Melanie Phillips: The Universities’ Witch-Hunt Against the Jews

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http://www.spectator.co.uk/melaniephillips/736686/the-universities-witchhunt-ag

Today, the Universities and Colleges Union is discussing whether universities should single out Israeli and Jewish scholars for active discrimination.

Yes, you read that correctly. The UCU is debating a motion which not only raises the spectre yet again of an academic boycott of Israel but demands of Jewish and Israeli academics that they explain their politics as a pre-condition to normal academic contact. The motion asks colleagues

to consider the moral and political implications of educational links with Israeli institutions, and to discuss the occupation with individuals and institutions concerned, including Israeli colleagues with whom they are collaborating… the testimonies will be used to promote a wide discussion by colleagues of the appropriateness of continued educational links with Israeli academic institutions… Ariel College, an explicitly colonising institution in the West Bank, be investigated under the formal Greylisting Procedure.

The implication is that, if they don’t condemn Israel for the ‘occupation’, or practising ‘apartheid’ ‘genocide’ or any of the other manufactured crimes laid at Israel’s door by the Palestinian/Islamist/neonazi/leftwing axis, they won’t be able to work. Their continued employment will depend on their holding views which are not permitted. The views they are being bludgeoned into expressing as a condition of their employment are based on lies, distortion, propaganda, gross historical ignorance, blood libels and prejudice. And this in the universities, supposedly the custodians of free thought and inquiry in the service of dispassionate scholarship.

What makes it all the more appalling is that it is Israelis and Jews alone who are being singled out for this treatment. No other group is to be barred from academic activity unless they hold ‘approved’ views; no state-run educational institution controlled by any of the world’s numerous tyrannies is to be ‘grey-listed’. The UCU’s own rules state that it

actively opposes all forms of harassment, prejudice and unfair discrimination.

Well, various Jewish groups in the Stop the Boycott campaign have obtained a legal opinion from two QCs which states that today’s motion constitutes harassment, prejudice and unfair discrimination on grounds of race or nationality. It says:

If the Motion is passed it would expose Jewish members of the Union to indirect discrimination… Additionally, the Union faces potential liability for acts of harassment on grounds of race or nationality. The substance of the Motion may also involve the Union in becoming accessories to acts of discrimination in an employment context against Israeli academics.

…the substance of the Motion amounts to an encouragement or invitation to members of the Union (many of whom will be in positions where they employ or are in positions where they recruit academics) to discriminate against Israeli academics… No doubt, if such Israeli academics speak in favour of the Palestinian viewpoint they will be immune from further action; if they are against it or possibly even non-committal they and their institutions are to be considered potentially unsuitable subjects for continued association… The Union will accordingly be adopting a provision, criterion or practice which will put Jewish members at a particular disadvantage compared to non-Jewish members. That is because Jewish members are much more likely to have links with Israeli academics and institutions than non ¬Jewish members. To require Jewish members to act consistently with the Motion (if passed) would be to impose a professional detriment upon them as Union members which is based on their race6. If they acted inconsistently with the Motion, we infer that they would also be subject to disadvantage or sanction under the Union rules or practices — an alternative detriment. We do not see how any such detriment would be justified as pursuing a legitimate aim. No proper Union purpose is promoted by imposing this detriment on certain members. Thus the Motion will have the effect of indirectly — and unlawfully — against Jewish Members of the Union.

The opinion is thus unequivocal. Today’s motion breaks the law; it breaks the UCU’s own rules; it is prejudiced, discriminatory and unjust towards Israelis and Jews. But the motion also notes

legal attempts to prevent UCU debating boycott of Israeli academic institutions; and legal advice that such debates are lawful

In other words, two fingers to the Jews. Such is the disgusting and terrifying state to which Britain’s intelligentsia has now descended

Melanie Phillips: The Universities’ Witch-Hunt Against the Jews

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