The case has involved various high profile zionists and was handled for the zionists by Anthony Julius who has form for smearing Israel's critics.
The opening shot of this "lawfare" campaign was a letter from Julius to the General Secretary of the UCU, Sally Hunt. Here's Dr David Hirsh on Engage:
Anthony Julius, says that UCU has breached ss. 26 and 57 (3) of the Equality Act 2010:The quote above is from a post titled, Tipping Point for UCU, which gives some indication of how important this case has been for zionists in the UK. In fairness Hirsh can be a bit of a loose cannon but he wasn't the only supporter of Fraser in this case.
That is to say, the UCU has “harassed” him by “engaging in unwanted conduct” relating to his Jewish identity (a “relevant protected characteristic”), the “purpose and/or effect” of which has been, and continues to be, to “violate his dignity” and/or create “an intimidating, hostile, degrading humiliating” and/or “offensive environment” for him.The letter alleges a course of action by the union which amounts to institutional antisemitism and it gives examples: annual boycott resolutions against only Israel; the conduct of these debates; the moderating of the activist list and the penalising of anti-boycott activists; the failure to engage with people who raised concerns; the failure to address resignations; the refusal to meet the OSCE’s special represenative on antisemitism; the hosting of Bongani Masuku; the repudiation of the EUMC working definition of antisemitism.
With hindsight it's surprising how confident Hirsh was in a zionist victory. Again from the same post:
But of course it wasn't the "anti-zionists" who paraded lots of witnesses before the court. Au contraire, it was the zionists. Here's The Times of Israel:What will UCU do? There are two factions inside the decision making structures of the union. There are the hard core antizionists and then there are the grownups.The antizionists will storm with anger that UCU is being sued.....The grownups in the union, including the trustees, and including the lawyers who will advise the leadership, will want to settle this court action and to make it go away. They will be worried about the immense cost to the union of defending its antisemtic record in front of a tribunal, both in terms of money and also in terms of humiliating publicity.....But what are Ronnie’s terms? The reinstatement of the EUMC definition; an apology from the union for its record of institutional antisemitism; a new code of conduct concerning Jewish members; an ongoing campaign of education within the union about the relationship between antisemitism and antizionism.It would appear that Ronnie is ready to go to a tribunal. He must know that it will be difficult for the leadership of the union to agree to these terms. Evidently he wants his day in court and he wants to prove his case.The antizionists will also believe they can win in court. And they will believe that they can blame the Zionists for the huge cost of defending their antisemitic record....They will think that it is enough to parade a couple of dozen Jewish antizionist academics before the tribunal who will say that the union has an unblemished record on the question of antisemitism.The grownups will not believe that they can successfully defend UCU’s record on antisemitism before a tribunal and they will know that there is a good chance that UCU will be found by an antiracist tribunal to have breached our own hard-won equality legislation.......The leadership of the union is now between a rock and a hard place.
Over 30 witnesses for the claimant include the Booker Prize winning novelist Howard Jacobson — who has submitted a witness statement but will not be cross-examined [I'm not surprised] — as well as Jewish community officials and numerous academics, both Jewish and non-Jewish. The seven witnesses for the respondent are all UCU officials.One of the non-Jewish academics for the zionist plaintiff was Harry's Place's (cache: Harry's Place is down) Sarah Annes Brown. Her role was to talk up the EUMC working definition of antisemitism:
The rejection of the EUMC working definition of antisemitism was another appalling episode, and the whole topic of the UCU’s failure to take the issue seriously emerged strongly in the cross-examination of John Mann:She trailed her HP post at another zionist blog, Bob from Brockley. Not a witness himself but he did complain of:
On Monday, John Mann MP told the tribunal that the union had refused to accept the report of the 2006 All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism. Cross-examined by the UCU’s lawyer Antony White QC, Mr Mann said he had been “gobsmacked” when union representatives, including Ms Hunt, had refused to discuss antisemitism during a meeting in Parliament in 2006.My own cross-examination was fairly brief, but nerve-wracking nonetheless. I was questioned about the potential conflict between free speech and the EUMC working definition of antisemitism, and about whether or not the UCU’s recent leaflet on antisemitism was adequate. (I thought not.)
the long-harassment of one Ronnie Fraser in UCU, a trade union.And served notice that:
I intend to write about this, but only after the Tribunal concludes, but here in the meantime is some commentary: from Ben Cohen in Commentary, from Marcus Dysch, from the Times of Israel.Bob from Brockley claims to be Jewish and is a member of the UCU. In his own name he has written about why people shouldn't leave the UCU over its Palestine solidarity stance. The thing I don't understand is how come he claims the UCU is harassing Ronnie Fraser and not himself? The same could be said of course for David Hirsh. It's almost as if the zionists were chancing it from the beginning using poor old Ronnie Fraser as a stalking horse.
So, any other suspects involved in this? Ah yes, the MPs. Sarah Annes Brown already mentioned the MP, John Mann, and his ludicrous All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism. The other one was then MP now ex MP, Denis MacShane. Here's what the UCU's own report had to say:
John Mann MP and former MP Denis MacShane were collectively described as giving 'glib evidence, while testimony of another key witness for the claimant was described as 'extraordinarily arrogant but also disturbing'.So much for the MPs and their All-Party Committee. I hope other MPs take note that false allegations of antisemitism don't fare so well in a forensic environment.
Any more? Oh of course, there's the man himself, Ronnie Fraser, the main man behind Academic Friends of Israel. Well he certainly had his day in court. Here's the Jewish Chronicle:
A Jewish academic repeatedly broke down in tears as he told an employment tribunal that he had suffered a decade of harassment while opposing a boycott of Israel.Maths lecturer Ronnie Fraser, whose parents escaped Nazi Germany, said he felt a special responsibility to challenge the University and College Union after it rejected a widely-accepted definition of antisemitism.The grandfather-of-nine wept as he took the oath at London’s Central Employment Tribunal on Wednesday. He said he had felt threatened by the union’s anti-Israel policies and a catalogue of events that had left him “hurt, upset and insulted”.“This case is not about Israel-Palestine. It’s not about me. It’s about fellow Jews. We have been forced out. We have been humiliated. It has been horrendous and relentless against us,” he said.Later the tribunal was briefly halted when Mr Fraser again wept while explaining how he believed his grandparents had been killed at Auschwitz.“They died as a result of antisemitism and this is my way of saying ‘never again’. I don’t want my four children and grandchildren having to suffer what they did,” he said.
Curiously, Academic Friends of Israel has yet to report on what has been a disaster for the zionist movement in the UK.
Now I'm sure there's no shortage of prominent zionists willing to make themselves look ridiculous in the cause of fighting against Palestine solidarity and free speech on Palestine but there aren't many online admissions to what has been a miserable defeat for zionism in the UK. At the time of writing there's nothing on Engage and Harry's Place is down, the Jewish Chronicle has nothing at the mo' but Dr Hirsh has very helpfully expressed his feelings on Facebook:
Judgment in the Fraser case is one long judicial rehearsal of the Livingstone Formulation:The "Livingstone Formulation" is what some hasbaristas claim when someone accuses them of alleging antisemitism in bad faith.
"178 ... We greatly regret that the case was ever brought. At heart, it represents an impermissible attempt to achieve a political end by litigious means... "
"179 We are also troubled by the implications of the claim. Underlying it we sense a worrying disregard for pluralism, tolerance an freedom of expression..."
So the tribunal says that the witnesses who gave evidence of antisemitism were really and falsely concerned only with a political end - this was "impermissible" - they were really trying to de-legitimize criticism of Israel - those who raised antisemitism were sacrificing pluralism, tolerance and freedom of expression by attempting to mobilize a bad faith allegation of antisemitism with which to silence legitimate criticism of Israel.
The tribunal has employed the Livingstone Formulation.
The judgement can be found here but it is an epic PDF and takes forever to load. I'll be able to update this when I've read the whole thing.
Now this landmark victory is important in principle and of course it is funny to see so many zionists having their noses rubbed in it but there is a serious side to this lawfare by zionists. Here's Asa Winstanley in Electronic Intifada quoting Sue Blackwell:
Let's make sure the zionists can't make these hopeless cases into a win win situation. But to attempt a recovery the dark side may want to ditch some of the usual suspects before they try anything like this again.