Hear @bengidley & others at @compas_oxford Integration, Disadvantage & Extremism symposium, 8 May, House of Commons: compas.ox.ac.uk/events/forthco…I wouldn't have thought much of it but I followed the link to here and found this announcement:
— Melanie BE Griffiths (@MBEGriffiths) April 18, 2013
Integration, Disadvantage and ExtremismApparently there are some good eggs in there but there are some rotten ones too. The first thing I noticed is that the notice doesn't mention whose integration, disadvantage and extremism is being discussed.
Wednesday 8 May 2013, 13:00 - 17:45
Attlee Suite, Portcullis House, House of CommonsThe aim of this symposium is to reflect on the government's integration strategy and to do so in the light of both contemporary developments and recent scholarship. We intend to bring the most current evidence-based research to bear on urgent issues of policy for an invited audience of academic experts, policy makers and parliamentarians.John Mann MP will open the symposium, which is organised into three panels.
Integration and disadvantage today
Rob Berkeley (Runnymede Trust)
Anthony Heath (University of Oxford)
Ben Rogaly (University of Sussex) and Becky Taylor (Pears Institute for the study of Antisemitism, Birkbeck, University of London)Integration and extremism
Matthew Goodwin, (University of Nottingham)
Nasar Meer (Northumbria University)
Dave Rich (Community Security Trust)Is localism sufficient?
Ben Gidley (COMPAS, University of Oxford)
Dean Godson (Policy Exchange)
Maleiha Malik (University College London)
The symposium is being organised by the Pears Institute for the study of Antisemitism, Birkbeck, University of London and COMPAS, University of Oxford, in partnership with the All Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism.
Please note, places are limited and by invitation only. If you would like to participate please let us know by replying to firstname.lastname@example.org, stating your institutional affiliation and/or area of interest.
Four participants I was already aware of are John Mann MP, Ben Gidley, Dave Rich and Dean Godson.
John Mann MP
Let's remind ourselves of what the recent Employment Tribunal in the case of Fraser v University and College Union had to say about John Mann MP. Mann was one of the celebrity witnesses for the Fraser side and appeared in tandem with an even more discredited MP, now former MP, Denis MacShane:
148 ..... We did not derive assistance from the two Members of Parliament who appeared before us. Both gave glib evidence, appearing supremely confident of the rightness of their positions. For Dr MacShane, it seemed that all answers lay in the MacPherson Report (the effect of which he appeared to misunderstand). Mr Mann could manage without even that assistance. He told us that the leaders of the Respondents were at fault for the way in which they conducted debates but did not enlighten us as to what they were doing wrong or what they should be doing differently. He did not claim ever to have witnessed any Congress or other UCU meeting. And when it came to antiSemitism in the context of debate about the Middle East, he announced, “It’s clear to me where the line is …” but unfortunately eschewed the opportunity to locate it for us. Both parliamentarians clearly enjoyed making speeches. Neither seemed at ease with the idea of being required to answer a question not to his liking.And John Mann is the Chair of these proceedings on Integration, Disadvantage and Extremism and, as far as a I know, he is still Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Antisemitism. Actually, on that latter, let's have a quick look at what the Tribunal said about the Parliamentary Group. It comes out of Complaint (2) of Ronnie Fraser's case against UCU which was the UCU's response to the report of the All Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Anti-Semitism:
157 Complaint (2) is also devoid of any merit. The Respondents defended themselves courteously but robustly against treatment by the Parliamentary Committee the fairness of which was, to put it at its very lowest, open to question.There's a lot more to it than that but between paragraph's 148 and 157 you get the full measure of John Mann MP and his All Party Parliamentary Group on Antisemitism. You may also be left wondering what he is doing chairing anything at the House of Commons.
The fact that Dave Rich is from the Community Security Trust, who even Geoffrey Alderman criticises for its self-appointment as Jewish community representatives. Many of us have noticed that they seem to concern themselves more with defending Israel from criticism than Jews from antisemitism. Here's a tweet from late last year by Dave Rich:
Hard to take @guardian opposition to #antisemitism seriously when they publish letter comparing #Israel to Nazis. guardian.co.uk/world/2012/nov…The letter he complained of was from a holocaust survivor but, of course, we all know that zionists are the guardians of the memory of the holocaust, not people who were actually in it.
— Dave Rich (@daverich1) November 20, 2012
Next up we have the Talentless Mr Gidley (h/t or apologies to Patricia Highsmith). Ben Gidley tweets as @bengidley where he self-describes as "Posting on migration, cities, multiculture, antisemitism, Jews, London, Europe." He also runs or contributes to some Israel advocacy blogs, one of which being Bob from Brockley, which I have already described as a one stop shop for hasbara. He often runs bogus allegations of antisemitism and in common with the few remaining Zionist members of the UCU he was no slouch in falsely accusing the UCU of harassing Ronnie Fraser.
Institutional antisemitismLook at the impeccable sources he links! But sadly he has been a bit of a slouch when it comes to making good on his intention "to write about the long-harassment of Ronnie Fraser in UCU, a [Ben Gidley's] trade union". As Ben Gidley he's tweeted links to a couple of dodgy articles on the judgment. He hasn't linked the judgment itself and he has steered well clear of even the articles by Zionists which show what a humiliation FUCU was for all concerned on Ronnie Fraser's side.
There is currently in London an employment tribunal concerning the long-harassment of one Ronnie Fraser in UCU, a trade union. 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.
The last one that I knew anything of when I saw the notice is Dean Godson. Here's how Irish journalist, Ed Moloney, on his The Broken Elbow blog, describes Godson:
Dean Godson’s two passions in life are Israel and Ireland, or to be more specific the cause of Likud and Ulster Unionism whose twin fates he saw threatened by the temptations of dialogue with untrustworthy terrorist adversaries, the PLO and the IRA, in the search for peace and political accommodation.And the rest
I've never known anything about the other people involved though I have heard that Rob Berkeley, Nasar Meer and Maleiha Malik are well worth a listen. That's of course, not to say that the others aren't.
Also I was told that the Pears Institute is a serious group though it may be trying a little too hard to be broad and inclusive.
I suppose we can hope that the rotten eggs present in the august surrounds of Portcullis House won't render the whole thing a curate's egg.