CST launches CST REPORT: FOR MOBILE

September 28th, 2011 by CST

As mobile communications become more and more important to people’s daily lives, it is critical that we offer simple ways of getting in touch and reporting antisemitic incidents.

Today, thanks to financial support from the Ministry of Justice Victims Fund, CST is launching ‘CST Report’, an innovative new method for reporting  antisemitic incidents to CST via all internet enabled mobile phones (similar to an App, but not limited to iPhone, Android and Blackberry smartphones).

This is not intended to replace the current methods of reporting incidents to CST (such as phone calls or emails); it is merely to add another option that we believe some people, especially the young, will find effective and convenient.

The mobile website allows the user to call the Police and CST’s emergency numbers at the touch of a button. When the incident is not an emergency, the user is encouraged to report the incident by completing the fields, including photos or video of the incident where appropriate, and submitting the report to CST. The incident will then be dealt with in the usual professional manner.

This video shows how to use CST REPORT:

A quick launch button can be installed to direct the user to the website (this does not take up the mobile’s memory space):

  • Android Bookmark the URL, go to home screen, select menu, shortcuts. Add Bookmark shortcut and then select CST
  • Blackberry Press menu, click add to home screen
  • iPhone Click the + icon at the bottom of the screen and select ‘Add to home screen’

To use the website, scan this QR code with your phone:

Alternatively, text CST to 80800 (text cost covered by CST) or you can insert http://cstreport.mobi into the search field in your mobile phone web browser.

Shana Tova u’Metuka

September 28th, 2011 by CST

CST wishes everyone a happy, safe and peaceful New Year.

Blogging here will be light over the next month, due to the High Holy Days.

CST fringe at Labour Party conference: “Preventing extremism, from those who used to promote it”

September 23rd, 2011 by CST

After a successful fringe meeting at Liberal Democrat conference, CST’s next fringe event will be at Labour Party conference in Liverpool on Monday 26th September at 9am. Held in partnership with ISCR, the panel will be chaired by CST’s Mike Whine and includes:

  • Shiraz Maher, a former member of Hizb ut-Tahrir and now a research fellow at ICSR
  • Matthew Collins, a former member of the National Front, now working for Searchlight Educational Trust and author of Hate: My Life in the British Far Right
  • Rt. Hon. Hazel Blears MP for Salford & Eccles and former Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
  • Jamie Bartlett, Head of the Violence and Extremism programme, Demos

Chanan Reitblat on fighting racism

September 22nd, 2011 by Dave Rich

Chanan Reitblat, the Jewish student at St. Andrews University who was racially abused by Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign member Paul Donnachie, has written an account of what happened to him, and explained why he wanted Donnachie to be prosecuted. He writes:

When I was a child, my family immigrated to the United States from the former Soviet Union, seeking freedom from communist oppression.  For the seventy years of the Soviet Union’s existence, any outward expression of Jewish identity was suppressed by the state security apparatus. Displaying an Israeli flag or other Jewish symbols could easily land one in prison.

I felt compelled to bring the case to court because I am not in the former Soviet Union any more.  I am a Jew. I am proud of my people. I am proud of my history.  And I am proud of the Jewish State – Israel.

I felt compelled to pursue this case because no person – Jew, Gentile, Arab, Christian, Muslim, American, Scot, Israeli or Palestinian – should face abuse and intimidation based on their membership or affiliation with an ethnic, national or religious group. To display my affiliation with the Jewish State is not a “controversial statement.”  It is my right, just like anyone else’s.  I hope that my case sets a precedent and sends a clear message to university communities in Europe, the U.S. and around the world:  freedom to criticize Israel, or any other country, does not include the freedom to delegitimize or incite hatred against members of the academic community simply because of their affiliation with or support for Israel.

On behalf of myself and all those students who have ever felt afraid or intimidated to express themselves and their beliefs I wish to send a message to Mr. Ahmadinejad and his campus proxies: your morally bankrupt behavior does not scare us. You only embolden us further to fight for our ideals of democracy, peace, and morality.

Read the rest here.

‘Wink-wink’ at the Glasgow Herald?

September 20th, 2011 by Mark Gardner

The Glasgow Herald is Scotland’s oldest and best selling quality daily newspaper. Tom Shields is one of its leading columnists, well known for his wit and observations.

In today’s Herald, Shields invites his readers to imagine what it would be like being a Palestinian “under enemy occupation, divided by walls, fences, and checkpoints”. He then helps them to imagine it by depicting Palestinian life as if it were occurring in Newton Mearns and Giffnock, the only two Scottish neighbourhoods that have Jewish communities of any real scale. The article (which requires an easy log in process to access) was entitled:

If Giffnock was Gaza

It then reels off a series of caustic remarks about the difficulties of travelling to Waitrose, passing checkpoints, accessing the local motorway and hospitals, falling house prices and dropping your children at “Hutchie Grammar” (a well known private school attended by many Jews, situated within Glasgow proper).  

Normally, Giffnock and Newton Mearns do not make the headlines. They are middle class areas with nice houses and generally low crime rates. Nevertheless, their Jewish population can make them easy targets for anti-Israel hostility in Scotland; as shown a matter of weeks ago when Giffnock was targeted by a Facebook page that is now under Police investigation.

The Facebook page was entitled “Welcome to Israel, only kidding you’re in Giffnock”. Its photo profile was a picture of the late Reverend Ernest Levy, a Holocaust survivor and probably the most respected Scottish Jew of his generation.  Almost 1,000 people ‘liked’ the site. Comments on it included Jewish scum”, “F*** the Jewish Zionist and:

Hebrew is not needed in the train station [because] all the Jews are f***ing rich c**** they have gold plated Bentleys

The Glasgow Herald is not Facebook; and Tom Shields is not some ranting antisemite. Indeed, his article does not even mention Jews: but it seems to essentially rely upon the same ‘wink wink’ logic as that displayed by the creator of the Facebook site. The impression is not entirely dispelled by Shields’ subsequent ‘I don’t mean it like that‘ explanation, given in the comments thread beneath his article:

I chose Newton Mearns and Giffnock because they are the parts of Scotland with probably the highest level of support and approval of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory. I wondered how residents of these most civilised of Scottish neighbourhoods might cope with walls, fences, and checkpoints making daily life so difficult.

I am not anti-Israeli, but deeply disappointed by the harsh treatment of ordinary Palestinians. I know my distaste for what goes on is shared by many Jewish friends.

But how many Glasgow Herald readers will ever find Shields’ explanation, buried as the 14th comment on a chain, accessed via a ‘show more’ button on the electronic blog page?

It was Shields who invited his readers to use their imagination, so let’s hope that they do not imagine him to have somehow legitimised the antisemitic notion that British Jews are fair game when you want to attack Israel.

Johann Hari and “Loathsome smearing”

September 15th, 2011 by Mark Gardner

Independent columnist, Johann Hari, today admits to having plagiarised the work of others. He also admits to having branded someone as an antisemite, in order to wrong them. His admission and apology:

The other thing I did wrong was that several years ago I started to notice some things I didn’t like in the Wikipedia entry about me, so I took them out…I created a user-name that wasn’t my own…I continued to edit my own Wikipedia entry and some other people’s too…

…in a few instances, I edited the entries of people I had clashed with in ways that were juvenile or malicious: I called one of them anti-Semitic and homophobic, and the other a drunk. I am mortified to have done this, because it breaches the most basic ethical rule: don’t do to others what you don’t want them to do to you. I apologise to the latter group unreservedly and totally.

It seems that Christina Odone was Hari’s victim of the antisemitism smear. (She had doubted Hari when deputy editor to him at the New Statesman.)  

Johann Hari featured in CST’s “Antisemitic Discourse in Britain in 2008″ Report (large pdf here). It was in the section entitled, “Antisemitic Discourse: Misconseptions and Smears”. Given today’s revelations, Hari’s entry is well worth a read. This was it:

Johann Hari, columnist, the Independent, “Loathsome smearing”  

Commentators who allege that antisemitism is being maliciously abused, often fail to adequately specify whom they are – and are not – actually charging with this allegation. Such failures risk leaving the reader with the overall impression that you must not trust Jews when they complain about antisemitism.

One particularly vivid example of this analytical failure occurred in the Independent newspaper where columnist Johann Hari wrote an article entitled The loathsome smearing of Israel’s critics. Hari has repeatedly been explicit in his condemnation of antisemitism, but nevertheless believes that the term is prone to abuse.

The opening paragraph of his article stated:

In the US and Britain, there is a campaign to smear anybody who tries to describe the plight of the Palestinian people. It is an attempt to intimidate and silence – and to a large degree, it works. There is nobody these self-appointed spokesmen for Israel will not attack as anti-Jewish: liberal Jews, rabbis, even Holocaust survivors.

Hari’s article was premised upon angry responses that he had received to a previous piece, in which he used the themes of Israeli “raw untreated sewage” and “shit” to help explain why he could not bring himself to celebrate 60 years sinceIsrael’s creation.

Hari’s article named four alleged perpetrators of this “loathsome smearing”. These were two Internet based American pro-Israeli organisations, Honest Reporting and CAMERA; the American lawyer / activist, Alan Dershowitz; and the British writer, Melanie Phillips. Hari described them as “some of the most high profile “pro-Israel” writers and media monitoring groups…These individuals spray accusations of anti-Semitism so liberally that by their standards, a majority of Jewish Israelis have anti-Semitic tendencies”. 

Hari also wrote that “Liberal Jews – the majority – are now setting up rivals to the hard-right organisations they [ie those who allegedly smear] work with, because they believe this campaign of demonization is damaging us all.” 

Hari cited Melanie Philips but made no mention whatsoever of the many other diverse British groups and individuals who speak on antisemitism: such as the Board of Deputies of British Jews, CST, the Engage network and David Hirsh, and the Parliamentary Committee Against Antisemitism. Similarly, he made no mention of the American groups and individuals who speak on antisemitism: such as the Anti Defamation League and Abe Foxman, or the American Jewish Committee and David Harris. (Indeed, by stating that “Liberal Jews – the majority – are now setting up rivals to the hard-right”, Hari risks leading the reader to assume that no alternatives to the allegedly malicious groups and individuals currently exist.)

David Hirsh wrote to the Independent that Hari’s article “comes close to accusing anybody who is concerned about antisemitism of acting in bad faith”. (The letter was not published).

Howard Jacobson, writing in his own Independent column, responded critically to Hari, saying that “he is mistaken in this instance – mistaken tactically and in fact – to invoke the spectre of a campaign, a front mobilised with aforethought to defame anyone who speaks ill of Israel.”

Clarification:

CST wishes to make it clear that it in no way endorses any of the accusations or categorisations made by Johann Hari that we quote in the above article. This includes his accusing Melanie Phillips, Alan Dershowitz, Honest Reporting and CAMERA of abusively calling others antisemites; and his categorising of these individuals and groups as “hard-right”.     


 

CST fringe events at party conferences

September 12th, 2011 by CST

CST’s fringe events at this year’s party conferences will feature former extremists, journalists and Members of Parliament discussing strategies for preventing extremism.

The meetings will explore the reasons why people join extremist movements and how they can be encouraged to leave. We will also ask what Government can do to help in the light of this year’s Prevent Review, and the role that the media and local communities can play in combating the spread of extremism.

The Labour and Conservative fringes will be held in partnership with the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation & Political Violence (ICSR), and the Liberal Democrat fringe is in partnership with CENTRI (Counter-Extremism Consultancy, Training, Research and Interventions).

The panels will be chaired by CST and speakers will include:

Liberal Democrat fringe, Tuesday 20th September 1pm

Labour fringe, Monday 26th September 9am

  • Shiraz Maher, a former member of Hizb ut-Tahrir and now a research fellow at ICSR
  • Matthew Collins, a former member of the National Front, now working for Searchlight Educational Trust and author of Hate: My Life in the British Far Right
  • Rt. Hon. Hazel Blears MP for Salford & Eccles and former Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
  • Jamie Bartlett, Head of the Violence and Extremism programme, Demos

Conservative fringe, Tuesday 4th October, 12.30pm

 

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