General Antisemitism

Is Mira Bar Hillel prejudiced against Jews? “Alas, yes.”


Mira Bar Hillel is Jewish. She is also prejudiced against Jews.  

We typically wouldn’t so brazenly make such a charge except that Ms. Bar Hillel, a journalist for the London Evening Standard, removed any doubts as to her feelings on the subject in the following response to a question posed in a Haaretz interview:

The Jews of today scare me and I find it almost impossible to talk to most of them, including relatives. Any criticism of the policies of Israel – including the disgraceful treatment of Holocaust survivors as well as refugees from murderous regimes – is regarded as treason and/or anti-Semitism. Most papers and journals will not even publish articles on the subject for fear of a Jewish backlash. Goyim (gentiles ) are often treated with ill-concealed contempt, yet the Jews are always the victims. Am I prejudiced against Jews? Alas, yes.”

Undeterred by her acknowledgement that she is indeed prejudiced against Jews, Indy editors decided that she was nonetheless the commentator uniquely equipped to expound upon The Daily Mail/Ralph Miliband/antisemitism rowin the following essay:

Mira

After providing some personal background and explaining the difference between classical and modern antisemitism – the latter, she claims, is not caused by Jew-haters but by “overzealous Zionists,” – she helpfully explains a bit more about the problem with these “overzealous Zionists”: 

The most extreme example was a case decided by an Employment Tribunal in March. The case was brought against the University and College Union (UCU) by lecturer Ronnie Fraser, who was represented by Anthony Julius, Princess Diana’s divorce lawyer. Julius is said to be “known for his opposition to new antisemitism, the alleged expression of antisemitic prejudice couched in terms of certain kinds of discursive assaults on Israel”. 

Fraser alleged that he was treated unfairly and with hostility during union debates about academic boycott of Israel, and about the decision not to use a contentious working definition of anti-Semitism that conflated it with any criticism of Israel.

Fraser did not dispute that he had been able to speak in UCU’s boycott debates but claimed that his speeches at the Annual Congress were not applauded (!) because of anti-Semitism on the part of fellow delegates. 

This is a fabrication. As we documented shortly after the case was adjudicated, the charges against the union by Fraser were numerous and quite serious. As David Hirsh detailed in a superb post at Engage, in addition to the UCU’s rejection of the EU working definition on antisemitism, there were a number of other incidents representing a union culture whereby “antisemitism was accepted as normal within the union”. Hirsh outlined many of them:

In 2006 Ronnie Fraser stood as a delegate to NATFHE conference (a predecessor to UCU).  It was said at the regional meeting that Fraser could not be a delegate because he was a Zionist and therefore a racist.  NATFHE held an investigation and found that this statement had not been antisemitic.

Israel has been relentlessly condemned at every UCU Congress, often by motions to boycott Israel.  There were no motions to boycott any other states.

The Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism reported that the boycott debates were likely to cause difficulties for Jewish academics and students, to exclude Jews from academic life and to have a detrimental effect on Jewish Studies.  UCU responded that these allegations were made to stop people from criticizing Israel.  76 members of the UCU published a critique of the union’s response, but the union took no notice.  John Mann MP told the Tribunal that UCU had been unique among those criticized by the inquiry in its refusal to listen.

Sean Wallis, a local UCU official, said that anti-boycott lawyers were financed by “bank balances from Lehman Brothers that can’t be tracked down”.  Ronnie Fraser asked him whether he had indeed made this antisemitic claim.  Wallis admitted having said it.  But it was Fraser who, for the crime of asking, was found to have violated union rules concerning “rude or offensive communications”.

Gert Weisskirchen, responsible for combating antisemitism for the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) asked the union leadership for a meeting to discuss antisemitism relating to the boycott.  The union did not meet with him.  When 39 union members protested publicly, the union ignored them.

The union invited South African Trade Unionist Bongani Masuku to speak at a pro-boycott conference in London.  Masuku was known to be under investigation by the South African Human Rights Commission for antisemitic hate speech.  Here is an example of what he had said:  “Bongani says hi to you all as we struggle to liberate Palestine from the racists, fascists and Zionists who belong to the era of their friend Hitler!  We must not apologise, every Zionist must be made to drink the bitter medicine they are feeding our brothers and sisters in Palestine”.  Masuku also said  that vigilante action would be taken against Jewish families suspected of having members serving in the Israeli military, and that Jews who continued to stand up for Israel should “not just be encouraged but forced to leave South Africa”  The union ought to have known Masuku’s record.  Ronnie Fraser told the union about Masuku’s record.  Masuku was found guilty in South Africa of hate speech before speaking as a guest of UCU.  And months later, UCU Congress explicitly rejected a motion to dissociate itself from Masuku’s “repugnant views”.

The Activists’ List is an email list hosted by the union.

Ronnie Fraser argued on the list that there was no absolute blockade of Gaza.  In response, another union member said that he was like the Nazis at Theresenstadt.  The union found that there was nothing inappropriate about this comment.

Josh Robinson put together a detailed formal complaint about antisemitic language being employed by union members on the list.  He documented how people who opposed antisemitism on the activists’ list were routinely accused of being: deranged, crazy, nutters; Israeli agents; hysterical; dishonest; twisted; rotten Zionists; less than human; believers in a promised land; motivated by the fairy story of the Old Testament; genocidal; accepting of the murder of innocents; racist; pro-apartheid; supporters of ethnic cleansing; Nazis.  The Holocaust was referred to as an ‘attempted genocide’.   There followed volleys of insults made against those who raised concerns about this description of the Shoah.  The formal complaint was given to Tom Hickey to adjudicate.  Hickey himself, the Tribunal was told, had said that Israel is “more insidious and in some sense almost nastier than Nazi Germany.  In the end, nobody even bothered to tell Robinson that his complaint had been dismissed.

A significant number of union members resigned over the issue of antisemitism.  Congress voted down a motion to investigate these resignations.  There was no mechanism for counting resignations over antisemitism, and such resignations were instead counted as being because of disagreements over the Middle East.

People who complained about antisemitism in the union were routinely confronted with accusations that they spoke in bad faith They were told that they were making it up in order to try to silence criticism of Israel.  They were accused of ‘crying antisemitism’.

In court Sally Hunt, the General Secretary of the union was asked hypothetically:  “If somebody said ‘if you want to understand the Jews, read Mein Kampf’, would that be antisemitic?”  She answered that it would not necessarily be antisemitic.

After smearing Ronnie Fraser and dismissing accusations of antisemitism by grossly misrepresenting his charges against the union, Bar Hillel writes the following:

In all my time in this country, which I love with all my heart, I have never – as an Israeli as well as a Jew – suffered a whiff or sniff etc [of antisemitism], although I have been patronised by re-religionists who assumed I owed them some tribal loyalty.

My most vicious Twitter trolls are Jews from all over the world accusing me of treason for daring to criticise Israel’s racism and other excesses and trying their best to gag me.

As far as those trying to gag her, she expanded upon this ‘Livingstone Formulation‘ theme last December when she wrote the following:

Since arriving in London I have not ONCE experienced anti-Semitism, although jews talk about it a lot, as Marcus said. I am not a self-hating jew – I hate people who use the label to gag into submission any critic of Israel and its deplorable actions. And very effective they are too.

Finally, and of relevance to Bar Hillel’s essay, The Independent responded furiously to a recent remark on Radio 4’s Today by Alex Brummer, City Editor of the Daily Mail, who said: “In comparison with The Guardian and The Independent, which frequently demonises Israel, and in so doing demonises the broader Jewish community.”  Their rambling editorial was titled ‘Neither Israel nor the broader Jewish community is demonised by this newspaper,” and ends with the following:

Mr Brummer, then, committed two intellectual errors. First, misinterpreting our robust views and scepticism as demonisation; second, conflating opposition to Israeli policy with anti-Semitism. The latter is ironic, given how many Jews, in Britain and elsewhere, oppose the actions of successive Israeli administrations.

Incidentally, in an article filed before Mr Brummer’s silly remark, Howard Jacobson assesses the career of Woody Allen on page 47. Demonisation doesn’t come into it, though you can make up your own mind about that.

In fairness, it should be noted that, when it comes to legitimizing antisemitism, the Indy is certainly not in the league of the Guardian. 

However, their coverage of the director of Annie Hall notwithstanding, perhaps their reputation would be less tarnished if they didn’t ask writers to comment on antisemitism who themselves have smeared British Jews with the accusation they exploit the charge of antisemitism to stifle debate, and who, when asked whether they are prejudiced against Jews, have responded, “Alas, Yes!

Of course, “you can make up your own mind about that”. 

27 replies »

  1. http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/104023/mira-bar-hillel-agents-israel-attacked-me-criticisms-government
    Mira Bar-Hillel: ‘agents of Israel’ attacked me for criticisms of the government
    Marcus Dysch, March 28, 2013
    Follow Marcus on Twitter

    A leading property journalist has defended remarks made during a Twitter row in which she admitted being prejudiced towards Jews.

    Mira Bar-Hillel, the property and planning correspondent at London’s Evening Standard newspaper, said she believed attacks on her were being co-ordinated by “agents of Israel” and the Jewish community in response to her criticisms of the Israeli government.

    My comments.
    Next this fool Mira Bar-Hillel will say, Mossad Sharks, Mossad Vultures, Mossad Birds and Mossad Squirrels are spying on her.

  2. Bar-Hillel:

    1. “I am not a self-hating jew”

    2. ” Am I prejudiced against Jews? Alas, yes.””

    QED?

    3. Crazy, cognitively-dissonant self-hating Jew.

    • She doesn’t hate herself Akus – exactly the opposite – she adores herself. She hates you, me and her fellow Jews.

  3. Her writings give out a strong sense of lashing out after being insulted. Youngins usually call this “butthurt”: An inappropriately strong negative emotional response from a perceived personal insult. Characterized by strong feelings of shame. Frequently associated with a cessation of communication and overt hostility towards the “aggressor.”

  4. It was ever thus, despite the intense competition, Jews continue to be their own worst enemies. From Theobold of Cambridge (a convert to Christianity) who propagated the blood libel in Medieval England to today’s Gilad Atzmon, Mira Bar Hillel, Glenn Greenwald, Gerald Kaufman and so on………. It strikes me that we don’t really need antisemites when we’re doing such an excellent job ourselves.

    • And many antisemites have the nerve to say and believe all Jews stick together and behave the same way.
      She should change her name to Mary if she dislikes her own people so much, or better still, convert to Islam.

  5. A useful idiot, but it is a symptom of the bias to publish such idiots who contradict oneselves without noticing it as long it serves the goals of the media, witewashing itself, that is, and ceding the accusations to somebody legitimate according to the media which in turn legitimises the claims of the media.
    The responsible ones can wash their hands of after serving the public such defence witnesses.
    This trope is made on purpose.

  6. “The Jews of today scare me”
    Not much anti-Semitism there, eh?
    But don’t worry, she loves the UK with all her heart. She must be one of the beautiful people.
    Ah, a Jewish anti-Semite, how wefweshing.

  7. “Goyim (gentiles ) are often treated with ill-concealed contempt, yet the Jews are always the victims.”
    Mira Bar Hillel or David Duke? You can make your mind up about that.

    • At the very least I’d say she needs to get some new Jewish friends – assuming she had any in the first place.

  8. “As we documented shortly after the case was adjudicated, the charges against the union by Fraser were numerous and quite serious.”

    Well they may have been ‘quite serious’ (and they were certainly numerous – see below) but they were dismissed in the most scathing terms by the Tribunal. Here are that body’s main findings:

    “177 The result is that the proceedings are dismissed in their totality. The Claimant has put before us one claim which, on initial examination, appeared arguable on its merits. Closer scrutiny, however, showed it to be clearly unsustainable. And, being hopelessly out of time, it is outside our jurisdiction in any event. The other nine claims are wholly unfounded and many are also defeated by the jurisdictional time bar.
    178 Lessons should be learned from this sorry saga. We greatly regret that the case was ever brought. At heart, it represents an impermissible attempt to achieve
    a political end by litigious means. It would be very unfortunate if an exercise of this
    sort were ever repeated.
    179 We are also troubled by the implications of the claim. Underlying it we sense a worrying disregard for pluralism, tolerance and freedom of expression, principles which the courts and tribunals are, and must be, vigilant to protect (for a recent example, see Smith-v-Trafford Housing Trust [2012] EWHC 3221 (Ch)).
    The Claimant and his advisors would have done well to heed the observations of
    Mr Beloff and Mr Saini concerning the importance which the law attaches to
    political freedom of expression.”

    So basically Ronnie Fraser was guilty of seeking to suppress freedom of expression and to use litigation for political ends. The Tribunal also condemned the “gargantuan scale” (and no doubt gargantuan cost) of the case as brought by Fraser and his supporters. It is a classic tactic of those with unlimited resources to raise the litigation stakes in an attempt to defeat those having more modest means.

    • “We are also troubled by the implications of the claim. Underlying it we sense a worrying disregard for pluralism, tolerance and freedom of expression”
      It doesn’t get more sanctimonious than that.

      • The judge only followed the good old tradition of British kangoroo court judges like Bathurst Norman. Instead of fighting for better work conditions trade unions in Britain must have the right to free Jew-bashing.

    • A typical antisemitic smear:
      “It is a classic tactic of those with unlimited resources to raise the litigation stakes in an attempt to defeat those having more modest means.”

      Rich Jews against poor, but honest gentiles, a construction very much at the heart of right ectremism. Sencar is a BNP man.

      • “Rich Jews against poor, but honest gentiles”

        It was the Tribunal that found the scale of Fraser’s case to be vastly disproportionate. There are many examples of the powerful (and those with powerful friends) upping the costs of litigation in order to deter opponents. Are you seriously suggesting that this practice cannot be raised if the litigant in question happens to be Jewish?

        • ‘There are many examples of the powerful (and those with powerful friends) upping the costs of litigation in order to deter opponents. Are you seriously suggesting that this practice cannot be raised if the litigant in question happens to be Jewish?’

          Wow, Jews with money trying to pervert the course of justice. Now where have I heard that before?

          You Mersey Trout.

  9. Mira Bar Hillel re. Fraser
    … and about the decision not to use a contentious working definition of anti-Semitism that conflated it with any criticism of Israel

    Fraser was talking about the EUMC defintion, right? In which case she’s talking nonsense.

  10. I quit UCU partly because of its anti-semitic turn (documented by David Hirsh above), and also because of the ‘Comrade Delta’ business. UCU is being increasingly dominated by members of the SWP by Hickey and Wallis, and I found it obnoxious to share a union with a cult that covered up for rapists within its ranks.

    I joined the union because I wanted to help defend employment rights for workers in higher education (and that’s not just the academics, by the way – that’s clerical and support staff too). But UCU has betrayed tutors and students by its turn towards Jew-hatred masquerading as ‘criticism’ of Israel. There were activists fighting for a focus on union-related issues of relevance to members, but they were becoming an increasingly isolated voice in the UCU leadership.

    As for the Fraser Tribunal, it joins the list of similar cases where the law has been an ass. Fraser and his defence demonstrated that UCU was taking an anti-Semitic turn, and that its leadership was either condoning it or turning a blind eye to it (I even submitted to an expert witness emails I sent to Sally Hunt expressing my concerns over the union’s affiliation with the PSC). The ruling went against the evidence presented to it, and to my mind simply disregarded it.