This is a guest post by UCU Insider
Following the recent discussion here of Peter Oborne’s ‘Inside Britain’s Israel Lobby’ for Channel 4’s Dispatches, readers might like to know the responses of some contributors to the University and College Union’s activists’ list.
First Keith Hammond (Lecturer in Adult and Continuing Education at the University of Glasgow):
“Anti-semitism charges are just part of the deal for anyone who speaks out for Palestine. The important point in all this is that we keep speaking out for Palestine. There is nothing wrong with our having to check our language to make sure we are actually being clear about our opposition to the rotten apartheid system that is Israel. It was a good programme in many ways … It showed the way that the anti-Semitism charges work … But we are all onto the game and no one is fooled by this demonizing all opposition to Israel rubbish …
To all those members who do speak out for Palestine I would say keep it up … in fact step it up … Make the boycott call the call that is everywhere because it is needed to end the injustice … Spell it out why we argue for a boycott and why we should be pushing it everywhere in the Trade Union movement …
Everything is moving just as it should … Zionist is on its way OUT …”
Then there is John Baxter, friend of Jenna Delich:
“There was heavy traffic on this list in May and August 2008 before and after the UCU Congress. Antisemitism was a counter claim made against several people on this list (including my colleague Jenna Delich) who dared to raise issues about the actions of the Israeli state. This usage was alluded to in tonight’s programme (Dispatches Channel 4). It explored issues of Israel’s policies and actions and how lobbyists seek influence over British politicians. It explored the wider world of information/disinformation in relation to pressurising the Guardian newspaper and the BBC”
Baxter then defended Delich once more with these telling lines:
“Just to be very clear I don’t think that intentionally to seek supportive information from material posted by neo nazis on a neo nazi website is defensible. That however was not what Jenna Delich did. Try and get used to this. In these times in terms of the BNP and EDL it may well we are looking at their sites but in another context”
Presumably Baxter therefore thinks it’s defensible – in another context – “to seek supportive information from material posted by neo nazis on a neo nazi website.
As for Oborne’s program and the type of thinking it not only enables but encourages, I’ll leave the last word to the CST blog.