UKLFI: Supporting Israel with legal skills

UKLFI makes submission to antisemitism taskforce

UKLFI has submitted a note on antisemitism at universities and schools and the factors promoting it to the task force that has been set up to root out antisemitism in education in England at all levels. UKLFI has extensive experience of countering antisemitism at universities and schools over the past ten years and hopes that its knowledge will assist the taskforce.

UKLFI’s note summarises examples of issues that it has encountered and provides links to documents evidencing them. The issues include:

  • Reading materials and lectures with antisemitic content or extreme bias against Israel that promotes antisemitism, for example
    • reading materials for politics courses at the University of London in Paris portraying Israel as unremittingly evil
    • a lecturer at Warwick University who stated “this idea that the Labour Party is antisemitic is very much an Israeli lobby kind of idea, the idea that you want to discredit the Labour Party because there is support for Palestine among some members of the Labour Party”
    • Jewish conspiracy theories taught at another university
    • anti-Israel propaganda included in an occupational therapy course at Brunel University.
    • a 20 minute diatribe accusing Israel of stealing organs from bodies of Palestinians killed by IDF in a lecture on medical ethics at Barts Medical School
  • Coursework, dissertations and theses marked down if they present Israel in a favourable light:
    • An undergraduate student at Leeds who wrote an essay about the crimes of Hamas against Palestinians was failed for not also mentioning alleged crimes of Israel
    • A Masters student at LSE was discouraged from doing an elective in Israel, despite its clear relevance to the course, and marked down when she wrote an essay about it
    • Students are discouraged from choosing subjects that would show Israel in a favourable light
    • BRISMES sponsored statement that it is no longer acceptable to conduct research on Palestine without a clear component of political commitment
  • Reports that Academics who express views favourable to Israel or attend conferences in Israel have not been employed, or not promoted or discriminated against; and difficulties in getting articles expressing views favourable to Israel or Jews and/or critical of Palestinians published in academic journals
  • Hostile environments for Jewish students and an overwhelming scale of anti-Israel propaganda
  • Jewish and Israel societies often face great difficulties and restrictions in arranging talks by speakers sympathetic to Israel, usually due to the threat of disruption and hostile student unions. Problems include:
    • Cancellations and threats of cancellation
    • Extensive bureaucracy
    • Restrictions on advertising
    • Requirements for advance ticketing
    • Discriminatory insistence on “neutral” chairs or “balanced” panels
    • Advance notice to student union officers or student societies hostile to Israel, facilitating organisation of intimidating pickets and disruption
  • Student Union motions advocating BDS against Israel (and only Israel),
    • typically containing a litany of false and distorted allegations against Israel that are time-consuming to disprove
    • often presented only a few days before a meeting, giving little opportunity to investigate
    • Jewish students heavily outnumbered and often facing a very hostile audience

UKLFI’s note also discusses unsatisfactory treatment of complaints and appeals, victimisation of complainants, and the apparent lack of any effective punishment that might deter disruption of meetings with Israeli speakers

UKLFI’s note goes on to address antisemitism and anti-Israel bias in teaching at schools, including:  

Jonathan Turner, chief executive of UKLFI commented: “We hope that our extensive experience of countering antisemitism in universities and schools will assist the taskforce in understanding the extent of the problem, and some of the ways in which it can be tackled.”

 

 

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