Monday, 22 April 2013

EX ANNE's BLOG re legal action ag boycotteers!

Brian Goldfarb says:
Unfortunately, Moti Cristal didn’t challenge this, because it’s highly likely that the withdrawal of his invitation broke UK equality (including anti-discrimination) legislation. This is one reason why the UK Universities and Colleges Union (UCU) has never sought to activate its various boycott resolutions passed at Annual Conference. Not only has the union received letters threatening legal action should they do so (from the redoubtable Anthony Julius), but their own lawyers have warned them that this was the situation.
UCU has dropped the European Union Monitoring Commission on Racism’s draft definition on antisemitism from its principles (as has the UK Green Party), on the basis (I suppose) that their national Executive knows better than any victim of alleged antisemitism whether this has happened or not. Just try and imagine them doing this for racism and see whether this sounds likely (or, as the Jewish actress Maureen Lipman noted in a brief discussion on the BBC’s morning Today programme, “It’s always the Jews, isn’t it?”).
Actually, there’s a case in an Employment Tribunal at the moment, led, again, by Anthony Julius – and he doesn’t take on obviously losing cases – whereby a Jewish member of UCU, Ronnie Fraser, is challenging UCU on the basis of the dropping of the EUMC definition, saying it has made his working life intolerable. The decision isn’t expected much before the end of the year.
Mona Baker, regrettably, actually owns the Journal which boycotted the two Israeli academics, so there was nothing the University of Manchester could do directly, though I understand that some sanctions were imposed (at least, I hope so).
Coming back to Moti Cristal for a moment, at the last General Election here in the UK, the Labour Candidate in my constituency was the Assistant General Secretary of Unison, which had recently passed a boycott motion (on guess who?) and, although I’m a consistent Labour voter (and this is marginal Labour/Liberal-Democrat seat), I’m not ashamed to admit that I didn’t vote for her. Labour voting is not the only political principle I have, support for academic (and other) freedom, as well as Zionism, is another. BTW, she lost. And I (twice) didn’t vote for Ken Livingstone either.
I just wonder what the law in Australia is. It’s possible that, strictly speaking, the U. of Sydney’s actions were unlawful. Why doesn’t someone contact the Australian Jewish Board of Deputies (or whatever it’s called there) and make them aware of the situation?
  • anneinpt says:
    Brian, thanks for reminding us of the legal action taken by Anthony Julius. It ought to be standard practice amongst Jewish organizations to instigate legal proceedings against the boycotters. It doesn’t seem as if anything else will work. The lawyers and activists involved need to be well organized and coordinated so that they can defend a visiting Israeli like Moti Cristal even if the Israelis themselves don’t realize there is anything they can do to counter the boycott.
    Kol hakavod to you for standing by your principles on voting day, even if they run counter to your normal voting patterns. It must be hard to break a long-standing habit and political position. I admire you for having the courage of your convictions. Would that everyone would do the same!

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