CST people recognised in New Years Honours list

December 31st, 2011 by CST

CST is proud that two key figures involved with the charity since its inception have been recognised in the New Years Honours list.

CST’s Chairman, Gerald Ronson, has been awarded a CBE for his philanthropic work inside and outside the Jewish community. Gerald has been a central figure in Jewish defence and anti-racism since the 1960s. He was the driving force behind CST’s creation in 1994 and remains our Chairman to this day.

CST’s Director of Government and International Affairs, Mike Whine, has been awarded an MBE for services to community cohesion. Mike has worked for CST since its creation and, like Gerald, has been involved in efforts to combat antisemitism and racism in this country for decades. He is also the Defence Director of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, a position he has held for many years.

To both Gerald and Mike, we say: Mazeltov!

Hitchens and the anti-Zionists

December 20th, 2011 by Dave Rich

I never met Christopher Hitchens, but I’m guessing he would be amused to discover that even in death he has various conspiracy theorists’ heads spinning.

First up is Craig Murray, with the approval of Inayat Bunglawala, claiming that Hitchens was a “zionist propagandist”:

The Iraq War killed hundreds of thousands and maimed millions. Dead or wounded included over a million children. Those who planned the Iraq war, including those who used media positions to propagandise for it, have lost entitlement to the signs of society’s respect.

The world will undoubtedly be a duller place without Christopher Hitchens. Oh, and a better one too.

British journalism is full of people of the same generationwho have lurched from the Trotskyist far left to a crazed neo-con agenda with no intervening period of sanity. I suspect the available riches for zionist propagandists are a major factor. Hitchens, Aaronovitch, Phillips, Cohen. You can probably think of others. A strange and extremely unpleasant manifestation of intellectual prostitution.

Putting to one side the vile misanthropy of welcoming the death of a writer with whose views Murray and Bunglawala disagreed, the glaring problem with Murray’s argument is that Christopher Hitchens was famously anti-Zionist. Even after discovering that he was Jewish, Hitchens remained typically true to his intellectual principles and did not change his negative view of Zionism (although also typical of the man was his ability to balance anti-Zionism with genuine opposition to antisemitism, an increasingly rare feat nowadays).

Murray’s argument only makes sense if your definition of ‘Zionism’ encompasses the decision by Britain and America to go to war in Iraq; which takes Zionism away from its actual meaning and gives it a hefty shove in the direction of a global conspiracy.

Unlike Murray and Bunglawala, LondonBDS – “A grassroots coalition of human-rights activists who proactively campaign for a free and independent Palestine” – chose to promote Hitchens’ anti-Zionism rather than accuse him of being a Zionist, and they tweeted a link to a video in which he explains his views. Except that where Hitchens called Zionism a:

Silly messianic superstitious nationalist idea and a waste of Judaism.

LondonBDS’s tweet somehow inserted the Zionist-Freemasonry conspiracy theory which appears in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the Hamas charter and animates antisemites the world over:

An unfortunate typo – or a Freudian slip?

 

Antisemitic egg throwing in Golders Green & Hendon: suspect identified

December 20th, 2011 by CST

Barnet police have today informed CST that they have identified and questioned a suspect for the repeated antisemitic egg throwing that had targeted members of the Jewish community in Golders Green and Hendon, north west London, on Friday nights in recent weeks.

CST is pleased to have worked with Barnet Police on behalf of the Jewish Community to hopefully bring an end to these antisemitic incidents.

If you have suffered or witnessed any egg throwing incidents that may be related to this case, or to report any other antisemitic incidents, please call CST on 020 8457 9999 and the police on either 101 for non-emergencies or 999 for emergencies.

MPs challenge antisemitism in the UK

December 19th, 2011 by CST

This is a cross-post from Harry’s Place blog by John Mann MP

As chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism, I like to think I can see some progress in getting things done. Our inquiry into antisemitism raised the profile of the fight against this ancient hatred. Our work in Parliament and outside with stakeholder groups like the Community Security Trust (CST) has led to tangible results. The police now detail antisemitic hate crimes in a way they did not before, the Crown Prosecution Service has reviewed its procedures and is better at understanding and prosecuting hate crime than ever before, and Jewish schools in the state sector now have adequate funding from Government for their security needs.

Recent weeks have served as a stark reminder of the remaining challenges.

When John Galliano embarked upon his racist rant, condemnation was widespread and rightly so. When Charlie Sheen and allegedly Julian Assange exposed their views on Jews, they too were castigated. It should follow that when Paul Flynn MP questioned the propriety of a British Jew serving as ambassador to Israel he should have faced unequivocal condemnation – but it was not so, perhaps because in his words, he is a ‘supporter of Israel’.

Inappropriate language and behaviour is not restricted to the Labour party of course– soon after, Zac Goldsmith MP used a reference to Auschwitz to criticise the media and Aidan Burley MP partied with friends dressing and buffooning as Nazis.

The All-Party Inquiry into Anti-Semitism was important not only for its recommendations and outcomes but because it engendered a generation of Parliamentary spokespeople eloquent in their opposition to antisemitsm. It secured a culture in Parliament whereby intra-party conversations were had and action taken in the event that an MP stepped out of line. Perhaps now is the time to re-establish that informal protocol and to widen its reach.

For me there are two issues.

First is inappropriate language or discourse. The All-Party Inquiry raised this matter some five years ago and it has been the most difficult to get traction on. Be it online, on campus or in political debate, the line between legitimate and antisemitic discourse is crossed too often. It tends to be that classic antisemitic conspiracy theories are given modern ‘Zionist’ clothing by naïve or careless anti-Israel campaigners. These narratives are adopted by a section of the Left, seep into media discourse and end up repeated as fact in Parliament. This tends to cast the successful Jew as the conspirator, benefiting from secret cabals; the powerful Jew as the aggressor, working as part of a Zionist plot for war and world domination; and the proud and confident Jew as dislikeable and defensive, seeing antisemitism in all that others say and do.

People will have read on this very blog about Paul Flynn’s comments about British ambassador Matthew Gould who is according to Flynn “unique in some ways in the role he is performing” and should be replaced by “someone with roots in the UK”. The idea that people should be judged fit for office by their race or religion is disgusting and racist. That Flynn tried to laugh his comments off by referring to his Jewish friends and love for Israel missed the point entirely. This is not the first time this idea has been aired though. In 2009 when Sir Oliver Miles, Her Majesty’s former Ambassador to Libya, questioned the propriety of having Sir Lawrence Freedman and Sir Martin Gilbert sit on the Iraq war inquiry panel because of their Jewish heritage and ‘Zionism’, he questioned the loyalty of British Jews and their suitability for public service. This accusation of dual loyalty sits well amongst antisemitic conspiracy theories, but of course is more complicated to explain than a base curse.

The reaction we must start at home is with the British intellectuals who get nervous when I label them, accurately, not as the anti-Zionists they wish to be known as, but as the racists that they have become; the scholars, who answer every argument with a but, when there are no ifs, no buts in the fight against antisemitism. In Parliament, we must set the standard for measured and appropriate discourse. To change the direction of traffic we will need to explain to people why their language is inappropriate and where it finds its roots.

The second issue is about behaviour and reaction. Aidan Burley turned up to a stag-do in France where a friend was wearing an SS uniform with a swastika on the arm. That his reaction was not to turn around and go home is shameful. So too was the behaviour of the Oxford Conservative Students Assocation in singing Nazi-themed songs. In both cases inquiries have been launched, but with no timetable, means of publicising the findings or immediate sanctions imposed. In my view a transparent disciplinary system needs to be in place for the political parties – particularly at election time for candidates. This would have encompassed, in my view, the immediate dismissal of Aidan Burley from his government post and that announcement by Paul Flynn that he is to stand down.

On both these matters, our All-Party Group will be acting. We are soon to embark on a series of seminars for MPs with the Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism at Birkbeck, University of London. The focus will be understanding antisemitic discourse. We will also be working too with the CST so that MPs can get a better feel for the kind of language seeping into societal discourse in the UK. Of course, for those wanting to fine tune their understanding of these matters, the CST blog and excellent discourse report are a good place to start. As for the All-Party Group, we will be announcing a major plan to address behaviour of candidates at elections and appropriate training for candidates. This I hope will cultivate more appropriate behaviour by future parliamentarians faced with a situation such as that in which Aidan Burley found himself.

In addition, we will continue to press the Government to do more on combating internet hate and to work with Universities UK towards the implementation of good practice in dealing with hate speech on campuses. We will continue to monitor antisemitism in the Euro2012 football tournament and get a better picture of what level of antisemitism exists in the British game.

Briefings on the details of our attempts and successes are available on our website and via our twitter username: @APPGAA; I would encourage Harry’s Place readers to take a look. You will be heartened by the many Parliamentarians involved in our work– those who like me refuse to stay silent, who are not interested in being someone but in doing something.

John Mann is the Labour MP for Bassetlaw and chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism

Egg throwing in Golders Green and Hendon

December 15th, 2011 by CST

Over the past few weeks on Friday nights, members of the Jewish community walking on Golders Green Road and Brent Street have had eggs thrown at them from a passing car. Several incidents of this nature have been reported to CST, but the true number of incidents is likely to be far higher. Colindale Police, Safer Neighbourhood Teams and CST are appealing for help in order to catch those responsible.

Following discussions with CST, Golders Green Safer Neighbourhood Team will now be looking to provide additional high visibility patrols on Friday nights in the area and anyone who witnesses such egg throwing or other types of antisemitic abuse should speak to the Police or CST as soon as possible. Both the Police and CST stress that incidents need to be reported so that proper investigations can be made; unless these incidents are reported, the police are not able to take action.

Passing Police patrols should be stopped and spoken with, or after Shabbos, either Colindale Police (020 8200 1212), the general police non-emergency line (101) or CST (020 8457 9999) should be telephoned. In an emergency always dial the police on 999. Alternatively, incidents can be reported quickly and easily online, to CST at www.thecst.org.uk or to the Police at met.police.uk.

Italian far right group charged with terror plot against Jewish community

December 15th, 2011 by Dave Rich

Five neo-fascists belonging to the ‘Militia’ group have been charged with plotting terrorism against Jewish and other targets in Rome. The ANSA website reports:

Five members of a Rome-based far-right extremist group were arrested and 16 placed under investigation Wednesday on suspicion of planning attacks against Rome’s Jewish community and other targets.

The group, Militia, had been planning a “revolutionary war”, police said.

The five members of Militia, which has been convicted of vandalised public buildings in the past, would be charged with criminal conspiracy, spreading racial and ethnic hatred, defacing property and threatening institutions, police said. The extremist group had issued threats against the head of Rome’s Jewish community, Riccardo Pacifici, Rome Mayor Gianni Alemanni, parliamentary speakers Renato Schifani and Gianfranco Fini, former US president George Bush and Romanian nationals, police said.

“A series of violent actions” had been planned against these targets, they said, including a bomb attack on Pacifici allegedly planned by two of those arrested.

The group had come to the attention of the police previously:

These alleged crimes took place over a three-year period, between September 2008 and September 2011, police said. Wednesday’s police operation was the second against Militia in 18 months.

In May 2010 police raided offices, discos and gyms used by the group, scotching plans to hold a ‘national rally’ which 87 people from around Italy were expected to attend.

Four Militia members were placed under investigation for threatening Pacifici and vandalising a Rome monument commemorating victims of the Nazis, as well as daubing slogans against Alemanno including one that called him a “traitor” for attending events marking the WWII Resistance.

Far-right literature was confiscated in the raids as well as machetes, baseball bats and clubs.

At the time, police said Militia was planning to expand to northern Italy and link up with similar organisations in northern Europe.

After the mass murder by Anders Breivik in Norway in July, this is another reminder of the serious terrorist threat posed by the violent fringes of Europe’s far right; a threat that has led to several British neo-Nazis being imprisoned on terrorist charges in recent years. These and other actual and attempted far right terror plots are outlined in CST’s unique report (pdf), Terrorist Incidents Against Jewish Communities and Israeli Citizens Abroad 1968 – 2010.

 

Antisemitic Discourse in Britain in 2010

December 8th, 2011 by Mark Gardner

CST’s final report of the year is out today.

This is CST’s fourth annual report on antisemitic discourse, examining public discussion of antisemitism, Jews and Jewish issues in mainstream media and politics. It may be read in pdf format (51 pages, including graphics) at the publications section of CST’s website. The cover shows part of the page from “kill a jew day” on Facebook.

It is not CST’s intention to brand those in the report as antisemites. Nevertheless, their behaviours have distinctly negative impacts upon British Jews.

The report begins with an executive summary, which outlines the complexity of a situation in which explicit antisemitism is rare, but antisemitic themes persist in anti-Zionism. This is followed by introductory context about Jewish life in Britain, and philosophical and legal definitions of antisemitism. For example (p.10):

Antisemitism is a global phenomenon, occurring even where there are no Jews. Its manifestation and expression may range from violent thuggery and attempted genocide, to literary, philosophical and political discourse. Antisemitism has been described as an ideology in its own right; but Anthony Julius has argued that it is undeserving of such status and should rather be regarded as a polluter of ideologies.

The contextualisation then continues, showing the relationship between British Jews, Zionism and Israel; and explaining how diverse political streams have each adopted versions of anti-Zionism that variously copy, obscure and refine older forms of antisemitism. For example (p.15):

‘Anti-Zionism’, in its content, motivation and physical antisemitic impacts, can differ greatly across the varying ideological streams (e.g., far left, far right, Islamist, anti-globalisation) within which it occurs. Nevertheless, ‘Zionist’ resonates across these ideologies as denoting a political, financial, military and media conspiracy that is centred in Washington and Jerusalem, and which opposes authentic local interests.

The two largest sections in the report concern the old antisemitic charge of secret Jewish power (which distinguishes antisemitism from other forms of racism); and the newer antisemitic trend to deny, minimise or simply abuse the Holocaust.

Pages 21 to 27 discuss the Jewish power accusation. There are two cases from within the Palace of Westminster, featuring two (then) Labour MPs, Gerald Kaufman and Martin Linton at a Friends of Al Aqsa meeting, and Lord Phillips at a Palestine Solidarity Campaign meeting; two articles in the Independent concerning American pro-Israel lobbyists; Oliver Stone in the Sunday Times; articles on the website of Middle East Monitor; an article on Guardian Comment is Free, and a BBC Radio 4 broadcast in which a guest stated that between 500,000 and 1,000,000 Jews (ie over 5% of  diaspora Jews) “will help the Mossad”.

Pages 32 to 39 discuss the misuse of the Holocaust. There are three cases of the British National Party denying or minimising the Holocaust. This is then followed by examples of the Socialist Workers Party obscuring an Auschwitz related-insult; the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign repeatedly abusing the Holocaust in its anti-Israel propaganda; experienced anti-racsim activist Lee Jasper equating Israel with Nazis at an Islamic Human Rights Commission event; and a highly abusive Holocaust-Israel exchange of letters in the Morning Star, made even worse by the newspaper’s choice of headlines, such as “Israeli road could lead to a holocaust” (sic) and “Israel is happy to exterminate Palestinians.”    

Other subjects in the report include over-hyped accusations of Jewish involvement in British racist groups; an Independent article attacking Stamford Hill’s orthodox Jewish community; antisemitism in UK-Saudi school texts and the prosecution of Mohammed Sandia for antisemitic comments in the blog section of the website of the Scotsman newspaper. The comments ended with:

Jews are not fit to breathe our air. they must be attacked wherever you see them; throw rocks at their ugly, hooked-nose women and mentally ill children, and light up the REAL ovens.

 

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