Category Archives: UK

Jewish war memorial in Belfast attacked

Police say they are treating a Belfast arson attack on a memorial recognising the contribution of Jewish soldiers in the World Wars as a hate crime.

The memorial relates the history of Colonel John Henry Patterson, from Co Westmeath, who had a distinguished war record and notably led the Zion Mule Corps, dubbed “the first Jewish fighting force in nearly two millennia” who fought in the Gallipoli Campaign of the First World War.

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It also incorporates a panel highlighting Patterson’s links to the Jewish state and a quotation from Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu describing him as “the godfather of the Israeli Army”.

Speaking to UTV, Pastor Paul Burns, from the Adullam Christian Fellowship, Belfast, said he was saddened by the attack, which he believed was anti-Semitic.

Pastor Burns, who has Jewish heritage, said it was particularly upsetting, coinciding with a deadly attack in a Tel Aviv market, that left four Israelis dead.

He said Belfast’s small Jewish community had been “deeply hurt, deeply alarmed” by the incident.

William Humphrey, a DUP MLA for the area said the attack was “clearly designed to raise tensions,” coming as it did, on the back of several instances of vandalism of a war memorial in Woodvale Park.

He said the memorial was “welcomed in the community, in Shankill, but also by the Jewish community as it showed the historic links between Belfast and Israel”.

Mr Humphrey called for calm and said those behind the attacks “need to take a long look at themselves,” as “those whom the memorial commemorates have done a great service to freedom and democracy”.

Read more here.

Another nail in the coffin for NUS

On 20th April, AntiSemitismWatch predicted the break-up of the National Union of Students following the controversial election of Malia Bouattia as its president. We suggested it was the only viable option left for those disillusioned by the continued direction of the organisation.

Loughborough University is the latest to announce it has ditched the NUS in protest at its divisive policies and president.

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This comes ahead of decisions by three more major institutions.

Students voted in favour of quitting at the end of May, with 54% demanding to leave. Ratification was confirmed by the trustees of the students’ union, who announced last night they would act on the referendum result and leave.

A tide of revulsion at the NUS was prompted by the election of president-elect Malia Bouattia, who famously refused to condemn ISIS and has been widely accused of anti-Semitism.

York, Nottingham and Durham universities are voting on the NUS now, and will return decisions on whether to disaffiliate later this week.

Newcastle, Hull and Lincoln have already voted to quit the NUS, starving it of vital revenue raised by a levy on the student population.

According to the Guido Fawkes blog, Loughborough’s departure will cost the NUS £3million in lost fees.

UK government shamefully slow in condemning Iran’s Holocaust denial contest

Despite much of the Western world condemning Iran for its state sponsored Holocaust denial cartoon competition weeks ago, the UK government has only just done so.

The UK Foreign Office statement said:

“The UK condemns any activities aimed at denying the reality of the Holocaust, wherever they occur in the world. British officials in Iran have raised our strong objections to the cartoon competition which is being held there.”

Note that the statement does not even have a UK government minister’s name assigned to it, merely labelled as coming from a spokesperson.

Anti-Semitic graffiti - is there any difference with Iran's state sponsored Holocaust denial cartoon contest?
Anti-Semitic graffiti – is there any difference with Iran’s state sponsored Holocaust denial cartoon contest?

Considering the UK has been at the forefront of education regarding the Holocaust, being one of the first countries to adopt Holocaust Memorial Day as a state sponsored commemoration, its inaction over Iran’s disgusting state sponsored event is even more shocking.

The Tehran government provides $50,000 for the winner of the vile event, hosted in June 2016. Hundreds of submissions are expected from the Islamic world. Last year, Iran received 839 anti-Semitic cartoons for consideration.

Danny Danon, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, said in January 2016, “This anti-Semitic act represents the pure evil of the Iranian regime. Denying the Holocaust is one of the most powerful expressions of anti-Semitism, which legitimizes the deaths of millions of Jews.”

Even UNESCO, which recently tried to redact world history  by changing its language for the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, acquiescing by the Palestinian Authority that it refer to the site using the term “Al-Aqsa mosque” only, condemned the cartoon contest as far back as March.

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova condemned the contest during a meeting with World Jewish Congress CEO Robert Singer in Paris. It led Singer to say, “On behalf of the World Jewish Congress, I would like to thank Director-General Bokova for….. her condemnation of Iran’s Holocaust cartoons contest.” 

Venue swap doesn’t stop Naz Shah from speaking and apologising

The UK Labour Party’s Naz Shah, currently suspended from the party amid allegations of anti-Semitism, managed to meet and speak with local Jewish community members from Leeds and Bradford, despite an enforced change of venue. The event on Sunday evening – initiated by the Leeds Jewish Representative Council – was moved from the Orthodox Beit Hamidrash Hagadol to the Reform Sinai Synagogue following complaints about the gathering.

Naz Shah (centre)
Naz Shah (centre)

Shah admitted she was “ignorant about Judaism” when she made the anti-Semitic comments leading to her suspension. “It is my job in the Muslim Community to highlight the issues of anti-Semitism.”

“Going to Auschwitz is a fantastic idea but it won’t fix the problem. We need to educate the community.”

“It’s up to me to own the narrative,” she continued. “To have conversations with the Muslim community [about anti-Semitism] and that’s my responsibility.”

Shah explained that she came to this realisation after she was asked to apologize to the House of Commons and to the British Jewish community, something she described as a, “Politicians apology.”

“I looked at myself and asked whether I had prejudice against Jewish people. But I realised I was ignorant and I want to learn about the Jewish faith and culture. I do not have hatred for Jewish people.”

Despite her actions which led to her suspension, Shah insisted that she believes in Israel’s rights to exist and to self-defense, and that – contrary to former Bradford politician and rival George Galloway – she does not believe in Bradford being an ‘Israel-free zone.’

London Shomrim search for suspect who threatened Jewish family

IMG_20160410_140119London Shomrim were assisting the Metropolitan Police in searching on Sunday evening for male who, unprovoked, threatened a Jewish family on the street in Stamford Hill,  Hackney.  “Jews, move away, move away your children, a bomb is coming”, the culprit is alleged to have said.

The suspect also held a metal bar and stick in his hands. He was described as a white male, wearing a dark grey short sleeve T-shirt, blue trousers and had a shaved head.

The incident happened on Queen Elizabeth’s Walk and the suspect was last seen walking on Lordship Park.

If you have any information please call the Metropolitan Police on 101.

Manchester Jewish cemetery desecrated

Manchester has experienced a shocking anti-Semitic attack with headstones at a Jewish cemetery destroyed.

The sickening act was discovered and police called to Blackley Jewish Cemetery and found 14 graves had been attacked with the headstones knocked over and smashed.

Ci0108zWUAAsMoE-635x357Greater Manchester Police has confirmed they are treating the matter as a hate crime. The damage will cost an estimated £40,000 to fix.

Stephen Wilson, administrator for the North Manchester Jewish Cemeteries Trust, said: “I think this is mindless vandalism. I just don’t think they understand the unnecessary distress they cause to the families of these departed loved ones. It’s mindless – they need to find better things to do and make a more useful contribution to society than rampaging cemeteries.

“I think they need help – they need education and probably counselling.”

Police have since boosted patrols in the area and are appealing for witnesses in the community.

Chief Supt Wasim Chaudhry from GMP’s North Manchester Division said, “This is a sickening act of criminal damage which we are taking very seriously.

“I believe this was a deliberate and targeted attack and there is no place for such abhorrent behaviour in our communities.

“All decent members of the public recognise that a cemetery is supposed to be a resting place for people who have passed away; a place of sanctity and dignity where families can come and pay their respects.

“So to have those graves desecrated in such a disgusting and disrespectful way will no doubt cause immeasurable anguish to the families and loved ones affected.”

“I cannot begin to get into the mind of someone who would commit such an atrocity. I know this will cause a lot of anxiety and distress in the local community and we as police officers and my colleagues at Manchester City Council and Oldham Council share that distress.”

“We will do everything we can to find out who is responsible and bring the full force of the law down on them.”

“This has been recorded as a hate crime because of the clear racial motivation and, should we find those who committed this cowardly act, that will allow the courts to impose even harsher punishments.”

Tony Lloyd, Greater Manchester Mayor and Police and Crime Commissioner, hit out at the vandalism.

He said: “This is a disgusting act of vandalism that will cause anguish, fear and anger among our communities, and could lead to serious divisions within our neighbourhoods.”

Corbyn calls it wrong over non-publication of anti-Semitism report

AntiSemitismWatch was one of the first to cover the trigger behind the anti-Semitism storm that has come to engulf the UK Labour Party. It began with the resignation of Alex Chalmers, the former co-chair of the Oxford University Labour Club (OULC).

In his resignation statement Chalmers highlighted his concerns over issues related the group’s endorsement of the systemically anti-Semitic BDS movement and its acolytes like Israeli Apartheid Week , alleging there were growing anti-Semitic tendencies within the OULC, “The decision of the club to endorse a movement with a history of targetting (sic.) and harassing Jewish students and inviting anti-Semitic speakers to campuses, despite the concerns of Jewish students, illustrates how uneven and insincere much of the active membership is when it comes to liberation.”

The move led the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, to appoint Baroness Royall as head of an inquiry into the OULC.

Corbyn - called it wrong over Royall report?
Corbyn – called it wrong over Royall report?

Considering the complete furor that has landed at his table since over anti-Semitism,  you would imagine that Corbyn would have wanted to handle Baroness Royall’s report with complete openness and transparency?  How else could he hope to try to restore the trust that has been completely eroded away for Jewish supporters of Labour and the Jewish community in general?

Unfortunately, that is not how this Labour leader thinks. Consequently, Labour is now facing a fresh row over anti-Semitism after the party failed to publish the full report. Details may not now emerge until the wider Chakrabarti Inquiry into party racism is completed in late June.

Indeed, it is now apparent that Baroness Royall wanted to publish her full report but was specifically prevented from doing so by the party’s ruling National Executive Committee (NEC).

Instead, only the executive summary of her report was released. Frustratingly, the summary does not make clear whether the allegations made by Chalmers about the OULC were unfounded or true.

But she recommends that Oxford University Labour Club, and all student Labour clubs, should “examine the culture of their club and take action to ensure that all those who wish to participate in meetings feel that there is a safe space in order to discuss and debate without discrimination”.

The peer made 11 formal recommendations for “immediate and sustained action”, while advising the Chakrabarti Inquiry of a further seven recommendations.

Chief among the 11 is that party expulsion for anti-Semitism should not automatically be for life – because “people may change their views” and those who have demonstrated they have reformed should be allowed to seek readmission.

The peer also urged the party to consider adopting “a definition of anti-Semitic discourse”, rule changes to allow “swifter action” to deal with allegations and a new independent disciplinary panel on Jew-hate.

A further recommendation is a new power that ensures no ‘statute of limitations’ to enable the party to expel anyone for anti-Semitic conduct committed at any time.

Training for officers of all Labour clubs in dealing with anti-Semitism, led by the Jewish Labour Movement and Labour Students, is also recommended by Baroness Royall.

A “clear line of reporting” of incidents is suggested, as well as the ability for individual students to report allegations directly to the party’s national Executive Director of Governance.

Moreover, the party’s national complaints unit must also be “properly resourced so that it may deal effectively with complaints of anti-Semitism”, Baroness Royall said.

Labour should also consider adopting the ‘Macpherson Principle’ – drafted by the inquiry into Stephen Lawrence’s racist murder – that an ‘anti-Semitic incident’ is any incident ‘perceived’ to be so by ‘the victim or any other person’.

As if to reinforce the lack of openness and transparency, there was an acute difference in the inquiry slant focused upon by the Labour leadership and the subsequent comments by the Baroness herself.

The party chose to concentrate on the headline that the inquiry found no evidence of ‘institutional anti-Semitism’ within the OULC.

In a hint that her own conclusions had been misrepresented by the party, Baroness Royal told the Jewish Labour Movement that she shared its ‘disappointment and frustration’ that her findings of incidents of anti-Semitism were not getting enough attention.

“I am clear that in the OULC there is a cultural problem which means that Jewish students do not always feel welcome. And we have to take action to change this situation.

“Many students reported that should a Jewish student preface a remark “as a Jew …” they are likely to face ridicule and behaviour that would not be acceptable for someone saying “as a woman …” or “as an Afro-Caribbean”. This should not be tolerated. ”

Baroness Royall also made clear in a blog that “there is too often a culture of intolerance where Jews are concerned and there are clear incidents of anti-Semitism”.

Indeed, the peer stressed that any documented evidence of misconduct within the Oxford student body would be passed to party General Secretary Iain McNicol and investigated “in line with normal procedures” for disciplinary action.

Jeremy Newmark, a former spokesman for the Chief Rabbi and chair of the Jewish Labour Movement, claimed the peer had been frustrated by the NEC’s decision.

Newmark said, “There is a problem of denial of anti-Semitism in the party. Failure to publish Royall’s full findings risks contributing to that.”

The Board of Deputies of British Jews and Simon Johnson, Chief Executive of the Jewish Leadership Council, similarly added:

“We would like to express our appreciation to Baroness Royall for her efforts. However, we regard them as incomplete and are disappointed with the NEC’s decision to suppress the release of the full inquiry.

“Organisations that do not publish full reports, particularly when they may be critical, tend to lose legitimacy in the eyes of the general public, as was the case when the media were rightly critical when FIFA tried to publish a very sanitised version of the report into the World Cup bidding procedure.”

Champion Tyson Fury apologises for offensive remarks

World heavyweight champion Tyson Fury has apologised for offensive remarks he made in an online video last week, insisting he is ‘not a bigot or a racist’.

furyThe outspoken Briton, caused controversy with homophobic, sexist and anti-Semitic comments during an Q and A session with his uncle and trainer Peter Fury.

“I apologise to anyone who may have taken offence at any of my comments,” Fury said.

“I said some things, which may have hurt some people, which as a Christian man is not something I would ever want to do.

“I promise in future to hold myself up to the highest possible standard.”

Fury has made almost as many headlines with his behaviour outside the ring as with his performances in it.

In January, the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBC) reminded him of his responsibilities after he made derogatory remarks about women and criticised homosexuality and abortion.

Last year 130,000 signed a petition calling for the BBC to remove Fury from its shortlist for Sports Personality of the Year, prompting another apology from the fighter.

‘Independent’ chair of Labour’s anti-Semitism inquiry is a party member

The independence of Labour’s  inquiry into anti-Semitism has been questioned after its chairman revealed that she joined the party last month.

220px-Shami_Chakrabarti_at_Humber_Mouth_-28June2007Shami Chakrabarti, the former head of Liberty, disclosed that she became the member of the party on April 29th, just hours before her role in the inquiry was announced.

She said: “It was my judgement that as a Labour supporter who had previously not been affiliated to any political party I wanted Labour Party members to trust that I am conducting this inquiry with their best interest and values at heart.”

The inquiry will take evidence from Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, and will consider also whether his description of Hamas and Hezbollah as “friends” is appropriate.

The inquiry will report back by July 1, and Mrs Chakrabarti said that the final conclusions will be hers alone.

She said: “I will seek to make such recommendations as I see fit for a party that seeks to set the bar for the way democrats of different races, faiths, persuasions and opinions can rub along together and disagree well.

“Even in 2016 no part of any society can be completely untouched by some form of intolerance or racism.

“The difference between a progressive political party and others is that it fights both prejudice and complacency.

“It sets a higher standard for itself and is prepared to be judged by them. It will openly look at itself in the mirror.”

AntiSemitismWatch will be submitting its own five point plan to the inquiry which we published as a means of providing a road map to the party for extracting itself out of the current mire.

Read more here.

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World Heavyweight Boxing Champion is no role model with his anti-Semitic comments

When news first broke about the anti-Semitic and other similarly nasty comments made by the world heavyweight boxing champion, Tyson Fury, in an interview posted online, AntiSemitismWatch did not necessarily feel it warranted much coverage other than a Twitter tweet. He is a man who has frankly shown himself adept at making bizarre, offensive statements before. However, the man keeps digging himself further into the mire on the subject and so, basically, deserves everything he gets.

Fury’s disturbing rant came during an interview posted onto YouTube. In comments about women, he said on: “We live in ancient times where we don’t like women to be whores, opening legs to every Tom, Dick and Harry. We don’t s**g men. We don’t s**g kids. So, if that’s draconian then yeah, I suppose I like being a draconian [sic]. They should call me Dracula Fury shouldn’t they.“

He continued: “I think it’ll be perfectly normal in the next 10 years to have sexual relationships with your animals at home, you know your pets your cats and dogs and all that. So that will be legal.”

He also made a series of disturbing comments about rape, bestiality and pedophilia.

Regarding Jews, Tyson suggested, “Everyone just do what you can, listen to the government follow everybody like sheep, be brainwashed by all the Zionist, Jewish people who own all the banks, all the papers all the TV stations. Be brainwashed by them all.”

Since the understandable furor that broke out, including calls for him to be banned, Tyson has continued his rantings.

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“I see all the Zionist media outlets are on my back, because I speak the truth!

U will all see the truth soon enuf [sic], they killed my lord jesus”, he subsequently tweeted.

The obvious conflation of Zionists,  Jews and Romans is a point we suspect is completely lost on the boxer and a point too difficult for him to understand.

Nevertheless, he did try to send out some form of message to take the heat out of the situation.

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Other social media users were unsurprisingly robust in their criticism of Tyson’s behaviour.

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Boxing is often spoken about in terms of what adolescent males can learn from the ring,  in particular discipline and respect. Those at the top of the profession have a clear responsibility to act as role models to the young on behalf of the sport. The world heavyweight champion has, by implication, the greatest responsibility imaginable.

The ignorance shown by Tyson in his comments should arguably draw compassion rather than calls for him to be banned. However, his lack of any sense of appreciation of his role model status is thoroughly unforgivable.