtues and flaws, achievements and failures. 

          This piece, by Tammy Benquis, Marcelo Carvallo, Daniel Chernilo, Mijal Fliman and Jonathan Nowogrodski, is from Ha’aretz

          Antisemite Richard Falk spearheads a global effort for ‘academics, artists and intellectuals’ to denounce Israel as apartheid

          Richard Falk, who has for years now embraced an explicitly antisemitic worldview, who pushes 9/11 conspiracy fantasy and endorses Gilad Atzmon’s antisemitic book, is the public face of this campaign. He has referred to a ‘Palestinian Holocaust’ and he has published an antisemitic cartoon on his blog.

          The text that he is asking ‘academics, artists and intellectuals’ (as if other people weren’t important) to sign:

          • constructs Israel as an apartheid state
          • constructs Israel as a criminal enterprise
          • constructs Israel as a ‘system of ethnic cleansing’
          • constructs the Nakba as ongoing
          • claims that Israel explicitly claims ‘Jewish supremacy’
          • claims that Israel has a system of ‘racial segregation’
          • finds Israel guilty of crimes against humanity
          • calls for the ‘dismantling’ of Israel
          • urges governments to cease ‘complicity’ with Israel
          • calls for an ICC investigation into Israeli leaders and security personnel

          This text opposes self-determination for both Palestinians and Israelis, and opposes the Palestinian aspiration to statehood.

          The whole text is as follows:

          Whereas:

          1- Israel has subjected the Palestinian people for 73 years to an ongoing catastrophe, known as the Nakba, a process that included massive displacement, ethnic cleansing, war crimes, and crimes against humanity;

          2- Israel has established an apartheid regime on the entire territory of historic Palestine and directed toward the whole of the deliberately fragmented Palestinian people; Israel itself no longer seeks to hide its apartheid character, claiming Jewish supremacy and exclusive Jewish rights of self-determination in all of historic Palestine through the adoption in 2018 by the Knesset of a new Basic Law;

          3- The apartheid character of Israel has been confirmed and exhaustively documented by widely respected human rights organizations, Adalah, B’Tselem, Human Rights Watch, and in the UN ESCWA academic study that stresses the importance of defining Israeli apartheid as extending to people rather than limited to space, [“Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid,” UN ESCWA, 2017];

          4- Israel periodically unleashes massive violence with devastating impacts on Palestinian civilian society, particularly against the population of Gaza, which endures widespread devastation, collective trauma, and many deaths and casualties, aggravated by being kept under an inhuman and unlawful blockade for over 14 years, and throughout the humanitarian emergency brought about by the COVID pandemic;

          5- Western powers have facilitated and even subsidized for more than seven decades this Israeli system of colonization, ethnic cleansing, and apartheid, and continue to do so diplomatically, economically, and even militarily.

          Considering:

          i- The Universal Declaration of Human Rights which stipulates in its first article that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” And taking account that the inalienable right of self-determination is common Article 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Political Rights, and as such, a legal and ethical entitlement of all peoples.

          ii- The International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid which stipulates in Article I that “apartheid is a crime against humanity and that inhuman acts resulting from the policies and practices of apartheid and similar policies and practices of racial segregation and discrimination, as defined in article II of the Convention, are crimes violating the principles of international law, in particular the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and constituting a serious threat to international peace and security.” The States Parties to this Convention undertake in accordance with Article IV:

          “(a) To adopt any legislative or other measures necessary to suppress as well as to prevent any encouragement of the crime of apartheid and similar segregationist policies or their manifestations and to punish persons guilty of that crime;

          “(b) To adopt legislative, judicial and administrative measures to prosecute, bring to trial and punish in accordance with their jurisdiction persons responsible for, or accused of, the acts defined in article II of the present Convention, whether or not such persons reside in the territory of the State in which the acts are committed or are nationals of that State or of some other State or are stateless persons.”

          The endorsers of this document:

          A- Declare their categorical rejection of the apartheid regime set up on the territory of historic Palestine and imposed on the Palestinian people as a whole, including refugees and exiles wherever they might be in the world.

          B- Call for the immediate dismantling of this apartheid regime and the establishment of a democratic constitutional arrangement that grants and implements on all the inhabitants of this land equal rights and duties, without any discrimination relative to race, ethnicity, religion or gender, and which respects and enforces international law and human rights conventions, and in particular gives priority to the long deferred right of return of Palestinian refugees expelled from their towns and villages during the creation of the State of Israel, and subsequently.

          C- Urge their governments to cease immediately their complicity with Israel’s apartheid regime, to join in the effort to call for the dismantling of apartheid structures and their replacement by an egalitarian democratic governance that treats everyone subject to its authority in accordance with their rights and with full respect for their humanity, and to make this transition in a manner sensitive to the right of self-determination enjoyed by both peoples presently inhabiting historic Palestine.

          D- Call for the establishment of a National Commission of Peace, Reconciliation, and Accountability to accompany the transition from apartheid Israel to a governing process sensitive to human rights and democratic principles and practices. In the interim, until such a process is underway, issue a call for the International Criminal Court to launch a formal investigation of Israeli political leaders and security personnel guilty of perpetuating the crime of apartheid.


          Some thoughts on antisemitism in academia, May 2021 – David Hirsh

          I want to articulate my concern over what I believe amounts to antisemitic loyalty tests that are circulating far and wide amongst academic colleagues. I believe they construct antisemitic, hostile environments for both staff and students. 

          They all say fundamentally the same thing:

          This is foundational to our scholarship and to our morality:
          1. Israel is apartheid
          2. BDS
          3. Smash Israel
          If you don’t agree, you’re not a scholar and you’re not moral. 

          This is the simplest form: Tweets with “pass it on”:

          This one is endorsed not by individuals but by departments and centres. 
          ส่งเงินบาทไทย อยากเล่นสล็อตผ่านมือถือ

          It constructs the following views as being foundational to gender studies and also to personal morality. If you don’t affirm them, you’re not a proper gender scholar, and you’re not a proper person:
          1. We do not subscribe to a “both sides” rhetoric
          2. Israel is apartheid
          3. [This understanding of] feminist anti-racist, and anti-colonial activism … informs the foundation of our interdiscipline
          4. Palestinians are indigenous, Israelis are settler-colonialists
          5. “Palestine is a Feminist Issue”
          6. Palestinian right to return
          7. “we will not tolerate any censorship of nor retribution against Palestinian scholars” – this is code for institutions taking antisemitism seriously
          8. “the Palestinian people … remain united in their demands to end their oppression”This creates a hostile environment for Jews who work and who study in these departments and centres. The official policy of these centres is that people (most Jews and their allies in the fight against antisemitism) who do not subscribe to these principles are not genuine feminists, scholars or moral human beings.

          Here are more, but they’re all over the place:
          1. https://palestineandpraxis.weebly.com/?fbclid=IwAR3aoOn_GADFt-PTnALePjIaoSqtCz4TerRPwNrHfH9uKc0KKyeOc4MrZlI

          2. https://docs.google.com/document/u/1/d/e/2PACX-1vTcyuClTK3cSIyHIKcZHUxoPCPtutSHq2cEvY1hOzulRvxHDKO6QULubeeoknjv7CquJw_1lPh8cdUO/pub?fbclid=IwAR0lvLBJs-24k81K6lbhr-ycxWlVVqVR6UbIV_yERBROWlrgkED4p6PQHlI

          3. https://goldsmithsucu.org/2021/05/18/gucu-goldsmiths-students-union-stand-in-full-solidarity-with-the-people-of-palestine/?fbclid=IwAR1CComibsgUOA9AZhAIjutp96hob5I4MyARoxAii-dVm2VcEQYmiKcQu4A

          https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScAnALCBd0ARQVQfdTIigZIDLOs8sSSWG5GiQyygdHsbp0cdw/viewform?fbclid=IwAR08Tyy0ZJSRZ0h861Ld3UhrCYZHhFEnni7FKMH1VTO537TCbODKrx1klL4

          https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScxG4x4MOkooD0dfraFiCNX6Xsg6Oxo9l-lhhRpYD_A6OwTbg/viewform

          This next one is pathetic – in the genuine sense of the word. Jewish Studies scholars put out the “Jerusalem Declaration” to try to discredit IHRA and offer an alternative. JD offers a deal to the antisemites: ‘If you allow us Jews to stay in the community of the good, then in return, we’ll kosherize you as not antisemitic.’

          These loyalty testers respond: “no.” Kosherizing elements of our antisemitic discourse as not antisemitic isn’t enough. You have to affirm our antisemitic positions. That’s the test. This is a real test for the predominantly Jewish profs behind the Jerusalem Declaration. Some of them won’t be able to pass the loyalty test, some will. But whether they then understand what has happened, whether then understand the hostile environment they have been key to legitimising, is another question.
          https://docs.google.com/document/d/1tMegGnq5w1-zUilwYKHsczv1vTCyvnmM-V7HQEPQ8Os/edit?fbclid=IwAR0lvLBJs-24k81K6lbhr-ycxWlVVqVR6UbIV_yERBROWlrgkED4p6PQHlI

          CST always says that when there’s conflict in the Middle East, antisemitic incidents spike. This has been happening now. It seems to me that a key response to this is to insist that people who build the antisemitic common sense, and schoarly discourse, cannot be allowed just to condemn the attacks. They have to be held responsible for the demonizing discourses by which people feel licensed to treat Jews as demonic.


          UCL put out a statement against antisemitism, in particular antisemitism against its own students, on campus.
          UCL staff put out a statement protesting against that statement.
          https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScAnALCBd0ARQVQfdTIigZIDLOs8sSSWG5GiQyygdHsbp0cdw/viewform?fbclid=IwAR29mE08IxtBEJ8Yaw4AGTZF_wdx4KHM2cGYIbLDHKj6ztQuVu-KVC48S4Y

          We published this article many years ago, by Steve Cohen, who wrote “That’s Funny You Don’t Look Antisemitic”. He was responding to a decision to boycott Israeli scholars ‘“a boycott of those that do not publicly dissociate themselves from” Israeli governmental policies’. it makes the point that loyalty tests, making Jews grovel, are specifically hostile in relation to Jews. 
          http://5btk.jfgaubert.com/2006/05/29/i-would-hate-myself-in-the-morning-steve-cohen-may-29-2006/


          One more thing. I am seeing, more and more, Muslim antisemites, or antisemites who are assumed to be Muslim,?being racialized by right wing anti-foreigner and racist discourse. There is a lot of this in London, focused on the Mayor, also focused against Priti Patel the Home Secretary, who is of African Asian Hindu descent. But many on the the far right are saying about?antisemitism: “Look at these uncivilized backward Muslims, they have no place in our society”. One implication is that “we” should deal with “our” Muslims like the tough Israelis deal with theirs. Which, itself of course, shares the left wing demonizing discourse of Israel, but puts a positive spin onto it.? I think racists tagging on to opposition to antisemitism is a significant phenomenon. Of course some racists, like David Irving, hate the Jews more than they hate the Muslims.

          To clarify the point about the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan: I’m not at all saying he is antisemitic. Indeed?he has made a great effort?to say the right things on antisemitism and to make connections and take advice from the Jewish community. So as much as any Labour member who remained in the party through the Corbyn leadership, he’s got a good record. Having said that, there are issues from his past, and his work as a lawyer before going into politics, which relate to some antisemitic politics. But most people would judge, I am one, that his record as mayor is good.?

          My point was that in spite of his actual good record, there is a tendency for him to be racialized as being symbolic of, and supportive of, the worst of the Palestine solidarity movement. By which I mean, the antisemitic aspect of it. Or to use his formal responsibility for law and order in London as a hook to pull him into responsibility for the antisemitic hate crimes. He’s presented as being symbolic of the Muslim take over of Britain. 

          So:

          1. loyalty tests are coming – they create toxic, antisemitic, hostile environments for Jews – colleagues and students – but this will also arise in other professions and in other institutions and communities.

          2. two states and talk of peace and coexistence are now prohibited within most Palestine Solidarity discourse

          3. The position of Jewish Studies, Israel Studies, and Centres for the study of antisemitism – the spaces from which the “Jerusalem Declaration” emerged – is very difficult now.

          4. opposing antisemitism is constructed as a Trumpist/Zionist plot to destroy academic freedom and to silence criticism of Israel. The Livingstone Formulation. http://5btk.jfgaubert.com/2016/04/29/the-livingstone-formulation-david-hirsh-2/

          5. The far right constructing antisemitism as a foreign, Muslim, immigration, problem of the ‘backwardness’ of Muslim and other ethnic minorities – this will be true of anti-black racism too, I suspect particularly in America, but I haven’t seen much of that.

          How the slogan ‘Free Palestine’ can function as an antisemitic dog whistle – David Hirsh

          I want a “Free Palestine”. I want it very much, I want it genuinely, I want it because it’s right and because many Palestinians who suffer absolutely deserve it; but also because it would be good for Israel, because it would be good for the whole Middle East, because it would be good for democratic politics and culture everywhere. ????

          I also believe that the slogan “Free Palestine” can function as an antisemitic dog whistle.Both. What is a dog whistle? It makes a sound that only dogs can hear.

          In politics, a dog whistle is an element of rhetoric that a particular constituency will hear and understand in a particular way, while other people watching might hear or see nothing significant or wrong. For example, Donald Trump:

          “We have to have strong borders. We have to keep the drugs out of our country. Right now we’re getting the drugs, they’re getting the cash. We need strong borders. We cannot give amnesty. I want to build the wall. We need the wall. The Border Patrol. ICE. They wall want the wall. We stop the drugs. We shore up the border. My first act will be to get all of the Drug Lords, we have some bad ones. Bad Bad people in this country that have to go out. We’re going to get them out, we’re going to secure the border and once the border is secured at a later date we’ll make a determination as to the rest. But we have some bad hombres here and we’re going to get ’em out.”

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AneeacsvNwU

          There are ways of reading that text in which it is entirely both true and innocent. In the abstract. In and of itself.I’m writing now for the people who can judge that in the context of the 2016 Presidential election, this speech was racist. I’m one of those people. Other people can scroll on. There are other posts for you.

          This text is a dog whistle text. It means one thing to people who don’t know. And it means another thing to people who do know.

          To racists, it’s exciting.

          To antiracists, and to many Mexicans, it’s urgently and clearly threatening.

          And to lots of people watching, it means that Trump wants to stop drugs coming into America.So the slogan “Free Palestine” may be, in and of itself, not only legitimate but exactly right.

          Just as you might think that keeping Mexican Drug Lords out of America, who you might think are bad hombres, is also not only legitimate but exactly the right thing to do.

          Personally, I’m very strongly in favour of Free Palestine. I want a free, democratic, Palestine, at peace with its neighbours.

          Yet “Free Palestine” in particular contexts, can be an expression of support for the elimination of Israel.

          I’m not even against that in principle, in the abstract, in and of itself. If there was a long lasting genuine peace, like there is for example between France and Germany, Israelis and Palestinians might decide to bring the border down. They might, they might not. If they do, they won’t have to deal with me denouncing them.

          But this slogan is not genuinely about the elimination of Israel by consent. It is, in the world that exists, about eliminating what they say is the evil apartheid state of Israel, by any means necessary. And eliminating Israel without the consent of the Israelis could not result in a Free Palestine, it probably couldn’t be achieved at all, and if it was, it would not result in freedom but in genocide.

          This is the academic work of obfuscation in which the Jerusalem Declarationists specialize.

          They imagine in their minds, ‘Free Palestine’ in the whole territory, without an Israel. And they say that in the abstract, the slogan, “in and of itself”, is not “on the face of it”, antisemitic. And in the utopian fantasy which exists only in their minds, it is indeed, not antisemitic.

          But, as we’ve seen this weekend, the slogan does not appear “in and of itself”, it appears in the world.

          It often appears in such a way as we might judge that, guided by the IHRA principle of context, it could, according to context, be antisemitic.

          When “Free Palestine” is the slogan of a gang of men who are cruising through Jewish neighbourhoods threatening sexual violence, it becomes an antisemitic slogan.

          And when “Free Palestine” is set up as a loyalty test for Jewish academics, it becomes an antisemitic slogan.

          When it is spray painted on the door of a synagogue, or on the remnant of a wall of the Warsaw Ghetto, it becomes an antisemitic slogan.

          When it is shouted, relentlessly, all day long, at a Jewish teacher, by pupils, it becomes an antisemitic slogan.

          And then, the people who made such a point of defending a movement which aims to exclude Jews from the community, by setting up an assumption that they’re Zionists, meaning racists, are themselves partly responsible for the hostile environment they’ve helped to construct.

          Academics and left wing politicos understand the concepts of ‘hostile environment’, ‘institutional racism’ and ‘dog whistle’. They invented those concepts and they live by those concepts. But when it comes to antisemitism, they play dumb, like the dumbest, most deplorable, Trump fanatic. They cling to literalist, abstract readings of texts and they refuse to contextualise those texts in the complex, material, social, world of history and of power.

          A discussion about IHRA and the “Jerusalem Declaration” – David Hirsh

          Question: How do you respond to the following point by Harvard Prof. Derek Pensler: “The IHRA definition’s limitations have been made clear to me in work I have done in Canada as an expert witness in prosecutions for ‘willful promotion of hate,’ which is a criminal offense. The antisemitic discourse I have been asked to assess invariably contains references to Israel. I have found it difficult to invoke the IHRA definition because of its strong implication that highly critical but factually accurate statements about Israel are antisemitic. A clear distinction between conspiratorial fantasy and demonstrable reality, between unhinged and fact-based (even if intemperate) language about Israel, would make it easier for me to demonstrate the presence of the former, which is actionable, and to set aside the latter, which is not.” H/t:?https://detailedpoliticalquizzes.wordpress.com/response…/

          David Hirsh: It is not true that IHRA “implies” that accurate statements about Israel are antisemitic. IHRA does not define anything as antisemitic. It gives examples of things that we know are frequently antisemitic and says that these should be judged in the specific context of the case.

          Penslar seems to define antisemitism as requiring “animus against Jews”. Which is clearly not right. Antisemitism is an objective and external social phenomenon and does not require malicious intent or hatred of Jews. “There are a great many people in the world who bear no animus against Jews but who are troubled by Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and want it to change.”https://fathomjournal.org/why-i-signed-the-jda-a…/

          Question: So, a speech consisting of undisputed facts, in a particular context, can objectively be determined to be antisemitic?

          David Hirsh: That’s not what I said. And it isn’t what IHRA says. But of course it’s true. Imagine a newspaper runs a campaign against street crime. Imagine that every day it carries on its front page a picture of a different black violent street criminal. Imagine each picture is real, and is of a person who is really a violent criminal. There. You have a racist narrative made up of elements each of which is true.

          It’s the method. If you want to study or to define antisemitism, you have to look at antisemitism. If you look at contemporary antisemitism you’ll find that BDS is a key element of it.But this method doesn’t want to study or define antisemitism. It wants to study or define ‘boycotts in the abstract’. So it invents abstract boycotts to study which are not objectionable. And it thereby says that this boycott, against Israel, is therefore not antisemitic… “in and of itself”.Well that wasn’t our question. Is BDS antisemitic “in and of itself”?

          Our question was, if these people, here, in the real world, are boycotting Israel, using the particular methods and discourses that they actually use, is that something we should be concerned about if we’re concerned about antisemitism?And the answer is, yes, you should. You should look at it, think about the context, and work out whether this particular manifestation is something to do with antisemitism.

          But IHRA is a very tame document. IHRA doesn’t say anything at all about BDS.

          But it would be reasonable to add BDS to IHRA’s list of examples of things which are often antisemitic, and to say that a judgment should be made of the case in question, taking into account context. Also taking into account the principle that ‘criticism of Israel is not antisemitic’.

          Although IHRA, being a tame document, overstates the case. Because some criticism of Israel is antisemitic, and some criticism of Israel is not antisemitic.

          Interestingly you could go even further, although IHRA doesn’t, because it is a tame document.

          You could say: “some criticism of Israel which is similar to that leveled against any other democratic country” is antisemitic, even if it is not racist or bigoted when it is leveled against other democratic countries. Because Israel has specific particularities.

          You could be an anarchist, and you could say you are for destroying every state. Fine. But saying you want to destroy Israel may be, according to context, specifically genocidal in a way that saying you want to destroy other states may not be.

          Question: Regarding the newspaper, does the state now charge its owner with a crime?

          David Hirsh: I thought we were talking about IHRA. IHRA does not say anything about what should be done about antisemitism. It is only an instrument to help an institution to judge what is antisemitic.

          And indeed, antisemitism, and racism, are not a criminal offences.

          Question: So you’d advise that, say, governments that adopt the IHRA not use it for any meaningful sanction? According the Pensler’s article, “In recent years, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism has been enshrined in policy and law by universities, civic organisations, and governments. This is bizarre, as the IHRA definition was developed for the purpose of data collection, not policy making, and its authors acknowledged its protean status.”

          David Hirsh: Not at all. It should be used for a very meaningful purpose. It should be used as a framework for helping them to identify antisemitism.

          It is important for, say governments, say football associations, say universities, say political parties, to know what is antisemitic and what is not antisemitic.

          And it is good specifically for this meaningful purpose: It affirms that an institution understands that there is a form of antisemitism that often appears in the language of hostility to Israel and it affirms that this form of antisemitism is significant.We could have an interesting discussion about what a government or an institution should do when it finds antisemitism, but that is a separate issue from IHRA.

          Or perhaps you feel that institutions should purposely avoid judging, or attaining the ability to judge, what is antisemitic and what isn’t, in order to avoid having to then decide what to do about it?

          Question: We’ve come full circle.==> “We could have an interesting discussion about what a government or an institution should do when it finds antisemitism, but that is a separate issue from IHRA.”But it isn’t a “separate issue”, as the problematic–according to Penslar–IHRA definition is being used to justify sanction. My original comment pointed to his concern: “The IHRA definition’s limitations have been made clear to me in work I have done in Canada as an expert witness in prosecutions…” I appreciate your replies. I’ll leave the last word to you.

          David Hirsh: Penslar says IHRA is being used to justify sanction. But there is nothing in IHRA that justifies sanction. So this is not an argument against IHRA.

          The “is being used” argument is quite interesting. Some opponents of IHRA concede that there’s nothing wrong with the text of IHRA, except that the text is a trojan horse for a material reality which it doesn’t allow.

          That is how they understand IHRA.

          So what do they do? They draw up the JD, in the hope that it will do what they wrongly accuse IHRA of doing.

          They hope that they can legitimise things in the abstract and that that legitimisation will then “be used” in the material world to legitimise real things.

          BDS, Israel eliminationism, Nazi, colonial settler and apartheid analogies, irrational disproportionate and intemperate speech: they think that they can legitimise them in the abstract in the hope that they can then sneakily be “used to” legitimise them in the material world.

          The sneakiness of the Jewish advocates of IHRA is in their own imagination; but they then emulate that sneakiness, that they have imputed onto those Jews, themselves!

          So the point of the JD is indeed, the way it is used. It is used to stop institutions from adopting IHRA.

          And it will be used to demobilise people who campaign against the real antisemitic movements which come together with BDS, Israel eliminationism, Nazi, colonial settler and apartheid analogies, irrational, disproportionate and intemperate speech, as their key elements.

          Why Israel stops when the siren sounds – David Hirsh

          Today is Yom HaZikaron. It is the day when Israelis remember those who were killed while on active duty for Israel’s armed services and Israelis who were killed in terrorist attacks.

          The mis-match in how people think about Israel’s armed services is huge. Most good people in Europe and America think of Israel’s armed forces as racist machines designed to sustain an unjust system of imperialist domination. People have strange ideas about Jews. They have had for thousands of years. The practice of defining their own goodness in relation to the evil of Jews is an old one.

          Israel was built by refugees from European antisemitism; by the undead Jews of the Shoah; by the Jews terrorised out of their homes by states which defined themselves as ‘Arab’ or as ‘Muslim’; by Jews who the USSR constructed as rootless cosmopolitan enemies of the working class. Of course it was also built by Jews whose families had lived in Jerusalem for hundreds and thousands of years.

          There are about 15 million Jews in the world. They are not powerful but vulnerable yet they are constructed as having huge, evil, dishonest and threatening power.

          Established armies invaded Israel in 1948, 1967 and 1973 to try and destroy it and to try and kill the Jewish minority in the Middle East. As recently as 2014 we saw what can happen to minorities which do not have the means to defend themselves, but most people paid little attention to the genocide of the Yazidi people.

          I think people who live in democratic states tend to under-value the ordinary practices and principles of democracy, rights, freedom and law. People imagine the democratic state is supposed to make everybody happy. But most people in the world would fight hard for a situation in which they could struggle for happiness and justice without much risk of being murdered.

          People in Europe and America find it difficult even to imagine the danger of genocide. They can’t imagine what it would be like to have their state smashed. And if they imagine it, they imagine themselves as the killers, not themselves as the victims; and that frightens them more. Maybe not themselves precisely but ‘us’. ‘The Jews’ sit nicely between ‘me’ and ‘us’. They’re ‘us’ but not quite ‘us’.

          And so they can’t imagine a situation in which our mothers and fathers, daughters and sons, have to learn war and put themselves at risk of killing or dying, to preserve the ordinary, imperfect state which enables our ordinary, imperfect lives.

          It’s lovely that we’re able to be so complacent and decadent. It’s a genuine achievement. But it is disorienting and it puts us at risk. Our safety is made by the human beings who went before us. It’s not magic, it’s not the system, it’s not some kind of ‘-ism’. It is ironic that there is such a prohibition in our age against imagining ‘others’ to be inferior yet it is so normal for us to imagine our ancestors as inferior in every way. The past is another country and it is a country for which it is normal to have complete contempt.

          But the democratic state was built by our ancestors, it didn’t appear by magic. Yes, fascism in Europe was defeated by people like Prince Philip, Winston Churchill, George Orwell and your gran. Get over it. In Israel people have a clearer understanding of what it’s like to be at risk. They’re descended, and in living memory, from victims of racism so effective that its victims were killed or expelled.

          Every family in Israel has people who were in the wars of survival. Everybody knows somebody who’s died. Everybody has been close to attempts to kill them. Everybody knows that the world is not divided nicely into oppressors and oppressed, good and bad.

          Israelis don’t want to rule over other people, they just want to be left alone. They don’t want utopia, they don’t need to love or to be loved by their neighbours; they just need ordinary lawful relationships. In fact everything good can follow from that.

          So take one day off from thinking of Israel as an imperialist outpost, as the vanguard of militaristic surveillance; as the symbol of everything you hate and in contrast to which you perform your own goodness.Remember those Israelis who died so that their families could live. Just for one day. Just for one day, don’t be an asshole about it. Don’t say: “Yeah, but what about the Palestinians!” Just for one day. Just for one day think about this, not that.

          My mum had 3 cousins who survived the Shoah. That was a lot for one family. 3 out of maybe a hundred.Those three, who were also supposed to die in the gas, died in warm beds in Israeli hospitals surrounded by children and grand children who loved them; children and grandchildren who spent part of their lives carrying guns and preparing to fight for their lives. One of them had a lovely wife, Irina, who told me the story of her brother. I’m sad that I don’t even remember his name.

          He left Lodz, in Poland, where they lived, because he could see danger coming. He went east, because he was a leftie, and he joined Stalin’s Red Army. I wonder what the odds of surviving the whole of WWII in the Red Army were. But he did. He fought and defeated fascism.

          And then he found a boat to Palestine. And on the boat they asked him what he could do. He said he couldn’t do anything, he said he had only ever been a soldier. They told him they needed soldiers. And he joined the Haganah, the Israeli army before there was an Israel. He died in 1948, strafed by a British imperial Spitfire, fighting to keep the Jews from putting themselves in a position where they could defend themselves.

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