Tag Archives: Chief Rabbi

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.”

Has anti-Semitism in the Netherlands become the norm again?

imagesThe Netherland’s Jews are once again finding themselves under attack as they witness an upsurge in anti-Semitic-related incidents. Slogans such as “filthy Jew” can increasingly be heard throughout the country, Holocaust denial has become commonplace, anti-Israel protests are the norm and a rising number of violent attacks go unreported.

Guy Muller of the Netherlands Center for Information and Documentation on Israel (CIDI) explained the hazards of appearing externally Jewish in public: “If you walk around and are identifiable as a Jew, there is a higher chance that you will be attacked. We know that there are people who are attacked more than once each year.”

Notwithstanding the recorded attacks, a report published by the European Union revealed that 74 percent of all Jewish victims of anti-Semitic attacks did not report the incidents to the authorities.

“They simply put up with it; they take a few hits, put their heads down and carry on,” said Muller.

This finding echos the 2015 AntiSemitismWatch survey results:

Of all the respondents, 77% had witnessed or experienced Anti-Semitism in the previous 12 months.

Of those, 49% had witnessed or experienced 3 or more Anti-Semitic incidents (8% had witnessed or experienced 10 or more Anti-Semitic incidents in the previous 12 months).

The overwhelming majority (59%) had never reported these incidents to the police or a third-party organisation, a potentially shocking indictment on the reliability of UK Anti-Semitism figures typically reported.

The situation for Dutch Jewry has become so worrisome that the country’s Chief Rabbi, Benjamin Jacobs, said, “People are debating removing the mezuzahs from their doorposts, since they identify them as Jews.”

“If I look back, 40 years ago never ever someone could call me a dirty Jew. 20 years ago also not. But slowly we see that it is getting worse.”

Indeed, back in February this year it was reported that the Deputy Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Lodewijk Asscher, had stopped interacting on social media because of anti-Semitic abuse against him.

What is your experience of the Netherlands?  Do you live, work or visit?  Does this article resonate with you?

Let us know via the comments section below or by email to secretary@antisemitismwatch.com

Russian protesters call for ban on Chabad movement – anti-Semitism at play?

Demonstrators protesting the allocation of land to the Jewish community in the Russian city of Perm have demanded the outlawing of the Chabad movement. The rationale behind the protest is exceptionally questionable with distinct anti-Semitic elements.
On Saturday, the protesters showed up with signs reading “Chabad out” and “liberate us Russians from Chabad.” One protester held a placard that read “Chabad settlement is over the line: 1547,” an apparent reference to  the decision that year by Ivan the Terrible, a grand prince of Moscow, to ban Jews from entering or living in his kingdom because they “bring about great evil.”
More than 100 people attended the rally near the area that municipal authorities in Perm, which is located 870 miles east of Moscow, designated for transfer without charge to the local Jewish community that is headed by a Chabad rabbi.
They additionally sang a song titled “Holy War,” a patriotic nationalist tune widely identified with Russia’s fight against Nazi Germany.
Unrest around the Jewish community of Perm has been brewing for years amid accusations made in 2013 that the local Jewish community made unauthorized use of a local theatre. That same year anti-Semites tried to set fire to the local synagogue. No-one has ever been brought to justice for the crime.

Yet participants insisted they are protesting against Chabad specifically and not against Jews in general, the Russian news site Ura reported.

Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar and Russian President Vladimir Putin
Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar and Russian President Vladimir Putin

However, Boruch Gorin, a senior Chabad figure and aide to one of Russia’s two Chief Rabbis, Berel Lazar, said the 2013 campaign against Chabad in Perm was a thin disguise for anti-Semitism.

In Russia, Chabad is the largest Jewish movement with a presence in over 100 cities.

Separately, Putin on Tuesday said that “Russian Jewish organizations are making a substantial contribution in the cause of domestic political stability in Russia, for which we are very grateful” during a meeting in Moscow with Ronald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress.

More Labour Party trouble: Bradford councillor suspended over anti-Semitism allegations

A BRADFORD councillor has insisted he is not guilty of anti-Semitism after an investigation into his views was launched by the Labour Party.

Coun Khadim Hussain promised to “vigorously” defend himself over concerns raised about posts on his Facebook page.

images-4The Keighley Central ward councillor and former lord mayor said: “I will be vigorously defending myself against these allegations.

“I have a strong record of opposing all forms of discrimination. I am fiercely opposed to any form of anti-Semitism or indeed Islamophobia.

“Whilst I was lord mayor of Bradford I worked closely with the Chief Rabbi in the city.”

He said he would provide detailed responses to the allegations in the next 24 hours.

Coun Hussain was due to stand again in May’s local elections but it is understood Labour’s rules would stop any member under suspension from being a party candidate.

A Labour Party spokesman said: “Khadim Hussain is suspended from the Labour Party pending an investigation.”

The incident is the latest in a string of anti-Semitism allegations to hit Labour in recent weeks.

Labour this month expelled Gerry Downing, a man it had previously kicked out and then readmitted, over his comments on the 9/11 attacks and anti-Semitic articles on his website.

Vicki Kirby, the party’s vice chairwoman in Woking, was suspended over comments made on Twitter.

Speaking in the Commons today, Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Anti-Semitism is an absolute cancer in our societies and we should know that when it grows it is the signal of many even worse things happening to ethnic groups all over our country.

“There is, sadly a growth of anti-Semitism in our country. We do see it in terms of attacks on Jewish people and Jewish students and it absolutely has to be stamped out.

“We should all of us, whatever organisation we are responsible for, make sure that happens.

“I have to say we do see a growth in support for segregation and indeed for anti-Semitism in parts of the Labour Party and I say to the leader of the party opposite it is his party and he should sort it out.”

Follow this link to the original article here.

ASW commends campaign to wear kippot

coollogo_com-23172872AntiSemitismWatch.com commends in the strongest terms a campaign which calls on all Europeans to wear a kippah, the traditional Jewish skullcap, and other Jewish symbols to fight rising anti-Semitism on the continent.

The European Jewish Association are asking people to film themselves walking down the street to show their opposition to rising anti-Semitism.

“The idea is to get as many non-Jews as possible to wear Jewish symbols and show solidarity, and that they are a part of the silent majority that is not anti-Semitic. The idea is to do like the ice bucket challenge and get thousands to publish the videos on Facebook and Twitter,” said Rabbi Menachem Margolin, Director General of the Association, a federation of Jewish organisations active on European level.

“It only takes a minute. Just upload a video of yourself walking 10 meters in your neighborhood wearing a kippa or other Jewish symbol and announce ‘I too will proudly join the initiative to increase awareness,’” said one young woman in one of the promotional videos produced by the EJA. Israel’s Chief Rabbi, David Lau, also call on both Jews and gentiles to challenge five friends to take part in the campaign and post their videos on Facebook and Twitter. When a Jew sees that “his neighbor identifies with him he will feel more secure,” Rabbi Lau said in his video promoting the campaign.

imagesAccording to Margolin, the campaign will “make sure that people have an opportunity to show solidarity” and that at the end of the day “the majority of people in Europe” is against anti-Semitism.

When a Jew sees that “his neighbor identifies with him he will feel more secure,” Lau said in his video promoting the campaign.

Earlier this year ASW.com and Rabbi Margolin slammed a call made by a German Jewish leader who suggested that Jews should avoid to wear the kippah in areas with large Muslim population. “The call for Jews to hide their identity instead of calling upon European governments to provide all the necessary resources in order to battle anti-Semitism is irresponsible,” Margolin said.

ASW.com believes this type of positive, inclusive action has the potential to break into the mainstream European psyche through the exposure granted via social media. It is the right thing to do at the right time. Get promoting!




ASW reviews ‘We Stand Together’ London event

coollogo_com-23172872AntiSemitismWatch felt it right and appropriate to have a presence at the London launch of the ‘We Stand Together’ campaign today. The ‘We Stand Together’ Campaign is being led by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and police forces across the UK are being asked to come together to promote its message.

ASW17The London launch was hosted at the impressive Regent’s Park Mosque and the chair for the launch was Commander Mak Chishty of the Metropolitan Police.

What was also impressive was range and depth of the speakers and guests at the event. The Jewish community was represented across the spectrum; Reform, Orthodox, Chassidic, Board of Deputies and Jewish Police Association.

With the theme of the event being to ‘celebrate our difference, against hatred and intolerance, to build a safer and stronger UK’ speakers said:

Dr Ahmad Al-Dubayan, of  The London Central Mosque Trust
Dr Ahmad Al-Dubayan, of The London Central Mosque Trust

Dr Ahmed Al-Dubayan, Director General ICC said, “Hate has no part of any religion on earth.”

Vivien Wineman, President of Board of Deputies, said hate was, “not acceptable to the mainstream of our communities.”

Pastor Nims Obunge, said, “A religion that teaches hate is not a religion” and “we must refuse to be imprisoned by fear and terror.”

Fiyaz Mughal, Director of Tell Mama, said, “We need to tackle extremism”, “all of us have a challenge”  to “stand together.”

IMG-20150309-WA0000While Rabbi Jeremy Lawrence speaking on behalf of the Chief Rabbi reminded us that, “If you destroy a life you destroy an entire world.”

In all there were some robust and beautiful words said, words that carried the right sentiment and expressed the strength of communities standing, supporting and working together. The event also concluded with all those present signing a giant ‘We Stand Together’ pledge board.2015-03-08 15.28.58

ASWs review concludes by saying that the real challenge, however, is to ensure that the momentum generated by the event is maintained. It must deliver measurable benefits in terms of challenging those that seek to promote hate as well as responding swiftly and decisively at critically important times and events.