Monday, December 7, 2015

Op-Ed: Whispering in the Lift: on the LSE and anti-Semitism

Saul Freeman @ Harry's Place:
A Jewish UK academic with a career long interest in anti-Semitism recently shared an anecdote with me. We were sat in a café discussing the tsunami of anti-Jewish feeling coming from the Corbynite Left when we both noticed how we had instinctively moderated the level of our voices.
The academic recounted how he had been in a lift at Haifa University and was carrying on a discussion with a colleague on some element of the history of Zionism when his fellow academic asked him why he was whispering. He laughed as he remembered the fact that 3 of the 5 people in the lift were Arab Israelis. But that wasn’t why he was whispering. He was whispering because that had become his instinctive behaviour, learned through years of working in a leading London University.

It’s a funny story, isn’t it?

This vignette of the “cloak of invisibility” that is required in order to try and survive, thrive and retain your sanity and dignity in UK Universities is instructive when faced with the latest triumph from the London School of Economics. The LSE Centre for Human Rights published an article last week that expounded a truly racist and stupid argument, using its own cloak – this one a “cloak of academic respectability”. The argument from Dr. Sandra Nasr was that stateless Palestinians suffer because Israel is inevitably bad, because Jews are intrinsically an evil, corrosive force due to the supremacist ideology contained in the Torah. Zionism as the ultimate expression of the inherent evil of Judaism.[1]

This academic blog piece predictably included a quotation and link to the notorious Journal of Historical Review – a publication that exists to propagate Holocaust denial.[2]

So this is where the LSE Centre for Human Rights finds itself in 2015 – open anti-Semitism and quotations from professional Holocaust deniers. If it weren’t so predictable and appalling it would be comical.

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