April 30, 2013

Another Critical Zionist take on the FUCU case?

This time it's Joshua Rozenberg, one time legal correspondent for the BBC, writing for Standpoint magazine's May 2013 edition.

Let's just establish his Zionist credentials.  I know I already said he used to work, maybe still works, for the beeb but let's see how he sets out his stall:

The UCU is far from being a supporter of the Jewish state. Fraser's view is that his union did nothing to stop institutionally anti-Semitic acts over several years. At its policy-making conferences in 2007 and in 2009, members supported academic boycotts of Israel. On legal advice, neither motion was implemented by the union's executive.
I can well understand how upset Fraser was by decisions such as these. In 2007, the National Union of Journalists voted at its annual meeting for a boycott of Israeli goods, a policy I could not possibly have respected. I resigned, after more than 30 years' loyal membership.
So he was a loyal union member until it took a decision he didn't like and that was to support the Palestinian cause. Now where's the criticism of the Fraser v University and College Union Employment Tribunal case?
Of ten complaints brought by Fraser, all but one were dismissed as without substance, devoid of merit, palpably groundless, obviously untenable or hopeless. The tenth had been brought 18 months too late. 
Well that's just factual and Rozenberg, as a Zionist, wants as badly as any antisemite to conflate Jewishness with support for the Zionist project so he's working within quite narrow constraints:
But, even if the tribunal was justified in concluding that Zionism was not a protected characteristic, this finding  — though not binding on other courts — is glib to the point of offensiveness. 
So what's the beef exactly?
Fraser cannot be blamed for bringing a misguided claim. But who transformed what the tribunal described as Fraser's "simple, down-to-earth" oral evidence into the "magnificent prose" of his written case? Fraser was represented by Anthony Julius, a leading campaigner against anti-Semitism. But the best advocate is one who can take a detached view of a client's case.
What explanation did Julius give the Jewish Chronicle? Since he is the newspaper's chairman, I was confident he would favour it with an interview. Alas, he was "unavailable for comment this week".
I didn't mention that Joshua Rozenberg is Melanie Phillips's husband.  She works for the Jewish Chronicle.  Why doesn't she get in touch with Anthony Julius?

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