Tag Archives: EUMC Working Definition

Discredited definition of anti-Semitism no longer in use, says BBC

by Ben White, Electronic Intifada, 10/30/2013

The reputation of a discredited definition of anti-Semitism has suffered a further blow with the news that the BBC’s governing body amended a ruling to reflect the abandonment of the text by a European Union body.

A 2005 “discussion paper” definition of anti-Semitism was drafted on the initiative of the European Union’s Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (which has subsequently been renamed the Fundamental Rights Agency — FRA). It claimed that describing Israel’s establishment as a “racist endeavor” is an example of “anti-Semitism.”

The definition has been pushed by Israel advocates since its publication, and used in efforts to undermine Palestine solidarity work (see The Electronic Intifada report “Israel lobby uses discredited anti-Semitism definition to muzzle debate”).

In a BBC Trust ruling earlier this year, a complaint relating to the broadcaster’s coverage on comments about Israel by a British member of Parliament, David Ward, was partially upheld. The complaint had cited the EU agency’s “working definition.”

However, in correspondence with blogger Mark Elf of Jews sans frontieres, the BBC Trust first investigated, then changed its ruling (available online) to note that the definition has now “been removed” from the FRA’s website. Continue reading

Open Letter Critiquing the Report of Carleton’s Commission on Inter-Cultural, Inter-Religious and Inter-Racial Relations on Campus

Please sign this open letter here.

On Oct. 10, 2012, President Runte released the Report (with appendices) of Carleton’s Commission on Inter-Cultural, Inter-Religious and Inter-Racial Relations on Campus.

The Report rightly acknowledges Aboriginal peoples’ marginalization on campus, but it ignores the problems other racialized groups face, and focuses primarily on a small fraction of Jewish students and employees. This selectivity of focus and response suggests that the Report is not the neutral, inclusive document it purports to be. Closer examination of the Report and how it was produced confirm the opposite: that it is a partisan intervention.  Continue reading

Electronic Intifada: University of California and Carleton “free speech” battles: the hidden agenda

Electronic Intifada, Nov 3, 2012 by Abraham Greenhouse

While the ongoing debate over efforts to silence or stigmatize criticism of Israeli policies on University of California campuses has received a great deal of outside attention, a similar confrontation has been unfolding, somewhat more quietly, at Ottawa’s Carleton University.

On 10 October 2012, Carleton’s President, Roseann Runte, released a report by the University’s Commission on Inter-Cultural, Inter-Religious and Inter-Racial Relations on Campus. The Commission, launched in 2010, has the mandate to “to examine the status quo and to provide positive recommendations to contribute to a better context for dialogue and understanding on the Carleton campus and in the surrounding community.”  Continue reading

Electronic Intifada: Israel lobby uses discredited anti-Semitism definition to muzzle debate

Ben White, The Electronic Intifada. 28 September 2012

Top administrators at the University of California are considering what action to take against speech and activities alleged to be anti-Semitic. As part of their discussions, the university may endorse a seven-year-old document, which — despite not having an official status — is often called the European Union’s“working definition” of anti-Semitism.

Although the administrators have indicated that their motive is to protect Jewish students, a careful examination of the definition indicates that the real agenda may be to stifle Palestine solidarity activism and criticism of Israel in the classroom.  Continue reading

UCSA: UC Student Association opposes all racism, whether anti-Semitism on campus or racism of Israeli human rights violations

by Adam Horowitz, Mondoweiss, September 19, 2012

Below is the full text of the landmark resolution that was passed last weekend by the The University of California Student Association. The resolution is in opposition to California Assembly Bill HR 35 which sought to stifle Palestinian solidarity activism on UC campuses under the guise of combating anti-Semitism.

A Resolution Regarding California Assembly Bill HR 35

Approved by the University of California Student Association,

9/15/2012 (12 for, 2 abstain, 0 against) Continue reading

Mondoweiss: California passes resolution equating criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism

Mondoweiss, August 29

School’s out, but that didn’t stop California’s state assembly from passingResolution HR35 buttressing a controversial report commissioned by the University of California that accuses students and faculty of contributing to an environment fostering anti-Semitism on campus.

The report’s recommendations, which seek to limit criticism of Israeli state policies as a form of “hate speech”, have been criticized as an assault on academic freedom and an attempt to limit student and faculty’s first amendment rights to free speech.  Continue reading

Electronic Intifada: Don’t mention the ‘A’ word: attack on freedom of speech turns into another own goal

Israel-Palestine Debate Part 3

Ben White, 11/27/2011 – Electronic Intifada

Last Thursday, I participated in a debate on Palestine/Israel organised by the University of Birmingham Debating Society. The format of the event was similar to the BBC television show ‘Question Time’, with six panellists taking both pre-prepared questions, and points from the audience. The debate was held in conjunction with both the Jewish Society and Friends of Palestine Society, a rare occasion when the two groups have shared a platform.

The whole debate can be watched on YouTube, but one of the talking points of the evening came when, barely half an hour in, an audience member asked the panel if Israel is an apartheid state. The chair’s unexpected reply was that this was not a subject that could be discussed: “I’ve been told I can’t have that as a question”, she stressed (watch here). Inevitably, all the panellists then proceeded to address the issue – Victor Kattan said he’d refer to “A”.

Continue reading

Edmonton Journal: The difficulty of speaking about Palestine

By Laurie Adkin, Edmonton Journal, November 25, 2011. The Ideas Cafe

I recently attended a panel discussion about the Palestinian Authority’s attempt to win recognition of Palestinian statehood at the United Nations. Three academics had been invited to contextualize and analyze the meaning of this action. The event was sponsored by the University of Alberta’s department of political science and the local Palestinian Solidarity Network. A few days later, a letter appeared in The Journal, authored by Joseph Mandelbaum, in which he accused the department of “complicity in the spread of misinformation,” and, by implication, of legitimizing anti-semitism.

My intention in writing this is not to refute point-by-point Mr. Mandelbaum’s claims, but to place his accusations within the context of a broader campaign to discredit and silence critics of the actions of the state of Israel. This campaign has created an environment in which it is difficult for anyone to say anything critical of the Israeli state without being accused of anti-semitism. It particularly targets university professors, and has a chilling effect on academic freedoms as well as on political debate.

Continue reading

CJPME: CPCCA Report makes unsubstantiated assertions on the rise of antisemitism in Canada

Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East

On July 7, the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism (CPCCA) released a report on anti-Semitism in Canada following a 2-year inquiry. CJPME performed a detailed analysis of the CPCCA’s findings, especially in light of the testimony given to the CPCCA by law enforcement officials, and university administrators.

Quite disturbingly, in several areas, the CPCCA’s report entirely misrepresents or ignores the majority of the most authoritative testimony. CJPME’s findings on this and other jarring irregularities with the CPCCA inquiry are summarized in CJPME’s critique, “Misrepresentation of Testimony and Selective Fact-finding: A Critique of the Report of the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism.”

Continue reading

MESA: Definition of antisemitism threatens free speech

August 18, 2011
I write on behalf of the Middle East Studies Association of North America (MESA) and its Committee on Academic Freedom to express our grave concern with aspects of the report released on July 7, 2011, by the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism (CPCCA). We believe that the report’s loose and overly broad definition of antisemitism may threaten freedom of speech and violate the principles of academic freedom by defining criticism of Israeli policies, of Zionism or of Israel as a self-defined Jewish state as inherently antisemitic.

Continue reading