Ten complaints of "antisemitic" harassment were brought by a UCU member, Ronnie Fraser, who is Director of Academic Friends of Israel and fights the union's policy of support for Palestinian rights. All ten points were rejected outright despite, or perhaps because of, the case being promoted by highly-paid lawyer and Zionist activist Anthony Julius. The Tribunal was contemptuous of this attack on free speech: "the proceedings are dismissed in their totality" and "we greatly regret that the case was ever brought. At heart it represents an impermissible attempt to achieve a political end by litigious means...underlying it we sense a worrying disregard for pluralism, tolerance and freedom of expression...It would be very unfortunate if an exercise of this sort were ever repeated."
"I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: 'O Lord make my enemies ridiculous.' And God granted it." (Voltaire)
As God answered Voltaire's prayer, so have supporters of Palestinian human rights been similarly rewarded. The Zionist “All Palestine Activists are Antisemitic Brigade” have suffered a precedent-setting defeat that will reverberate to our advantage for a long time to come. The judgement by the employment tribunal is a delight to read. The website of the 120,000-strong University and College Union carried an article yesterday, UCU cleared of harassment in landmark tribunal. Not only were the union and union members cleared; they were resoundingly vindicated during the two-week hearing into the claim by the vexatious litigants that the union is “institutionally antisemitic” for taking a stand in favour of Palestinian rights.
Jeremy Newmark of the Jewish Leadership council gave untrue testimony, according to the Tribunal, thus being publicly branded a liar and the Tribunal gave a scathing assessment of John Mann MP and former MP, militant Zionist and disgraced crook, Denis MacShane:
'Both gave glib evidence, appearing supremely confident of the rightness of their positions. For Dr MacShane, it seemed that all answers lay in the MacPherson Report (the effect of which he appeared to misunderstand). Mr Mann could manage without even that assistance. He told us that the leaders of the Repsondents were at fault for the way in which they conducted debates but did not enlighten us as to what they were doing wrong or what they should be doing differently. He did not claim ever to have witnessed any Congress or other UCU meeting. And when it came to anti-Semitism in the context of debate about the Middle East, he announced, "It's clear to me where the line is..." but unfortunately eschewed the opportunity to locate it for us. Both parliamentarians clearly enjoyed making speeches. Neither seemed at ease with the idea of being required to answer a question not to his liking.'
An example of the farcical nature of the Zionist case was the claim by Fraser that anti-Semitism by delegates best explained why he received no applause after he spoke at the union conference. Had he won his case, to avoid accusations of antisemitism, union delegates in future might have had to applaud boring Zionists, like North Koreans at a rally.
Part of the proceedings were absurd, but some elements were sinister. Fraser revealed during cross-examination that the so-called Fair Play Campaign Group, set up by the Zionist Board of Deputies of British Jews to coordinate activity against boycotts of Israel had given £50,000 to Engage, a website set up by his lawyer, Anthony Julius, to smear all left-wing and trade union support for Palestine as “the new anti-Semitism”.
Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign had two links to the Fraser v UCU victory. The UCU case builds on a precedent in 2010 in an Edinburgh Court that was equally a disaster for those working to conflate anti-semitism with anti-Zionism. The UCU legal team cited in its defence the 2010 judgement on five SPSC members similarly accused of “racism” after acting in solidarity with Palestine who had all charges thrown out, while the legal officials who brought the charges were ridiculed in open court for their efforts to restrict rights to free speech. It is worth remembering that a Zionist success in Edinburgh in 2010 would have made the uttering of the words “End the siege of Gaza” a criminal offence.
Three years earlier , in late 2007, Anthony Julius’ law firm Mishcon de Reya also threatened legal action to silence reports by the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign that the Caledonian Hilton Hotel on Princes Street, Edinburgh was Israeli-owned. We defied them and they backed off.
Real anti-Semitism is a species of racism and to be deplored and vigorously opposed. Anti-Zionism today is opposition to a supremacist state and a commitment to political democracy, i.e. a state where all citizens are formally equal regardless of their religion or ethnicity. Jews ought to be concerned for several reasons that defenders of Israeli barbarism are working, albeit so far unsuccessfully, to implicate all Jews in Israel’s crimes. Firstly, it’s important not to support apartheid and ethnic cleansing. Secondly, the nightmare of Zionism will one day end in Israel/Palestine and all who helped to end it will be overjoyed while those who worked to sustain it will be shamed. Like Ronnie Fraser.
The UCU victory will embolden BDS campaigners and sap the morale of those defending the indefensible - Israel’s routine murder, farm burning, house demolition and general brutality across Palestine.
In an article entitled Anti-Israel union case was 'act of epic folly', the Zionist UK weekly Jewish Chronicle discussed the prospects for any appeal: it would be highly problematic, said human rights lawyer Adam Wagner, to persuade "an appeal court to wade into the vexed and arguable political — that is, not legal — question of whether anti-Zionism can plausibly amount to racism. Given the court's comments about this 'sorry saga', this may be the last we hear of that argument for some time."
In an opinion piece, Legal Ruling Shines Unflattering Light on the Anti-Zionism Equals Racism Campaign, Adam Wagner reveals just how harsh was the rejection of the "anti-Zionist = anti-semitic argument" and those who argued it. Adam, however, mistakenly argues that British Jews might feel "just a little bit ashamed" at the behaviour of leading British Jewish figures. No need for you to feel ashamed, Adam. Angry and contemptious, yes. No collective guilt, and no need for shame at these hubrisitc, posturing, pseudo-victims working to cover up Israeli crimes.
Edinburgh 26 March 2013
For humorous commentary see New Left Project - Anthony Julius is Rubbish