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Monday, April 1

Israel's supporters suffer humiliating defeat in UK court
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Here is an email I received from the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (BRICUP). The decision is important as the British Employment Tribunal rejected the attempt to declare the University and Colleges Union support for the Universities of Palestine "anti-semitic." Another victory for Academic freedom and a victory over the abuse of the charge of anti-Semitism being used in an attempt to silence criticism of Israel's policies toward the Palestinians or that support for Palestinian human rights is anti-Semitic.  
Ed Corrigan

"In an unusually robust judgement the tribunal found the case “an impermissible attempt to achieve a political end by litigious means” and a case which showed a “worrying disregard for pluralism, tolerance and freedom of expression”.
Dear Friend
Ronnie Fraser, a Zionist member of UCU (University and College Union), with the support of leaders of the UK Jewish establishment attempted to sue his Union for antisemitism on account of its discussions of the situation in Palestine/Israel and its consideration of activity in support of Palestinian rights.
In an unusually robust judgement the tribunal found the case “an impermissible attempt to achieve a political end by litigious means” and a case which showed a “worrying disregard for pluralism, tolerance and freedom of expression”. In considering whether to accept the ten complaints raised by Fraser the tribunal used such phrases as:
"devoid of any merit", "palpably groundless", "obviously untenable", "the Claimant again fails to makout any arguable complaint ", "obviously hopeless".
In their review of the quality of the witnesses the tribunal concluded:
We regret to say that whave rejected as untrue the evidence oMs Ashworth and MNewmark concerning the incident at the 2008 Congress (see our findings under complaint (8above)Evidence given to us about booing. jeering and harassing ofJewish speakers at Congress debates was also falseas truthful witnesses on theClaimant's side acceptedOne painfully ill-judged example of playing to the gallerywas Mr Newmark's preposterouclaimin answetthe suggestion in cross-examination thahe had attempted to push his way intthe 2008 meetingthat a'pushy Jewstereotype was being applied to himThe opinions of witnesses were notof courseouconcern and in most instances thewere in any eventunremarkable and certainly nounreasonableOne exceptiowas a remark oMrNewmarin the contexof the academic boycott controversy in 2007 that the union was "nlongefit arena fofree speech"commenwhicwfound notonly extraordinarily arroganbualso disturbingWe did not derivassistance from the two Members of Parliament who appeared before usBoth gave glib evidence,appearing supremely confidenof the rightness of their positionsFor OrMacShaneit seemed that all answers lay in the MacPhersoReport (the effecofwhich he appeared to misunderstand)Mr Mann could manage without even thatassistanceHe told us that the leaders of the Respondents were at fault for the way in which they conducted debates but did not enlighten us as to what they weredoing wrong or what they should be doing differentlyHe did not claim ever tohave witnessed any Congress or other UCU meetingAnd when it came to anti-Semitism in the contexof debatabouthe Middle Easthe announced"It's clearto me wherthe line i... " but unfortunately eschewed the opportunity to locate itfor usBoth parliamentarians clearly enjoyed making speechesNeither seemed at ease with the idea of being required to answea question not this liking.
This is another example of the use of the courts in a lawfare campaign to silence criticism of the policies of Israel and support for Palestinian Rights.
You can read the full findings of of the tribunal, BRICUP's reaction and other reports on our website at
Mike Cushman
Follow BRICUP on twitter
Keep up to date with the academic boycott at

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